What’s the Difference Between a Coach, a Mentor, and a Therapist?

Recently I was at an event and someone asked me “What do you do?”

Excitedly I said, “I am a coach!”

I had his attention.

“That’s awesome! What kind of team do you coach?”

This was my big moment, I moved in a little closer and said “I coach Team Human Kind.”

He had no idea what to say but I had a few minutes to explain. I am a Relationship Coach. I help people to create outcomes for themselves by setting goals, intentions, and accountability. Coaching is action-based and focused on the future.

Now you may be asking yourself how this differs from Therapy.

A therapist helps to heal the hurt from the past. They will delve into the dysfunction of relationships and your past and resolve any issues that may be preventing you from moving forward. Therapists are medically trained to help with psychological issues and help people to function in a heathier way. A therapist can make a diagnosis and give advice.

A coach is typically involved with a client that is looking toward the future. We work with specific action oriented outcomes helping them initiate change on a personal or professional level to reach what it is they consider to be their objective. We do not offer advice nor do we offer medical opinions unless we feel a client should speak with a medical professional.

A mentor is someone who advises based on their own expertise and experience. They give advice and guide and may also coach. As a coach we do not advise, our primary focus is our client’s agenda. We provide support and help create structure based on what the client’s wants and needs are.

Consultants can differ but typically a consultant will be called in to determine what the issue is. They will either offer suggestions on how to fix the problem or implement a solution. A coach on the other hand gives the client the means to discover the solution within themselves by providing them with the tools necessary for self-discovery.

A sports coach! I love this one because I am a huge football fan! A sports coach is an expert in their field. They know what you have to do and when you have to do it. They strive for excellence, precision, dedication. Their focus is solely on their team or an individual. A sports coach controls the players with calls, rules and regulations. A coach, whether it be a relationship, sports, corporate, health, wellness etc. coach only ever has the client’s agenda in the forefront of its mind. As coaches we know that no one knows our clients like they know themselves.

So what do you want to look for in a coach? Look for a coach that is accredited, experienced, and is a good fit your your needs.

Do your research. Many coaches will offer a thirty minute free consultation, take it!

iPEC Certified Professional Coach
Energy Leadership Index - Master Practitioner
COR.E Wellbeing Dynamics Specialist
ED Treating Information Center
International Coach Federation
Universal Life Church - Minister