I do both, but it is important to distinguish between the two as different rules apply.
Here is a good breakdown that describes the differences:
As a coach, I am a mentor, an educator. I help you:
- reach your life goals (improved relationships, weight loss, getting over a bad breakup, etc.)
- guide and support you in making changes
- and assist with finding resources
I use professional tools and techniques (such as tapping) that I have deemed effective and efficient, along with skills acquired through my life experiences.
Coaching is appropriate for individuals that I consider the “worried well”. This means that you might be facing a lot of stress in your life, maybe experienced a difficult life event such as divorce, or are having a particular physical health problem that you would like support with while you work with your physician.
Many times these issues are related to childhood messages that you have internalized and are holding on to as an adult. We might go back and just assess where these messages came from and how we can change your current thinking.
As a coach, I can reach a wider audience. There are no specific “state” rules and I am free to serve anyone, anywhere. There is also no real licensing board for coaching, so someone can attend a coaching program and get a certificate, but even that is not required. There is a code of ethics that every responsible coach should follow, just because they are a professional. But again, this is not really monitored.
Confidentiality should be important in a coaching relationship. However, when you choose to use Skype for sessions, for example, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. There is no specific rule, though, against using Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts, etc. for sessions. And many people prefer this which is fine, as long as all parties are aware of the risks.
Coaches also are not bound by HIPAA compliance law which pretty much states that we can’t share your personal information without your written and informed consent. (Not that I would violate HIPAA rules in a coaching relationship anyway, but some may.)
As a therapist, I can provide “treatment” per se, and can assist with more complex issues. I help with:
- trauma (adult and childhood)
- emotional issues that are creating significant life impairments
I can use more involved therapeutic interventions such as EMDR to help you in a much quicker fashion with trauma-related and emotional issues.
Counseling and therapy is a strictly regulated profession and I am bound to state rules. This means that I had to obtain the proper education, and take the state exam to become fully licensed. It also means that I am only legally allowed to provide treatment to people in the state of which I am licensed.
I am bound to follow HIPAA law and cannot share your information without your written consent or court order. I also must uphold confidentiality rules, therefore will never use Skype or Facetime for a therapy session. VSee and Regroup Therapy are two platforms I use that are HIPAA compliant and encrypted. I try to use VSee no matter what, whether we have a coaching or counseling relationship.
Ultimately, you have to decide which relationship you think is best for you. I can help you determine this if you are having trouble making a choice.