Nov 03 2012


Coaching versus Therapy

People often ask me the difference between coaching and counselling or therapy. When I took my training, the instructor changed her career from psychotherapist to life coach. I also have a friend who is a psychotherapist and a coach. She told me she prefers coaching over therapy and I asked her to explain the difference.


In psychotherapy, the clients are in emotional pain and they need help to heal. People express their feelings about the past in the process. The sessions are held in controlled settings at a certain time, typically once weekly for 45-60 minutes. The psychotherapist is the mental health expert and makes treatment recommendations, unlike the coach who is a partner with the client.


In coaching, the clients are doing well and looking to make a change. In the initial phase of coaching the agenda is co-created and goals are established. The goals could include upgrading their job, starting or expanding a business, life transitions, re-inventing themselves, or changing a habit. In coaching it is not about the past, but about the present and future. It is about where they are now and where they want to be. The sessions are flexible – in person or by phone and the length of the sessions vary from 30 to 60 minutes. Clients really like the accountability factor to keep them on track as well.

When coaching, we stay future focused and solution focused. The conversation remains positive.


In my coaching practice, I adhere to the Five Erickson Principles (as established by Milton Erickson)

1. You’re okay.

2. People have all the resources within to be a success.

3. Change is inevitable.

4. People make the best decisions available in the moment.

5. Every behavior has a positive intention.

I believe that we are always in process; we’re constantly changing; we’re always at the beginning. Every behavior or decision has a positive intention – there is a need that is not being fulfilled and we’re doing our best to fill it.

Do you need a life coach to help you with your thinking?

I personally believe that my life would have been drastically different if I had had Life Coach during my years of struggle. I believe that my struggles would have been less, and the solutions would have been more obvious. Having someone to help me gain more clarity and focus on solutions instead of my problems would have been wonderful. You know what they say: “Better late than never!” It’s never too late to work on ourselves, set new goals, make positive changes.

If you have any questions or comments about coaching, please leave a comment. Let’s get a conversation started!



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  1. karen

    Excellent explanation of coaching. I hope it motivates people to try coaching.
    karen recently posted..Christian – Are You Camping?My Profile

    1. Betty

      Thanks Karen. Wouldn’t it be great if people were motivated to hire a coach? Imagine where their lives would take them!

  2. Louise G

    Love this! Very clear and empowering.

    1. Betty

      Thanks Louise. It really IS empowering, isn’t it?

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