What is the Difference Between a Therapist/Counsellor and a Coach?

When I was in New York in 2013, I had the realization that I no longer wanted to be running a fashion business. I then went on my own ‘seeking’ journey. I gave up drinking, did plenty of yoga, attended meditations at the Kadampa Center and went to inspirational talks with the likes of Gabrielle Bernstein and Kris Carr. I let the synchronicity of life introduce me to new teachers.


I pretty quickly figured out that in New York, everyone had a therapist and some also had a Life Coach!. I too had been in therapy and I was intrigued by Life Coaching but had no experience of it.


I remember speaking to a lady that I met at the Amma event in New York. She had been a business consultant, but felt disillusioned with her career. Someone asked her to look at all the books she had at home and discover what they all have in common. This was presented as a way for her to uncover a passion, hobby and/or new career path. She found that the main subject on her book shelf was sex! So she decided to train in becoming a sex therapist. That comment remained in my mind and I noticed that I hadn’t bought a single fashion magazine or walked into a fashion boutique since arriving in New York. All my books were about self-development and spirituality. I thought, this is the field I want to be in!


After leaving New York, I went to Los Angeles for the final part of my trip. At the end of a yoga class on Venice Beach, I was chatting to the teacher and talking about my interest in Life Coaching. A lady came up to me and said that she couldn’t help hearing my conversation. She said that she was a Life Coach and if I wanted to talk to her about it as a career I could call her. Cheryl is how I found out about the University of Santa Monica. She later became my Life Coach and I still work with her now.


Life Coaching takes the past into consideration, but focuses much more on the present and the future. Working with a coach can be goal orientated and provides the client accountability for progress. Working with a coach is like a partnership, someone who joins you on your journey and provides consistent reflection along the way. I have found it to be a very enjoyable process and more of a two way conversation compared to therapy.


There are many types of coaching, so you can find someone with a narrow focus depending on what you would like to work on. For example, it could be career, relationship, nutrition, confidence or grief.


Therapy is more about uncovering and recovering. It is about excavating the past which can be a slow and painful process. However, if you have experienced trauma this is a necessary step – despite the emotional discomfort. Therapists are highly trained to diagnose and provide professional support on how to heal those parts of your conscience and subconscience – preparing you to move forward and let go of the past.


The most important part about finding a good therapist or coach is to see if you are a personal fit for one another. I suggest shopping around a bit. If you have a few sessions with a Life Coach or Therapist and the connection is not seeming to resonate with you, then find another one until you land with something that feels like a good match.


Chic Seeker Recommends:

Business Coach Siobhan Fitzpatrick from Catseye Coaching  Solutions based in Ireland and London

Life Coach Cheryl Fidelman microphonecity@gmail.com based in Los Angeles


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