Therapist vs. Coach: Find Your Perfect Guide

Feeling stuck? You're not alone. The world of self-improvement is booming, but with so many options, choosing the right path can be confusing. Enter therapists and coaches, two distinct guides who can help you on your journey. In this article, I will guide you towards which to choose. In some cases, you will find someone like me who is trained as a coach and a therapist. This allows focusing on your future goals and if through the process a trigger sets off a trauma response we can deal with it to help you heal. 

Think of therapists as your emotional detectives. 

A therapist acts like an emotional detective, helping you understand the root causes of your struggles. They are trained mental health professionals who can diagnose and treat conditions, guiding you towards emotional well-being.

Here's a breakdown of their role:

  • Focus: Past and present. Therapists help you explore past experiences that might be impacting your current emotions and behaviours.
  • Goals: Understanding and healing from emotional challenges, managing mental health conditions, and resolving past traumas.
  • Methods: Therapists use various techniques like talk therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), or exposure therapy to help you process and manage your emotions.
  • Qualifications: Therapists have formal education and training in psychology, counselling, social work, or a related field. They are licensed professionals who follow strict ethical and legal guidelines.
  • When to seek help: If you're experiencing emotional distress, anxiety, depression, or any other mental health challenges, a therapist can provide support and guidance.

Coaches are your future-focused cheerleaders. 

Imagine a coach as your future-focused cheerleader. They're all about helping you set goals, overcome obstacles, and reach your full potential.

Here's what a coach can do for you:

  • Focus: The present and future. Coaches work with you to create a clear vision for what you want to achieve and develop a plan to get there.
  • Goals: Setting and achieving specific goals, improving performance in a particular area, and unlocking your potential. This could be anything from landing your dream job to mastering a new skill or finally running that marathon.
  • Methods: Coaches use a variety of techniques like asking powerful questions, providing accountability, and offering encouragement. They'll help you identify your strengths, develop strategies, and stay motivated throughout your journey.
  • Qualifications: The coaching field is less regulated than therapy. Coaches come from diverse backgrounds and may specialise in different areas like life coaching, career coaching, or executive coaching. Many rely on their experience and expertise to guide clients.
  • When to seek help: If you're feeling stuck, want to improve your performance, or have a specific goal you want to achieve, a coach can provide the support and structure to help you get there.


Here's a cheat sheet to pick your perfect guide:

Need to:

  • Understand past experiences and their impact on you?  Therapist
  • Set and achieve specific goals?  Coach
  • Deal with emotional distress or mental health challenges?  Therapist
  • Improve performance and unlock your potential?  Coach


Think of it like this: Therapists help you heal the roots, while coaches help the tree grow strong and tall. Sometimes, both approaches can be beneficial. If you're working on personal growth but uncovering past issues that need deeper exploration, a therapist can be a valuable addition.


In my practice, I focus on the coaching approach. I help clients cultivate healthy habits and self-care practices that support overall well-being. However, if a topic surfaces that requires a therapist's expertise, I am qualified to release emotions connected to past trauma. If there is a different approach that is more appropriate I’ll happily refer you for dedicated support. 

Remember, the most important thing is to find the right fit for your needs. Don't be afraid to explore both options and choose the guide who will help you reach your full potential!

Before committing to work with a coach or therapist arrange a free exploration call to find out if this is the right person for you to be working with. A reputable practitioner will want to know if you are compatible to work together and will signpost you to the right resources if they feel someone else can better serve you. 

Book a discovery call here





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