What is the difference between coaching and therapy? 

According to the International Coaching Federation, (ICF) “The main distinctions between coaching and psychotherapy are based on focus, purpose and population.” Although both can be highly effective to help someone overcome their barriers, the parameters are quite different… 


Coaching helps someone visualize success, understand their present state, develop solutions, and take action towards future results. 

Therapy helps someone explore the past in order to understand the present. A good therapist can help a client by understanding their present state and then figure out, “why?”  


Coaching helps someone improve their performance. They learn how to anchor into a growth mindset and move forward by focusing on “how.”  

Therapy can help someone dive into deep-seated emotional issues with the purpose of healing. The therapist helps the client to develop skills for managing emotions or past issues and work on overcoming those issues towards an improved present state.  


Coaching helps people who are in a functional state move to an optimal state.  

Therapy helps people move from a languishing state to a functional state.  

Coaching is all about forward action rather than exploring the past.  

Ultimately, you know you are ready for coaching when you are ready to determine what is holding you back, how it is affecting you now, and what to do about it going forward.  

Leave a Reply