Coaching vs. therapy infighting gives me the ick. Here’s why it needs to stop.

By Madeline Farquharson, CPCC

When we are preoccupied with arguing with each other, who is serving the client?

I recently came across online content aimed at igniting the coaching vs. therapy debate. While the specific content isn't important, this trend of infighting between coaches and therapists is something I see too often.

Every time a therapist dismisses a coach or a coach downplays the role of therapy, it's the client who suffers. They may feel confused, thinking there's an inherently "right" way to get help. This vulnerable person deserves our guidance offered with genuine integrity, kindness, and respect for all professionals working to help them.

Honestly, there are so many people who could use our help; the focus should be on serving clients, not bickering over modalities. More importantly, there's room for everyone at the table when it comes to client support.

This philosophy is why we built Knomii. We believe in the power of collaboration. Clients have evolving needs at different life stages. Sometimes that need is best met by a therapist, and sometimes by a coach – and maybe both! Knomii aims to make that journey easier for the people who matter most - our clients.

When we operate from a place of judgment, we close ourselves off to the bigger picture. When a client expresses interest in therapy, my response is sincere excitement for their growth! If someone who is working with our therapist seeks out coaching, we see it as a powerful step in their self-care. Supporting our clients means celebrating their choices, regardless of the professional offering that support.

Yes, coaching would benefit from clearer regulation. No, not every uncertified coach is unqualified. Many dedicated coaches are working ethically who lack formal certificates. The situation is complex, and there is work to be done.

No, therapy is not only for trauma and the past. Yes, even some robustly trained therapists can do harm with their delivery. In either profession and in all modalities that are so human-centric, there are bound to be nuances. Coaches and therapists are people, too. We bring our full selves to the experience. The systems we train in are systems and have their flaws. All of this influences the services we provide.

We all have a finite amount of energy. Even if sensationalized negativity sometimes gains traction, it's not a path I'd choose for my brand. I know that every person who gets the help they need is a win, even if I'm not the one ultimately providing it.

A final reflection:

If you find yourself frustrated by coaches, therapists, or even your own colleagues getting clients...

Perhaps it's time to examine those feelings. Consider how a combination of coaching AND therapy might help you transform that frustration into a renewed passion for client care – not competition.

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