Differences Between a Therapist and a Coach

A life coach can work with you on discovering your passions, skills, and talents and strategize a plan for achieving goals. Life coaching teaches you how to achieve big dreams and/or break free if you feel stuck.


Your life coach will help you recognize self-limiting beliefs and distorted thoughts and help replace them with a positive mindset that will empower you to achieve your goals, build effective coping skills, and live a more fulfilling life. Life coaching can be short-term and goal-oriented, or long term.


Therapy, also called counseling or psychotherapy, is a long-term process in which you work with a licensed healthcare professional to diagnose and resolve mental health symptoms and problematic beliefs, behaviors, relationship issues, feelings, and sometimes physical responses.


In addition to looking back at the client's history and helping to resolve their present issues, some therapists may also be good at coaching their clients toward a better future, but this is not always the case. Likewise, a coach may also have a psychology degree or be licensed as a therapist, but this is not a pre-requisite for being a life coach.


Please note, a coach cannot diagnose and treat mental illness unless the coach is also a licensed therapist or medical professional.


You should seek help from a licensed therapist or mental health professional if you:

  • Experience mental health symptoms such as anxiety, depression, trauma, disordered eating.

  • Want to heal from past hurts or trauma.

  • Need support navigating complex emotions.


You should enlist help from a certified life coach if you:

  • Want to get ‘unstuck’ and set goals you will actually achieve.

  • Want to accelerate to the next step in your career.

  • Feel life is on autopilot, and want to challenge yourself or break out of your comfort zone.

  • Want to stop unhelpful habits and replace them with healthy alternatives.

  • Have an inner critic keeping you from reaching your fullest potential.

  • Desire a life with purpose and meaning but don't know where to start.

  • Feel confused about the next chapter in your life and would like guidance.

  • Want motivation and accountability to reach a major goal in your personal or professional life.

  • Want to supplement your therapy sessions and plan for your future.

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