I regularly get asked about the difference between therapy & coaching. I have a few different ways of describing this. Having been a therapist in the UK, and now a certified coach in the US, this is my playful perspective. I hope it resonates with some. Keep reading to hear how Chicken Licken helps us understand the difference.
My sensible answer, in a nutshell, is that therapy tends to focus on people’s experiences, whereas coaching focuses on the beliefs hanging around as a result of the experiences.
My husband and I were having a conversation about this and, for some very random reason, we got onto talking about the children’s fable Chicken Licken (AKA Henny Penny or Chicken Little – originating in the 1800s and attributable to various different authors). In case you are not familiar with the tale, the premise is that while Chicken Licken is out for a stroll, she promptly gets hit on the head by a falling acorn and goes spiraling into anxiety, thinking the sky is falling in.
She decides to go tell the King, and along the way meets some friends who, being unable to remain present, grounded and curious, engage in group anxiety and all believe the story that the sky is actually falling in – no judgment here.... They proceed, en masse, to visit the King. But before they can actually get to the King, they come across Foxy-Loxy and meet with a particularly gruesome ending. Foxes regularly receive bad press, unfairly in my opinion!
Getting back to the point of the differences between therapy and coaching, Chicken Licken is the client. At this juncture, I invite you to humor me and engage your imagination.
Chicken Licken comes to her session, distraught about the impending doom of the sky falling in...
C.L.: “What am I going to do, the sky is falling in?”
Therapist: “Tell me how it feels to have the sky falling in,” or “When have you felt the sky falling in before in your life?”
Chicken Licken then spirals into how she has led a life of anxiety, and recounts, in great detail, every moment she has felt the sky fall in (obviously a metaphor). She feels quite hopeless about the future.
Compare this to:
C.L. “What am I going to do, the sky is falling in?”
Coach “How true is it that the sky is falling in?” or “When have you successfully navigated your way through a time when you felt the sky was falling in?”
Chicken Licken realizes the story she was telling herself wasn’t true and recounts a time when she was able to deal with such a feeling.
As a therapist turned coach, I fully believe therapy is vital for us all at times, and I fully believe coaching can help clients get unstuck and re-frame the stories they tell themselves. Whilst this example may appear a tad whimsical, it highlights subtle differences in approaches. I love being a coach and will remain a coach.
Lastly, there are many learnings to be taken from this tale; from my perspective, Chicken Licken and friends would have benefitted from staying grounded, present and curious about the story she was creating AND listening to her intuition about what Foxy-Loxy was telling her (Google the fable if you want the riveting details!). As to the friends, colluding with stories that aren’t necessarily true is not a good thing and can lead to an early demise...
Laura is passionate about helping people get unstuck & out of their own way. She is a collaborative & heart-based life & leadership coach. As a previous therapist, and now coach-for-life, Laura brings deep insight, experience and appreciation for people with diverse challenges. If you are looking for a coach to help you shine in the world, then reach out for a free discovery call, to see how coaching with Laura could help you. You can contact Laura at 919-449-6491, email@example.com, or on her website at
When you hear the word 'Yoga', I'm sure you picture a class or a practice that people do on a Yoga mat. But truly, it's not just about putting your body into different shapes. Though, that's what we usually think of when we think about Yoga. Let's face it, these days with everything feeling so fast passed, it's easy to get overwhelmed. A lot of us are suffering from anxiety and burnout and we've been neglecting our own self care for so long that we forgot what it is and how to get started. Which is why I wanted to share with you that Yoga is really a practice we strive to take off the mat. Yoga is a tool we can use to sharpen the skill of creating a pause, creating some space or a gap between our thoughts and our habits so we make room to possibly make a different choice if we wish to. It's a tool we can use and that we can develop in a practice so we can take it off the mat and use it in our everyday life.
Let's try something simple and think of this as a little self-care to add to your day. I call these: breath salutations.
You can do this standing or sitting. Start by resting arms at your side. Begin to take air in through your nose slowly. As you inhale, reach arms out away from each other and then slowly bring both arms up and then over your head so palms are together. Now exhale slowly and while you release the breath, bring those prayer hands slowly down until you reach your heart's center. Now reverse that motion, push your hands back up on your inhale. Once your arms are straight up again, part your hands and slowly lower your arms until they are back at your side.
You can think about collecting yourself as you do this, grabbing energy from the air and pulling it into your center on your intakes of breath and releasing negativity or old thoughts that don't benefit you anymore as you breath out. Do this 2 or 3 times and see how you feel!
You can do this short practice first thing in the morning, in the evening or any time during the day you are feeling overwhelmed and need to slow down and clear your mind. This will help you create that pause, to take a moment to collect yourself and decide when to 'start again' to make the choice that is right for you.
Curious About Yoga?
Maybe you're just considering taking a yoga class or maybe your doctor is recommending Yoga for joint mobility. And maybe, like most people, the images that come to mind are healthy looking bodies in twisty shapes or picturing a class in which you stand and bend down to reach for the floor and float gracefully into a plank pose. And you think, “My body can't do THAT!"
Here are some facts to consider.
As mentioned above, not all Yoga has to be twisty or like an overly energetic calisthenics class. Yoga is less about exercise and more about your mind body connection. And even beyond that, the philosophy that I love dearly. You can even take a class just on the philosophy and learn about the many tools we can use to help us get through the trying days and find more joy in life. (Yoga philosophy classes coming in the 3rd quarter of 2022 at Sagewood.)
There are a variety of yoga styles, including the very popular Vinyasa Flow Yoga, Power Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Slow Flow Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Yin Yoga. Pick something to try that is more in line with the pace and purpose of your goal for practice. (Coming soon, a breakdown of the different styles of yoga.)
The physical aspect of Yoga practice is just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond the Asana (postures) of Yoga, there is a more wholistic approach to a way of life and tools to help us deal with our relationships and with our own mental and emotional struggles.
The practice of Yoga is using tools to get back in touch with yourself; it's self-care, it's a road map to feeling better and how to find contentment in each moment. But if we take the time to pause and take care of our own inner self and personal needs, we end up with more energy to do what we need to do and in turn, we have energy to give others. AND most importantly, more energy to be creative and find joy in your life.
— Kimber Quinby
Bridge2Yoga (www.Bridge2Yoga.com) strives to have a positive impact on each individual interaction through the practice of Yoga, and also provide an inclusive environment to make postures attainable for any body type. Bridge2Yoga specializes in Restorative, Yin and Hatha Yoga. It's more about the quality of the personal experience than the minutes on the mat for exercise.
Please check our calendar for classes and times, or contact Kimber directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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