Life Coaching and Psychotherapy- Differences and Similarities

People often ask me what the difference is between a life coach and a therapist. I hope the following helps you better understand each practice.



  • Can diagnose you if indicated
  • Has the ability to work with people who are not functioning well in their daily lives- in deep pain or engaging in risky behavior
  • Strongly looks at the past, unpacks experiences and processes emotions
  • Helps you gain insight around past experiences, which you can pull from in the present and future
  • Works with people who may not be ready to transform
  • Works from a clinical and theoretical standpoint
  • Held to a board of state regulation and ethics if licensed
  • Has the ability to help provide you with potential mental health insurance coverage for sessions if you choose to- you must have a diagnosis to use insurance
  • Ethics indicate that psychotherapists should not work directly with people they know well- friends and family

Life Coach

  • Helps you remove limiting beliefs
  • Has the ability to work with people who are functioning in their daily lives- may be experiencing mild mental health symptoms or areas of struggle
  • Strongly future, motivation and action plan oriented
  • Helps you create new patterns, which promotes new feelings in the present and future
  • Works with people who are ready for quick change transform
  • Works primarily from personal experience
  • Not held to any board or regulating entity, and do have professional ethics in the field
  • Does not have the ability to work with your insurance and allows you the freedom to not be diagnosed
  • Free to work with anyone who feels they may benefit from their services- friends and family included


  • Both operate as wonderful listeners

  • Both take time to understand your goals and desires

  • Both can give homework between sessions

  • Both can pull from mind, body, spirit orientations

  • Both help promote growth

  • Both operate as a part of a support system

  • Both commit to a confidentiality agreement with clients

I hope this helps you better understand the differences and similarities of life coaching and psychotherapy. During my first phone consultation or in person session with you I will help you decide which path makes the most sense for you.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me!