Coaching vs Therapy

*Disclaimer- This post represents my opinion and experience only.

One of the most common questions I get as a coach is:  What’s the difference between coaching and therapy?

The quick answer is:  therapy is usually about healing the past and coaching is about moving forward and creating your future.   That’s not to say that you can never talk about the past with a coach or that therapists don’t help clients move forward, but that’s a general idea of the difference between the two.

I’ve worked with both a coach and a therapist recently and both helped me tremendously.

When I first saw a coach, I felt fine mentally.  I was frustrated, overwhelmed, and indecisive, but I showed no signs of chronic depression.  I was happy overall, I had energy, healthy boundaries, and solid relationships.  I just could not seem to figure out what I wanted to do for a career.  I knew I wanted to make money and I wanted to enjoy my work.  And I did not want to teach anymore,  And that’s all I could say for sure. 

My coach helped me learn how to get clarity on what I wanted, notice my thought patterns, and develop a sense of self awareness.  She taught me how to change my thought patterns when they didn’t serve me and to use my internal guidance system, my intuition, so I didn’t feel the need to look outside of myself for answers. She also pointed out things that I didn’t notice in myself, held me accountable, and pushed me when I felt like staying safe.

All of these things helped me move forward with my career in a more powerful, confident way and with ease. 

But then, out of nowhere. – motherhood kicked my ass.  Okay, not really out of nowhere.  I did have nine months to get ready.  But instead of learning about how to prepare my body for giving birth, and reading up on breastfeeding and what to expect in the newborn phase, I designed the nursery, made a registry on Amazon, and watched the first three seasons of Call the Midwife.  And when my son finally arrived on April 25th 2018, I felt like my world turned upside down. 

There were a few unexpected complications during the birth and in first few weeks thereafter. Nothing too serious, thank God, but they shook me hard.  During the first months of motherhood, I just couldn’t relax.  I was perpetually scared and anxious.

At a certain point, I knew my feelings and behavior went beyond typical new mom struggles so I began to see a therapist who specialized in treating post-partum anxiety.

My therapist helped my process the circumstances of the birth.  She listened to me.  She validated my feelings.  Like my coach, she helped me create new thoughts and beliefs, except these thoughts were around something that had already happened.  Two years later, when I find those anxious thoughts creeping back in, I still reframe them using the techniques she taught me.

I find it fascinating that my coach and my therapist used similar techniques- noticing thoughts, pointing out misperceptions and self-imposed limitations. 

Our minds are so powerful, but our ability to evaluate their efficiency and effectiveness on our own is impossible.  We need the help of an objective outsider, be it a coach or therapist.  One of my favorite quotes about this is from Les Brown: 

“You can’t see the picture when you’re in the frame.”

Whether you choose to see a coach or a therapist, the skill of distancing yourself from your thoughts, building awareness around your thought patterns, and receiving objective feedback is invaluable and crucial for transformation to occur.

If you’ve had success with coaching or therapy, please leave your insights in the comments!


  1. Marisa M. on April 28, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    Great article!!! Its very informative and well written.

    • andreamullon on April 28, 2021 at 5:25 pm

      Thank you, Marisa!

  2. Antoinette on April 28, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    Very well written!

    • andreamullon on April 28, 2021 at 5:25 pm

      Thank you, Antoinette!

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