Life Coaching vs Therapy, or Counseling

Life coaching is a relatively new profession; and if you ask five life coaches to define their work, you’re likely to get five different answers. At the same time, a common thread runs through our profession. Following are a number of resources I found useful in helping distinguish and define life coaching vs therapy, counseling, and psychology.

About life coaching: “The personal coach maintains a focus on the goals the client decides she or he would like to achieve. The collaborative effort propels the individual to continually move toward the goal. In coaching the assumption is that nothing is wrong with the client, but the client wants an even better life. In coaching the focus is on the client’s entire life including health, relationships, career, spirituality, etc., and how it all fits together.”

About psychotherapy (By: Dr Edward A. Dreyfus, Los Angeles, CA.):
 “In psychotherapy the assumption is that there is something wrong that gets in the way of a person’s functioning that needs fixing. In psychotherapy the main focus is on the client’s internal world.”

The following definition of psychotherapy is from the Mayo Clinic: “A general term for a process of treating mental and emotional disorders…”

Definition of life coaching from Ezinearticles website.:
 Coaching, whether for career or business, existential questions or relationships, begins with alignment. Life coaches get you, your actions and thoughts, and your very lifestyle aligned with who you say you are or want to be. That is, we will get the way you live, think, act, and work integrated with the core values and goals you say you have. If you don’t know what your ultimate values and goals are, then we can coach you with that, too.

Definition of psychiatry from “The medical specialty devoted to the study, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders.”

Life Coaching is (defined by International Coach Federation): “Coaches help clients reach goals through a discovery process to deepen learning. Coaches skillfully draw a client’s wisdom out, help them recognize it, and yield forward momentum via accountability.”