Network of Relationships vs. Focusing on the Individual
Therapists or counselors often see their client's well-being flowing from an intertwined network of past and present relationships from the most casual to the most intimate, examining their clients patterns of interactions which have effected their lifetime development.
Life Coaches do want to know about the clients most supportive current relationships, but are only focused on the immediate, specific concern or change that the client wants to focus on.
Understanding vs. Solutions
Therapists or counselors work therapeutically so their clients can gain a firmer grasp of how the various influences around them shape their lives and decisions.
Life Coaches are instead searching with their clients to find specific solutions so personal and/or career goals can be met.
Life Coaching is distinct in that it focuses on an individual's life right now as it relates to their goal setting, outcome objectives and personal change. There are some clear differences between Life Coaches and professional therapists/counselors.
Focusing on "past" vs. "present"
Therapists or counselors are trained to construct life histories of their clients as a means to coming to a clear understanding of the client's current condition.
Life Coaches spend little time on this, preferring to accept the current circumstances as a "given". We live in the now and move forward.
Therapist-Client interaction vs. Life Coach-Client interaction
Therapists or counselors maintain a 'professional detachment' along with a likely a relationship power imbalance.
Life Coaches take on a more collegial partnership that can be looked at as a "we're in this together" quality.
Diagnosis vs. Strengths
Therapists or counselors are trained to formulate a diagnosis for insurance companies, third parties or pharmacies. Rather than making a judgment or attaching a label.
Life Coaches look at personal strengths and weaknesses that will foster progress towards achieving the specific life goal chosen by the client.