Episode 102: Do I Need a Coach or a Therapist

Jun 12, 2023


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Have you ever wondered what the difference is between having a coach and a therapist? I get this question a lot because I am actually both. Women are often asking me which they would benefit from. So I decided to do a podcast episode because there is a lot more to it than just a quick Instagram DM response can hold.  So today you will hear some of the differences, similarities, and something you maybe haven’t even thought about when considering between the two.

First of all, coaching and therapy are two different disciplines that share some similarities. Both of them involve a professional relationship where a person seeks guidance and support to improve their lives. However, there are significant differences between coaching and therapy, which affect the goals, methods, and outcomes of each practice. 


Coaching is a process where a coach works with a client to achieve specific personal or professional goals. The focus of coaching is on creating a positive future, building self-awareness, and developing practical skills to achieve success. Coaches help clients identify their strengths and weaknesses, clarify their values and vision, and create a plan to achieve their goals. However, coaching can also be used for personal growth, such as improving relationships, reducing stress, or achieving a work-life balance. You have likely seen a variety of niches out there when it comes to coaching.

Therapy, on the other hand, is a process where a licensed therapist helps a client address mental health issues, emotional problems, or other psychological disorders. The focus of therapy is on understanding and resolving past traumas, addressing current symptoms, and developing coping strategies to manage stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions. Therapists use various modalities to help clients overcome their difficulties and often these modalities are heavily researched and backed by evidence to work with specific outcomes. Therapy is typically used to address serious mental health conditions that interfere with a person's ability to function, such as addiction, trauma, or mood disorders.


One of the key differences between coaching and therapy is the level of structure and guidance involved. Coaching is often highly structured, with specific goals, timelines, and action plans. Coaches provide guidance and feedback to help clients stay on track and achieve their goals. Coaching sessions may involve homework assignments, role-playing exercises, or other practical tools to help clients develop skills and overcome obstacles.

In contrast, therapy is often less structured and more open-ended. Therapists provide a safe and non-judgmental space for clients to explore their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Therapy sessions may involve discussing past experiences, processing feelings, and reflecting on patterns and behaviors that may be contributing to the client's problems.


Another key difference between coaching and therapy is the focus on the present versus the past. Coaching focuses on the present and future, with a goal of creating positive change in the client's life. Coaches help clients set goals, develop action plans, and identify practical steps to achieve their desired outcomes.

When it comes to therapy, it often involves exploring the client's past experiences and how they have shaped their current thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Therapists may help clients uncover unconscious patterns and beliefs that are contributing to their current difficulties.


The role of the coach and the therapist is also different. A coach is typically seen as a partner, mentor, or guide who helps the client achieve their goals. Coaches provide accountability, encouragement, and feedback to help clients stay motivated and focused. Coaches may also act as a sounding board, helping clients clarify their thinking and explore different perspectives.

A therapist is typically seen as a trained professional who provides support and guidance to help clients address mental health issues. Therapists may use their expertise to diagnose and treat mental health conditions, provide emotional support, and offer practical strategies for managing symptoms.


One other distinct difference is that a therapist is a regulated licensed profession while coaching is unregulated and no formal training or certificate is required. In order to call yourself a therapist you must obtain a masters degree in a counseling profession like social work, mental health, psychology or marriage and family therapy.

To become a coach, you can literally just say you are a coach. No experience, certification, or schooling is required. Now that can seem a little scary when you look at coaching that way but often coaches have life experiences that help them be more relatable to your current situations. You will often see coaches share their certifications, methods for change and results you will get while working with them that they have achieved either for themselves or others.


I know there are a lot of similarities and differences which might make you feel like you need both a coach and a therapist. If you can relate with both of the outcomes a coach and a therapist can offer, here’s an option you may have never thought about. What about a therapist that is also a coach? I have been a mental health therapist for 16 years and 4 years ago, after some revelation, I I decided I wanted to start working with women in the niche of LDS therapy and coaching. So I am a therapist who offers coaching online. The reason I don’t offer therapy online is because I am only licensed in Utah and can’t offer my services in any other state as a therapist. However, I can as a coach.

What is the difference? As a coaching therapist, I don’t use my mental health license so I don’t diagnose, bill insurance or work with crisis situations. However, I do have clinical knowledge that most coaches don’t have. I understand the mental health world differently than someone who isn’t clinically licensed. I am able to use the same mental health skills that I teach in my in personal clinical practice but through a spiritual lens. 

Many women I work with may even still see their therapist and do coaching with me. They do this because the therapist they work with doesn’t understand the LDS religion or culture. They desire to combine their mental health and spirituality into one. 

One of my most popular coaching programs does exactly that. It is called Removing Roadblocks to Revelation Group Coaching Program. In this program, I use the same modality I use with my therapy clients to help you calm your thoughts, defuse triggering thoughts, interrupt your inner critic and build mental fortifications. All of these mental health skills are taught through a spiritual lens to help you understand which thoughts are keeping you from the revelation Christ needs you to have in your life.

If you would like to learn these skills so you can stay focused to get more done, accomplish more in less time, help your loved ones and have the energy to tackle the day then get on the waitlist today. I will only be opening this program one more time this year in August. When the registration opens I will notify anyone on the waitlist. So don’t miss out on your opportunity to be coached by a therapist.

Whether you are looking for a coach or a therapist or a therapist coach, one thing I recommend is that you see if their method of change is compatible with you and your personality. Also, that you feel a relationship could be established. Much of the change you get from these experiences is based on the trust and safety you feel in that relationship. Make sure to consider each of those when you start your sessions with that individual. 

I also offer private one on one coaching and have a self paced course if you’re interested in working with me as a coach with clinical knowledge.  You can also find me on Instagram and send me a message. I can answer any questions you have. Hopefully this helps you decide which direction you would like to go with making some changes in your life that help you better connect with God, yourself and others. 

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