Therapy VS Coaching

It is not uncommon for people to be confused on the distinction between Life Coaching and Therapy.

One common misunderstanding is that Life Coaching attempts to be a type of “undercover therapy", or even worse, therapy from an individual who is not licensed.

The truth is that both practices have their own unique and important infrastructures in place that make them each effective and impactful.

Therapy and life coaching do share commonalities: 

Both work to enable clients to make positive changes in their lives and become more productive. In contrast to Life Coaching, therapists diagnose and treat from a healthcare perspective.

It is important to note that not all therapy clients are ill.

It is common practice for people to seek the services of both therapists and life coaches.  Here are some of the common distinctions between life coaching and therapy. This can serve as a basic guide for when each service may be appropriate.

Image by Korney Violin

Life Coaches

  • Are not healthcare professionals and do not aim to identify nor treat illness and pathology of clients.

  • Takes the client’s current starting point as an acceptable neutral ground for growth and evolving.

  • Partners with the client in order to clarify goals, identify obstacles and problematic behaviors in order to create action plans to achieve the client’s desired results.

  • Holds the client accountable to be the person they need to be in order to achieve the goals the client sets

  • Works with clients who would like to achieve a higher level of self-awareness.

  • Generally works with the conscious mind.

  • Future Oriented

  • Client is seen as fundamentally healthy

  • Produces effectiveness and success






  • Are healthcare professionals who aim to identify and treat illness and pathology of clients with clinical treatment

  • Takes a deep look into the clients past traumas

  • Focuses to improve relationships, resolve painful  feelings and    thoughts, and destructive habits in order  to create a more solid and healthy future.

  • Encourages introspection and self-analysis

  • Analyze their client’s past as a tool for understanding present    behaviors, 

  • Generally works with the unconscious mind

  • Past Oriented  

  • Client seen as having a dysfunction

  • Produces emotional healing and integration