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This Ain’t Therapy

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People ask if my coaching approach is comparable to therapy.  My response is — for sure not.  
 
I am super respectful of therapists and therapy practices.  There are many situations for which professional counseling is critically important — helping people to manage their feelings, sort out their perspectives, and take healthy life steps. 
 
But I am happy to compare and contrast between my coaching approach and the work of a licensed therapist.  
 
In therapy, generally, the client does most of the talking while the therapist participates with reflective dialogue to help the client consider their feelings, behaviors or perspectives.  The therapist skillfully facilitates that conversation with the intent of helping the client to advance or make changes over time. (I am not a licensed therapist, though, and any comments readers may offer on this characterization will be received with gratitude.) 
 
My coaching model is structured, hands-on, and instructional. It’s more like teaching or tutoring then counseling.   
 
At the outset we identify specific objectives for the coaching. Then we spend time unpacking the client’s current situation and backstory, to make sure we have all their “truths” and related considerations on the table before we begin to chart the path forward. I lead clients through exercises that give definition to the success they want to achieve.  We develop plans for how they can get there – the steps they will take — and then we commit to them.  And we hit it with an action orientation. While the pace of the work is measured, we advance with intention, scheduling at least one 90-minute working session per week.   
 
I think my clients would tell you that our working sessions are engaging and enjoyable but challenging – and they learn A TON along the way.  
 
Another difference is that therapists’ practices are full time businesses where they support a volume of clients, scheduling them into busy calendars.  And, sadly, therapists are very busy these days.  I work with only a small set of candidates at a time, and I can be pretty accommodating on scheduling, etc. 
 
Finally, therapists are bound to operate according to their licensure, such as only taking clients in that state.  I am free to take clients of any profile and in any location.  (All of my working sessions are done virutally.)   
 
Net of all that, my work is in service of people who don’t need therapy in the formal sense, or sometimes situations where a therapist feels that a client is ready for a different kind of support that helps them to advance directly with the practical work of building their life.   

Anyone who would like to connect with me or explore these topics more is invited to visit my website at www.otoolecoaching.com

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Martin O'Toole

Marty is a great listener who asks a lot of curious questions. When he asks about your day or how you are doing, he really wants to know. And he comes equipped with a supply of anecdotes and stories that keep the time together interesting.

He is practical and results-oriented. He believes in showing up every day to do the work and learning by experience. He preaches action orientation, resilience, entrepreneurship, and the importance of good decision-making.