March 21, 2023

Episode 4:

The Difference Between a Therapy and Coaching Practice with Carly Hill

In this episode, we have a special guest Carly Hill. Carly will share the differences between running a therapy and coaching practice and she’ll give some practical tips for protecting your therapy licence when adding a coaching program to your existing therapy practice.  

Episode 4: The Difference Between a Therapy and Coaching Practice with Carly Hill

Show Notes

[1:05] Kayla: Welcome back everyone, to another episode of the Designer Practice Podcast. Today we have a very special guest, Carly Hill, Therapist-to-Coach extraordinaire, who’s going to share with us all about the differences between running a therapy and coaching practice and how to protect your licence when you’re providing both services in your business.

Hi Carly. Welcome to the Designer Practice Podcast.

[1:29] Carly: Hello. Thanks for the fabulous introduction.

[1:31] Kayla: Oh. Yeah. You’re welcome. It’s so great to have you here today! I’ve been excited for today’s episode! You’re actually the very first guest I’ve ever had here on the podcast. And it’s definitely an extra special treat to have you today.

[1:44] Carly: Thank you. I feel so honoured.

[1:47] Kayla: We’ve been in contact for a while now, and we’ve chatted in depth about the differences between therapy and coaching and how to integrate them into our practices. And you have some amazing insights to share today. Don’t you?

[2:01] Carly: Yes. Absolutely. I’m an open book. So, we can talk about the difference between therapy and coaching, that seems to be the biggest thing that people struggle with.

[2:11] Kayla: Yeah. For sure. So, before we dive in though, please introduce yourself, where you’re from, and tell us a little bit about who you work with and what your speciality is, really anything you want to share with our listeners today.


[2:25] Carly: Yes. So, like you said my name is Carly Hill and I am a LCSW turned coach, turned spiritual energy healer, turned business coach for therapists specifically. My M.O. is really helping therapists start and grow their online coaching business so they can earn back their freedom, flexibility and security that we really deserve as agents of change.

And it’s kind of a funny journey, how I got to this position. But I’m a firm believer that we’re here to teach what we have struggled with. We have to learn and walk ourselves through things so that we can then walk other people through it.

So, it was really my own struggles in my private practice with marketing, sales, niching, sustainability, and craving more freedom. And I was like, “I got to crack the code and I got to figure this out.”

And I also had a massive realization, that I was doing coaching the whole entire time, I wasn’t even doing therapy with my clients. So, one thing led to another, investing into business coaching programs, doing my research on the difference between therapy and coaching and now it is my full mission to help therapists make this transition or add coaching if it is in alignment with our goals.


[3:50] Kayla: I love that you said that we are here to do what we’ve been through because that’s something that I’ve noticed from working with therapists in private practice is sometimes we’re afraid to niche down or work with people that we are driven to work with. And almost always it’s either ourselves that we want to help or a loved one, or someone that we were close to. And usually that’s what our niche ends up being.

I know for me that’s also been the case both as therapist working with workplace burnout – I’ve experienced workplace burnout – but then also with business coaching because I wanted to help others with what I’ve felt that I had a gift in and a drive to do. 

So, Yeah. I love that you highlighted that piece.

[4:38] Carly: Yeah. I always say that we’re most powerfully positioned to serve the people that we once were.

 [4:46] Kayla: Yeah. I agree 100%.

 Now today, what we’re going to talk about of course is therapy and coaching and it’s really one of the questions that I get asked a lot in my business coaching is, “What is the difference between therapy and coaching? And how can I incorporate both in my practice ethically?”

So, let’s dive right in. Tell us what is the difference between running a therapy practice, running a coaching practice, and how can we integrate them together?

The Difference Between Running a Therapy and Coaching Practice

[5:17] Carly: So that’s a loaded question. So, I can break it down and you just stop me and ask questions in between. 

So, I’m going to start off with the definitions that I don’t like about therapy and coaching because if you Google it right now and you’re like, “What’s the difference between therapy and coaching?” You’re going to get some textbook, boring, answers that’s like, “coaching is working with the present and the future and therapy is working with the past.” And that’s just one that I don’t agree with because as a therapist, as a coach, we talk about the past, present and future. There’s a lot of things that say coaching is very goal oriented. Well, you’re creating goals in a treatment plan with your therapy clients.

So, the easiest definition that I always say is: therapy is treating medical necessity; coaching is working with non-clinical, more situational, and a less severe problem.

[6:19] Kayla: That’s a beautiful definition of the difference between therapy and coaching.

Now, why might someone want to add coaching to their therapy practice?

Why add Coaching to a Therapy Practice?

[6:30] Carly: Well, sometimes, like myself, you have a realization that you’re actually doing coaching instead of therapy. And depending on where you are, because regulations are different – which is whole another story that we can go down. People are the same but the regulations are different state-by-state, country-by-country—

[6:52] Kayla: And province-by-province.

[6:55] Carly: Yes, exactly! So, where you are limited by your licence, if you’re truly doing coaching, you don’t have to be limited by your licence. And that’s one reason why.

I see some people move and then it’s hard for them to get re-licenced and then this thought pops in their head, “Well, how can I still help people?” and “How can I still be an agent of change without having to go through all of that again?”

Or maybe they’re wanting to impact more lives and reach people nation-wide, worldwide.

Or maybe it’s just about them leveraging their time and creating a course or tapping into the group model instead of doing one-to-one and trading dollars for hours.

So, there’s many different reasons. Sometimes people are just burnt out on the trauma, really clinical– it’s heavy work. So sometimes it can be a breath of fresh air to work on a non-clinical, more situational problem.

Leveraged Income

[7:58] Kayla: I agree completely. And I love that you’ve added the course piece in it because it goes into that passive income that we talk about here on the podcast a lot. I believe that passive income, which digital courses, memberships, digital templates, anything that you can put more work into upfront and then can help build additional income into your business so that you can start stepping away from just doing the one-to-one and always hitting that income glass ceiling.

[8:29] Carly: Yeah. I like to call it leveraged income. I do the work upfront and it’s leveraged.

[8:36] Kayla: I love that.

[8:36] Carly: And with a course, you can be paid to create it. You could be paid to build an asset in your business and that can help you reduce your hours.

[8:48] Kayla: Yeah. That’s beautiful.

So, what steps should a therapist—and I do want to clarify for our listeners that you are in the States.

[8:58] Carly: Um-hum.

[8:58] Kayla: And as most of my listeners know that I’m Canadian. I think this is a beautiful podcast because we have two worlds showing up here.

So, from your knowledge from working with a lot of people in the United States – because we do have listeners from the United States here – what steps should therapists take when adding coaching into existing business? Like if I came to you and I said, “I would like to add coaching.” What would you tell a therapist?

Steps for Adding a Coaching

[9:25] Carly: Well, I would first ask you, why? Why do you want to add coaching because I think that it’s really important. What is your driving factor? Is it because you want to leverage your time, get paid for your knowledge? Or is it because you want to create financial freedom for your family? Is it because you want to impact more lives and you have an itch to do so?

Your why is always your driving factor. And I’m always just curious too.

So, I think it’s important not to bypass grounding yourself in your why. Why do you want to take this step?

But then also, logistically speaking, it would be filing your business entity. So now we are kind of getting into protecting your licence a little bit but it’s the very first step that you have to do, especially, if you have a private practice already established. You have to create separate business entity, especially in the States. You can’t slap coaching onto your therapy practice.

[10:20] Kayla: Yeah. Here in Canada, it’s similar. Like I said before every regulatory body has different rules and expectations.

Some regulatory bodies have specific regulations regarding setting up professional corporations and what the scope of practice is within that professional corporation entity.

So really what you’re sharing is that having two business entities. One professional corporation for therapy and another business corporation for coaching. 

[10:48] Carly: Exactly. You nailed it. If you can remember anything it’s separate. Just keep everything separate.

[12:04] Carly: That would be the first step. And then the second step I would say is figuring out your niche. Who are you helping? How are you helping them? Why do they want to come to see you? Why are they going to urgently and eagerly pay you?

So, people are always buying their way out of something not into something. So, you don’t just want to have a nice-to-have course or be an addition to some body’s life, although that can be helpful sometimes.

When we’re talking about having a booming, viable, marketable coaching niche and coaching business you have to get hyper-specific on who it is you help and how you help them. And what’s the big solution that you’re getting them to? And sometimes that can take a long time to figure out   

[12:56] Kayla: No. I agree. And I think even when it comes to therapists, not even adding coaching, niching sometimes is really scary for therapists because they think that they’re excluding people. But I always say that we are including people because of exactly what you just said.

People want to buy something that’s going to help them with a specific problem. So, they want solutions, strategies, support related to that specific issue. And if you niche, then you have a lot easier time to give those specific strategies and even market yourself to that person or your ideal client in that respect.

[13:36] Carly: Yeah. I call it being the Beyonce of your space. If you want to be the Beyonce of your space, you got to niche down.

And if you try to be everything to everyone, you’re going to be nobody to no one. And you’re going to fall on deaf ears. It’s like marketing yourself as a professional multi-tasker.

If you had a loved one, who lost someone and they we’re looking for grief support. Would you send them to the grief therapist or coach who also did play therapy and sex therapy? Or someone who specializes in only grief work?

[14:19] Kayla: Agree, and of course people would want the therapist who specializes in what they are looking for.

[14:24] Carly: Exactly. Yeah.

[14.:25] So, you might have already touched on some of these things. But what considerations or what steps should a therapist take to protect their licence and registration when providing both services?

Protecting Your Licence or Registration

[14:38]. Yes. So, first thing is, keep your business entities separate.

And then of course, insurance. So typically, as a therapist we have malpractice insurance. As a coach, we’ll have professional liability insurance. If you have brick-and-mortar then obviously you would have general liability insurance. So, getting the proper insurance is important. And that would also typically be separate. So sometimes it’s known as errors-and-omissions, if it’s not known as professional liability insurance.

The next thing that’s important is your coaching contract. So, we’re still held to our ethics. Mandated reporting and informed consent are two things that must be on your coaching contract. So, we’re not losing our therapist title or identity just because we’re adding coaching.

The other thing to remember is do not take a therapy client to a coaching client or a coaching client to a therapy client. So, you have to keep them separate. It’s hard for a therapy client to unsee you as their therapist.

This one gets very nuance-y because you could technically have a recorded course alone with no coaching aspect and you could absolutely offer that to your therapy clients as an addition. But you would need to have something in your paperwork that releases the power differential that says that they do not have to purchase said course, or essential oils or, whatever it is in order to get results.

[16:16] Kayla: I love that you added that piece in because when we think of adding coaching to therapy – and I’ll use my own journey – it’s sometimes really great to have two somewhat different niches because of the dual relationship or potential of dual relationship.

When I look at my therapy practice, I work with people experiencing workplace burnout; whereas, in my coaching practice I work with therapists building their practices. So as a result, they’re not too different, they’re career-oriented and supporting people with that. But they’re different niches and highly unlikely, and to-date, has never overlapped.

[17:04] Carly: Yeah. Good point. Because social media is another thing that gets nuance-y with protecting your licence. Because let’s say for example, someone does have the same niche within their therapy practice and their coaching business but they’re treating them for PTSD and treating them for medical necessity in their therapy practice. But in their coaching practice they boost self-esteem and get back into the dating world. Yeah, maybe they’ve came out of a toxic relationship and they could be meeting criteria for PTSD but they’re not treating them for that. Maybe they have a separate therapist who’s helping them with that. So, technically you have the same or very similar niche. 

This can get confusing with marketing yourself on, let’s just say, Instagram for example.

Are you going to have private practice Instagram and coaching Instagram, where you’re posting the same exact things? Or are you going to have just one and that’s going to be your coaching Instagram? So, then what? Do you have to hide that you’re a therapist?

No. You don’t. But it’s not like, “hire me as a coach because I’m a therapist.” And you never want your client to be confused about the services that you offer.

The stigma has gotten better but a lot of times coaching is much more appealing to people when in reality they are better fit for therapy.

[18:38] Kayla: And I think it’s also important because regulatory requirements change state-by-state, country-by-country, province-by-province– to really understand your own specific regulatory requirements regarding dual relationships, or the potential of dual relationships, or conflict of interest, and all of those things that could fall within or be perceived to fall within that.

[19:05] Carly: Yes. So, with that being said, best practice is to always consult a lawyer and the beautiful thing is there’s plenty of attorneys that work specifically with therapist turned coach because there is so many nuances and complications with this.

So, I can sit here and tell you the basics. But I do always recommend that everybody does their due diligence, check with their board, and best practice is to check with an attorney as well.

[19:37] Kayla: That’s great advice, for sure. Yeah, I think with anything in our businesses is if ever in doubt, ask a lawyer.

[19:47] Carly: Yeah, you can never be too careful.

The Creative Process

[19:49] Kayla: So, Carly, I have one more question before we leave today. Do you have any stories, examples or insights, anything that you can share with our listeners about adding coaching to their existing therapy practice?

[20:04] Carly: Yes. I don’t even know where to start. I have guided hundreds of women through this process of adding coaching. I will tell you that the majority of the women who add coaching keep their private practice, and they love therapy. And therapy is their baby. But their intention is to reduce their hours in their practice and introduce more financial freedom into their family’s life, more location freedom or just flexibility. 

And many therapists have spoken to the fun, creative process it is to add coaching and be able to – especially, if you were your own ideal client – share your story and how you walked yourself through it and why you’re so passionate about walking other people through it.

And even creating a course around it. You get to pour your heart and soul into something that is very close to home. So, I would say, just in general, it’s fun and creative, it’s thrilling because it’s something new which can also be a little scary but we know that excitement and fear shows up neurologically the same way in our brains so don’t get it mixed up.

[21:29] Kayla: Wow, the content you shared here today is so valuable. I know it’s really going to help my listeners who have been wondering. This is a common question, “How do I add coaching?” “Am I already doing coaching?” “Should I add coaching?” And I think the information you shared today will really help them move forward in adding coaching to their therapy practice with confidence.

But you also have a goodie to give to our listeners today that takes these concepts even a step further, don’t you?

[22:04] Carly: Yes.

[22:05] So, tell us a little bit about your freebie.

[22:08] Yeah. So, I have many freebies so when you asked me what I wanted to give away, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t know. How do I choose?” I have so many resources. So, this is one of my most popular ones and it’s very simple and straight forward – that’s how I deliver all of my content. It’s the 3 Simple Steps to Adding Coaching. So literally one, two, three of what you need to do.

[22:33] Amazing. So, if you want download Carly’s 3 Simple Steps for Adding a Scalable Coaching Program to Your Therapy Practice, head to

Or you can simply scroll down to the show notes and click on the link.

Carly, thank you so much to taking time to join us today and share with us these valuable insights about adding coaching to a therapy practice.

[23:02] Carly: Yes. Thank you so much. I loved it.

[23:06] Kayla: Oh. We loved having you here.

So, thank you everyone for tuning into today’s episode. And, I hope you join me again soon on the Designer Practice Podcast. Until next time, Bye for now.

Podcast Links

Carly’s 3 Simple Steps for Adding a Scalable Coaching Program to Your Therapy Practice Guide:

Free Boosting Business Community:

Open Path Psychotherapy Collective:

Credits & Disclaimers

Music by ItsWatR from Pixabay

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