life coaching vs. therapy

Life Coaching vs. Therapy: Which is Right For You?

Any step you take toward becoming a better version of yourself is going to benefit your life but how do you decide which direction to step in? Plenty of tools are available to anyone trying to improve their lives, from self-help books to support groups, life coaching to therapy. How do you know which path is going to take you to the destination that you want to go to? 

Research has shown that sharing your feelings verbally produces therapeutic effects in the brain. Talking your problems through with a professional can make a massive difference in your life. How do you know which professional opinion you should seek? Which avenue is the best place for you to verbalize your thoughts?

Life coaching and therapy are two common avenues for anyone seeking help. Therapy has been in place for decades and life coaching is a newer alternative approach. Life coaches have developed a false reputation that they are simply therapists in disguise, or even practicing therapy without a license. 

This couldn’t be further from the truth, though. Each profession brings a unique perspective and set of strengths to the table. Some people find their solution in therapy while others benefit more from working with a life coach. Understanding the differences between life coaching vs. therapy will help you make the right choice for you.

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

Life coaches and therapists both exist to help their clients reach their full potential. They aim to bridge the gap between their client and the possible solutions to their problems. Both life coaches and therapists want the individuals they work with to find fulfillment and success in their lives.

At the same time, each profession has a particular part of the population they’re more suited to work with. Some fundamental differences between life coaching vs. therapy that separate the two approaches. One often-cited idea is that therapists look into the past while life coaches look into the future. While this might be a decent observational description, how do the professions differ from one another on a deeper level?

Coaching vs therapy

Life Coaching

Life coaches are highly-qualified individuals who help you determine the things in life that hold you back. They go through an intensive certification process to learn about how to draw the best out of their clients and set them on the track to success. They teach you how to set goals and outline a path to achieve them.

Life coaches also offer ongoing accountability during the process. They serve as a guide with a third-party stance and outside perspective on the situations in your life. Your life coach helps you clarify your objectives and reframe any approaches when roadblocks arise. Then as you accomplish your initial goals, you set the bar higher and continue moving forward.

Life coaches work with ambitious individuals who want the best out of their lives. Whether you’re looking to improve your nutrition and fitness, set out on a new career path, build a side business, or something else entirely, a life coach can walk you through the process and provide accountability and insight along the way.


A therapist is a licensed healthcare professional who works with clients that suffer from various mental health conditions. These conditions may be short-term, such as situational depression, or pervasive and lasting, like generalized anxiety disorder. 

Therapists are classified as either a counselor or psychologist with varying levels of education, from a master’s to a doctorate. Their main treatment approach centers around psychotherapy, or talk therapy, and focuses on long-term solutions for invasive thoughts, fluctuating moods, and troublesome behaviors.

Therapists work with individuals to identify and address any existing symptoms of mental illness. They walk clients through the process of digging into their past to uncover the root causes of present-day behaviors. They’re also equipped to treat people with past or present traumas that affect their daily lives.

Some therapists use medications as a supplemental approach to their treatment practices. While psychologists and counselors cannot prescribe medications themselves, they may refer you to a psychiatrist who can. If your concerns are more psychological in nature, a therapist is more equipped to help you.

Should You See a Therapist or a Life Coach?

The choice between life coaching vs. therapy is a very personal one that you should ultimately make for yourself. Only you can decide whether you would benefit more from working with one or the other. They both aim for the same positive outcome but use different methods to arrive there.

Counseling Today refers to the life coaching vs. therapy relationship as one of “stepsiblings”. It points to their shared line of work as “helping professionals” and the commonalities between each approach. They also recognize that both life coaching and therapy are better suited for certain situations.

A life coach can offer or help you:

  • Practice and improve communication skills
  • Create distinct personal and professional goals
  • Outline a plan for pursuing new approaches to business or life
  • Address self-image and self-esteem issues related to nutrition and fitness
  • Provide accountability while pursuing new objectives
  • Support and guidance through significant life changes
  • Managing work/life balance

A therapist is better suited for:

  • Working through past or present traumas
  • Diagnosing ongoing mental health concerns, such as depression or anxiety
  • Identifying and adjusting harmful or destructive behavioral patterns stemming from mental health conditions
  • Providing a higher level of care for pervasive mental health symptoms

Still not sure whether which approach is right for you? If you haven’t decided between life coaching vs. therapy, schedule a free consultation call today to learn more about the coaching services offered at MindBodyBuild. We can discuss whether you can achieve your goals with the support of a life coach or whether you should seek a more intensive approach.

If you’re looking for someone who can help you identify the things holding you back, we’re here to help. If you’re looking to make a change in your life and want the added accountability a life coach offers, MindBodyBuild is here to build you up. Schedule your free consultation call today and find out how to find the right coach to bridge the gap between you and your ideal self.

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