The difference between life coach and therapist – 63/100

When I share with human beings about what I’m doing as of late, I watch their faces as I say I’m working on becoming a life coach. It’s interesting to see the different facial, verbal, and emotional responses I get.

Some people ask what kind advice I’ll give when I’m so young and have little experience in life. They mean this in the most harmless way – they are genuinely interested in what I think I have to offer.

Some people think it’s great and wish me the best. They get excited with me and point out the characteristics they see in me that makes them think I’ll do well.

Some people ask me if that’s similar to therapy. I wanted to touch on this today. Part of it for myself, and part of it for anyone that’s wondered.

The best way I’ve heard it explained to me was by Noelle Cordeaux, the co-founder of the organization that I’m spending 16 weeks with (virtually) to learn about life coaching.

  1. Purpose
    • Therapy is more of a pain-based practice. Usually therapy clients seek out help to address their pain. They may not be functioning at baseline due to hurt and trauma from the past that hinders their growth and ability to live progressively. I don’t mean this to give therapy patients a negative vibe – I’ve been in therapy for 4+ years myself and still continue to go for my own betterment.
    • Life coaching is more about hitting goals. If you think about it, the traditional type of coaching is associated with athletes. Football, track, gymnastics, rowing coaches deal with human beings that are functioning at baseline (or better) and want to reach higher levels of physical ability. It’s the same for life coaches – we just want to help human beings reach better, higher, and stronger versions of themselves.
  2. Longevity
    • Therapy, when one finds a compatible therapist, can go on for years and years. The depth of deep-seated emotional pain and strife may require extended periods of time to process, understand, and release.
    • Life coaching can be as short as one session, if need be. It’s about getting the client out of his or her own head, getting perspective, eliminating blocks, and moving forward to meet their goals, whether career-wise, relationship, personal growth, etc.
  3. Qualifications
    • Therapy requires years of study and clinical experience because therapists have the ability (and obligation) to diagnosis patients with conditions and prescribe medication.
    • Life coaching requires a heart to serve. The more experience, the better, but nothing is more important than a genuine desire to help people achieve greater heights. And life coaching also requires, as I’m learning, humility that we don’t have all the answers – just the right questions to get clients thinking and shifting in the direction that best serves them.

With all that said, I hope it’s a little clearer what the differences between therapy and life coaching are. When I learned this, it made things much clearer to me, even though I could feel the difference between therapy and life coaching. Understanding the differences allows clients to come with the right expectations and attitude.

If you’re interested to seeing what life coaching can do for you, send me a message or email. Let’s talk.


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Walking my journey, evolving endlessly into the Me I came to Be.

2 thoughts on “The difference between life coach and therapist – 63/100

  1. Beautiful! Yes, generally therapist looks at the past and life coach looks at the present and future. In my professional opinion a life coach with integrity has done the work to be able to with clients to navigate the inner landscape that might stand between the present and the desired future.

    Also in my experience the most successful coaching clients are with a coach for some time. Not as long as therapy, but 6-12 months minimum. While one session can create an opening and insight, it is the coaches job to move the client forward past the inevitable obstacles that come when we decide to go for our dreams and the initial high wears off. This takes time. Can’t wait to learn about your training, I know your heart to serve is HUGE <3.

    1. “In my professional opinion a life coach with integrity has done the work to be able to with clients to navigate the inner landscape that might stand between the present and the desired future.” – Beautifully said. Thank you for sharing!

      I think I mentioned the one-time session because the coaching collective I’m learning from does offer one-time sessions.
      However, yes, I do agree that it takes time to truly reap the benefits of working with a coach. I am learning that in our group!

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