Self Improvement

The Life Coach isn’t a Therapist. Here’s What They Do

They can be viewed as an active mentor who can help you achieve your goals.

It is not uncommon to need a little assistance when embarking on self-discovery. No matter what your goal is, whether it’s to become more confident or to find fulfilment through a passion project. It can be hard to figure out how you get from point A (identifying a goal), to point B (actually working towards and achieving the goal). This is where a coach comes in.

According to the International Coaching Federation, there are approximately 71,000 certified coach professionals worldwide. Life coaches are like therapists. They can help you identify your strengths, and weaknesses, and overcome obstacles that hold you back. What you are looking for and your goals will determine who you see. Before you reach out, here are the facts.

What is a Life Coach?

A sports coach is someone who helps an individual or group identify a goal (i.e. The coach helps the team or individual identify their goal (i.e., winning) and then develops a plan. It’s quite simple–and it holds true for life coach for entrepreneurs.

Jane Scudder is a certified coach who founded The New Exec. She says that coaching for life focuses on what’s going right now and what the person wants next.

Coaching is all about helping people find the right motivation and overcome any obstacles. A life coach is not a general term. You can find executive coaches for business, leadership, or health coaches. However, it is most useful when you are looking at your future.

Scudder states, “My work is really focused on four things.” “Helping someone expand ideas; helping someone understand how their present experience with mindfulness; exploring mindsets to help somebody’s alternatives differently, and helping someone comprehend personal value systems and how they manifest in all aspects of our lives.”

According to Kate Leah Roling (certified professional coach, member of ICF), a common misconception is that life coaches give advice. She says, “It is not the role of a coach to impart wisdom. It’s their job to facilitate their own process of connecting with their inner wisdom and making decisions about their next steps. The coach acts as an impartial brainstorming partner but you’re still the one doing most of the heavy lifting.

What is the difference between a coach and a therapist in life coaching?

While coaching is therapeutic, there are important differences between life coach and therapy. Tess Brigham (a licensed therapist, and board-certified coach) explains that a coach will look at your future to help you create it. A therapist will examine your past to help guide you in managing your present. Coaching is action-oriented; therapy is insight-oriented.

The experience of a session with a life coach is different from one with a therapist. One offers structure and accountability while another allows you to be more free-spirited. Brigham says, “My coaching sessions have a very structured approach. Clients complete questionnaires to establish goals. I also assign homework between sessions to learn about what they have done or didn’t do since the last session.” “In therapy sessions, my clients can choose which direction they would like to take. I usually let them decide what they feel at that moment and any insights they have gained since the last meeting. We also discuss who or what events might have triggered those feelings.

Also, you won’t be able to see a life coach to get a diagnosis. Angela Kenzslowe is a clinical psychologist. She says, “Licensed therapists are those who have been trained and have completed clinical hours under the supervision of professionals. They have also been vetted through a board.” “They can diagnose disorders and have the tools and skills to deal with traumas. They also work with behavioural modifications and short-term behaviour changes.

This is not to say that life coaches aren’t equipped with the skills and tools necessary for certain aspects of life, but there is no healing work. There are no standards of care or regulations for life coaches. Anybody can call themselves a coach and hang their shingle,” she said. “That doesn’t mean life coaching can’t be effective. It just means that someone must do their due diligence when vetting a coach.” Look out for coaches who have completed training through an accredited body like the ICF and CCE.

Which is the best for you?

It doesn’t matter which you choose, as it is perfectly acceptable to have both. Jacinta Jamesenez, a psychologist who is also a certified coach, says, “A good rule to follow is that you should seek therapy if you are having problems in your professional or personal life.”

Bathras adds that many people seek coaching as an adjunct to therapy. This builds upon the healing possible in therapy.

Remember that a life coach cannot address clinical issues. Kenzslowe states that a great coach will help you understand the boundaries of coaching, and will refer you to therapists if necessary.

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