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What is Coaching?

Updated: Feb 14, 2023

And isn't that the same thing as therapy? These are the most common questions I encounter when I tell people I'm a coach. The short answer is no; coaching is not the same as therapy although it can feel that way at times because both focus on you but in different ways. I have been in therapy for (what feels like a hundred years) decades and therapy identifies how your past experiences impact your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors today. Therapy treats and provides diagnoses. Coaching, on the other hand, explores how those thoughts, feelings, and behaviors impact how you want to move forward in your life and provides you a framework to achieve what you really want for yourself. IMO, everyone needs a therapist AND a coach.

I didn't get a coach until later in my life and career. In my mind, coaches were reserved for sports and senior executives who needed "how to be a better leader and manager" coaching. Most of the companies I worked for did not invest in coaching resources for the folks just starting out or mid-career. When I got to Twitter and finally got coached it was a life changing experience. I thought, "This is what's been missing in my life!" Immediately followed by, "Everyone needs a coach! And the earlier the better!"

That's because the stories we tell ourselves are so limiting. By design, they're there to keep us feeling safe and secure in fight or flight situations. But we are so much more than that. Life is so much more than that. We want so much more than to just survive. And even when it seems like we're thriving (I have a job, a partner, a family, money in the bank and food on the table, we go on nice vacations...I've checked all the boxes so why do I feel so miserable?) we're not. Coaching takes us to what's possible.

What's one story in your life that you want to rewrite?

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