The Difference Between Coaching and.....

Many people do not understand coaching and the difference between other support, such as therapy, mentoring, and a good friend.  There is a place for each of these in our lives. 

So what is a coach? 

Coaching is a partnership between a client and a trained individual that focuses on the change the client wants to make in their life.  The action-focused coaching relationship helps clients move from point ‘a’ to point ‘b.’

Difference from Coaching and Therapy

The main distinctions between coaching and psychotherapy are based on focus, purpose, and population.


Coaching—visioning, success, the present, solutions, and moving into the future.

Therapy-emotions, problems, and exploring the past in order to understand the present. The therapist usually helps the client heal by figuring out “why.”


Coaching—performance improvement, learning, or development in some area of life. The coach helps the client move forward by focusing on “how.”

Therapy—often dives into deep-seated emotional issues to work on personal healing or trauma recovery. Therapists help clients fix problems, develop skills for managing emotions or past issues, overcome issues, and sometimes manage mental illness.

Coaching—well-functioning individuals Therapy—tends to be for individuals with some level of dysfunction or disorder.


a therapist addresses past trauma and a coach helps you achieve your goals. what is coaching
a client making payment for her coaching session


Consultants have an agenda and some possible answers and bring that agenda and those answers to the client.

Coaches, on the other hand, have no agenda except to help clients get what they want.

Although coaches have specializations in certain fields, their true expertise is in the coaching process. The main difference is that consultants promote themselves as experts in certain aspects of life, and coaches accept that clients are the experts and have within them the answer to any situation they may face. However, there will be times when a coach acts like a consultant, offering new ideas from his or her intuition, knowledge, and experience.

Unlike the consulting relationship, the coach stays with and “partners” with the client to help implement a plan they both develop. Coaches not only help bring about effective change; they do whatever they can to help clients do what they say they will do.


Mentoring It’s great to have a role model who has “been there and done that” and will “show us the ropes,” but coaches do not use their personal experiences as a model of success for the client. The client is the expert on their own life.

A coach is the expert in the coaching process and helps the client even without first-hand knowledge of what the client has experienced.

A mentor tells you how they accomplish their goals and tells you how to do the same
A friend listens to you and provides you answers. A coach allows you to come up withy your own answers


We all know the value of a best friend.

Unlike best friends, coaches are objective and non-judgmental. Friends usually have their own agendas and, more often than not, they are all too happy to give advice.

Coaches are trained professionals who can be trusted to work on the most important aspects of a client’s life without giving personal advice. Coaching is a collaborative effort that is solely based on what the client wants and would like to do.

Friends may not recognize or be willing to point out various issues that need to be worked on. Coaches are trained to challenge their  clients in a supportive way. 

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