Differences between Psychology and Coaching

Differences between Psychology and Coaching

A frequent question asked by people who, in one way or another, have contact with the field of psychology, is about the differences between coaching and psychology. Or, what is the same, they wonder about the difference in the theoretical basis, roles and methods used by both professionals , psychologists and coaches.

Differences between psychology and coaching

To begin with, one could ask a basic question: how is coaching defined and what is it based on? And likewise, what are the characteristics that make both disciplines very different in their approaches?

Going deeper into both disciplines

Let’s start at the beginning.The coach (i.e. the professional coach) is an expert in communication skills who is looking for his client or coachee to be able to discover his goals in life. The coach is responsible for accompanying the client and doing everything necessary to ensure that these commitments and goals are achieved.

As we can see, Coaching is a technical methodology that applies concepts and theoretical bases of psychology to concrete cases and adapting them to the client’s requirements . However, the concept of coaching has managed to become a professional task not necessarily linked to people who have studied behaviour and mental processes in depth; that is, psychologists .

This disassociation of coaching from psychology has allowed people who do not have fundamental studies on behavior and techniques of psychology to offer coaching services without any more validation than some private training courses.

Psychology as a guarantee

A psychologist, on the other hand, is someone who has studied for years and in a rigorous and systematic way all the issues related to the human psyche , the development of aptitudes, and the techniques and methods that allow a person to improve in his field and to achieve his personal and professional goals. In addition to their regulated university training, psychologists must form part of an official professional association , thus accepting ethical and deontological guidelines common to all professionals in the sector, which guarantees the client the seriousness and confidence in the service provided.

The psychologist has specific training in communication and interview techniques , as well as greater knowledge of psychological processes, which allows him/her to be a better interpreter of the client’s personality and of his/her psychosocial and/or work situation.

There is even more reason to trust a psychologist rather than a coach with no psychology background. The psychologist has to his credit several methodological approaches and different techniques with which to treat the client, depending on his or her personality or goals. He can advise and give guidelines for action, train different skills, and in short, intervene directly on the client’s needs.

The non-psychological coaches follow a different methodology based on suggesting and enabling the client’s life based on conversation and the Socratic method , but cannot intervene directly as they are neither empowered nor have the resources to do so.

Coaching that promotes itself as something that it is not

Many psychology professionals complain about the way coaching professionals are promoted without a university education. Coaching, since it is not governed by any professional association that guarantees the good practice of its members, has absolute freedom to use questionable promotion and marketing methods, and can apply excessive fees that do not correspond to the quality of service or the preparation of the coach.

Therefore, if you are looking for a quality service that can be adapted to your needs and objectives, it is preferable that you contact a psychology professional who also has knowledge of coaching .

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