As many of you are aware I came from a background as a psychologist to the role of Life Coach. Due to my previous work experience, I feel that it is important for people to be aware of the distinction between the two. This is really the main reason that I offer and schedule a free introductory session at the start of my work with each new client. My mission is to make a difference in the lives of others so it is of utmost importance to me that you get the correct support that you need. With a free 30 minute session we each have the opportunity of clarifying our expectations and each of the roles we will play as Client and Life Coach. Due to previous professional experience, I have an added advantage over many life coaches in that I am honest and confident in telling you if I feel that I am not the best professional to meet your needs.

Basically people seek the help of a Life Coach when they recognize that they want to make changes in their lives for the better. Recognizing that you want something to change is important and is the first major step towards a shift from the status quo. Life Coaching is about empowering and inspiring individuals towards creating a brighter future for themselves. It’s a supportive, collaborative venture that seeks to motivate and empower individuals to maximize their potential.  Life Coaches are governed by ethics and confidentiality in the same way a Therapist would be. It is important that trust can be built up with the person who is supporting you whether Life Coach or Therapist. To help you think about the differences between the Life Coach and the Therapist and enable you to explore who you feel may best meet your needs, I have listed the main differences between each professional below:

Life Coaches:

  1. Life Coaches do not diagnose or treat illness
  2. Working with a Life Coach is a collaborative process. Together, Client and Life Coach form a partnership
  3. Action plans are designed by the Life Coach and the Client together
  4. Your Life Coaching action plans are always solution focused. They don’t dwell on problems but support you to come up with solutions that you feel are workable for you. Life Coaching acknowledges that you have the reserves within you to make the changes you seek and it is the role of your Life Coach to motivate and empower you
  5. A Life Coach will focus on your life in the present and support you to explore how you want it to look in the future e.g. I want to become more confident
  6. A Life Coach will work with you and support you to find clarity in terms of what you want in your life or changes you might wish to make within yourself. Sometimes we know that we want change but we are not clear on how we want things to be different. Gaining clarity can be particularly helpful for people who are suddenly unemployed or find themselves at a crossroads in their career
  7. While working with you, your Life Coach may become aware of some of your negative beliefs e.g. I will never lose weight. You wouldn’t believe how many successful people carry negative thoughts and beliefs. In the Life Coaching process these negative beliefs are seen as temporary obstacles(blocks) that can be worked through and overcome
  8. Life Coaching always focuses on how to empower you and maximize your potential
  9. One of the most important things the partnership with your Life Coach provides for you is Accountability. I cannot stress enough how important this is. Just think of all the times that you’ve set yourself a goal or a challenge and something always seems to get in the way of getting it done. Like many people you are probably highly skilled at finding excuses. The excuse finding, procrastination becomes a pattern of behavior you leave well and truly behind when you’re working with a Life Coach. Accountability helps keep you focused and on track with your goals so you are far more likely to succeed. This is why after every life coaching session I provide a follow up email during the week and I encourage my clients to email me to share their challenges and successes


In contrast let’s look briefly at the role of a Therapist:


  1. A Therapist will provide you with a diagnosis and treatment for entrenched emotional, behavioral and mental health issues
  2. The Therapist is part of a medical model which focuses on and views the client from that standpoint. This medical model focuses on what is wrong and needs to be repaired or cured
  3. From making a decision around your diagnosis, your Therapist will make recommendations and design a treatment plan
  4. Your Therapist always has the role of expert who is working to move you from a place where you are struggling to function in everyday life, towards a healthy level of functioning
  5. In relation to your issues, your Therapist will analyze and treat the roots of your problems
  6. A Therapist will usually focus on the problem and what happened in the past that may have contributed to the issue and work to try and heal your past to enable you to cope in the present
  7. Any contact with your Therapist between appointments is usually reserved for real difficulties or crises situations
  8. If you are suffering from a major mental illness then you most definitely need a Therapist, however it is not unheard of for a client to work with a Therapist and Life Coach at the same time.




I hope that this short article has been helpful and I wish you well on your life journey. If you feel I could help you in any way or you would like further information please don’t hesitate to email me at