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Coach vs. Therapist: What Is the Difference?

Do you need a business coach or therapist? How do you identify what you need most right now to grow personally and professionally? You are often torn between managing personal development and professional growth. Most often when seeking personal growth or healing, entrepreneurs will seek out the help of a therapist. In the case of professional growth, a coach may be more beneficial. However, there is a fine line between coaching and therapy. Both fields share the common goal of fostering positive change in individuals’ lives, yet they maintain very distinct boundaries.

The fine line between a coach and therapist can be a bit blurry. It can leave you wondering what is most needed in your current season. To answer this question you need to know the fundamental differences between these roles and the unique skills and approaches that each profession brings to the table.

The Fundamental Differences Between a Coach and a Therapist

Therapy focuses on understanding, resolving and healing emotional trauma and pain carried through from the past. Treatment plans will most often consist of identifying mental health conditions and reducing symptoms.

Coaching is focused on the present and future to unlock their potential and enhance their overall performance in life and business. A coach will cheer for you and celebrate your wins! A coach will help you see your blind spots that are holding you back from taking the next step. They will motivate and encourage you to move forward. As a small business owner, your business coach will help you clarify your long-term vision and short term goals to improve your business growth, development, revenue and profit.

Coach or Therapist? The Unique Skills and Approaches

Coaches and therapists bring a diverse set of skills and approaches to their practices. Therapists are trained to delve into deep emotional issues, using therapeutic techniques to help individuals navigate their internal struggles. Coaches, on the other hand, excel at goal setting, accountability, mindset and motivation. Most often coaches can help you uncover your blindspots and employ leadership growth by optimizing your overall performance in your business.

While therapy explores the “why” behind behaviors and accommodates a plan to treat symptoms, coaches excel in the “how” of creating actionable plans for success. The distinct skill sets of each profession cater to different aspects of personal and professional growth.

3. Determining the Right Fit for Business Owners:

It’s essential for business owners to assess their specific challenges and goals to make an informed decision to tend to personal and professional development. If you are struggling to decide whether to hire a coach or a therapist in this season, the answer lies in recognizing whether you need healing from the past so you can overcome the blocks that hold you back, or motivation and strategies for future growth.

If your current challenges revolve around managing stress, improving communication, or enhancing leadership skills, a coach may be a great help for you. However, if anxiety or unresolved trauma is hindering personal or professional growth, getting a therapist is a critical next step. As a business coach, I believe you could benefit from having both on your team.


Small business owners and entrepreneurs often find themselves wearing multiple hats and juggling countless responsibilities. None of you are in search of additional appointments to fill an already full schedule. Because you are already so busy, you are most likely to put your mental health and business growth on the back burner.

While coaches guide individuals toward achieving their goals and optimizing performance, therapists offer support in navigating the deeper emotional challenges. The real power lies in recognizing that these roles can actually complement each other by fostering a holistic approach to personal and business growth. By integrating the benefits of both coaching and therapy, you can experience lasting change and receive comprehensive support on your journey to success. Ultimately, the collaboration between a coach and a therapist creates a powerful synergy that addresses the full spectrum of healing and growth personally and professionally.

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