Although Thulani was aware that therapy and coaching were two different professions, he did not have clarity as to what each one entailed. He was also not aware that they could sometimes overlap.

When he looked up the definitions, he discovered the following, in general:


Therapy seeks to solve emotional and mental health issues which prevent someone from moving forward.

The formal definition that Thulani found is that “Therapy is the process of meeting with a therapist to resolve problematic behaviours, beliefs, feelings, relationships issues, and/or somatic responses (sensations of the body)”

He felt better about this and then turned his attention to coaching, which he was now very familiar with. He reconfirmed that:

Coaching focusses on well-defined outcomes and achieving these through obtainable goals.

A more formal definition is that coaching is a “collaborative solution-focused, result-orientated and systematic process in which the coach facilitates the enhancement of life experience and goal attainment in the personal and/or professional life of normal, non-clinical clients.”

Coaching & Therapy:

Thulani was quite analytical and for him, therapy should be done before coaching so that the coaching intervention could be successful. The two were not interlinked at all within the coaching session. He consulted SA Business Coaches blog published in November 2021 → in which Therapy-based versus business coaching was discussed.

Therapy vs Coaching

Figure 1: What’s the difference between life coaching and therapy

He then took a different stance, both therapy and coaching work towards a positive result; they both have outcomes, and they both look to create change. Most importantly, both therapy and coaching need clearly defined goals to measure success.

Both practices required the coach and the coachee to have a clear focus on their outcomes, they need to have a relationship of trust, and there is a need for both parties to be accountable to themselves and to one another.

Thulani’s Application

With this fresh outlook, Thulani (who was very aware that he wasn’t a therapist) considered the market that he was serving. He was focused on Entrepreneurs and start-up businesses. This meant that he was working with a particular personality type with certain traits that others could find difficult to interact with.

This is where therapy coaching would be helpful. By working with the “Personal” aspect of the businessperson, Thulani could initiate conversations that would delve into what his market needed and what they want. The conversations and questions that make his market introspect, may reveal insights into their own desires, ambitions, and self-sabotaging behaviour.

Sometimes Thulani watched how, what his clients thought they wanted, were not exactly what they really wanted, once they had considered themselves, their support group, and their business. With over 400 different types of therapy available, Thulani knew he would stay with what he knew well and within his professional boundaries… yet sometimes, he would ask a question that could unlock a deeper understanding of who they are, what they want, and what they need.

To learn more about becoming a qualified business coach see our SA Business Coaches Training Page →