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Life Coach vs. Therapist: What are the Differences?


When seeking help to achieve your goals, you may wonder if you need the services of a therapist or a life coach. The best way to know which is right for you is to understand what each does and how they may help you. Both professions offer guidance and support, but they have different approaches, goals, focuses, and purposes. We will explore the differences between the two types of treatment and how they can benefit you.

Man contemplating life coaching vs therapy

Life Coach Vs. Therapist - Biggest Differences


The largest differences between a life coach and a therapist lie in their purpose. Life coaching is primarily focused on the present and the future. An effective life coach will help you identify your goals and strengths, create action plans, and work toward your self-improvement and personal development. A life coach will take the time to work with you to boost your personal, financial, and professional goals and successes.

On the other hand, a therapist works with their patients to process their pasts and how their pasts are affecting them in the present in order to work toward a different future. A therapist focuses on the emotional and mental struggles or impacts on a person and will break them down for a patient to process and work through. These may include challenges, traumas, and emotional or mental health conditions, but the primary focus is healing and self-discovery.

When to Seek out a Therapist

Therapist speaks with man

When deciding between a life coach and a therapist, consider your goals and needs from the sessions. If you’re looking for the following, then a therapist may be the ideal choice:

  • Unresolved Past Issues – if you’re struggling with past experiences that are affecting the way you approach your current relationships and your life in general, a therapist is the ideal option to work through these struggles.

  • Mental Health Conditions - if you have any mental health issues or diagnoses, a therapist can help you work through them with diagnoses, treatment, and therapeutic interventions for those conditions.

  • Emotional Trauma - a therapist is trained to help you heal from emotional trauma and use that healing to process other parts of your life better. 

When to Choose a Life Coach


The biggest difference between a life coach vs. a therapist is that a life coach isn’t focused on your past struggles or traumas; they are more focused on how to help you create goals for your future and learn techniques for which to achieve them. Here are some other aspects of choosing a life coach and how they can help you:

  • Need Goals - A life coach believes setting goals is the best way to find happiness, joy, and success in your future. An effective life coach will work with you to understand your wants in life and what goals you need to achieve to get there.

  • Seeking Success - A life coach will take your goals and create checkpoints by which you can accomplish your goals. Then, he’ll work with you to create check-ins and metrics to see your progress toward your goals.

  • Want Personal Growth – Another big difference between a life coach and a therapist is that a life coach is focused on personal growth and a therapist is focused on emotional growth. A good life coach will help you excel at unlocking your potential by providing motivation, accountability, and ways to boost your self-improvement.

  • Facing a Life Transition - If significant life changes like a move, the loss of a job, or a career change is something you’re processing, a life coach is an ideal solution to help you do so successfully. Through coaching sessions and by teaching you tools to process stress and find ways to turn the transition into success, a life coach will help you achieve your desires.

Get Started with a Life Coach Today

Woman jumping over mountains feeling success from life coaching

If you believe the differences between a life coach vs a therapist show that you need a life coach, I’m here to help. My name is Vincent Provenzano, a life coach and an attorney who sought out the help of a life coach to deal with some dissatisfaction in my own life through some transitions. Through this process, I discovered my passion for life coaching.

I’m here to share my experience and commitment to your success by offering life coaching services that are affordable and customizable for your needs.

To discuss your life coaching needs, reach out to me, and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

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