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The differences between

Psychotherapy and Life Coaching



Both parties are viewed as naturally creative, resourceful, and whole


Does not diagnose or treat


Work with higher-functioning clients


Work with clients who are able to form an alliance and have common goals


A co-active model


Coach and clients work on a peer basis


Alliance designed by coach and client together


Focus on evolving and manifesting potential


Emphasis on present and future


Action and being oriented


Solution oriented


Explore actions and behaviors that manifest high self-esteem


Regard and coach negative self-beliefs as saboteurs or temporary obstacles


Coach and client ask: “What’s next/
what now?”


Work mainly with external issues.


Discourages transference as inappropriate.


Accountability and “homework” between sessions are held as important.


Expected contact between sessions to
promote accountability and “wins”


Uses coaching skills



More apt to view clients from a medical model


Diagnoses and treats


Trained to work with major mental illness


Works with clients with entrenched


Therapist is the “expert”


Assumes a hierarchical difference between therapist and client


Treatment plan largely designed by therapist


Focus on healing and understanding


Emphasis on past and present


Insight oriented


Problem oriented


Explore genesis of behaviors that create low self-esteem


Analyze and treat origins and historical roots
of negative self-beliefs


Therapist and client ask: “Why and from where?”


Accountability less commonly expected


Contact between sessions less commonly expected


Uses therapy techniques

It should be acknowledged that the difference between some types of psychotherapy and personal coaching aren’t always obvious. Many therapists are “coach-like” in their orientations and the two do share some common ground.


Both disciplines can involve working with fully-functioning individuals/couples who are facing difficult situations.
Both professionals focus on helping people make changes and accomplish goals that really matter to them.

Has your time come to heal the wounds, transform your relationships, and experience the joy of passion and purpose?
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