Therapist FAQ's

What Mental Health Practitioners Ask Us About Coaching

Q. What is the difference between therapy and coaching?

A.  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.

Coaching incorporates all of 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 therapist/coach serves as a facilitator in helping clients attain their full potential. The emphasis shifts from focusing on the past and its impact on present problems 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 and professional 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.


Q. Why should I consider adding coaching to my practice?

A. Coaching is perhaps the most exciting, remunerative, and cutting-edge arena for practice diversification around today. When properly structured, coaching offers impressive and unexpected rewards:

  • It pays well — $200+/hour for individual clients; $1,000+/hour for virtual groups.
  • It's 100% free of managed care; clients are completely self-pay.
  • It's a natural fit with the 50-minute hour.
  • It builds on the existing clinical and practice management skills most mental health practitioners already possess.
  • It's personally freeing since it can be delivered from your office during a typical day, or from home, reclining on your chaise lounge in Batman pajamas.
  • It's geographically freeing since it can be delivered as easily from the beach as your office, as easily from Vail or Monterey as your hometown.
  • It exponentially increases both your "catchment area" and referral base because you are jumping from a local to a national or international practice.
  • It's fun! Coaching is generally directed to high functioning, interesting, and appreciative clients. Coaching can breathe renewed zest and vitality into your clinical practice.


Q. Do I need special training in order to coach?

A. While no state or federal legislation exists that requires coaches to have special training or licensing, the best coaches are highly trained and committed to ongoing learning. Having a range of conceptual frames is a key to effective coaching. MentorCoach places a major emphasis on developing conceptual frames that tap deeply into the existing rich knowledge base of the social sciences.


Q. What are some of the ethical issues I need to consider?

A. Legal and ethical issues take on critical importance to a trained clinician because we often have a license to protect. Clinicians must act in a manner consistent with the state and national ethical guidelines for their particular profession — whether it is as a psychologist, social worker, counselor or any other discipline — as well as educate themselves about how to recognize and manage risk wisely.

An intrinsic and highly unique element of the MentorCoach Program is our strong emphasis on the intersection of legal, clinical, and coaching issues. We explore potential problems that a clinician-coach might face and suggest options on how best to handle them.


Q. Being a therapist is in my blood. I never want to stop doing psychotherapy. Can I be both a coach and a therapist?

A. Absolutely! Many clinicians combine joint clinical and coaching practices with great success. However, the boundary lines must be clearly defined. We will show you how.


Q. Can I serve as both coach and therapist to my clients?

A. You can be a coach and you can be a therapist, but not with the same client. Clearly defined parameters are critical in developing your risk management strategy.


Q. There are a lot of coaches out there. Will being a mental health practitioner set me apart?

A. Absolutely. We truly believe that trained mental health practitioners are natural leaders within the coaching industry universe because they offer numerous, obvious advantages for clients:

  • Mental health practitioners maintain the highest ethical standards. We have more to lose and more to account for. We have licenses to protect, state and national boards to account to as part of the oversight process we practice under.
  • Confidentiality is an integral part of a clinician's professional code.
  • Therapists have unsurpassed listening skills, far more developed and ingrained than coaches from more general professional backgrounds.
  • The client's agenda is our only agenda. Therapists have specific training in doing this.
  • Coach training created specifically for clinicians is steeped in a rich tradition of social science research, which brings great benefit and depth to our clients.


Q. Do coaches need to be licensed? Will I need to apply for a new license or credential?

A. There are no federal or state requirements that require coaches to be licensed. Becoming credentialed is also more a matter of preference than necessity. Many brilliant, highly successful coach-clinicians never bother to apply for certification and find it has little impact on their ability to attract, maintain or serve clients. However, certification feels important to many, and may gain importance with time. Certification is available through MentorCoach:

  • The International Coach Federation has set universal standards for their Professional Certified Coach (PCC) designation. These include 125 hours of coach training, as well as other requirements. MentorCoach is fully accredited through the ICF.
  • The hours you complete at MentorCoach may be applied toward a PCC designation through the ICF. Additional information about ICF can be found at



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