Coaching vs Therapy vs Consulting


It is some­times con­fus­ing when you try to fig­ure out the dif­fer­ences between the work of a ther­a­pist, a con­sul­tant and a coach. The main dif­fer­ence is from the role they main­tain in the rela­tion­ship, for it influ­ences the whole process. Let’s look at that more closely.

A ther­a­pist:

  • works with his patient’s past and trauma.
  • main­tains a strict doctor-patient rela­tion­ship and an expert role, where he pro­vides the answer.
  • con­sid­ers emo­tions as symp­toms, hints about some­thing wrong.
  • diag­noses and pro­vides pro­fes­sional exper­tise to give clients a way to heal.

A con­sul­tant:

  • works mostly with prob­lems and pro­vides infor­ma­tion (exper­tise, strat­egy, struc­ture, pro­grams and method­olo­gies) to solve problems.
  • main­tains an expert role, focused on prob­lems and is the one who pro­vides answers.
  • does not address or deals with emo­tions; they are just use­ful information.
  • stands back, eval­u­ates a sit­u­a­tion, and then tells his client what the prob­lem is and how to fix it.

A coach:

  • works mainly with his client’s present and looks for ways to guide him towards a desired future.
  • main­tains a co-creative and egal­i­tar­ian rela­tion­ship, mean­ing that the coach helps his client to find his own answers.
  • rec­og­nizes emo­tions as nat­ural and wel­comes them as normal.
  • stands with his client while he helps him to iden­tify chal­lenges. He works then with his client to change chal­lenges into vic­to­ries and gives all cred­its to his client in reach­ing the objectives.