I’m often asked what life coaching actually is and how is it different from therapy.
As a coach, it’s handy to have an elevator pitch to sum up the differences between coaching and the other practices such as therapy, mentoring, and consultancy.
If you want someone to give you advice on a particular topic, eg how to write your resume, or how to start a small business, you will go to a consultant, someone who has experience and knowledge and is an expert in the field. They provide advice and can deliver the answers for you.
If you are looking for someone who can pass on their skills, knowledge and expertise in the same area of work that you are in, you will look for a mentor. The mentor is usually several years older, with greater experience and seniority and will act as a teacher, adviser and role model. The relationship is often a long term one.
If you are experiencing pain and intense feelings driven by unresolved issues and crisis from the past, you will go to a trained therapist who will be able to explore the root of the problem and offer explanation, and help you heal and grow emotionally.
If you are driven by personal goals and taking action but feel stuck, you will look for a coach who can help you define your goals clearly, and explore solutions and actions that can take you from where you are to where you want to be. The coach will empower you to make positive changes in your life, and provide accountability and support to keep you moving forward.
It is important for people to know the differences and the kind of help that they need, and figure out which strategy is right for them.