Coaching vs. Psychotherapy

Coaching and peer support are NOT psychotherapy. They cannot replace psychiatric or psychotherapeutic intervention.

That being said, the essential difference is this – psychotherapy meets you where you are now and looks back and unpacks what you have gone through in order to help you move forward; coaching, presuming you are medically stable (not in imminent danger), meets you where you are now and sends you on the way to where you are going.

Co-active; peer-basis Hierarchical; expert/client
Trained to work with clients that are emotionally and psychologically stable or in a recovery state; coach aims to view client from a holistic perspective Trained to work with clients that are emotionally and psychologically unwell; therapist aims to diagnose and treat
Solution-oriented Problem-oriented
Focuses on the present and future Focuses on dealing with the past
Driven by the conscious mind, goals and taking action Driven by the unconscious mind and insight into unresolved issues and feelings
Alliance developed by coach and client working together Treatment plan designed by therapist
Works toward a higher level of functioning Works to achieve understanding and emotional healing
Short-term, time-bound, results-based and focuses on exploring solutions Long-term, open-ended, explores the root of problems and offers explanation
Asks, “Where would you like to be and how can you get there?” Asks, “How did that make you feel?”
Explores actions that manifest high self-esteem Explores genesis of behaviours that create low self-esteem
Mainly works with external issues Mainly works with internal issues
Done over the phone, internet or in person Done in an office setting

Coaching picks up from where psychotherapy leaves off. Clients bring their new insights and stability into a world that may not accommodate their needs and coaching mitigates this gap. It supports people in applying insights gained from psychotherapy and self-work into their daily lives, managing everyday obstacles that may be interfering with their ability to fully participate in, and benefit from, the therapeutic process.