Coaching & Psychotherapy: How much do they coincide and how much do they differ after all?

Coaching as much as Psychotherapy are practices that have been developed to assist the evolution of a person via the change of their thoughts, emotions and behaviors. In both cases, self-awareness is common element.

The client is the center of the session, as they provide the content while the specialist the structure. Thus, building a relationship of trust between specialist and client is of utmost importance.

Despite the similarities, coaching and psychotherapy have fundamental differences. The principal difference is the subject and the content of the discussion. With the assistance of coaching, a person is able to identify the deepest needs and desires, sets goals upon them, consciously change in order to achieve the goals and therefore change their lives. Coaching focuses on the solution, on taking actions and on goal-setting while psychotherapy focuses on the reasons behind the issue a person is facing, thus going around self-reflection and metabolism of emotions. It is easy to comprehend, therefore, that coaching tends to focus on the future, while psychotherapy on the past, with potential case-specific deviations. That is the reason why coaching, as a conscious intervention, lasts shorter than psychotherapy. Coaching may last 10 to 15 sessions, while psychotherapy may last around 2 or even 3 years.

Going on a deeper qualitative level, coaching focuses on increasing the performance and strengthening the functionality of a person, while psychotherapy focuses on reinstating the emotional functionality of a person. It is often mentioned that coaching starts where psychotherapy ends. On the one hand, in the case of coaching, self-awareness is used as the starting point of the collaboration as the goals are set by the client. On the other hand, in the case of psychotherapy, self-awareness is the means and the destination and the goals are set by the psychotherapist, as they are therapeutic goals.

Concluding, regardless of the choice of a person to seek for assistance either in psychotherapy or in coaching, it is important to note that the client will be assisted only if they truly want to be assisted and work towards this direction in order to obtain the desired changes.

Πετράς, Χ. (2018). Η Τέχνη του Coaching. Εισαγωγή στη Θεωρία & Πρακτική της Coaching Ψυχολογίας. 2η Επαυξημένη Έκδοση. Αθήνα: iWrite.

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