One of the most common questions that gets posed to us about our services is, “What is the difference between therapy and coaching?”
What a good question. The best way I can describe my take on it is with an analogy.
Imagine that you’re in deep water and you're having a hard time keeping your head above the surface.
You’re overwhelmed, flustered, frustrated, anxious, ashamed, scared…you name it. You’re struggling.
Then a boat drives up and someone tosses you an inflatable life ring.
Ah, thank heavens. You grab it and you can keep your head above water and stop struggling for air.
Eventually, however, the ring deflates, and you’re back to struggling.
That’s a bit like therapy. Therapy helps you to cope with the deep, rough waters of life. It gives you some air.
But the coping mechanism is good for a short period of time, or for that situation only, and then you’re back to struggling.
Now imagine the same scenario. You’re in deep water, struggling to keep your head above the surface. You’re feeling overwhelmed, flustered, frustrated, anxious, ashamed, scared, etc.
Then someone swims up to you. Maybe you grab them for support. Maybe you’re just grateful to have someone in the water with you.
Then they teach you to swim.
They show you how to move your arms and legs, to use your breath, to manage your emotions so that you can swim in the deep, rough water. They stick with you and help you out until you can swim too.
That’s a bit like coaching. Coaching empowers you to handle the deep, rough waters that are an inevitable part of life. Coaching shows you how to handle it with a bit more grace, a bit more ease, and a bit more skill. Coaching shows you the weather patterns and tells you how they affect the waters. Coaching helps you set your direction in which you want to swim. It shows you how to get there, how to navigate the rocks, and then lets you do it.
Coaching doesn’t take you out of the water. Coaching teaches you how to find purpose and meaning in the waves. Coaching even helps you enjoy the swim.
I have absolutely nothing against therapy. It’s incredibly important. This world needs life rings. This world needs the people who throw life rings. People who are drowning need life rings.
I’m just not a therapist. Sometimes I wish I was. But other times I’m grateful that I’m not because this world needs swimming instructors too.
And the nice thing about learning to swimming is you’re less afraid of the water.
Do you feel like you're struggling in the deep, rough waters of life? Do you need someone to throw you a life ring? Or do you finally want to learn how to swim?
Here’s to Conquering Stress,
The Stress Experts
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Practical Strategies to Deal with Daily Stressors
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