How are coaching, consulting and psychotherapy different?

As a coach my focus is on the future—where the client wants to go, the possibilities, and the opportunities—unlike psychotherapy, which often goes into the past, where diagnosing and healing emotional wounds is at the heart of the relationship. Both are extremely important and although emotional healing is not the purpose of my work, it can be an outcome.

In the context of what is appropriate in a coaching relationship, I have a clear understanding of what I'm trained to do. I am acutely aware of what is beyond my expertise. Consequently, there are times when I advise a potential client to seek the services of a psychotherapist.  In fact, I frequently work with clients who are simultaneously seeking therapeutic help while working with me.

When I'm hired as a “consultant,” however, people pay me to do their thinking. And often they want me to find solutions for them, but I never try to “find” a solution for my coaching clients. Instead, my role is to ask the powerful questions that help lead them to their own answers.