My personal experience working with both a life coach & therapist.
Both a life coach and therapist are important to self improvement, so my goal is not to portray the two as in competition with each other. Please keep in mind, this article is based off my own personal experience.
I’ve worked with my therapist going on 2+ years and I worked with my life coach for about six months. A life coach is a costly investment — definitely a worthwhile investment — but costly.
When working with a life coach, be prepared that you will have pre work and you will typically be assigned some homework at the end of the session to complete prior to your next session. Let’s say you want to work on self care. Your coach will ask you:
- What does self care look like for you?
- What are some ways you can incorporate self care into your daily/weekly/monthly routine?
- Imagine you practiced self care on a daily basis, how would you feel?
Be prepared that your coach will ask you to make a commitment to change. Your coach will hold you accountable to these action items. I typically felt excited for my coaching sessions and I felt ready to take on the world afterwards. I felt energized, I felt confident, I felt supported, I felt prepared. But it was work — I knew I had to have my homework completed & because it was expensive and coming from my own pocket, I knew I needed to take the time to put the EFFORT into the work.
We all want to change. We all want to lose weight, eat healthier, be kinder, make more money, have a healthier relationship, heal our attachment style. But do we all want to do the work? We say we do, but when it comes to “putting our money where our mouth is”…. that’s the hard part. That’s the part where people get fearful — fearful of failure & fearful of success. Fear of breaking your routine, current habits, fear of your identity changing. Because, what if you change the things you want to change? That requires change in your life. It could mean your career changes, you realize you need to leave a relationship, you realize you need to cut some people out of your life. The work is where it becomes difficult. And that’s what a coach does — they make you do the work.
Therapy is typically covered by insurance and more frequent. My coaching sessions were 3 sessions a month, whereas I saw my therapist weekly. Therapy, for me, has been a really important part of my recovery and healing. Through therapy, I’ve untangled A LOT from my past. I have never been more honest with anyone then I have been with my therapist. My therapist knows my deepest darkest secrets, she knows what I’m most ashamed of. She knows everything about me — things I would not tell another soul, feelings I have about my friends or family members. Feelings I am ashamed of having — jealousy, anger, resentment. Sometimes I need to take a couple of weeks off from therapy… it causes me to analyze every aspect of my life and it sometimes it’s really painful.
Sometimes, after a therapy session, I can barely make it to work. I can barely make it through the rest of my day. I leave therapy feeling depleted, exhausted, tired, and sometimes sad. Truly, I think I’ve cried every single therapy session for the past several months. BUT, I see this as a positive change. Before, I needed to cry but I wouldn’t let it out. I would hold it in, I would let it fester, I would let the secrecy feed my anxiety and low self worth.
Crying is a sign of strength. Sometimes, I’ll start a session feeling fine… start talking…words come out… next thing you know, I’m crying. I didn’t even know I had to release that. I didn’t even know I had to cry. I didn’t even know that particular topic was bothering me so much. That’s why I think therapy is so important. It’s like an emotional detox — you rid yourself of the emotions, thoughts, feelings that in your head, that you feel but don’t express. Get that shit out, for real. Otherwise, it festers and builds and hardens you.
In complete transparency, I worked with a therapist and coach at the same time and I sometimes felt mind fucked. I wondered — do I actually suffer from depression and anxiety or am I just mentally weak? When I felt depressed, I wouldn’t succumb to it — I would tell myself to be mentally strong and keep pushing myself (David Goggins mentality). When I felt sad, I would try to shift my energy, I wouldn’t let myself feel sad. This happened until I crashed and could barely get out of bed, because I had been pushing my feelings down and ignoring them. Be mindful. Your therapist & your life coach are not Gods and do not always hold the answer. If either offer advice or perspective that doesn’t vibe with you, trust your gut.
Both are important. Therapy helps you heal, therapy creates a safe place to express yourself, to continue healing, a supportive environment to untangle your thoughts. Life coaches help you find your authenticity, imagine & build the life you’ve always dreamed of, help you overcome your limited self beliefs, partner with you to create baby steps in the direction you want to head.
Both serve a purpose & I encourage EVERYONE to try both. Finding the right therapist & coach is like dating (which we all hate to do) — but it’s important to find someone you vibe with. That’s the only way the work you put in, will have any output. Always happy to talk through this, always happy to answer any questions & help you find someone you vibe with.