As you go through life, you’re bound to experience challenges and struggles that may leave you feeling lost and unsure about how to proceed. In these difficult circumstances, you may find yourself searching for professional help. That could look like a therapist or a life coach.

Although both professions are tasked with assisting individuals in leading a more fulfilling life, life coaches and therapists have different missions when it comes to helping people change their lives for the better.

Life coaching and therapy can easily become a blurred line when it comes to understanding the difference between these two professions.

In this article, we will explore the differences between a life coach and a therapist and how they stack up against each other.

What a Life Coach Does

A life coach is a professional who works with clients to help them succeed. The life coach creates an encouraging space where they apply gentle pressure and hold their client accountable.

Life coaches focus on the present and the future, as they help their clients identify their strengths and develop strategies to achieve their goals. Most importantly, they assist their clients in identifying and overcoming limiting beliefs that are holding them back.

My role as a life coach is to teach my clients how to live their best lives. I will help you pursue your passions and break free of stagnation or “stuckness.” I work to propel my clients toward positive changes in their lives while overcoming obstacles and reaching a place of greater overall wellness.

Life coaching works on identifying and shifting mindsets that keep you stuck and making the same choices.

Here are seven personal improvement milestones that I help my clients attain during the course of my life coaching sessions with them:

  1. Taking ownership
  2. Developing a positive mindset
  3. Self-care
  4. Increasing self-esteem
  5. Accepting yourself versus self-loathing
  6. Finding joy in your life
  7. Decreasing stress

A life coach can help you make meaningful progress in both your personal and professional life. This can be accomplished by identifying and overcoming obstacles to your progress.

Ultimately, life coaching helps you walk through challenges and become the version of yourself that you know you have the potential to be.

When to See a Life Coach

  • You want to get ‘unstuck’ and set goals that you want to achieve
  • You’re looking for new ways to progress and challenge yourself
  • You want to stop unhealthy habits and replace them with healthy alternatives
  • You want to hold yourself more accountable in your personal or professional life
  • You are seeking a life with purpose and meaning but you don’t know how to begin
  • You feel confused or lost about the next chapter in your life, such as career choices or major life choices
  • Your inner critic is keeping you from living your best life and you want to learn how to quiet that voice
  • It seems that your life is on autopilot, and you want to challenge yourself or breakout of your comfort zone

What a Therapist Does

A therapist is a qualified mental health professional who focuses mainly on the past and some on the present. They help their clients explore their emotions, behaviors, and thoughts to identify the underlying causes of their psychological issues.

Therapists may also help clients develop coping mechanisms to deal with their problems.

If an individual is struggling with emotional or psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, or trauma, they may very well benefit from therapy. Therapy offers a safe and confidential space to explore and work through these issues.

Therapy will help you heal from various mental health conditions. For example, you will address mental and emotional health challenges you’re contending with by learning specific therapy techniques such as:

  • Gaining insight into how your past affects you now through psychoanalysis.
  • Healing past traumatic experiences
  • Cognitive reframing and mindfulness skills
  • Resolving relationship issues through couples counseling

Success in therapy looks like reduced anxiety, more healthy eating habits, improved mood, and a greater sense of happiness.

When to See a Therapist

  • You want to heal from past hurts or trauma
  • You’re struggling with interpersonal relationships, and you want to learn strategies to feel less negatively impacted by others
  • You’re experiencing mental health symptoms that cause distress in your life, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma
  • You need support in navigating intense emotions
  • You are experiencing relationship difficulties and you could benefit from couples counseling

Direct Comparison — Life Coach vs Therapist

Coaching Therapy
Life coaches focus on the future, and delve into the question: “How?” Therapy explores the client’s past and seeks to answer the question: “Why?”
Coaching assumes that you are whole and capable of leading a terrific and satisfying life. Therapy helps you heal from past harm or trauma.
In life coaching, the client and coach are partners. In therapy, the therapist is the expert.
A coach is catalytic. A therapist is nurturing.
Life coaches serve as guides. Therapists perform the function of analysts.

It is clear that life coaches and therapists have distinct differences in their approach, goals, and focus with their clients. While both professions have as their objective to help people lead more fulfilling and meaningful lives, they possess vastly different areas of expertise.

Choosing between a life coach and a therapist mainly depends on a person’s needs and goals.

It is important to keep in mind that life coaching is not a substitute for therapy. Life coaches provide support and guidance, but they’re not trained to diagnose or treat mental health issues. People who are struggling with mental health issues should seek the services of a qualified mental health professional.

Are You Ready for a Consultation?

If you are ready to begin the journey of growing personally, professionally, or spiritually, then book a complimentary consultation today. It’s time to experience more joy in your life and accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible.

You were designed to live the life you intended.

I have what it takes to help you move forward and to pursue the growth you’ve been dreaming of.

What are you waiting for?