If you need coaching, you will benefit from therapy, and if you need therapy, you will benefit from coaching. Do you think true or false?
And how do you choose one or the other? This is a question I get a lot, so here is my two cents, the way I view this and how I apply this in my changework practice.
On coaching, therapy, hiking, changework…
The image I find talks the most about it in a simple way is hiking.
So you want to go hiking.
Therapy is like helping you get prepared for the hike
First you need to prepare your bag, right? Find a nice backpack, fill it the best way you can, prepare yourself the best you can for the hike. And this would be therapy.
Make sure you don’t have rocks in your backpack that you’ve been carrying along for so long, you don’t even realize they are here. Choosing the best outfits, repairing whatever needs to be repaired and so on, so that the day of your hike you are prepared and in the best condition.
Coaching is like helping you hike to the top of your mountain
Doing the hike itself, knowing where which mountain you want to climb, going to the top the mountain, finding the best way, walking in the most efficient way…
Helping you to get to the top, this is more like coaching.
If therapy is essentially about who you are being, coaching is a lot more about what you do and how you do it.
Two kinds of approaches to help
Whether we are talking about coaching or therapy, there are two main approaches to helping people.
Done for you – The carer
In this approach, the helper would pack your backpack for you in the best way, give you the map with all the indications for the hike, etc.
Done with you – The facilitator
In this approach, the helper would guide you, through different methods, to pack your bag, find your way, etc.
My personal approach
I believe that you have the resources you need, and if you don’t have them, you can develop them. So I’m really much in favor of the facilitator, the done with you approach.
Even when I was doing only physical therapy, I was always giving back the power to my clients and at the very least giving some exercises to do in between sessions to help the process. I will avoid the done for you path, unless it is absolutely needed and helping to remove a block to much more important resources.
Now regarding the coaching vs therapy thing, I actually believe we all need a little bit of both and that instead of being opposite, they are complementary.
Coaching and therapy aren’t opposite, they are complementary
Most of the time, we need a goal to get to some directions, some intentions. We also need to get in the best shape we can.
When I say change who you are being, I am not saying you are broken, or a bad person. We need to end with these stereotypes that says that put shame on therapy.
You are a great person. But if what you’ve been doing all these years is not working, maybe never really, maybe not anymore, maybe it’s time for change. And just changing what you do might not be enough.
Note that I am talking about who you ARE BEING, not who you are. There is nothing wrong with who you are, but you might not embody the best version of yourself.
That is what is at the base of what I call: “Doing from being”. Look at your state, look at who you are being in this situation and adjust this. And observe how you begin to act differently. And maybe you will still need to adjust your actions, maybe they will completely adjust in the direction you wanted, almost like magic. Actually, I believe this is the real magic.
So going back to my imageb of hiking, I believe we need both:
Why bother getting the best backpack configuration if you never go, go for a hike anyway? On the contrary, you can hike with a less than optimal backpack, but frankly, it will be so much easier and effective with an optimal backpack.
So why not do that first? And of course, it’s not that black and white, most of the times, it’s a kind of rhythm between the two.
You go on the hike and then realize, oh, OK, I thought I had a great backpack, but this is not working, so I need to change it. So you slow down your hike, you take care of this, and then you go back to the hike, and so on and so forth.
In my practice, what I see most working is this kind of back and forth between the two and that’s also what I love doing most.
So if you like this approach, I’ve got one on one slots opening right now.
🌟️ I’ve got two slots opening for an ongoing support for a package of a few sessions over a few months.
💥️ I am also opening slots for single sessions, which I was not doing before. Different times, new solutions, in the Covid era we need different supports. I don’t know how long this offer will stand, but for now… It’s on! One “in the moment” session to help you get back on track, break through, whatever you need in the moment to not only keep going, but thrive.
If you need some help and like my style, you can book your sessions here.
Another take on being from doing and how it shows up in sessions
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Stay tuned for the next episode, à bientôt. 😉
(Intro music for the podcast: “Tiny people”, by Alexei De Bronhe )