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Are You Focused on The Right Solution?

Are You Focused on The Right Solution?

Keri, a therapist with an MSW degree and state certification who specializes in teen problems’ recently consulted me to help her transition into being a coach specializing in motivating troubled teens.

“Why do you want to change?” I asked her. “What will be the difference between your coaching services and the counseling services you provide now?”

Keri took a moment to respond and then, hesitantly, confessed, “I’m just not making enough money as a therapist.”

“Why do you think that is?” I asked.

“Well, the insurance companies pay so little, it’s hardly worth my time,” she responded, “and I have very few clients whose parents pay me outside some insurance coverage.”

“Couldn’t you just refuse to take some insurance coverages, and build your therapy practice on people who are willing to pay your rates?” I pressed.

“I guess so,” she conceded.

“If you could make the kind of money you want to make being a therapist, would you still want to be a coach?” I asked.

I guess I’d be a lot happier as a therapist,” she admitted, “but I still like the idea of coaching.”

“I know you’ve learned there are differences between coaching and therapy, Keri, but what would be the difference in your work?” I asked.

Keri’s response was immediate. She was clear on what she didn’t like about her work as a therapist. “I like that coaching doesn’t ‘pathologize’ the client,” she responded, “and I don’t like that therapy does.”

“You could let coaching be another tool in your toolkit, couldn’t you, though–and couldn’t you approach your counseling in a way that didn’t pathologize your clients?” I queried.

“Well, yes, I guess I could,” she said thoughtfully. “Boy, you’ve given me a lot to think about.”

Keri understood that there are many differences between coaching and therapy. A primary difference lies in how you-the client or patient-view your situation. If you feel there is something wrong, you’ll generally seek out a therapist. If you feel there is something you’d like to make better, you’ll seek out a coach. For a list of some of the significant differences between coaching and therapy or counseling, visit

Keri clearly needed a coach. She had a ‘business’-a counseling practice-that worked, and she actually still liked it. But because it wasn’t generating enough income, she was creating a new business to replace it.

It would have been different if she truly didn’t want to continue her counseling, but here her focus should have been on how to make the practice better, not on starting a new business.

Keri is now focused on growing her counseling practice and using coaching as one of her modalities. And by getting coaching herself, she has the help she needs to make it happen.

Contact me if you’d like to have a conversation about your focus, and in the meantime, keep REACHING…


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