What’s the difference between life coaching and therapy?

Updated: Sep 12


As a certified professional life coach, I get asked this question all the time. The main reason is that coaches' and therapists' roles seem to overlap with the common folks. It should be known and taken into account that a life coach is about more holistic, long-term approaches and can help you make life changes, whereas a therapist can be limited in nature to the diagnosis they are trying to help with or the coping skills in which they are trying to employ.


Talk therapy is a great tool, and if you just need someone to talk to and help bring your dreams to reality, you need a coach. For instance, when you need therapy, you’re usually suffering from a mental health issue that needs to be addressed by a team of professionals.


Life coaches are here to help coach and train you into making better decisions without seeking a diagnosis or providing treatment. The two overlap in some areas as they can be a reassurance to the person utilizing such services that they have someone who will listen and who they can tremendously lean on.


Therapists tend to keep you at arm’s length and very strict in terms of what they can and cannot do and will usually have a narrow perspective when it comes to your treatment options.

In most cases, life coaches can be of greater benefit when you seek help with certain decisions that may cross between personal and professional aspects of your life.


You may have issues with boundaries and making decisions, so a coach can help you bring out the true you so you can be confident to make the proper decisions you need to make. Coaches tend to care more about you as the person versus just focusing on the problem. A holistic approach is typically taken when you have an effective coach.


In a nutshell, a coach is here to support and partner with you as well as care for you and a therapist seeks treatment options to help you cope with life and mental illnesses.


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