The difference between a business coach and a therapist

I recently started seeing a therapist.

I wish I could say that I had an exciting or unusual reason to see a therapist, but it was the same-old female business owner cliche: I’d been working hard in my business and working hard for my family and putting myself last, every single time. As the breadwinner for my family, I put enormous pressure on myself to perform. I’m constantly balancing my business’s needs with my family’s needs…which leaves very little leftover for my personal needs.

I talk alot about how my business supports my lifestyle. I pick my kids up from school, I make sure to be involved in their after school activities, I don’t work on weekends or evenings. I have no problem blocking off my calendar when one of my kids is home sick from school. But taking a few hours off from work to get a massage? That’s much harder.

Even choosing to go to a therapist felt like a luxury. Spending the money, taking the time to drive there, blocking off my morning —> all of that just in service of myself.

AND OH MY GOD…therapy is amazing!

I’ve never thought of myself as a “therapy” person. It seemed like therapy was for “sick” people and my challenges didn’t rise to the level of requiring a therapist, ie, I wasn’t “sick” enough. It took me some time to see that while I’m very successful in some areas of my life, there are areas of my life where I need help. And successful people KNOW when to ask for help.

“But I don’t need therapy, I need a business coach”

Does that sound like something you’ve thought? Me too. That kept me from seeing a therapist for years. But that thought is dangerous. I’ve had awesome coaches where we dealt with some of my personal crap in pursuit of making me a better CEO. While the personal stuff might be brought to the surface via business coaching, it wasn’t fully resolved. You can absolutely build a solid, scalable business while having personal crap (every successful entrepreneur you know has done this). But business coaching is not designed to be therapy. And there is so much more to a happy and full life than just being successful at business owner (believe me! I’m living proof 😉

So I should just skip business coaching and get therapy instead?”

Hold on! That is not what I’m saying. If you’re going to therapy and wondering why you’re not getting BIG business realizations or why your income hasn’t skyrocketed…it’s because that is not what therapy is for.

Business coaching and therapy are very different and if you’re not getting what you’re looking for from the resource you have now, you might not be getting the right kind of support.

Therapy is about exploration; business coaching is about results. Business coaching should be tied to some kind of metric: more money, more time, more clients, more traffic. Therapy (in most cases) is meant to help you grow as a person and lead to a more fulfilling life.

The problem is when business coaches start acting as therapists. I’ve had quite a few clients tell me recently that they’re tired of business coaches that act like cheerleaders or focus on feelings instead of dollar signs. That they’re investing in a business coach but they can’t figure out what the ROI is.

Remember, business coaches are not meant to make you feel good or shower you with love even when you procrastinate / think small / make excuses / refuse to raise your rates. I’m all about providing support and encouragement, and helping with mindset shifts but if my client hasn’t made more money / gotten more clients / seen positive results within 90 days, I’m going to be the first person to call her out on it.

Now it’s your turn —

What kind of metrics do you use to evaluate your business coach?

How many of you have a business coach and a therapist?

What do you think the difference is?


PS: Whenever you’re ready, here's one way my team and I can help you grow your business this year:

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