Since it is mental health awareness week, I wanted to write about why I believe coaching is a powerful tool towards supporting a persons mental health.

We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom.

E.O Wilson

I believe this to be true now more than ever as we live in a society, whereby we are influenced by social media acting as a magnifying glass for the issues we are facing, perhaps making them appear more problematic, and demanding their inspection. Today we are never left alone, being constantly bombarded with information at our fingertips that is ‘too hot to miss’ experiencing burnout or lethargy due to information and knowledge overload!

There is a social media lens on how we see most things now – everything from hustle to self-care to success and self-worth. We are living in a world of hyper-comparison. So, when I became an accredited Coach, I was not surprised that I was being approached by a lot of people who wanted to work on their self-confidence, motivation, self-worth and focusing on their overall personal development.

Coaching can help people manage and master their own mindset which massively contributes towards their overall wellbeing in everyday life. Ultimately helping people gain clarity with their thoughts and almost giving them a chance to breathe; an opportunity to be really listened to. 

What I found to be most powerful was that Coaches are asking the questions – NOT answering them.

I can recall many times where I have engaged in conversation with people and have just wanted to be listened to, but instead I received a dismissive approach of ‘I want to fix you’ and giving me the answers that I had not actually asked for. I am always interested to hear people say how little they feel listened to by the closest people around them – in their career and personal life. This is where time with a coach can be really valued.

Learning to ask questions that help clients reveal more and more to themselves is a natural outcome of such listening. The coaches’ questions are geared to finding out more information not for the purpose of recommending solutions, but for the purpose of helping clients think for themselves and find their own solutions. Ideally, the end of every coaching session is that the client leaves feeling more capable of mobility” (Gallwey,1974) 

I think there is something special about staying in the unknown and not trying to fix someone’s problems. Helping a person navigate themselves through it with an open mind and ruthless compassion. That is where the magic truly lies.

So, when a Coach encourages you to develop your own solutions that are right for you, turning a conversation of frustration into a positive outcome there is often a sense of ease that is created.

Ease creates. Urgency destroys. When it comes to helping people think for themselves, sometimes doing means not doing.

Kline, 1999

It is often the quality of your Coaches listening that ignites your thinking – stretching your thoughts and journeying to self-discovery. Understanding what your limiting beliefs are and what you can do about it to overcome them is an extremely powerful thing to do. I believe it is important that we try to understand ourselves better so that we can make better decisions for now and in the future – making life that bit easier to get a hold of. So, when we come to talk about mental health, I truly believe that Coaching is a tool that can add some value towards a person’s wellbeing and mental health. I personally believe that ongoing contentment and fulfilment is what we are aiming for, and that Coaching can be used as a tool to support this ongoing journey.

I have met many highly and super successful people throughout my career and I am always interested in asking them if they have had a Business or Personal Coach – nine times out of ten the answer is YES. I am never surprised! 

The best coaches are great listeners, use a soft approach and their emotional intelligence as ‘core skills’. These skills can sometimes get overlooked and do not get enough credit, because when your client is witnessing the power held within them it is an extremely positive experience.

To give you an idea, here are some examples where Coaching can support you:

  • Your self-confidence which might have taken a knock.
  • You might feel stuck in your role and unable to progress.
  • You might be feeling demotivated, and not sure how to re-find your energy.
  • You might be feeling fustrated or disempowered.
  • You might be feeling stressed and burned out, with no grip on your work-life balance.
  • You might be struggling with a difficult relationship with work, with a boss or other colleague.
  • You might be holding yourself back out of fear and disbelief.

There are many topics that are brought to coaching and sometimes it is a combination of several things!

My learnings so far:

  • There is a time ‘When to Tell, When to Mentor, and When to Coach’.
  • Building your self-awareness is indispensable.
  • There is a big difference between empathetic and dismissive listening.
  • Coaching can be a great tool towards supporting a person’s mental health. 

Things for you to think about:

  • You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
  • What you say to yourself, about yourself, is what makes a difference. 
  • Self-delusion is a powerful trap.
  • Investing in yourself will be the best investment you will ever make. 
  • Ongoing contentment and fulfilment is what we are aiming for not one final destination.