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Learn the Core Differences Between Coaching and Therapy


Have you ever wondered what the difference is between therapy and coaching? It’s a common question that arises in the coaching community and quite often in our trainings.

There are three core differences between coaching and therapy


  1. Coaching focuses on the now and actions to take for the future, whereas therapy focuses primarily on the past.
  2. Therapy is typically designed for people who have suffered from abuse, or trauma, or traumatic relationships in early childhood. Past experiences are holding them back from being fully functional and healthy. In coaching, your client has a baseline level of health and wants to improve in their personal and professional life. 
  3. Therapy is more focused on healing. It is also focused on the “why”. For example, why did you do that? Or, why did you take on that story? It tends to look at the unconscious, and the subconscious, and how they may contribute to unhealthy patterns of behavior. Coaching tends to focus on the “what” and asking “what” questions to move a client forward in his/her life. 

Those who seek therapy may also be suffering from severe anxiety, addiction, depression, or mental health disorders. If you want to make a change in your life and you are pretty healthy, you probably want to focus on coaching, versus therapy.

In coaching, you’re working with someone who already has a strong baseline of health and awareness. Generally, they are looking to achieve new life goals or up-level their inner and outer life.

Coaching focuses on developing personally or professionally. It’s for people who want to explore and realize more of their full potential and achieve their goals. So to reiterate, coaching is focused on the present and future, while therapy tends to focus on the past so the client can function and be healthy in the present.



If you are working with a coach you are probably going to focus on what you want to create.

Coaching is much more focused on taking new positive actions and achieving results. As a coach, you hold your client accountable and provide valuable feedback in your sessions. You also explore new perspectives and what may be holding your clients back from fulfilling their dreams and intentions.

A coach is there to ensure that their clients take the steps they need to achieve their life goals. Depending on their niche, a coach can help you develop in any area in your life, whether it’s nutrition, business or spiritual support.

Generally, with coaching, you’re a co-participant in your development process. For example, a coach will guide a client towards their own answers. A coach is considered a peer who stands next to their clients, while holding them accountable to what they want to create or achieve.



More clarity between therapy and coaching


The therapeutic process is more about guidance and counseling. The client generally looks to the therapist to guide their process towards true health and healing.

If someone has come to you for coaching, and you notice that this person could have mental illness, or that they’re very depressed, you’ll want to consider referring them to a qualified therapist. This is especially true if you find that a lot of the conversation and focus is going back into the past, including stories of trauma and the abuse.

In my personal opinion, the process of therapy needs to evolve to include self-empowerment techniques such as meditation. With mindfulness tools, there’s an opportunity to raise emotional and self-awareness on one’s own. Therapy while effective, can cause people to stay stuck in their process, where clients tend to repeat the same stories of trauma over and over again. As a result, it can take many years for healing to occur.

In coaching, the intention is to keep the focus in the present moment. It’s based on what’s true and real now.

In that respect, there’s less need to rehash something that’s happened in the past. The shift is towards healing action and resolution. Because of this, it becomes possible to move out of old stories more quickly.

For those who have suffered from trauma and abuse, coaching that includes healing may also be very effective. This is because healing happens in the present moment. Once that shift of awareness has happened for the client, the trauma has less power and hold over the client. The possibility for new action expands.

Coaching with healing gives the client an opportunity to move towards higher levels of health and wholeness. Once a client has expanded his/her consciousness, there’s an opportunity for accelerated healing and growth. Coaching helps them break free from past paradigms that keep them from living a powerful, authentic life.

differences between coaching and therapy


There are at times fine lines between coaching and therapy. You are, in both cases, working with people and holding a sacred space for them to grow and develop.

At Sura Flow, we offer meditation coaching. With meditation coaching, you learn how to establish a daily meditation practice, so that you can cultivate tools of calm and centeredness for yourself and for your clients.

We also integrate coaching with the healing process, which allows people to relax into a present, clear state of mind. When your clients are present and grounded, they’re able to connect more readily to their own inner-wisdom, and that can be a very empowering and revelatory process.

Are you interested in learning about meditation coaching? If so, you can learn more about our 300-hour Meditation Coach Training, LIBERATE!

Thanks for learning about the key differences between coaching and therapy. I hope this helped to shed light on each practice. Let me know if you have any questions or comments below.

Thank you for sharing this article if you found it helpful!



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