A coach is an individual trained in the art and science of supporting a person’s progress in obtaining specific identified goals that will position that person for success. They provide services in one-to-one setting, groups and in organizations. Many Coaches are certified in the area that they are coaching. Some Coaches are also Credentialed by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) which is the “Gold Standard” for coaches. Such a coach is bound by the ethical codes and core competencies of Coaching in order to be credentialed by the ICF. The focus is on assisting people in reaching their personal and professional and utilize specific questioning techniques, the use of assessment tools, and the ability to listen and respond to their clients.
Therapy often looks how the past impacts the present; or facilitating insight into how the mind and emotions work with and may emphasize a cognitive behavioral therapy or psychodynamic approach. Whereas, a coach will focus on specifically on understanding the present and making changes for the future. With Coaching a client is assisted in clarifying and setting specific goals, which may be professional or personal, and then developing a strategy to achieve those goals.
A coaching client will receive feedback to support an identified outcome during confidential sessions. A good coach will challenge the client to look for patterns in his or her behavior and then capitalize on strengths and what is working while making changes to avoid things that are not effective in achieving their goals.
Whereas a therapist is invited into a person’s world to assist in healing; a Coach is invited into a person’s life for strategic planning, transformation, and the realization of a person’s Vision, or Goals. A coach will facilitate the process of clarifying those visions and goals. The Coach facilitates the client’s awareness of one’s own answers and of mapping out their own action steps. A therapist often diagnoses’ an individual’s mental, emotional, psychological, and situational conditions and while facilitating a patient’s ability to find their own answers and to “get into the driver’s seat “; the therapist utilizes their specific evidence-based interventions to assist in decreasing suffering from mental, emotional, psychological and situational stressors. When coaching is applied outside of therapy, clinical interventions are not utilized, and the focus is not in mental, emotional, psychological, or situational health. If a client finds that such interventions would be useful, then finding a good therapist might become a client’s goal and the client would take an action step toward that end.
Coaches provide minimal advice and consultation. The Coach assumes that the client is the EXPERT in the client’s own life and vocation. There are occasions when a Coach might ask the client for permission to share ideas or possibilities; but it is understood that the client is taking on Coaching sessions for structure, accountability, and facilitation of one’s own inner generated process and transformation.
As a champion or cheerleader for the client, a coach supports the client’s self-identified progress and the positive changes in achieving both milestones and big goals. You might seek out coaching when you are frustrated; feel there are barriers to your success, or you have an intuition or passion that you just know you need to manifest into a reality.
Although coaches do not apply clinical applications; many are experienced and knowledgeable about a variety of psychological approaches. Often, you will see Positive Psychology approaches being integrated into Coaching. Think of coaching like this: You have a dream, or a vision, or want to get unstuck; or you know there is something inside you that needs to manifest- A good coach will draw all of this out of you, and facilitate your process of making it happen.
Psychotherapists also work one-on-one or in groups with clients, and they also use assessment, questioning and discussion. However, the role of a therapist is very different than that of a coach. A psychotherapist is licensed by a governing board and provides evidence-based interventions for psychological, emotional, or situational distress. They often diagnose and develop treatment plans with their patients. The focus of therapy is to reduce suffering, explore and identify the underlying causes of this distress and apply interventions that are known to be effective in alleviating such suffering. With that in mind, there is often time spend on exploring and healing the past and developing and strengthening coping skills to manage the present. Though this is the primary focus of a psychotherapist, as treatment progresses, using a coaching approach after stability has been reached is common; and psychotherapists do move with their patients toward identifying what is most meaningful and will bring value to them in the future. In many cases treatment is transformed into coaching and a therapist trained in coaching may likely integrate specific questioning techniques and specific goal setting that is commonly used in Coaching. During a psychotherapist session, a person might receive consultation, coaching, and recommendations while engaging with the therapist in a clinical process. Psychotherapist provide a wide variety of treatments. They may be inclined to use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment therapy, Emotion based therapies, Person Centered therapies, Humanistic therapies, Faith based therapies, Psychodynamic therapies; solution focused therapies, attachment therapies, EMDR for Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome; and therapy to address addictions, etc. Many therapists have an integrated approach as they have learned and used interventions from a variety of the endless therapies that are available. Psychotherapist treat mental illness such as bi-polar, schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Grief, Addictions, and more. However, they also provide services for people who are not diagnosed with a septic mental disorder, but who are struggling and suffering from emotional and psychological pain. Depending on the type of therapy, a therapy experience might include processing, unpacking, increasing awareness of dysfunctional thinking and behaviors, and identifying unconscious experiences, issues, or unresolved conflicts that with active work can resolved, increase understanding of current dysfunctional thought process and behaviors, and free the person to start moving toward a more content life and toward the things that they value in life. One main objective of therapy is to improve quality of life. Although a Coach may not provide therapy, a therapist may provide coaching during the therapeutic process. Note however, that if your coach is also a therapist, once you enter into a coaching relationship that is entered into as Coaching; and you then identify that you also would benefit from therapy; you will want to find a therapist separate from the coaching. Once a pure Coaching relationship is established; it is better to separate the process. It is also recommended that you let your therapist know if you are engaging in coaching. This will help you and your therapist drill down on what interventions and approaches to utilize during therapy.
When to Find a Coach
When you want help staying on track
When you want to clarify your vision, goals, pivots, strategies, personal and/or professional goals.
When you want help with identifying your purpose
When you want help to unlock the answers that are inside you
When you want help Increasing your motivation
When you want an accountability partner
When you want to gain personal insight, and a better understanding about yourself and your relationship to others and the world
When to Find a Therapist
When you are feeling depressed and want to alleviate this suffering
When you are feeling anxious and want to alleviate this suffering
When you are experiencing relationship problems that you feel are beyond your ability to resolve at this time
When you are struggling emotionally or psychologically with a life transition
When you need help with a grief process
When you are experiencing a behavioral pattern that you need help changing and that behavioral pattern is causing you to experience problems in work, relationships, or personal self-worth (anger management; addictions; etc.)
When you need couples or marriage counseling to work though issues that are causing you to feel distressed related to your experience as a couple.
When you have an identified mental illness and want psychological support for managing the mental illness and healing from any fall out that may have occurred as a result of the mental illness.
When you are suffering from emotional, psychological, mental, or situational stress, challenges, or issues.