What is the difference between Executive Coaching and Therapy?

Supporting your mental health has taken on a more critical role in general; it is now more widely accepted to seek the help of a therapist or coach. It’s seen as a good thing, no longer a weakness but a strength. But it can be hard to decide which you may want to use to help you. It can be confusing to know the differences: Psychotherapist vs. Executive Coach. So let me break down these roles in a way that can help you choose what is currently right for you.

What is Psychotherapy?

In Psychotherapy, clients seek help with issues that require looking at more profound thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. The therapeutic process may include discussing the past to discover the source of the issues a patient brings up in session. Therapy can help you understand why you think, feel and act a certain way and how to change or improve it.

What is Executive Coaching?

In Executive Coaching, the work focuses on the present and future, occasionally looking to the past when needed. An Executive Coach primarily focuses on organizational and workplace issues, setting goals and using a flexible, collaborative, and progress-oriented approach. Coaching supports professional growth by promoting action in the client to achieve their goals.

What do they have in common?

Both therapists and coaches use their skills and experience to improve clients’ lives, help them achieve small goals and mirror their strengths and potential. Simply put, each profession works to improve the quality of life with the client. Therefore, clients should expect confidentiality and professionalism from both.

How do you know what type of support you need?

The best way to know if you need a therapist is if you ask yourself: Do my issues cause me a lot of anxiety, or am I feeling depressed? A therapist is best if you have problems that deeply affect your life. However, a coach is best suited for you when you are feeling dragged down by work, stuck in a rut and looking for help to progress or achieve your full potential.

Stephanie Tenhaeff, M.Psy., RP, BCC is a Registered Psychotherapist, Board Certified Executive Coach and founder of the Centre for Resilience. She specializes in building resiliency and wellness in individuals, teams and organizations. She uses practical strategies and brain-based techniques to deliver dynamic, transformational, and engaging sessions, training, and workshops.

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