What Is a Coach and How Do They Differ From a Psychologist?

What Is a Coach and How Do They Differ From a Psychologist?

Last update: 04 September, 2016

What is a coach? The word coach, means “trainer.” A coach is someone who has prepared themselves in order to motivate and share their techniques with others, to help them others reach their goals and dreams. Soccer coaches, for example, help players increase and enhance their skills.

I think it’s important to analyze the following: “A coach can make a soccer player shine, and help him develop the skills he already has, but can he do anything for a soccer player who doesn’t play the game well?” The same can be said about other situations, depending on the problem at hand. If a person has the tools they need to reach their goals, a coach can help them excel, and use their potential effectively. However, if the person doesn’t have the necessary tools or doesn’t believe in himself, a coach won’t be as helpful as a psychologist, who has a deeper understanding of the mind and its inner-workings. 

In saying this, I am in no way attempting to detract from coaching, since there are many professional coaches who have a gift for helping and training people. Each person must figure out what works best for them, depending on the situation they are facing.

Why the meaning of the word “coach” is important

A coach is a great option for when you’re feeling good, but also seemingly stuck, without knowing which path to follow in order to achieve your dreams. It will be a relationship of equals, in which you are well aware of what’s happening to you, of the goal you wish to achieve, and in which you receive guidance, motivation and companionship. But don’t expect them to answer your existential doubts or resolve your emotional conflicts, because they focus primarily on the present and on how to use your talents and abilities in the most effective and efficient manner possible.  

What’s the difference between a coach and a psychologist, and why is it important that we understand it?

A psychologist is the way to go if you’re not feeling well, if your emotions are getting the best of you or if you notice your health beginning to decline in any form. A psychologist will make inquiries that will help you to improve and get to know yourself better. It’s complicated to explain what a psychologist does because there are so many different kinds and it depends on the issue at hand.

There are psychologists who focus on the past, some who focus on the present, and some who focus on both. There are also people who, aside from studying to be psychologists, have also trained to be coaches. A relationship with a psychologist will, in most cases, be a doctor-patient relationship, in which you are not only seeking someone to help you improve, but also someone who can help you get to know yourself better and also assist in solving your problems.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind: in the last few years, the number of people who make a living off of coaching services has increased significantly. So, if you decide to get a coach, be sure that it’s someone who has the necessary training to call themselves one. There are many people who pose as professional coaches even when their training is truly scarce; the minute they see an open door that will lead them to making some extra income, they offer their “services” to the public, no matter how low the quality.

Being clear on the definition of a coach will help you to identify and differentiate the professionals. If you choose to see a psychologist, be sure that they are credentialed, have ample experience, and that they have subsequently completed relevant courses and degrees. Due to psychology being such a global career, it’s necessary that the person continue to train and eventually specialize in something that’s a bit more concrete.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.