Is there any relationship between Life coaching and mental health?
OR
Are they entirely different?
Can a Life coach efficiently handle mental issues?
Should you invest in Life coaching?
The aforementioned questions and the ones you are probably thinking of are the reason for this article.
If you read till the end, you will get satisfactory answers to the posed questions.
Let’s start by understanding what life coaching entails.

What is life coaching?

Life coaching does not address mental health issues directly rather it helps one push through to their desired goals in life.
Life coaching will enable you to discover the obstacles holding you down and how to overcome them while mental health has to do with therapy.
One can undergo life coaching training within a few weeks or months unlike training to become a mental health therapist that takes a long time with formal education.
More importantly, life coaching is not therapy.

Therapy which is also called psychotherapy or counselling involves a long term process whereby a healthcare expert works with a client to help examine his past traumatic issues and resolve them to achieve a stable and happy state. Therapy is introspective.
To understand more about life coaching and mental health, let’s look at the differences between life coaches and therapists.

Differences between life coaches and therapists

There are similar issues that life coaches and therapists can help their clients resolve. However, the work of the life coaches is different from that of the therapist.
See the differences below;

  1. The goals: Life coaching is centred around actions and results. The goal of life coaching is to help you navigate through obstacles. Life coaches do make use of key performance indicators and specific behavioural outcomes to measure their client’s success. They will lead you to the road of achieving your dreams, help you set SMART goals and provide accountability. On the other hand, mental health therapists help their clients understand and explore their subconscious and unconscious mind. The aim is to attain a deeper level of understanding of behaviour and patterns that account for overall mental health.
  1. The framework: Life coaching sessions are structured, focused and aim at actionable steps and visible growth. Therapy is guided by the client and it’s a bit more unstructured. It takes a longer time. Clients can even commit to therapy sessions for a lifetime, unlike life coaching which doesn’t last for a lifetime. Life coaches help their clients develop processes and skills needed for them to coach themselves. More so, life coaches do not diagnose their clients rather the therapists do that to identify the illness and health conditions of their clients so they can be treated clinically.
  1. The focus: Life coaching focuses on helping the client identify and describe troubling behaviours so they can work on them. On the other hand, a therapist examines the client’s past to enable him to understand his current behaviours. In other words, life coaches focus on “how” to work towards a goal while therapists focus on “why” certain behavioural patterns occur. In as much as life coaching is different from mental health therapy, there still exists at least a similarity

Similarities between life coaching and therapy

The major similarity between life coaching and therapy is that they both work towards making the client experience a positive change in their lives and become more productive.
Notwithstanding that therapists examine and treat clients from a healthcare perspective, not all therapy clients are ill.

Some healthy people go for both life coaching and therapy services.
Even though one can go for both the services of a life coach and therapist, there is a need to know the appropriate situation to meet with a life coach or a therapist.

How do I know if I need a coach or therapist?

Imagine a situation where you are to compete with someone in a marathon race, your opponent is fit health-wise while you, on the other hand, has a health challenge.
It’s only a wise decision for you to visit a doctor first to examine you and make the right prescription so you can recover while your opponent at this point has nothing to do with a doctor, what he needs to do is to consult an expert in athletics to guide him on how to win the competition.
The analogy above can be likened to a therapist and a coach whereby the doctor is the therapist and the expert in athletics the coach.

The doctor has to get you to a healthy state to enable you to continue with your life pursuit while a coach guides you leveraging his knowledge and expertise to reach your goal.
In essence, your situation determines who you are to consult.
Wait a minute, do you know that we had indirectly discussed how to know if you need a coach or therapist?

Yes, you do!
Just scroll up a bit to where we discussed the differences between life coaches and therapists. Read through it again, you will gain useful insights that will help you know when to be on the lookout for a coach or therapist.
In summary, let me give you again the highlights of what a coach and a therapist can help you with

how can a life coach help you?

A life coach can guide you to;

  1. Develop a growth mindset
  2. Set, clarify and achieve your goals.
  3. Improve your communication skill
  4. Create and work on your business plan
  5. Develop a business idea, start and scale it.
  6. Acquire financial freedom and independence
  7. Strike a balance between your work and personal life

How can a therapist help you?

A therapist can help you in different ways such as;

  1. Examining the reason your past relationships either personal or business went south
  2. help you overcome anxiety and depression so you can function well at what you do and become more productive.
  3. Heal and recover from previous traumas
  4. Work you through survival and maintaining your sanity in the case of the death of a loved one or divorce.

Feel free to send in your thoughts and contributions in the comment section.