October 24, 2017

Coaching? Therapy? DIY Self-Help?

What’s the right intervention?

You’re in a situation. You know something’s not working. You’re feeling stuck and hitting a wall. Frustrating. So, what are your options? Seek a coach? Seek a therapist? Try one more thing? How do you decide?

It depends.

What’s your goal?

If your goal is to…well, meet a goal (find meaningful work; increase your confidence; finish that screenplay), then coaching could be the right path. The International Coach Federation defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. When you’re ready and committed to a goal or to a change, and your own endeavors aren’t working, coaching could make all the difference. Coaching is all about guiding you in building a bridge between where you are and where you want to be. It’s forward-oriented and experimental.

If your goal is to heal, then therapy might be the right path. Therapy involves treating depression, anxiety, and/or other mental disorders, or helping people cope with hardships in life. According to the American Psychological Association, psychotherapy is a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between an individual and a psychologist. Through psychotherapy, psychologists help people of all ages live happier, healthier and more productive lives. Therapy as often as not focuses on your past.

Both processes involve working with someone who is neutral and radically nonjudgmental. That’s pretty cool. There’s a good bit of overlap in processes—cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) both include skills-building, for example, and DBT includes a ‘coaching’ component. And certainly, people do often heal through coaching, and people do often meet their goals through therapy. But at heart, their purposes and techniques are different.

So, what’s your goal?

And what about DIY self-help?

This is a tougher one. Let’s be clear: there’s plenty of good (and bad!…) information out there for the taking. Free, abundant, and at your fingertips. Everywhere. Blogs, podcasts, LinkedIn articles, Facebook Live—you name it, it’s there for you.

If your own endeavors are working, more power to you. The tools and truths are out there.

When, however, your own endeavors aren’t working, then coaching or therapy could make all the difference. Both coaching and therapy guide you in building a bridge between where you are and where you want to be.

Up next!

Nay-saying the nay-sayers: hiring a coach or a therapist even though [mom/BFF/spouse] disapproves.

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