The main distinction between therapy and coaching is that therapy treats
DSM-IV diagnosable disorders; coaching does not. Instead, coaching involves
helping another person identify and take action toward centrally important
professional and/or personal goals. Coaching presumes one is doing many
things well and now wants to do even better. With coaching, one doesn't
have to be broken or sick to benefit from the skills of a coach.
Clinicians often make superb coaches because coaching incorporates all
the clinical, technical, interpersonal, and managerial skills therapists
have been using for years in face-to-face therapy. Rather than acting as
a "healer," the coach serves as more of a facilitator in helping
clients attain their full potential. The emphasis shifts from focusing
on the past and its impact on present problems and issues to focusing on
the future and its relevance in guiding present thoughts and actions. The
goal of a coach is to help his clients tap into and actualize their deepest
vision of who they are which lies at the very essence of their being.
The individual who pursues personal, professional, and executive coaching
is generally highly motivated to reach personal wellness, peak performance
and a greater life experience. The client is not seeking emotional healing
or relief from psychological pain and is not excessively limited in the
ability to take action or overly hesitant to make this kind of progress.
Coaching is evolving in the direction of broadly defined health enhancement.
"The key distinction between coaching and therapy has more to do
with mindset than method. While both coaching and therapy can help people
make major life changes, coaching liberates therapy from its medical, pathology-based
underpinnings and focuses wholly on human strength, positive passions,
and the nurturance of untapped possibilities." (Dean, 2001)