I am a life coach. My job is to help you overcome the obstacles that are keeping you from living your best life and to help you develop a strategy for accomplishing your goals. Often times, those obstacles are self-imposed, and overcoming them sometimes requires analyzing old thoughts, ideas, and behaviors. At first glance, it almost sounds like there’s no difference between a life coach and a therapist, right?
A Life Coach is Not a Therapist
Let me be clear. Therapists go through years of schooling and training. They have degrees and knowledge that allows them to (most of the time) accurately diagnose and treat mental illness. They are, in fact, licensed medical professionals.
On the other hand, while there are a couple of universally recognized training programs and certificates available (I’m in the process of getting one of them now), there are no officially-required degrees available. Life Coaches are not medical professionals, and they (we) are not qualified to diagnose or treat legitimate mental illnesses.
So now that you know the basic difference between a life coach and a therapist, here’s the question: do you need a coach, a therapist, or both?
Coaches Can Help You Reach Your Life Goals
If you have a specific goal in mind, like living a more fulfilling life, advancing your career, or improving relationships, than a life coach might just be what you’re looking for. Many life coaches are great at recognizing patterns in behavior and thinking and can help you break the cycle that’s keeping you from realizing your full potential. Often times, they draw from their own experience and empathy in order to relate to their clients and give them both the sense that they’re not alone, and that they’re getting help from someone who truly understands what they are dealing with.
Therapists Can Help With Mental Illness and Breaking Thought Patterns
Therapists, like I said, are trained to recognize, diagnose, and treat mental illness. Sometimes they can be treated with therapy alone, while other times medication might be required. If you have a mental illness or suspect that you might have one, it’s imperative that you seek a therapist’s help. A life coach will not be effective unless you are first being properly treated.
This is not a question of life coaches vs. therapists. Both have their uses, and everyone’s needs are different. If you suspect that a life coach can help you become the best version of yourself that you can be, then I would like to invite you to a free 30-minute coaching session where we can discuss your goals and begin the process of reaching your full potential