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  • Writer's pictureSuzanne Sky

Life Coaching or Therapy/Counseling?

by Suzanne E. Sky, MTOM, Life Resilience Coach

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between coaching and therapy? Are you trying to decide which approach would be best for you right now?

The simplest explanation is that a Life Coach helps you to move forward in your life and a therapist helps you delve into things in your past that could be keeping you from moving forward. A coach builds your capacity to be self-led and be your own changemaker – exponentially, in every aspect of your life. A coach focuses on visioning and success in the present to move you into the future. Many coaches go through certification programs as they build their coaching skills, including through the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

A therapist is state licensed with a professional degreee, trained to recongize and address clinically diagnosable mental health issues. They work with the spectrum from psychopathology, trauma, life challenges, emotional and behavioral issues, dysfunction, and so forth; especially focusing on any unresolved issues from the past and learning new skills to enhance their client's capacity in the present. A therapist implements therapeutic and psychotherapeutic modalities according to the needs of their client.

Coaching Is A Collaborative Process

The ICF defines coaching as "partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity, and leadership."

Life Coaching is an ongoing collaborative process which is client-led and focuses on goals and outcomes created by the clients. The coach holds courageous space and guides the process through asking powerful questions. Depending on their training and skills, a Life Coach will likely weave between inner procceses and your outer world and experiences.

Coaching is not a substitute for counseling, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, mental health care, or substance abuse treatment. A coach will make referrals when appropriate and often a coach will work with a person who is also in therapy.

Life Coaching vs Therapy: which is right for me?

You may benefit from the support of a Life Coach if…

· You feel lost or confused about your purpose or next steps in life.

· You are afraid to try something new (even though it’s something you’re genuinely interested in).

· You feel inner stress and self-doubt although you'd like to move forward with your life, vision, move, or career change.

· Your happiness and forward momentum are constantly derailed by limiting beliefs, old patterns, and self-sabotage.

· You have a goal or vision but lack the focus, organization, and clarity necessary to form an action plan.

· You want to make changes to your personal or professional life such as improvements to health and wellness, personal relationships, spirituality, career, time management, or work/life balance.

· You procrastinate or have difficulty completing tasks from start to finish.

· You are facing or currently going through a major life transition.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), you may want to consider speaking with a licensed therapist or counselor if…

· You feel an overwhelming, prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness.

· You're experiencing intrusive memories or feeling from the past that you are unable to resolve and that keeps you from being in the present.

· Your problems fail to resolve or improve despite your efforts and help from family and friends.

· You find it difficult to concentrate on work assignments or conduct everyday activities.

· You would like to work on and resolve childhood and family issues.

· You worry excessively, expect the worst, or remain constantly on edge.

· Your actions, such as drinking too much alcohol, using drugs, or being aggressive, harm yourself or others.2

From my heart to yours, Suzanne Sky - Life Resilience Coach

As a Life Resilience Coach, I offer a heart-centered approach to support purpose-driven women in transition in creating the meaningful life they love. We work together in a collaborative coaching process to identify practical steps you can take in alignment with your abilities, core values, and life vision so you can live your heart and create the impact you want. My whole person coaching integrates compassionate awareness, collaborative dialogue, gentle inquiry, and an invitation to engage in journaling and embodied awareness practices.

I offer a free 30-minute Connection Session to discuss the possibility of us working together. I'd love to meet you!



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