Lets Unpack Life Coaching Vs Therapy - Like Counselling
It’s easy to get confused between the two.
There are so many Life Coach niches and so many different types of therapies, counsellors and health professionals that it’s easy to get confused in who specialises in what, and more importantly who you should call to help you.
Then there’s the marketing! – Don’t get me started!
I get it, it’s a minefield of misinformation and flashy marketing, and in between are real professionals with real ability to help you.
Let’s first take a look at what Life Coaching is and what it’s best for. Then we will take a look at Therapy (Counselling) and what it’s best for.
At the end, we will wrap up and make some notes about the two – and you’ll be well informed, of who to call for your particular needs.
The Difference of Life Coaching & Therapy
But First The Real Aim...
Life Coaching, in essence is not therapy.
It’s fair to say though, that Life Coaching could prevent the need for therapy, or reduce the need for ongoing therapy and even medication.
Before we get started talking about Life Coaching. Let’s talk about the difference of treating the symptoms vs the cause, and how this might relate to Life Coaching and Therapy.
We can use analogies here too. Like squeaky brakes on a car. One approach might be to treat the symptom by applying some oil or lubricant to the brakes. Hoorah, no more squeaks! Problem solved right!?
But what happens when you need to brake suddenly?
That’s right, the brakes don’t work so good at all, and your off into a ditch on the side of the road!
Who’s fault is this!?
“Life Coaching doesn’t work you scream!..”
“Counselling doesn’t work you berate…”
“This medication sucks you write online…”
Treating the Root Cause
Whoever, whatever, the point here is about getting to the root cause of the problems and treating them appropriately as required.
So instead of masking the problem, you actually take care of the root cause problem. Even just having awareness of the root cause problem is a great first step and can be transformational in it’s own right.
So in our example. If a Coach or Therapist can identify that worn out brake pads and a warped disc are the most likely cause of your squeaky brakes. Then now you are empowered to do something about it.
A coach might not have the skills to ‘fix your squeaky brakes’ and therefore, recommend you to seek out a professional in that area.
Or you might decide…
“Hey you know what – I can fix my squeaky brakes myself on the weekend, and for now, I’m going to take it easy driving, so I don’t squeak or crash.”
Or the Coach might say…
“You’re in luck I can help you change out your brakes, and even help you be a better driver!”
This is where the niche and life experience of a coach can help you, authentically.
Life Coaching - Who's it For?
There are so many combinations of coaching niches’ and demographics – we could fill a whole book. So let’s look at one example, and then I think you will get the idea of what Life Coaching is for and how it helps – generally speaking.
Of course there will always be exceptions and each coach will be different. Some people, like my partner Jacqui, are a counsellor and a coach! Whoa! Now we’re talking!
Life Coaching - For Ben
- Ben has been stuck in his job for over 15 years now, and while the money is good and he’s good at his job, he just feels bored and stale.
- He’s applied for other jobs in the past, but always chickens out and gets cold feet.
- He feels like he’s not good enough, and it seems he’s afraid of change, or not good enough in some way. He’s frustrated and angry and feels like giving up. His home life is suffering. Deep down he knows he can be more. Something is in the way.
Life Coaching - How it Helps
- Ben see’s a Life Coach and celebrates his 15 years of work. Together they discover Ben’s strengths, passions, and ideal vision for the future.
- Ben breaks through his limiting beliefs, and has identified key reasons from high school and family for the limiting beliefs. Ben is now aware and invested in making the core changes.
- Ben’s old relationships and habits are holding him back. His health is not as good as it could be too. A Life coach recommends some ideas and a referral to a Dietician and a Personal Trainer to really align his whole life change and direction. With healthy routines and a positive mindset in place, Ben is a shoe-in for exciting new roles in a growing industry he is passionate about.
Counselling / Therapy - Who's it For?
As in the Life Coaching space, there are so many combinations of therapists and demographics – we’d run out of space!
So again, let’s look at one example, and I think you will begin to see the difference between Life Coaching and Therapies like Counselling.
Therapy - For Jen
- Jen has been feeling depressed and irritated for the last 6 months and has lost her spark. She is not travelling well and she does not seem her usual self. Her quality of life is suffering. But why?
- Her doctor has not been much help, and even a recent holiday has not made a difference to how Jen is feeling.
- Jen feels like she is going downhill and is unsure of what to do, but concedes, she needs professional help of some kind. Jen is feeling insecure and afraid of where things are heading.
Therapy - How it Helps
- Jen see’s a professional counsellor, and finds each session helpful and therapeutic. Root causes are being explored and together they are able to stabilize Jen’s mood, and begin processing events of Jen’s life that have previously been swept under the rug.
- Jen’s therapist uses a range of techniques and therapeutic frameworks to help Jen through this difficult time. Her therapist is able to keep her safe and refer her to doctors and other specialists using her professional training in mental health.
- As Jen is turning her life around, her counsellor is always there for emotional support and processing new events and past memories as needed. Jen’s counsellor encourages her to keep up her new positive outlook on life and recommends a Life Coach to learn more about her self. The possibilities for Jen’s career, relationships, health and happiness are endless.
Life Coaching is Different to Therapy
See the Difference?
Let’s recap and summarise.
Life coaching is empowering.
- It’s challenging.
- It’s motivating.
- It’s driven by you.
Life coaching is for anybody and everybody who wants to…
- Have better relationships.
- Get a higher paying and more rewarding career.
- Break free from limiting beliefs and out-dated mindsets – to be the best they can be.
- Be a better person, give back, build something, leave a legacy, inspire others, see what’s possible & more!
Therapy & Counselling
Therapy & Counselling is healing and therapeutic.
- It alleviates emotional pain & suffering.
- It’s a safe place for processing trauma, and past conflict.
- It’s for repair.
- It’s for self care.
- It’s part of life.
Therapy and Counselling is for anybody who is suffering. Counselling can help in many areas of life, including…
- Past trauma.
- Anxiety / Depression.
- Alcohol / Drug use.
- Patterns of behaviour.
- Low self worth.
- Self harm.
What Will Help You?
Life Coaching or Therapy?
Lee is a Life Coach.
If Life Coaching sounds like a good match for you, browse my single sessions to get started.
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