Coaching and therapy are two very different skill sets but can have a lot of overlap. The challenges we face can often be overcome, conquered and a new reality created with the help of a Coach or Life Coach, maybe even a specialist in High performance or business. But what if you feel you need Therapy because people often wonder if that is something a coach can help with.

The Question of should I get a Life Coach or therapist? is often misunderstood because the need for ‘real help’ with psychological problems is often seen as too serious to be solved by Coaching. Sometimes this may well be the case many Coaches, as the coaching industry is full of all sorts of coaches from Health Coaches, Mindfulness and mindset coaches, Business coaches  and other Coaches who use personal and professional development skills with their clients. That being said you will also find many of coaches who are well trained and able to deal with very serious psychological challenges that people are facing such as anxiety, depression, panic, and other somatic forms of challenges.

In this article I’ll set out the difference between Coaching and Therapy in a simple way but please note that these are both amazing professions where the Coach or the Therapist is someone who is dedicated to helping people and simply by virtue of this they are doing amazing work. Furthermore I’m going to introduce a new type of Coaching that has been used for over a thousand years that deals with both psychological and physiological challenges that people have. That sounds like a bit of contradiction, new but very old? but it will become very clear.

First of All Coaching / Therapy is as Old as Islam

Do you know that Coaching has existed since the beginning of Islam? Such a bold claim, but historically in the Islamic framework we would call this the ‘Murabbi‘ the Guide, Mentor, Counsellor. This person who would train you and help you to nurture your life in the experience of Islam and outlook.

So, what’s the difference between Coaching and Therapy?

Therapy, Psychotherapy or Counselling is often about the past and present both. What you’ll hear a lot is that Therapy is about the past and resolving emotional challenges related to what happened in the past, unearthing it and understanding how you got to where you are in the present. As for Coaching what is often said is that Coaching is about creating the future and not about delving into the past issues.

This is a generalisation but it is often very true that therapist will delve into your past, digging up the emotional trauma or problems that one might have faced in the childhood years or later, with the aim of uncovering the root of the problem. By understanding what happened in the past and processing it using different techniques and behavioural change methods, it is understood that you can learn to get over your challenges in the present moment.

It can be very effective, but challenging due to the need to dig out past memories that a person may not want to re-live. The other challenge experienced therapist will know all too well is that it can be a slow progress, where you don’t see great progress in the short term, albeit it’s a comforting process at times for the client as it can be validating the wounds of the past.

On the other hand Coaching is often seen by many as creating the present and the future. Sometimes it’s called life coaching, business coaching or even high performance coaching. But one thing is for sure, coaches focus on creating the present and future. As we’ve already established thought, there are many types of coaches that specialise with different areas of life. 

Psychotherapy and counselling has it’s place in the world no doubt, so I’m not going to try and undermine this profession. But here’s an amazing fact, in Islam we have had the knowledge of human psychology and physiology for over 1400 years. It’s nothing new within the Islamic framework, except it is rarely taught in a modern context of therapy any more. The Muslim world has undergone it’s own trauma and is still trying to recover, so this has been a subject that hasn’t had as much attention in recent times.

A New type of Coaching or Therapy

Islamic Life Coaching is therapeutic in nature, in that it has intervention tools based on the Quran and Sunnah to deal with serious psychological needs. It is NOT an amalgamation of the Freudian or Jungian psychology and Islam. There are some great clinicians / therapist who have used their therapy skills with their Islamic understanding to help the Muslim community in with their work and are an asset to the community.

However, the science of Ilmu Nafs ( Knowledge of the Self) is a complete psychological understanding of human behaviour and very much therapeutic in it’s nature if understood and applied correctly. It has been around for over a thousand years and was the specialism of many great scholars of the past.

The iLife Coaching model is based on this science of Ilmu Nafs, and therapeutic nature, addressing real psychological trauma or challenge, and it is also very much focused on creating high performing, high functioning human beings that can create their dreams in the real world. It is a coaching model which includes therapeutic coaching.

The system of Coaching in the iLife Coaching Mastery model is one that is focused on building the present and the future. It has within it therapeutic intervention to deal with chronic problems that people are suffering that cannot be left untreated. However, this doesn’t require us to go into the past and try to resolve or process historic trauma.

In this type of coaching anything that a psychotherapist or counsellor would normally deal with is treated without the need to dig up wound from the past. It also deals with resolving these challenges permanently. The challenges can be resolved and you don’t need to rely on coping mechanisms.

So far in the modern context what we see is that behavioural techniques and methods are used to help people get over or cope with their challenges in life , and if that doesn’t work medication is used to suppress the challenges. I can confidently tell you with certainty that the Prophet (saw) said:

For Every sickness there is a cure, If the remedy is obtained there is a cure by the permission of Allah

 حديث جابر بن عبد الله قال : قال رسول الله : لكل داء دواء فإذا أصاب دواء الداء برأ بإذن الله

Narrated in Sahih Muslim

It looks very much like I make a bold claim here that Islam has a complete system of therapeutic coaching and that is a fact. What we teach and understand is from the science of Ilmu Nafs and what the iLife Mastery Coaching model is based on. It is something that will deal with any psychological issue that it’s counterpart in the psychotherapy or counselling models deal with. The difference is that the goal is a permanent solution, which is of course from Allah alone as you can see in this hadith above.

But as the hadith mentions here, the cure is in finding the remedy. The remedy here is based on Quran and Sunnah guidance, because there is no human endeavour here that we need to rely on. The only human endeavour is that of teaching and training in the use of this knowledge as a therapeutic solution and a way to deal with chronic psychological problems or psychosomatic problems.

So essentially here’s what this means. Coaching with the Islamic model, means we deal with building a present and future that you can love and at the same time, when you are challenged with serious emotional or physiological problems that are somatic in nature, then a Coach with this type of training is able to help you deal with it and insha’Allah get a permanent solution.

Coaching is about Creating the Present and Future

So, what about the creating a future? what does coaching have to do with that, you might be wondering. Well, it is very much focused on building whatever a person wants to bring into reality. You see that’s the best thing about Coaching, it is the bringing together of two minds to create something amazing in life. You and your coach.

A coach will help you shape, sharpen and crystallise a real future that is often way out of this stratosphere. With the right Coach you can create the kind of life that people only dream about. A coach won’t do it for you, but they will help you to bring out the best of what’s already there in your life, those things you don’t even know exist or that you find difficulty in believing. You just can’t see it so your Coach will see your blind spots and help you become amazingly resourceful.

Think about it, how many famous politicians, sports personalities,  high performing professionals do you know that have created extraordinary success in their lives, that don’t have a coach? That’s it you see. People who create extraordinary lives always have coaches, consultants and mentors that they get support from so that they can have an edge on the competition.

Look at the likes of the greatest boxers or sports personalities in the world, they all have coaches. Look at the most famous public speakers in the world, they have people who write their speeches and coaches who help them to learn how to speak impactfully and blow away the audience. Having a coach helps people to build what they want. Most professionals have people that help shape their professional lives. Just like that you can shape you personal life, not just your professional life.

You don’t have to become famous to be happy or have the life you want. However, you will want to build your dreams into your life. That’s the challenge most people have, they watch others and learn what they think they need to have or do to create their lives and then when the reality of life doesn’t match up with their perceived picture of success, they feel like life isn’t fair and that it’s so difficult. It actually makes so many people feel like there is actually something wrong with them, and that others seem to have it all together.

Look all I’m saying is that you can absolutely create the life and dreams that you want. You can become anything you put your mind to and if you are absolutely challenged by the past, the present or even the overwhelming future, you can resolve this issue permanently. Don’t lose hope. Become resourceful and Allah will always show you a way out.

But here’s my suggestion, you need to take a journey of coaching and if finances are an issue I suggest you really focus on listening to the iLife Academy Coaching podcast, which I created to teach you what you need to know to get that life jump started insha’Allah.

Look don’t underestimate this. I know many people who are already coaches and therapist, people that I work with and they are people who themselves found their own way to becoming therapist because they were trying to help themselves, just like me.

You too can change your direction permanently, even if you’ve tried therapy and counselling, or even if you are a therapist yourself and privately suffer your own challenges in the dark, where you don’t want people to know as it will affect your livelihood.

If this describes your situation I can assure you that there is a solution that can help you permanently and the greatest thing about that solution is that it won’t just help you get over your own challenges, but it will help you create a life that you can be at peace with, and create amazing things from for your future insha’Allah.

If you are a Doctor, Therapist or alternative Coach who would like to Train in this Islamic Science and Coaching method described here, or You’re really struggling and need some Coaching book a free Consultation call.


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