Therapy plus Coaching – a flexible and winning combination!

At CWI, we are seeing an increasing number of clients for whom just one type of therapy doesn’t work. Some people need to cope with complex personal issues and professional challenges at the same time.

This is where our executive therapy and coaching comes in.

Gail, one of our clients, made her needs very clear to the counsellor she initially contacted. She didn’t have the luxury of separating her personal and professional issues and required support that would encompass all her issues from the start.

An executive therapist-coach practitioner, because of their training, knowledge and experience, can offer this support.

Gail’s experience

“I had been through a nasty divorce. I lost my home, which meant I had to move back in with family. And because I had to move, I had to leave my dream executive position. I was effectively starting again. At times I didn’t know what day it was. I called this lovely, lovely counsellor and told them I needed support on many levels. She was lovely because she said she was not right for me. She gave me Mark’s details and he was exactly the person I was looking for. He was just as comfortable rebuilding my interview confidence as he was dealing with the emotional pain of my divorce.” Gail

Then after several sessions with CWI:

“Dear Mark. You asked me to keep you updated and I am pleased to say that last week I was offered two great positions. I have decided to accept a post at ********* University overseeing policy development in ***** and *****. Thank you for being a part of my journey.” Gail

The challenge paradox

Coaching and challenge are interchangeable terms. In other words, coaching that isn’t challenging isn’t coaching. However, what if someone is severely depressed or anxious? Depression and anxiety reflect a life that is – too challenging! Such emotions place people in a double-bind of being unable to make progress while recognising the need to do so.

Resolving the challenge paradox is what the coach-therapist is well-placed to achieve. They understand how to loosen the grip of negative emotions that make the idea of progress impossible.

A combined approach

If someone is experiencing significant emotional distress this doesn’t mean that only ‘therapy’ is appropriate. What potentially makes someone suitable for a combined therapy and coaching approach is that despite their emotional distress, they can quickly learn to contain it.

Facilitating this learning is a key strength of the coach-therapist. Emotional containment creates capacity to address multiple issues; it creates space for coaching and therapy. And even if someone’s mental health is initially too poor for a combined approach, a therapist-coach practitioner can work therapeutically to ensure it sufficiently recovers.

Harry says getting executive therapy saved his career:

“My organisation was going through structural change, so I decided to take up the coaching offer available to senior leaders. On one occasion I called my coach and told her I was feeling too low to attend our session. She commented on how my level of engagement in coaching had dropped away. At this, I became very upset and had what I suppose was a breakdown. My coach suggested I consider executive therapy instead, so I did a Google search and found Mark at Conversations With Impact. I had no idea you could combine therapy and coaching. It was transformative. I never cried in front of my executive coach – never dared to – but I did in front of Mark. For a while I wasn’t strong enough for coaching. Executive therapy saved my career.” Harry


The transition between the two approaches can be facilitated by an effective practitioner both within sessions and between them (depending on client need and circumstance).

Sometimes the switch is done consciously where therapy is stopped and coaching started. Other times it is less clear cut, where practitioner and client only become aware after the transition has happened.

In our experience of offering a combined approach, the ratio of coaching and therapy, ultimately gravitates towards coaching as a client’s situation improves.

Flexible, comprehensive support

If you, or someone you are responsible for, would benefit from both coaching and therapy, then please get in touch. We are experienced in combining therapy and coaching to address a wide-range of issues.

  • Personal – confidence building, self-esteem, relationships and social connectedness
  • Professional – career ambitions, skills development, redundancy, self-employment
  • Wellbeing & lifestyle – mental health and wellbeing, diet and exercise, work/life balance