First it’s important to understand how coaches and therapists differ from each other.
Professional bodies ensuring that professional criteria are met govern therapists, ranging from counsellors to psychiatrists holding a variety of diplomas, masters or doctorates. It also means that therapists need to abide by their code of ethics. Being registered and accredited ensures that a substantial level of training and experience is at the core of the practice involving future on-going personal and professional development. In the field of change and growth therapists must imperatively endorse continuing learning.
Coaching is often referred as a goal-orientated approach offering empowering techniques. It aims to motivate and infuse confidence to allow growth. Life coaches unlike psychotherapists are not required to gain a degree but are encouraged to follow an accredited program like the International Coaching Federation.
The two professions overlap each other and more coaches expand their practice to train as counsellors and vice versa. This increasing trend may be explained by the fact that both share similar grounds only used in a different way. Goals are a cornerstone in coaching whereas therapy will explore past-unresolved emotional experiences and processes to facilitate change and growth.
Personally the biggest divergence is how my work as a therapist can be sustained by a clinical rationale based on theory. It explains why coaching will be of use or not. Theories applied to coaching don’t do the same for therapy. But does it matter? In my opinion the core of our interest must be how can I be of best use for my clients to help them grow and live more harmoniously.
Therapy is like a micro-laboratory of how you are in-the-world. “Therapy can be an interpersonal laboratory,” Spiegel tells The Huffington Post. “It’s a way of working with cognition, emotion and interpersonal relationships in a way that helps you manage your emotions and learn to see it in a different perspective.”
Therapy is renowned to deal with psychological problems like anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses. The rise of mindfulness therapy has also contributed to simply better our selves in terms of emotional wellbeing. In other words you don’t have to go through a severe psychological trauma to benefit from therapy. The relationship formed within the therapeutic alliance allows you to get a sense of who you are and to receive feedback on your thoughts and feelings affecting your everyday life.
Whether you want to lose weight or struggle to find your identity or your career in a fast pace changing society a coach can help you overcome personal mental obstacles and become accountable for your own progression. The support offered in coaching avoids the pitfall of doing it all alone and we are stronger together when we act as a team. We are social animals and talking, feeling that we belong and are supported help build a stronger sense of self and resilience. Science supports that it contributes to reduce significantly stress.
Ultimately whether you open up and talk to a therapist or a coach you gradually strengthen your ability to work through your struggles to reach a goal or deepen an emotional explorative work. It helps clarifying what lies beneath and brings more meaning in life. Finding your purpose or helping creating a new one is a life changing experience.
Both therapy and coaching bring up new perspectives as a game changer tool.
Sometimes all that we need is someone to allow us to peep through another window;
one that we previously thought never existed.