Recently I had a conversation with a representative from a well know coaching agency as I was considering a certificate in life coaching. Despite my feeling that many therapist often function as a life coach, I wondered if somehow this additional training might enhance my skills and possibly make me more attractive to potential clients. While this woman tried to sell me on the idea that life coaching is distinctly different than therapy, part of her jargon was to explain that while therapist pathologize and view individuals as broken and in need of healing, life coaches assume that individuals are whole and healthy. What I found interesting is that most of what she described as unique to life coaching, sounded much like a Rogerian Client Centered approach that many in the counseling field embrace, i.e., clients are not patients that need fixing, the client is the expert; the therapist guides rather than directs and seeks to empower the client to find their own solutions; the therapist accepts the client unconditionally, without judgment, without disapproval or approval.
I found an article where the author makes the argument that therapist assume the client needs healing.. Works to bring the unconscious into consciousness and works for internal resolution of pain and to let go of old patterns. Although this may be true of a psychodynamic focused clinicians, this not so true of those of us that have a more humanistic approach.
The reality is that therapist are trained practitioners, we are held to very high standard of laws and ethical codes that govern how we work with individuals. We all have a Master’s level degree or higher, have to accumulate thousands of hours of training before we can even become licensed, at least in the state of California and we have a state governing board that approves us to be able to work independently along with having to have malpractice insurance. Unfortunately, this is not yet true for those in the Coaching fields. Not to say that there aren’t really good coaches providing really good practical tools for people, and they play a huge role in business success. The reality is in my opinion, the basis of coaching stems directly from counseling principles and the goals of coaching are not much different than that of counseling.
Therapist who provide brief therapy that is client focused, often help clients focus on here and now issues, and ways to strategically improve their current situation. Past issues are not the focus of sessions, nor is time spent delving into the underlying reasons the current situation exists. It is solution focused designed to develop a step-by-step plan of action, to focus on future goals, explore current challenges to your success and to celebrate your results. Coaching with a therapist can be very beneficial, as you have the knowledge that you in the hands of a very well prepared, highly educated and trained individual who has the ability to incorporate life experiences in a way that makes it highly useful for you. Someone who’s goal is helping you become your best you.
Peace & blessings,