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Coaching vs. Therapy

 

Disciplines > Coaching > Articles > Coaching vs. Therapy

Differences | Summary | See also

 

Coaching and therapy are in many ways similar as they both seek to help a person become functional and successful in their world. However it is a trap to consider them as being identical.

Differences

Therapy is primarily based in curing human dysfunction. It has a strong medical and psychiatric leaning and if therapists are not medically trained, then their focus is likely to be on debilitating dysfunction whereby the patient is suffering from named conditions.

Coaching, on the other hand, deals with people who are largely functional and successful in their worlds, yet are not achieving as much as they can, due to internal limitations and inability to cope with particular environmental and interpersonal situations.

Coaching thus seeks to 'use what works' to help the person adapt to their everyday situations. Therapy goes deeper, digging into the person's past and otherwise pulling powerful levers and exposing trauma and dark difficulties.

Despite the differences, therapists, with their deep understanding, can make good coaches, provided they can understand the business context and apply their skills appropriately and carefully.

Summary

Below is a summary of some of the key differences between coaching and therapy.

 

Topic Coaching Therapy
Goal Adaptation Cure
Time focus Future Past
Data 360 degrees Client only
Dynamic Active Passive
Focus Development Dysfunction
Zone of concern Personal and environmental Internal only
Location At work In therapist's office
Social complexity High Low
Ultimate customer Organization Client

See also

Psychoanalysis

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