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Life Coaching vs. Therapy. What’s the Difference?

Minisode 9 | July 12, 2022

Life Coaching vs. Therapy. What's the Difference?

In our ninth minisode in a series about accessing and normalizing therapy, we discuss the differences between life coaching and therapy.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No” – the podcast about saying no and setting boundaries so you can become the authentic and empowered you that this world needs.

Reminder: While Sarah is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, this podcast is in no way replacement for one-on-one therapy with a mental health professionalIf you are struggling with mental health issues, we welcome you on this journey, but also invite you to seek out professional help.

Looking for a therapist? Here’s a good place to start:

Life coaching vs. therapy

In season 2 of That’s a Hard No, we’re making it a priority to dig deeper into the process of finding and utilizing the mental health support you may need. We’re taking some time to discuss with our “in-house expert,” Sarah Saunders, what to expect from therapy and all of its intricacies.  

Life Coaching vs. Therapy. What are they?


If you are listening to our podcast, you are on some sort of personal growth journey, wanting to learn and grow in some way, and so I thought specifically this would be important to address these differences and if you’re not exactly sure whether you need a therapist or a life coach.

  • Psychological – The main reason for seeking therapy is due to psychological disorders. Anxiety, depression, etc.
    • Often diagnostic work is required.
  • Depth Work – Generally, healing, changing destructive habits and repairing relationships but unpacking the past.
  • The Past – We look back to fix forward. This can include working through past traumas and navigating difficult life circumstances.
  • Long Term – Traditionally, therapy is a scheduled ongoing support for an extensive period.
  • Criteria of Professional – Extensive training and high level of education.
Life Coaching
  • Future Planning – Seeking a life coach should be an already highly functioning individual looking to get to the next level.
    • Identifying a current problem, a coach meets you where you currently are.
  • Today – This work takes a look at current life and what may need to change for future goals.
    • Actionable strategies to move forward.
    • Offers clients a clarify goals and how to achieve them
  • Shorter Term – These can be ongoing meetings or events/sessions that are short term solutions for professional or personal problems/blocks.
  • Criteria of Professional – There is no specific “right” credential. Do your research and references are best!

It almost sounds like psychotherapy helps you process the past and then life coaching addresses challenges in the future and how to attack them basically or meet goals, future goals. I can see how they would connect and overlap.

Why we love both!
  • Life coaching and Therapy can work in close conjunction with each other. Both support people in bettering themselves!
Read Full Transcript Here
Credits and Thanks