Coaching and therapy are related but have significant experiential differences for clients as well as legal and ethical ramifications. Both relationships share many common perspectives and activities. Both relationships involve what may be called coaching, counseling, and consulting (hereafter, referred to as coaching). However, therapy goes beyond coaching. The boundaries and hence, the legal and ethical scope and limitations between coaching and therapy are important to understand in choosing and establishing a professional relationship for a client.
Views both parties as naturally creative, resourceful and whole.
Does not diagnose or treat.
Trained to work with functioning clients.
Works with clients that are able to form an alliance and have common goals.
Coach and clients on a peer basis.
Alliance designed by coach and client together.
Focus on evolving and manifesting potential.
Emphasis on present and future.
Action and being oriented.
Explore actions and behaviors that manifest high self-esteem.
Regard and coach negative self-beliefs as Saboteurs (temporary obstacles).
Coach and client ask: "What’s next/what now?"
Works mainly with external issues.
Discourages transference as inappropriate.
Accountability and "homework" between sessions held as important.
Contact between sessions for accountability and "wins" expected.
Uses coaching skills.
More apt to view clients from a medical model.
Diagnoses and treats.
Trained to work with major mental illness.
Works with clients with entrenched problems.
Therapist the "expert."
Hierarchical difference between therapist and clients.
Treatment plan largely designed by therapist.
Focus on healing and understanding.
Emphasis on past and present.
Explore genesis of behaviors that create low self-esteem.
Regard and coach negative self-beliefs as Analyze and treat origins and historical roots of negative self-beliefs.
Therapist and client ask: "Why and from where?"
Works mainly with internal issues.
Encourages transference as a therapy tool.
Accountability less commonly expected.
Contact between sessions for crisis and difficulties only.
Uses therapy techniques
Coaching vs. Therapy: What Are the Differences and When Do You Refer? The Coaches Training Institute, 2012.