What is a Life Coach?

You’ve heard of Life Coaching and such from other places, but what does a coach actually do?  Let’s start with what they do NOT do, since that will get some potential misconceptions out of the way quickly.

A Coach is not a therapist. 

Coaching and therapy are two different things, even though they can be closely related.  Therapy (psychotherapy, or talk therapy) is specifically designed to help people who are dealing with a broad variety if mental illnesses and emotional difficulties.  It is for helping people to manage mental illnesses, often including digging into the patient’s past and figuring out how they got into that state.  In many cases, the therapist presents patients with answers about how to resolve their difficulties or illnesses.

A Coach helps you find your own answers.

Coaching is not intended for people suffering with mental illnesses or severe emotional difficulties.  Coaching is for people who are either mentally healthy or on their way toward it. It is for people who need help figuring out how to work toward a future goal with success.  A Coach helps the client find their own answers and solutions by asking questions and providing materials to help you change your perspective in order to find your truth.

Can Coaching and therapy work together?

The short answer is that yes, coaching and therapy can work together.  This is because they have different but generally complimentary goals.  If you are in therapy, talk with your therapist. Ask them if you are ready to work with a coach. If you feel that you need help dealing with mental health issues, it is important that you find a therapist that you can work with.  If you need help finding one, Psychology Today has a page dedicated to helping people find local therapists here.