You’ve been trying to tackle the same problem for quite some time now. You’re feeling stagnant and insecure. You know that change is possible, but you’re not sure how to go about making that change happen on your own. You’ve acknowledged that you need some kind of professional support, but you’re not sure if you need therapy or coaching.
There’s no doubt that professional guidance can help you overcome certain obstacles and experience new breakthroughs. However, it’s important to know how to find the right professional for the job. Let’s review the fundamental differences between therapy vs. coaching.
Individual therapy represents an intimate, collaborative experience for both you and your therapist. You’ll work together to identify your goals for change, but you also may work on themes of self-discovery, enhanced emotional awareness and greater self-acceptance.
Each therapist has a different approach to intervening with clients. Some therapists prefer to dig into the fragile roots of your past. Others prefer to focus exclusively on problems present in your current life. However, regardless of the therapist, you should expect that some emotional material will surface.
This emotional material can help you reveal profound information about yourself. For example, you may learn that you tend to suppress or even deny your feelings. You may discover that you push people away due to the fear of intimacy and vulnerability.
Therapy works with this raw and seemingly unfiltered material. With time, you learn to present your open and transparent feelings to your therapist. Likewise, it’s your therapist’s job to provide a safe and nonjudgmental experience to honor this authentic version of yourself. In therapy, change is driven by you - your therapist acts as an experienced guide.
Therapy tends to be recommended for clients who need:
Support in working through themes of trauma
Mental illness management
Couples or family counseling
Guidance in more existential and intangible issues
Long-term emotional support
All therapists have advanced degrees in relevant mental health disciplines. They must undergo rigorous academic and clinical training to maintain their professional standing.
Like therapy, coaching also provides a collaborative process between the client and the coach. You’ll work together to identify your goals and create a step-by-step plan towards making positive and sustainable change.
Coaching tends to be more interactive and direct. Unlike traditional therapy, which may entail a more in-depth exploration of your inner self, coaching focuses on more action-based solutions. You won’t be focusing on your past trauma or the deep nuances of your mental health. Instead, you’re paying attention to current goals. Consequently, you can expect your coach to provide direct advice and feedback on what you need to do next.
For those looking for quick and effective results, coaching can provide a realistic roadmap for measuring your successes. Coaches may create benchmarks with you. These benchmarks allow you to track your goals and determine where you need to improve. In coaching, both you and your coach drive and implement change.
Coaching tends to be recommended for clients who need:
Career guidance and support for work-related issues
While therapists can and do provide coaching services, not all coaches are therapists. While coaches do not need specific certifications to practice, many coaches do receive professional training from various organizations.
Therapy Vs. Coaching: How To Decide What’s Best For You
Both therapists and coaches can provide invaluable support in helping you make important changes in your life. One simple way to distinguish the two options is by recognizing that therapy tends to focus on unconscious patterns. Coaching, on the other hand, often focuses on more conscious patterns.
Therefore, therapy is an excellent option for people seeking professional guidance and tools in managing mental illnesses. However, it can also be a fantastic tool for people who know they need some support - but they aren’t exactly sure what they want to work on. Good therapists can help you recognize the problematic patterns in your life. They can also provide you with a deeper awareness of your inner thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
Coaching provides a fast track for people with a specific issue and goal in mind (i.e., deciding on a career change). Coaches help you navigate the hurdles you may encounter along the way, and they also hold you accountable for reaching your goals. You’ll receive direct advice, guidance, and feedback on what you need to do to succeed.
Not sure how to choose between therapy vs. coaching? Not a problem! Elevate Counseling offers both traditional therapy and coaching services via (un)Therapy. They are both designed to help you restore confidence and harness your truest potential. Let’s schedule a call and talk about what’s right for you.