Is there a difference between therapy and coaching?
This is quite an interesting topic... some might be scared by the thought of going to see a therapist, but are more happy to see a life coach.
For me, first and foremost, both coaches and therapists will help you with what can be called Limiting Beliefs. These are the sort of beliefs that hold us back, the sort of beliefs that create that little voice in the head that says "you can't do that", "you don't deserve that", "you don't belong here" and so on.
These beliefs all have their origin somewhere in the past, from a set of experiences that we have chosen at the time to buy into and incorporate into our personal beliefs. Nothing to be ashamed of at this point, it happens to all of us, we cannot help being influenced by our environments, although as adults, we start to realise that we can now make different choices, but to do so we may need help to re-program our belief system.
A life coach will be fine with this, unless that limiting belief stems from a traumatic event, in which case a good therapist will be needed.
Sometimes, all a client needs is an objective eye, one that has a good life experience and common sense. In this area a coach may be better, because a lot of coaches come from the corporate or business world. For example, I recently helped a client with a limiting belief, but I also helped him set up a training programme for his staff. He was losing confidence in himself as a line manager, and one of the main reasons was that he had no systems to assess and manage his people. Setting up a training programme was just something that seemed obvious to me, so that was pure business coaching.
If you don't have a traumatic past or mental health issues, a good life coach will give you plenty of support and motivation to change. They will usually have a good academic and/or business background and good life experience. All of these are invaluable. Sometimes the answer can involve hard work and being prepared to change. Sometimes the answer is so obvious you will wonder why you didn't see it.
A therapist though can have a deeper insight into the workings of the mind, which may be what you need. The good news is that a well-trained life coach will probably be a trained therapist too, and will just switch between roles as and when required.
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About Philip Gowler
I am an experienced therapist and coach working in Berkshire. I am passionate about mental health and I approach all my clients problems with a combination of professionalism, empathy and a gentle conversational style that removes your stresses and worries and allows us to insert positive thoughts and behaviours.