A life coach is an experienced professional with counselling abilities that involve a procedure for changing the behaviour through encouragement towards the accomplishment of life goals and fulfilment while enhancing the well-being of the individual. Therapy, on the other hand, is a healing process of mental health concerns, emotional stability, and general life improvements through a remedial procedure involving a therapist and the client.
The misconception about the two concepts as being same, spans from the goals of enhancing the general well-being of their clients, but a close look at them makes it glaring the differences between them which include;
- Qualifications: For the therapists to practice in the field, they must obtain licences from the state they wish to practice in addition to their professional qualifications in Masters/Doctorates degrees. A life coach, on the other hand, does not require any degree rather a non-mandatory certification such as those offered by the international coaching federation. This is enough to practice in the provision of life coaching services with no state regulations.
- Line of action: While a life coach tells you what to do and how to go about improving your life goals, the therapist does not tell you but will get involved in the healing process by working with you; providing the needed support, empowering you to build the skills to live a better life and good decision-making.
- Clients: While a life coach deals with healthy, functioning individuals seeking a better future through a process of self-discovery. A therapist deals with individuals with mental health problems, seeking recovery from substance abuse, traumatic/grieving experience, relationship issues, etc.
- Specialization: While a therapist may focus on a particular topic of a healing process, a life coach is open to every aspect of the client’s life; career, love, etc.
- Fees charged: A life coach charges on a programming package; the therapist charge on a session basis.
- Goal setting: Clients come to a life coach to achieve a particular individual life goal such as weight loss, career advancement, etc, and expect to see results within the agreed period by identifying and eliminating the obstacles to reach the goals. Therapists deal with mental well-being which requires them to look into the past, identify the root of the problem and proffer solutions to the issues at hand without necessarily setting a goal.
- Mode of operation: While the therapist works within the state he is licensed and according to the schedules for sessions in minutes and weekly basis, the life coach can offer his services anywhere and by any means to clients as their activities are not regulated by the state.
- Stigmatization: Individuals seeking help from a therapist are looked at with disdain and seen as having a mental illness, and in essence be avoided. Clients of life coaches attract no stigma attached to them or the services they seek.
While the life coach focuses on the present and future advancement of clients, the therapist looks at the past to solve the existing problem of clients.