What is the Difference Between Life Coaching and Therapy?
Could you use some help in your life? Here is the difference between life coaching and therapy and how to know which is best for you.
How Does Life Coaching Help?
I first discovered life coaching as a client. It seemed like I needed help with everything: my relationship, my career, and my self-confidence.
I was totally functional, but I felt like something was missing. I just didn’t seem to be able to get things done that I wanted to or make things happen. I felt at the mercy of whatever life threw at me.
While it wasn’t all bad—I just KNEW my life could be better. I just didn’t know how to do it.
Over time, I became this amazing version of myself. I’m still 100% me, but I feel like I am on solid ground most of the time and I am truly making the most of my life.
I am no longer a bystander to life. I know how to get along with people, get my needs met, and achieve any goal I set!
At other times in my life I needed therapy. These days there are therapists who use life coaching techniques. But life coaches do not practice therapy. That is one difference between life coaching and thereapy.
Do I Need Therapy or Medical Help?
I am going to start with situations where you should hire a licensed therapist or a medical professional and not a life coach.
- If you are suicidal.
- If you can’t function in your daily life.
- If you are hallucinating.
- If you have active physical or sexual abuse going on in your life or home.
- If you want to hurt someone else.
- If you are actively processing any kind of trauma.
- Severe substance abuse.
- Severe depression.
If any of these are situations in your life, you have several resources.
You can start with your primary care physician.
There are also online resources to help you find a licensed professional to help. Please if any of the above are where you are—then get help!
U.S. Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
Licensed professionals look for a diagnosis and are trained to deal with serious issues that require treatment and at times medication.
Many of us that have hired life coaches have first had therapy. It isn’t always one or the other. Sometimes therapy is the best first step to stabilize your health and your life.
When do I Hire a Life Coach?
Life coaches help people who are functioning well in their everyday life but want to take things to a higher level. Coaching is not focused on pathology or a diagnosis. It is more goal oriented.
People hire life coaches for all kinds of help and the experience can be amazing.
- Life coaching can help with:
- Weight Loss
- Life and work balance
- Getting things done
- Reducing or eliminating over-drinking
- Handling stress
- Personal development
Coaches can help people who have been in therapy before. Having a history of serious issues is not a reason to not hire a life coach.
But if any of the serious issues are active and you aren’t functioning in your daily life, then life coaching is not the right choice.
Where Do I Find a Life Coach?
I’m a life coach! So now you know one.
I was certified by The Life Coach School through a rigorous one-year program.
All of the coaches I have hired have been certified through The Life Coach School. They have a directory and there is a coach for everyone and every situation.
Most coaches offer a free session or consultation before you hire them. This is a GREAT opportunity to get to meet a coach and decide if this is someone that you want to work with.
This is also a great opportunity to get some clarity on your problem or situation. The coaches I know, want to provide help and don’t do hard sells.
How Much Does Life Coaching Cost?
There is a wide range of costs for one-on-one coaching. In addition, many coaches offer group programs where you don’t get the one-on-one attention, but you get an excellent program and support.
I do recommend investing in one-on-one coaching at some point. The experience is just too good to pass up. It may seem like a lot of money at first but by the end, you will think it is the best money you ever spent.
I’ve seen coaches charge anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000 for six-month one-on-one programs. Cost doesn’t always mean better, but it usually means that coach is more in demand.
I will give you this tip. If you see a coach that you’d like to work with and their prices are within reach, even if it seems expensive at the moment, go for it.
All good life coaches eventually get so in demand that they begin raising their prices. Then they get so in demand, you can’t work with them one-on-one for any price because they only have group programs.
And that is awesome too. Instead of a one-on-one experience, you have the benefits of being in a group, along with expertise at a cost that is less than one-on-one.
What is a Life Coaching Session Like?
Let me start with what Life Coaching is not.
- Life coaching is not, me the coach telling you what you SHOULD do.
- Life coaching is not just me listening and nodding my head.
- Life coaching is not me kicking your ass to do something.
Instead, life coaching is a collaborative process. I bring my expertise to the table to guide you through processes where you can see how your brain works.
Through this process you will understand exactly how you are creating your own results—even the ones you don’t like.
With this understanding, you will create new goals or results you want, and I will coach you on how to do this.
Each session, you will most likely have some kind of shift or awareness that changes you in some way. Over time these shifts add up and you will be thinking, feeling, and acting like an improved version of yourself.
Is Life Coaching for You?
I honestly believe life coaching is something almost everyone can benefit from. I wish I had found it earlier. In my opinion, every dollar I’ve spent on life coaching has been well worth it and has paid me back times 10.
As you can tell, I am a huge fan of life coaching! I really hope you give it a try. You’ll be so glad you did!
Coach with Sara
Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.