Is there any difference between a therapist and a coach? For many people these two terms are used interchangeably — but they aren’t the same.
Although therapists and coaches can both work to improve the lives of their clients on similar issues, they are distinct professions and their work is complementary. With their separate expertise, they deal with their clients’ issues in different ways.
To understand the difference between these two professions and also determine when each is appropriate for your needs, let’s dive a little bit deeper.
Who is a Therapist?
A therapist is a health professional who focuses on discovering peoples’ behavioral patterns understanding the past traumas and experiences and why it results in problems in the present, their consequences on current actions. After diagnosing the problem of their patient, the therapist can proceed with clinical treatments which often last for a long period of time and or therapies and consultation to help their patient overcome their problem and heal.
With therapist, we are looking a lot at healing, understanding, acceptance.
Who is a Coach?
A coach is a skilled individual who helps clients clarify their present goals and determine how to reach and even exceed such goals by creating an action plan. In other words, coaches support their clients with certain processes to take the right action towards achieving their goals. Coaches won’t focus so much on your past although the will explore it to understand you better and the way of working. However their main focus is on your present and future, working with you through an action plan to get you to that next level, objective that you want to reach.
While coaches and therapists are different professions, you can find people with both hats enabling you then to benefit from both perspectives and expertise.
Also known as a counsellor or psychotherapist, Therapists work in many fields related to the body and mind. In essence, they assist their clients to address issues related to the mental, emotional and physical aspect of their lives. As a healthcare professional, therapists are grounded in the knowledge of pure science which helps them to diagnose their patient’s problems and provide laboratory-based solutions if needed.
Therefore, the therapist will be working mostly on understanding WHY. Why do you react in this way or have this thought? He or she will go deep into your thoughts and past to understand your current actions and thoughts. this is why it is usually a longer work as it implies vulnerability, accepting some hidden truth or events in our lives that have affected us in the past.
On the other hand, coaches are equipped with special skills to support people in goal-setting, personal or professional growth. Coaches possess the know-how required to help people achieve their goals in any area of their lives– be it personal or professional life—depending on their specialty and expertise. The goal of every coach is to provide their clients with the necessary tools, guidance and inspiration to set them on the path of success to their individual or collective dreams.
The coach will be working on action and finding solutions. In other words, he or she will be working on the HOW. While coaches try to get to know and understand your mindset, they particularly focus on getting you to take actions now and prepare for the future. You’ll be working on action plans quite a lot ? and the coach will make sure to have you implement the changes.
In therapy, there are multiple scientific-based ways for interpreting the actions, thoughts and feelings of a client. This is known as a diagnosis. Diagnosis is needed to create clearly defined therapies and exercises for the individual and develop plans for ongoing care to improve their lives Some of the approaches include behavior therapy, psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies and humanistic therapy.
To help individuals to unlock their potentials, coaches often employ such approaches like questioning, listening, generating accurate perception ,accountability , support feedback. They will be your advisor, cheerleader, teammate & “friend”. They will be there every step of your journey to help you get where you want faster, take the right actions.
Whether you decide to work with a coach or a therapist, know that you can work with either of them at specific time or even before but most importantly know that through both the journey with them you will be faced with hidden truth and change and you need for yourself to be open to those changes to success and achieve what you want to achieve.