Leaders Develop their People

Coaching or Therapy: which will get you in the air fastest?

Coach or Therapist? When you’re stuck; when you can’t break out of your rut, you might think that there is something wrong with you, something a therapist might have to tackle. But…

Say I dropped you into the cockpit of a 747 sitting on the tarmac at JFK and told you to fly it to Hong Kong. What would you do?

You could say “no,” of course, which is the way many of us respond to life’s challenges.

You could say, “Where are the keys?” and start pushing buttons and pulling levers until you’d figured out how to get the beast into the air.

You could jump into flight school, become a pilot, and fly the plane per FAA specs.

You could outsource it and hire a pilot to fly it for you.

Or you could call a shrink. Because, clearly, something must be wrong with you. Everyone else is flying their planes with ease and joyful abandon. You must be broken, not good enough, malformed at the very core of your being. Your failure to fly that plane means that something is so out of whack with your head that only a shrink can fix it. Once he’s cleaned up your mommy-issues, reconciled you to your drooping eyelids, and primped your self-esteem—you’ll be fixed, you’ll be able to totally dominate that plane; loop de loop it across the Pacific and drop it on the runway in Hong Kong with unruffled sangfroid.

Probably not.

Coach or Therapist: How To Live Life Well

The most difficult thing we will do during our lives is to live them so that we fill our days with joy, grace, and love. Living life well is tough, even when all our basic needs (food, shelter, safety) are taken care of. The craft of living is infinitely more difficult than flying jets. It takes training and practice to master the skills necessary to live well.

Which is to say, if you’re having difficulties piloting your life, there may be nothing “wrong” with you that a little advanced training can’t take care of. Too often, we mistake a lack of training for a therapeutic issue—a mental illness, neurosis, or trauma, which are legitimately the domain of a therapist.

This is the critical distinction between coach and therapist. Coaches are about skills and development; therapists are about healing. Don’t mistake a lack of skills for a mental health issue.

Coaches Boost Your Performance

Most likely, your parents were your first life coaches. They taught you to say please and thank you, to clean up your room, and do your homework. If you were lucky, they taught you—by example if not explicitly— how to communicate, how to assert yourself effectively when you wanted something, how to respond to bullies, and how to manage your anger. If you were really lucky, they taught you to accept yourself, to take risks, and to love.

But regardless of how good a job your folks did teaching you the art of living, there is always more to learn. If you are stuck, if you aren’t producing the results you want, if you want to live life with greater depth, joy, zest—whatever, then a life coach is likely your best bet.

The job of a life coach is to expand a person’s range. To increase a person’s skills and behaviors, to add tools to a person’s tool kit or songs to their repertoire.  With more tools, more skills, or more behaviors, a person can engage life with greater ease and effectiveness.

It is true, without exception, of every world-class athlete, that they have a coach. If you want to excel, if you want to reach higher, if you want to live life more deeply, work with a life coach.

Get Started Now

Coach or Therapist? Go for a coach if you are stuck, if you’d like to change your life path, or if you’d just like to sharpen up your life skills.  Get started today–contact me. The first session is free.