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Where coaching fits around therapies

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

One of the first things we as coaches are required to do when a client approaches us for information about coaching, is to explain the difference between coaching and other therapies.

Coaching is future focused – identifying where a client is now, where they want to be in the future and filling the gaps between now and then with a sustainable plan, clear steps, ongoing support and accountability.  Coaching is not the same as counselling, psychotherapy, mentoring or training.  Counselling and psychotherapy deal with problems, often from the past.  Mentoring and training are instructional interventions, where the client is taught how to do something.

Sometimes there is an overlap, for example, we all have had bad things happen to us in the past and if these come up in coaching that’s perfectly fine because it helps the client and the coach to understand what has brought them to this point.  If a client asks for mentoring during a coaching session, the coach can check that the client is happy with a temporary shift in the context of the session.  For example, we may ask a client if they would like us to step outside the coaching for a moment to do some open brainstorming, then we can step back into coaching.  Coaching is not instructional and this requires constant vigilance on our part, especially when a client asks for our opinion!

In terms of counselling or psychotherapy, anyone who presents for coaching with a recent onset of depression, acute anxiety or severe distress will be referred to the appropriate professional, with their agreement.  Coaching is not a substitute for clinical treatments or therapies.

Having said that, there is no reason why it can’t be used in conjunction with other therapies, or after those therapies have been completed.

Sometimes people who are coming out of counselling, having progressed beyond the original problem, like to have a follow-on intervention that looks to the future so they can make plans and move forward.

There is a wonderful explanation of just how this might work for people coming out of rehab, on the website of a clinic called ‘The Recovery Village’ which has centres all across the US.

As they say: “A life coach can be a great accompaniment to a substance abuse treatment plan. While therapy can help patients to undercover issues that led to substance abuse, life coaches can help to put the knowledge learned in therapy into practice.  While a therapist may help a patient to identify triggering situations and strategies for dealing with those issues, a life coach can help the patient to implement those strategies on a daily basis.”

Their full post can be found here and I recommend reading it because it explains very clearly how coaching can help addicts who want to move on with their lives.

If this rings true for you or someone you know, and you would like to chat with me about coaching please contact me any time.  We can set up a free 30 minute phone call and there is no obligation to go any further unless and until you are ready.

Until next week, take care of yourself,



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