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Ever wondered what the difference is between coaching and therapy/counseling?

Here's a breakdown.

But first:

I have a certification in life coaching and a master’s degree in counseling and have used BOTH for my own growth and transformation.

This is a generalization. There are some counselors/therapists who practice more like coaches and some coaches who practice more like counselors.

Professional Counselors/Therapists

  • Use tools and techniques to guide you towards personal and professional transformation

  • Spend time exploring old wounds and reiterating your past story to heal and resolve old pain

  • Diagnose mental health disorders

  • Focus on moving clients from a state of dysfunction to one of functional

  • Typically provide ongoing services tending to be long-term

  • Work with clients with serious mental/emotional problems (major depression, substance abuse, personality disorders)

  • Are licensed and monitored by a third party and often take insurance


  • Use tools and techniques to guide you towards personal and professional transformation

  • Focus on moving clients from a state of functional/very functional to achieving their full potential

  • Redirect old thoughts and beliefs towards empowering action (future-focused)

  • Identify blocks/challenges and works in partnership with clients to obtain life and work goals.

  • Usually work in 3-12 month timeframes

  • Often offer additional, ongoing support between sessions

  • Generally don’t accept insurance

Here’s a quote from Tony Robbins that may help take this one step further:

“A life coach is able to offer guidance by clarifying and achieving personal and professional goals; making healthy lifestyle choices; working to improve communication skills; achieving financial independence and security; creating a work/life balance; starting a new business or growing a current business. A therapist, on the other hand, focuses their conversation on ways to recover from past traumas; explore why past relationships have been destructive; work through depression or anxiety that affects your ability to function at home or work; survive a divorce or a loss of a loved one.”

Why I chose the coaching route:

I LOVE coaching. I especially love coaching women who know they're ready for change. Most of my clients are ready to do what it takes to make things happen. They're prepared to move through the discomfort and trust in the coaching process. When my clients show up ready to do the work, results happen very quickly—sometimes it only takes 45-minutes to create a HUGE shift.

Coaching supports this type of transformation.

I meet my clients where they are and guide them in the direction they want to be. We don’t get lost in the past, but we do use the past as a compass to discern what needs to be changed. And then we take action steps towards the life they want. One micromovement at a time.

Carly Hamilton-JonesComment