Before we delve into the differences between these two practices, let us examine the commonalities:
In today’s world, supporting your Mental Health has become an absolute prerequisite to live a fully functional life. The upside of this is that Mental health care is becoming more accessible and less controversial. Coming from a country where access to Therapy was once a luxury as well as highly stigmatised, I find myself particularly elated with this progress.
Coaching is a fairly new concept that is is getting a lot of popularity. It is somewhere on the spectrum of Mental Health support, but not entirely. Psychotherapy, as we already know is widely practiced through various approaches depending upon the practitioners own personality, style and training background. But the one common goal that unites all these approaches is that they all aim to help the client. Coaching is not very different on that account.
Just like in therapy, the basic fundamental principal of coaching is to maintain a coaching relationship based on openness and trust. And like in psychotherapy, coaching strives to empower the client with tools to manage their situation. Both approach the client with an unconditional positive regard and respect.
But there are a few areas that coaching must tread carefully around. These involve dealing with clients with traumas, mental illnesses, depression or severe emotional distress and psychotherapy would be the way to go in these cases.
The biggest advantage to Coaching is that it is not limited for people with distress alone. It can be for people who think they are doing well, but wish to thrive. And it is also for people who are thriving and want to keep getting better and better. In my opinion, if we were to speak of the mind in terms of our physical health:
Therapy is like getting healthy while Coaching is making a healthy body thrive. Both are essential and both are necessary.