What is the difference between life coaching and therapy?

Life Coaching is about starting where you are and moving forward from there. It is helping a client start from where they are and guide them forward to achieve their long and short term goals.  In a recent tennis camp, the tennis coaches watched students hit balls for the first 15 minutes. Then the coaches assessed where the skill levels were and started the training after gathering that information. They didn’t ask the students to talk about their past or ask them start over. The coaches moved forward from where the students were. Life coaching is no different. The client tells the coach where they are and the life coach’s role is to help them to move forward from that point.

Life Coaching vs Therapy

As a life coach, we should spend the least amount of our sessions in the past. We will spend some time in the present and most of our time in the future.

In contrast, a therapist spends most of their time in the past, some in the present and the least amount of time in the future. This is the only thing you need to know. If you are a coach or are considering becoming a coach, spend most of your time in the present and future.

To be successful in life coaching, it is a critical to have a Coaching Agreement. This will help you stay in the present and stay on task. The Coaching Agreement establishes a partnership with the client around the process and desired outcome of the session and future sessions.

Four Key Points of the Life Coaching Agreement:

Key point #1.   Effectively open the life coaching session.

Lead with the right questions. Pleasantries are a great way to open, but be conscious of questions that lead to a long conversation and that do not support the session.

Key Point #2.  Identify the long term and session goals of the client.

It is the coach’s responsibility to find out what the client is trying to achieve. At times the client will need guidance from the coach, however, some times a client will have a clear understanding of what they are trying to solve for. Some clients can articulate goals on an intake form. Others may need help from you through open ended questions such as; “what are your long term goals?” or “what keeps you up at night?”

Want more information about long and short term goals? Check out this article by US Chamber.

Key Point #3.  Gain insight to the client’s personal connection to the goal.

Gaining insight will come from the questions you ask. Here are some we recommend:

  • Why is this goal so important to your client? Life coaching is connecting the goal to the clients   WHY?
  • “What will achieving this goal do for you?” 
  • “How would you feel if you achieve this goal?” 
  • “What happens if you don’t achieve this goal?” 

At MoxieCoach.com we teach to repeat back what you heard for clarity.

Key Point #4.  The success of a life coaching client’s accountability is related to the personal connection.

Repeat back and receive confirmation on long term goal, session goal and their personal connection to the goal. If a client is not highly connected to the goal, the chance for success is limited.

The coaching agreement is used throughout the session as a sort of destination and should be used to communicate and understand the client’s goals for the session.

There are three key objectives to the coaching agreement.

  • Support your client in identifying what their goals are for the coaching session.
  • Understand why this goal is important to your client, what would it do for them and how would it serve them.
  • Consider how you as a life coach can help and what life coaching style would be best.

At Moxie Coach there are two important keys to success in that we practice in coaching:

  • Defining a specialty niche for your life coaching practice. 
  • Gain clarity on your Coaching Agreement with each client and for each session. This is the “H” is Moxie Coach’s HACK coaching model. Learn more about HACK at Moxie Coach.

Life Coaching truly is starting where you are and moving forward!

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