Human Behavior Research Conference - 1How do you define and introduce yourself? Are you a consultant, a therapist, or a coach?

Sure, if you are trained as a psychologist in a university, then you’re likely a “therapist.” But some positive psychologists also claim that they are “coaches.” And other psychologists who specialize in organizational behavior call themselves “consultants.”

So, what are the differences of these three terms? Are there any overlaps?

Here are the differences according to Start it Up! Start Your Successful Coaching Business by Erik Bowman.



  • Results oriented
  • Strive for specific outcome
  • Deals with future outcomes
  • Organizational focus: work on finding remedies and solutions to problems
  • Provide assessments and specific steps to be taken to solve problems


  • Treatment oriented
  • Strive for personal insight
  • Deals mostly with the past
  • Retrospective focus: dealing with conscious-unconscious
  • Use cognitive and behavioral methods to analyze problems


  • Goal oriented
  • Strive for personal achievement
  • Deals with present days and future outcomes
  • Prospective focus: work on finding untapped potential
  • Use a large variety of methods to help others define goals and ways to reach those goals
Creative Commons License photo credit: shawncalhoun