Coaching is the art of guiding individuals to identifying, crystallizing and then achieving goals and dreams. The Coach helps the individual make positive changes in order to improve their life or to accomplish desired outcomes easier and faster than might otherwise be possible on their own. The Coach provides support by asking powerful questions, structure and focus and by holding the client accountable to action. The client in turn is supported in determining and creating his/her ideal life.

The ICF (International Coaching Federation) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

The Coaching process can be quite therapeutic, although it is not therapy. Both Coaching and Therapy are client-centered, aimed at improving the well-being of the individual through growth. To better understand the differences, let’s consider some of the characteristics of Coach vs Therapist:


Not licensed to deal with psychological issues
Assumes client is highly functional (naturally creative, resourceful and whole)
Roots in business and personal growth
Works to motivate to a higher level of functioning – focus is on evolving and manifesting potential
Focuses on present & future actions; goal orientation
Works for solutions to overcome barriers, learn new skills, & implement effective choices
Holds client accountable and “homework” between sessions common
Uses coaching skills


Licensed to practice and deal with psychological issues
Assumes individual needs/wants relief from specific symptoms
Roots in medicine, psychiatry and personal growth
Works with individual to achieve self-understanding and emotional healing
Focus on feelings and patterns derived from past events: past and present orientation
Works for internal resolution of pain and to let go of old patterns
Works mainly with internal issues – insight and problem oriented
Uses therapy techniques

It should also be noted, that the difference between some types of therapy and personal coaching are not always clear-cut. Many therapists are “coach-like” in their orientation and the two do share many similarities. Both professionals do focus on helping people make positive changes to accomplish their goals.

Why you should hire a coach…

Over the past several years, the Coaching industry has increased tremendously, and for good reason:

Coaching can assist you to more quickly achieve your goals
Coaching can help you build on your strengths and talents to accelerate your career
Coaching can help you move forward, make purposeful career choices, and enhance the quality of your life
Coaching can help you deepen learning, and tap into and optimize your potential
Coaching can assist in uncovering patterns, habits, and blind spots that limit you or hold you back
Coaching can support you in closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be instead

No matter what you are looking to change or accomplish, a professional coach can assist you in gaining focus, clarity, getting perspective, and in supporting you to achieve your goals. Consider a coach if you wish to create and live your ideal life or you simply desire guidance and inspiration to accomplish your goals and dreams.

Author's Bio: 

Linda is an executive and career acceleration coach who helps career professionals (high-achieving managers, executives and leaders) unlock their career and leadership potential to achieve clarity, heightened performance and focused action for greater fulfillment, confidence and career acceleration.
You can find out more about Linda at