How Do Coaches Differ from Psychotherapists in the USA?

What’s the Difference between a Psychotherapist and a Business Coach?

Here’s the main difference – Business Coaches assist their clients to achieve business and career goals while psychotherapists help patients to overcome mental, emotional, behavioral and relationship problems.

Here are some other significant differences:

     I. Psychotherapists:

  • Trained in graduate schools to receive Masters and Doctoral degrees
  • Highly supervised in their clinical experiences
  • Get a professional license in the state they work in
  • Commit to a strict set of enforceable licensing and professional association ethical practices
  • Required to attend continuing education courses to extend their annual state licensure
  • May be certified by a training program in a specialty treatment area
  • Focus on the past, present and future
  • Have psychodiagnostic and treatment skills
  • Work in clinics, hospitals, agencies, research centers, universities or private practices
  • May receive some reimbursement from health insurance companies


      II. Business Coaches:

  • Anyone may call themselves a “coach” with no prerequisite training
  • May be trained in coaching schools but not necessary
  • No educational requirements
  • Often have personal work experience in the specialty area they coach in
  • Little training supervision offered and no continuing education required
  • No state licensure required but may be certified by a coach training agency
  • May commit to a set of ethical standards but not enforceable by a state agency
  • Focus mainly on the present and future
  • Employed as an “internal” coach within a company or hired as an “external” coach working independently
  • No ability to collect fees from health insurance companies

As you can see from the list above, there’s a big difference between psychotherapists and coaches, mainly in the level of education, supervision and ethical standards followed. Psychotherapists may be called true “professionals” because, like attorneys, physicians and chiropractors, they are: 1) Highly educated, 2) State licensed, 3) Held to high standards of ethical conduct, and 4) Required to fulfill continuing education every year. Coaches may behave “professionally” but they are not held to a higher level of education or a set of state required standards and discipline.

What If a Psychotherapist Is Also a Trained Coach?

A psychologist like myself is uniquely positioned to provide clients with empowering services. Psychotherapists can assist clients to examine and develop aspects of personality, behavior and thought patterns. They can also help clients to better regulate and manager their moods and emotions at work. In addition, psychotherapists-coaches may assist business clients with social or “people” skills and provide helpful support to project team members and managers with interpersonal skills.

Fundamentally, this combination of training and experience can transform the everyday business life of a client, manager or executive in ways that extend beyond specialty coaching. Psychotherapists trained in coaching methods can professionally assist clients to overcome psychological issues that interfere with goal attainment.

What Is Dr. Miller’s Coaching Advantage?

I am both a licensed psychologist as well as an experienced and trained executive and business performance coach. I am trained in clinical psychology as well as business coaching. I have knowledge about business skills such as: goal setting, strategic planning, marketing, sales, communications, work team management, plus executive and management skills. I can assist individual business clients to overcome psychological issues that interfere with their attainment of business and career goals.  As a trained group therapist, I understand how work or project teams and their managers can communicate and perform more effectively.

I can coach managers and executives in corporations, small business owners and professionals to achieve their goals.


Click this link to learn more about my specialized “Business Performance Coaching” services:

Call me at 805-448-5053 to discuss your business coaching needs. I can help you reach your goals.

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