Therapy vs Coaching

1. What is the relationship?

Therapy: The person is a patient–sick, has a disease or diagnosis and needs to be fixed or made better by the therapist. He is frequently seen as being in crisis or weak  and unable to manage.

Coaching: The person is a client–whole, fully capable and not broken. and may want to make changes or reach goals to improve himself or the quality of his life.

2. What are the roles?

Therapy: The therapist is trained and skilled; the therapist is in power- one-up position to the patient; the therapist “treats” the patient.

Coaching: The coach and client are equals, both valued and the coach’s role is to facilitate the process.

3. Who controls the session?

Therapy: The therapist is responsible for control of the session.

Coaching: The client controls the session. It is up to him to bring forth what he wishes to do.

4. What does the session include?

Therapy usually deals with the past. The past is used to understand where and why the patient is having difficulty.

Coaching usually deals with the present and future. The coach may also work with beliefs and emotions but frequently from the standpoint of the present. For example, how is this affecting me now?

5. Goals

Therapy: The goal of therapy may be for the patient to have improved understanding about why and how he functions. It may also include medications to improve or change his moods, behaviors.

Coaching: The goal is to make changes that bring enhanced and improved quality of life.

6. Methods

Therapy: This involves talking to the therapist to achieve understanding. There is no homework.

Coaching: This can involve talk, exercises, homework, skill-building. Homework is frequently assigned with the client reporting each week on his progress, challenges.

7. Accreditation

Therapy: Rigid accreditation process.

Coaching: No accreditation currently mandated although ICF is attempting.

8. Mandatory reporting

Therapy: Mandated to report a person where abuse is admitted.

Coaching: There is no mandatory reporting, although a coach may ethically feel obliged to report a client who has declared he is hurting himself or another.

9. Insurance

Therapy: Sometimes covered by insurance.

Coaching: Usually not covered by health insurance but some companies may cover coaching, especially business coaching.

Here are ways coaching and therapy are similar:
Both require payment.
Both seek to serve the needs of patient/client.
Both require what is said to be held in confidence


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