Life Planning vs. Life Coaching vs. Therapy

When trying to compare life planning vs. life coaching vs. therapy, a lot of lines can get blurred.

Because each of these professions delves into human behavior, emotions, and psychology most people may not fully understand the key differences between them. Furthermore, a lot of people may not be remotely familiar with life planning or life coaching.

However, it is critically important for any movement, health, & healing professional to grasp the key differences and actual services that could be benefited from each professional.

We are big proponents of life planning (read more here, here, here, and here), and because it is a less known profession, this article highlights the important differences between life planning vs. life coaching vs. therapy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Life Planning vs. Life Coaching vs. Therapy is a common comparison that is worth better understanding.
  • The focus of Life Planning is to (1) help clients understand what is truly most important to them and (2) help guide them towards achieving their ideal life.
  • Financial Life Planning takes “Life Planning” to a more advanced level, where now financial resources are optimized in a way to align with a client’s goals & values.
  • Life Coaches help their clients clarify goals and identify potential roadblocks in order to achieve the results that they want. In many ways, Life Coaches serve to inspire and hold their clients accountable.
  • Therapy focuses on helping clients work through past traumas in order to move forward into a more stable future.

What Is Life Planning?

The primary focus of Life Planning is to help you understand what is truly most important to you.

After several exploratory exercises and you figure out what is most important to you in life, the life planner helps guide you towards living out your ideal life.

While this sounds simple, it is actually really hard for us (humans) to figure out what is really most important to us.

We may have an idea of what we like, how we enjoy spending our time, etc. In addition, we get bombarded by the news, social media, school, friends, family, etc. that “tell us” what we should value. By the time life gets so busy & full, most people never take the time to (1) take a step back and (2) think deeply about what really matters to them in this life.

When you go through Life Planning and actually get life planned, everything becomes clearer.

The goal of a Life Planner is not to solve their client’s life and tell them how to live a meaningful life. Not at all!

Instead, the goal of the Life Planner is to create a safe & intimate space for the client to truly be listened to. To go even further, the superpower of a Life Planner is to be an empathetic listener and act as a guide to their clients.

Through multiple sessions, the Life Planner works together with their client to create their Life Plan. There are exploratory sessions, vision meetings, opportunity gatherings, and constant check-ins.

This type of work and engagement can really light a torch within someone, helping them achieve the life that they have always dreamed of and sooner than they ever thought possible.

Bonus – What Is Financial Life Planning?

Taking Life Planning a step further, there is also something called Financial Life Planning.

Financial Life Planning takes everything noted above related to Life Planning and combines that with traditional financial planning. This is the end-all, be-all!

If you think about our lives and our goals, we all have (1) time, (2) money, (3) energy, and (4) talents to achieve what we want. Money and financial matters should not rule our lives, but they do play a part.

We are in favor of talking about money and financial matters in terms of resources. Therefore, a financial life planner has the knowledge and expertise to make sure that your values, goals, and ultimately the things that are most important to you are aligned with how you utilize your resources.

The Financial Life Planner is most equipped (in our opinion) to help clients achieve their most meaningful goals, whether life-focused, financially-related, or both.

What Is Life Coaching?

Life Coaching is a profession that oftentimes does not receive the credit that it deserves.

There are many self-proclaimed gurus that act as life coaches and give the profession a bad name. However, most legit life coaches are doing meaningful work and helping their clients break through barriers, take action, and achieve their life goals.

From a service perspective, life coaches help their clients clarify goals and identify potential roadblocks in order to achieve the results that they want. The life coach does not necessarily diagnose any past traumas, but more so takes the client as they are today. At that point, the life coach will create a plan, work to inspire, and help enable their client to take action towards reaching their goals.

What is Therapy?

Most movement, health, & healing professionals have likely heard of therapy. If you are reading this, you may even be a therapist!

Therapy is also known as psychotherapy or counseling and is typically more focused on past traumas.

By working with a licensed healthcare professional in a long-term engagement, individuals are able to work through past traumas in order to move forward into a more stable future.

Because we (as humans) have different life experiences, past traumas, cultural backgrounds, behavioral patterns, etc., a therapist can help us better understand why we show up as we do – especially in the instances when our actions do not serve our best interests.

This deeper understanding can be helpful in strengthening one’s mental health. While a therapist will diagnose and treat from a healthcare perspective, they cannot solve their clients’ problems

Life Planning vs. Life Coaching vs. Therapy?

Now that we’ve defined life planning, life coaching, and therapy, as well as outlined the key differences, you may be wondering which is best.

The answer…it depends!

Each of these professions is extremely valuable and can impact their clients’ lives in major ways.

In all honesty, if you can engage in all three, you will certainly level up your life!

However, it may not be realistic to engage in life planning, life coaching, and therapy all at the same time. Therefore, what you want to really do, is get specific. Think about what you need now in your life and where you can really make some breakthroughs:

  • Is there a past trauma that continues to get in your way? Maybe you need therapy before you step into life coaching or life planning.
  • Do you need some inspiration or motivation to work through obstacles? Maybe a Life Coach can help.
  • Have you really thought about what is truly most important to you? Do you need a guide? Life Planning can help!
  • Do you need a better understanding of how your financial resources can better be aligned with your values & passions? Maybe Financial Life Planning makes sense for you.

Ultimately, each of these important professions can help you work through deep & emotional work.

The key is to understand what you need, what you are ready for, and what is going to have the biggest impact on you.

We hope that this article was helpful when thinking through the comparison of life planning vs. life coaching vs. therapy.

Additional Reads & Resources

What Is Life Planning?
Life Coach vs. Therapist
How To Figure Out If You Need A Career Coach, A Life Coach, Or A Therapist
Counseling vs. Life Coaching
Life Coach vs. Therapist: What’s The Difference?
What Is A Life Coach?
What Is Therapy?

For more resources, you can always visit our “Resources” page.

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