Here's my short answer: Therapy focuses on issues from the past that keep people stuck in the present. Coaching helps people achieve what they want in the future by exploring needs and taking intentional action in the present.
A more detailed answer: There are many different forms of therapy, and some therapy modalities overlap to a degree with coaching modalities (i.e. strengths-based therapies; positive psychology; solution-focused therapy).
In general, however, therapy focuses on addressing issues from the past that keep people stuck in the present, whereas coaching focuses on helping people achieve what they want in the future by exploring needs and desires and taking intentional action in the present.
The coaching relationship is based on the premise that people are already creative, resourceful, and whole. Coaching is intended to serve people who have achieved an optimal level of mental health; it is not a form of mental health treatment nor is it meant to treat physical or psychological symptoms. Coaching may touch on deep emotion, but its emphasis is on spring-boarding from that emotion into making choices and steps towards transformational change.
My clients often report feeling energized and ready to take action at the end of a coaching session. Through our coaching conversations, they let go of limiting beliefs and fears of their inner critic and walk away with powerful new perspectives that better serve them in getting what they want in life.
Interested in learning more? Contact me to schedule a complimentary coaching consultation.
If you have questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you in the comments section below!
Photo credit: Kevin Dern