Is coaching a type of therapy?

Though coaching and therapy share overlapping characteristics, they are fundamentally different form each other in several ways. While both therapists and coaches are trained in effective communication skills and interviewing techniques, therapists tend to focus more on the client from past to present, where coaches tend to focus on the client more from the present looking toward the future.

Therapists are more fundamentally focused on looking at their client’s thought processes, beliefs, emotions, etc. While coaches recognizes and honors these things, their focus is more on behaviors themselves.

A coach never diagnoses or treats anybody for mental illness (depression, anxiety, etc.), though a good health coach knows how and when to refer a client to a mental health professional when appropriate, and with the client’s consent.

Where therapists tends to look more at why a client is having a problem, the coach works more on helping their clients find out how to solve a problem through specific behavior change strategies.

Finally, though coaching should never be a replacement for therapy for clients with mental health issues, the two modalities can work hand in hand together, synergistically helping clients improve their lives.