How to Know the Difference Between Therapy and Coaching

How to Know the Difference Between Therapy and Coaching

By Jenny Ernest & Joelle Rabow Maletis


What is Therapy?

Therapy can be defined differently by people based on what it means to them, what it is to them, and how they use it themselves. It’s the understanding of one’s self in relationship with self as well as others. According to Psychology Today, therapy is defined as a form of treatment designed to alleviate emotional distress, process experiences, develop coping skills and strategies as well as improve mental health problems. Psychotherapy also entails analyzing and obtaining insight into life choices and difficulties faced by individuals, couples, or families in their past, present or perceived future. Therapy or counseling is conducted by trained professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, social workers, or licensed counselors.


What is Coaching?

Coaching is defined by the International Coaching Community as a short term solution for helping a person change by assisting them in change implementation. A coach supports, cheers on, and guides you in becoming who you want to be!  Coaches help build awareness and empower choices that lead to change making. This allows you to unlock their full potential as well as maximize their level of performance. There are many different types of professional coaching that one can seek out. 

  • Business Coaching:

A business coach is normally an expert entrepreneur or executive who knows how to grow a successful business. They share their experience to help other business owners reach their goals, assist and guide a person in running a business, and help them clarify the vision of their business. The goal of a business coach is to take a business from where it is now to where the business owner wants it to be by assisting the owner in goal planning and keep them accountable so that they achieve success. 

  • Life Coaching: 

A life coach helps people make improvements in their lives to achieve greater satisfaction by assisting their clients in improving their careers, relationships, and day-to-day lives. Life coaches help clarify goals, identify obstacles in the way of goals, and come up with strategies to overcome each obstacle by focusing on a client’s unique skills and gifts. By helping clients make the most of their strengths, life coaches provide the assistance necessary to achieve long term change.

  • Executive Coaching:

Executive coaching is a series of one-on-one interactions meant to provide managers or executives with the knowledge they need to better themselves and become more effective leaders. The goal of this coaching is to improve the team leadership performance, emotional intelligence, and self-awareness of the executive. Through executive coaching, leaders are also taught how to increase levels of leader resilience and develop strategic thinking skills.

  • Career Coaching:

The goal of career coaching is to help clients make decisions about their career path by giving them the tools to identify their next step. A career coach helps clients with their method and mindset to make smart professional decisions and find which opportunities exist, what they are good at, and what they want out of a career. By assessing a client’s current career status, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and creating specific objectives and a clear plan of action, career coaches help clients organize themselves and work towards their goals. 


While therapy and coaching have similarities regarding obtaining personal goals and developing life skills, they serve different purposes. Therapy focuses on mental health, life choices, relationships, trauma, familial history, behaviors and emotions; whereas coaching is a form of support that helps one change or grow in order to achieve specific life goals.


Working with CFO’S and other CEO’S, Joelle provides one-on-one coaching to help build your own career, executive and business skills in addition to her therapeutic work at JRM&A. She can help with career development, strategic management, and even well-being in the workplace by creating an individualized plan based on a client’s needs and desires.


If you are interested in learning more about Joelle’s coaching or therapy services, you can call the clinic at 650-386-6753 or email

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Business Coaching: 

Life Coach: 

Executive Coaching:

Executive Coaching: 

Career Coaching:

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