Therapy vs Coaching

Coaching is a service rendered by a variety of disciplines, including psychologists, middle managers, executives, and social workers, among many others. It has roots in psychology and psychotherapy in combination with the Human Potential Movement of the sixties, which has merged with the ever expanding world of executive or business consulting. Coaching for life can blend the personal and professional, much like the parallel integration of individual psychotherapy with organizational group psychology.

Unlike psychotherapy, however, coaching does not directly treat mental disorders. Instead, coaching accepts problems as they are, while focusing on the positives in a person’s life, with an eye toward strengthening available resources and creating positive and practical outcomes. Solution focused brief treatment and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are each psychotherapeutic precursors to the development of coaching for life, which is a totally non-mental health related intervention using strategies oriented toward peak performance.  

Coaching can be helpful in the following types of situations:

1. Improving self care through exercise, diet, spirituality and positive attitude. 

2. Balancing work and personal or family pressures.

3. Improving work performance. 

4. Creating satisfactory relationships. 

5. Improving employer-worker relationships. 

6. Improving overall business performance. 

7. Recovery from a traumatic event such as a death or divorce.

8. Overcoming procrastination and other self defeating behaviors.

Coaching is not effective in treating symptoms of a biologically based mental disorder such as major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or severe anxiety such such as that found in panic disorder. In these situations, treatment by a trained mental health practitioner must be in place if coaching is to be used, and then only with extreme caution and collaboration with a psychotherapist or psychopharmacologist.

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