What Life Coaching Has to Offer

By Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

Coaching is a field of mentorship that focuses on helping people achieve their personal, relational, or professional goals. While it has partly emerged from the field of psychotherapy, it operates under a somewhat different paradigm. Rather than assuming clients are in need of fixing or healing, coaching operates on the assumption that clients’ basic needs are met and they are ready for a mentor to help them achieve the next level of goals.

The coaching relationship is one of equals. It focuses on the future and transcends the rigidity of roles and power differential that often characterize traditional forms of psychotherapy. As a result, many therapists choose to become coaches in an attempt to transcend the rigidity of roles and free themselves from many arbitrary constrains. This is a popular mode of career change and career expansion for psychotherapists, who are accustomed to holding the space and helping people along on their journeys.

Did you know…
  • There is no official coaching state license requirement, though many certification programs exist to lend professional legitimacy.
  • Not every client is a good candidate for coaching. Coaches are trained to identify clients who need psychotherapy, and refer them to such appropriate services.
  • While some psychotherapists operate “at a distance” with therapy clients, there is no such separation in a coaching relationship. This hands-on approach can be a refreshing change for psychotherapists on the verge of burning out.
  • Psychotherapists can serve as coaches part time, or make a complete career change. While one cannot and should not serve as coach and psychotherapist for the same client, one can serve as coach and psychotherapist for different clients.
  • Many people experience a lack of real listening and connection in their lives; coaching is growing as a profession in part to meet this need.

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