Why Coaching is the Secret Ingredient

catepillar into butterfly

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”– George Bernard Shaw

There is clearly a difference between traditional therapy and coaching.

Both have advantages.   Coaching and therapy are similar in that they both guide individuals toward empowerment.

While both coaches and psychological therapists both offer their clients avenues by which to make changes in their lives, they do so with what Julia Vaughan Smith refers to as a different relationship and orientation.

But coaching provides the secret ingredient to lasting change.

According to the International Coach Federation, therapy revolves around helping clients heal past wounds that are creating conflict with how they are able to function in the present, while coaching is a future-focused endeavor, focused on taking action to reach goals.  

The most notable difference is the focus: one of healing versus one of action, accountability, and follow-through.

Smith states: “Coaching offers psychological therapists another way of working with people and their development on a one-to-one basis. As it is not another way of doing therapy, it offers an opportunity to step back from the emotional challenges and certain restrictions a therapeutic process may bring.”

As Smith also points out, coaching offers a more directed way of approaching change, rather than just “talking about feelings” as one may do while engaged in psychological therapy.

As opposed to therapy, coaching offers no diagnosis and no focus on catharsis and re-experiencing, and the speed of change is much more rapid.  

It is certainly worth mentioning, as Smith does, that therapy can involve shame on the part of the individual seeking help, whereas coaching does not carry a stigma that could produce the change.

Depending on the circumstances of one’s life, both therapy and coaching used in conjunction could bring about the most positive change.  Healing and improvement of present-day functioning combined with future-focused goal alignment is a powerful change combination.

Coaching, however, with it’s emphasis on forward-focus, holds the secret ingredient to lasting change.

With love and light,

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