Updated: Dec 11, 2020
When you think of mental health, what comes to mind?
Do you think of depression and anxiety? Mental illness? Maybe balance or happiness? Often our perception of ‘mental’ is relating to the brain rather than the mind. But mental health is intangible. We cannot pinpoint a physical location for the mind yet it creates our thoughts, actions and reality.
1.a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being:
The focus on mental health is a relatively new phenomenon. More has been learned about our mental health in the past hundred years than in all of history. We are collectively experiencing an opportunity to pursue overall wellness like never before. But what is the best way to do that?
Therapy has been the preferred choice for mental health care. Yet, therapy and counseling, along with psychiatry and psychology, were often stigmatized. The general public had a wariness of ‘shrinks’ and considered seeking therapy to be a sign of weakness and failure. We’ve come a long way. Negativity around mental health has been steadily diminishing and mental well-being is becoming widely recognized as an important aspect of overall health - something to be protected, cared for and improved. We are almost to the point where it is held in similar view to physical fitness and well-being. To better understand the development of therapy and coaching, let’s look at the history of physical health and the role of exercise.
Physical exercise has been a part of life since the dawn of man, but it was a daily part of survival – a way of life. At a minimum, this involved hunting, gathering, cooking, childcare and when time allowed play and dance. From nomads to farmers, physical exercise was involved from sunup to sundown.
In Greco-Roman times and again during the Renaissance, interest in and celebration of the body and health were heightened but regular exercise for the sake of physical fitness alone was not a focus until quite recently, including in the United States. The exception to this throughout modern history has been the encouragement of men staying strong and healthy in preparation for potential war.
As early as the 1800s, physical education was available in some schools, typically in the form of calisthenics, gymnastics or tumbling. Physical fitness classes advanced during World War I and again during World War II with the requirements for military service and jobs requiring physical labor.
In my lifetime, physical fitness has gone from an oddity, to a novelty, to a trend, to a best practice for well-being. According to the IHRSA (International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association), about 20% of American adults have a fitness club membership and the $30 billion health and fitness industry in the United States has been growing by at least 3% annually for the past decade. This is only expected to continue and increase.
Mental fitness is steadily being recognized as a priority now and resources are becoming more readily available to the general population just a physical fitness resources have. For years, people have turned to therapy and counseling to support their mental well-being and there is no doubt that therapy can be beneficial and provide much needed help. But coaching has emerged as an excellent option over the past few decades as well.
"I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching process to draw out the skills or talent that was previously hidden within an individual, and which invariably finds a way to solve a problem previously thought unsolvable." John Russell
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines psychotherapy (also known as ‘talk therapy’ or ‘therapy’) as “the informed and intentional application of clinical methods and interpersonal stances derived from established psychological principles for the purpose of assisting people to modify their behaviors, cognitions, emotions, and/or other personal characteristics in directions that the participants deem desirable.”
According to the International Coaching Community “The essence of coaching is:
· To help a person change in the way they wish and helping them go in the direction they want to go.
· Coaching supports a person at every level in becoming who they want to be.
· Coaching builds awareness, empowers choice and leads to change.
Coaching unlocks a person’s potential to maximize their performance. Coaching helps them to learn rather than teaching them.”
Some typical differences between therapy and coaching are:
Focused on past
Therapist is an authority figure
Client is in need of healing or assistance
Focused on future
Coach is an equal or co-creator
Client is viewed as whole
A simple perspective from an 8 year old that’s not far from the mark, “Coaching helps people organize their lives while therapy can help peoples injuries get stronger.” – Amber Mosher
Some Eastern teachings tell us that our mind is like a monkey. We are given the gift and opportunity in our lifetime to tame it and train it. If we were given a mind that is peaceful by nature, we wouldn’t have the satisfaction and benefit of the journey. Just like the basketball player, who dribbles and shoots the ball thousands of times to master the sport or the weight lifter who incrementally lifts heavier and heavier weights, we can work with our minds over time to experience the fulfillment offered to us. The basketball player, weight lifter and mind trainer all receive significant advantage from a coach.
The desire for and pursuit of mental wellness in our culture has been indicated by many factors including providing guidance counselors in schools, mental health benefits in the work place and individuals seeking self-help resources such as meditation, yoga, breathwork and coaching.
The International Coach Federation (ICF) just this month updated their Core Coaching Competencies for the first time in 25 years! This is a clear signpost to the growth, maturity and continued sophistication and refinement of the coaching profession. The Board Certified Coach (BCC) provides credentialing for counselors who also choose to provide coaching services. There is clear and recognized value.
In today’s fast paced, modern life, mental fitness along with physical fitness can and should be a priority. It’s become quite popular for young professionals to have both a personal trainer and a coach. They understand the benefits.
Some reasons you may want to consider working with a coach:
Accountability – Holding you accountable to goals and
commitments to empower inner responsibility.
Support – Increasing good habits, prioritizing, staying motivated.
Guidance – creating and reassessing goals. Gaining and maintaining perspective.
Collaboration – Growing together as teammates toward your goals.
Ownership – Providing encouragement and deepening independence.
"Probably my best quality as a coach is that I ask a lot of challenging questions and let the person come up with the answer." Phil Dixon
Your ICF or EMCC Certified Coach may recommend counseling instead of, or in tandem with, coaching if you agree that it could be beneficial. For example, Sheila has spent time working on past traumas with her therapist related to an abusive ex-husband. During therapy sessions, they determine together when she is ready to work with her coach, independently, on her relationships with co-workers, then her boss and eventually her boyfriend. She uses the process of therapy as a platform to heal old wounds and prepare for effective, action focused coaching. She sees both her therapist and coach a couple times per month.
"As their coach, your job is to set the bar high, inspire them to reach this bar, encourage them, and most of all, guide them in the best possible manner and in the most supportive environment." John Popovich
An example of when a coach could be an excellent option independent of therapy for professional development - Jonathan wants to climb the corporate ladder but could really benefit from assistance determining the best way to fast track a promotion. He hires a coach to help identify what he really wants and why. During the process, they identify habits, patterns and behaviors that could be holding him back and strategies to turn those around and get noticed at work. As he begins to position himself well for a promotion, he gains leadership skills and increases his self-awareness to continue optimizing his likelihood of recognizing and seizing opportunities as they present themselves in his professional life. After six months of bi-weekly sessions, he continues to see his coach for monthly check ins to stay on track.
Or consider Marcie, a mid-level professional with a non-profit organization. She has two children, a loving husband and enjoys hiking and reading in her spare time. Generally, life has gone as planned and she’s happy. Yet, there are times when she feels that she just can’t keep things in balance and struggles with loneliness. She decides to engage a life coach to help sort things out and get direction. After their initial discussion, they agree to do a brief assessment that helps Marcie decide which topics she’d like to focus on. They quickly narrow down money and health as her current priorities during sessions and tuck away career, friends, family, spirituality, fun and love as areas that are in good shape for the time being. Over the next four months, they steadily work on small improvements that Marcie can make to bring more fulfillment with her finances and overall health.
With a coach by your side you can determine clearly and specifically what you want to accomplish, how and why this is important to you and how success will be measured. A coach can help you explore what else needs to be addressed in context and what are some barriers to success. Whether in a single session or a series this provides an excellent foundation to achieve goals.
Your coach may be able to introduce tools and resources that could be beneficial for your specific needs. Assessments, articles, worksheets, visual aids and prompts are often utilized. The skilled use of role play, metaphor, unearthing self-limiting beliefs and vision work can expedite personal growth and achievement of your goals.
“The power of coaching is this - you are expected to give people the path to find answers, not the answers.” Tom Mahalo
Hi! I’m Mindee and I’ll be your coach
Go to the Shop and purchase the monthly packet of your choice. Make the decision to make some changes. That is the biggest step! Every month we are going to make small changes that will work together in a powerful way. You can do this. You ARE doing this.
You can think better, feel better, do better, be better.
It may seem like much of the content is unrelated to your goals and why you are here. Not so. There may be areas that you already have a handle on. Consider that a bonus and confirmation of how much you do with excellence every day. It’s easy to take ourselves for granted. Don’t. Let’s do this instead.
Monthly coaching packets support development toward goals and ultimately achievement by providing guidance and small, actionable steps. It can be extremely effective and is now accessible. Everybody deserves a coach, an ally and an advocate.
Maybe you just need some ideas and accountability.
Ever read a self help book or article that seems great except you don’t actually do anything it tells you to? You get to the end and think “that makes great sense” but you didn’t complete one exercise and you realize you haven’t improved in one single way? And you aren’t going to.
Or the topic is so specific that you become an expert at organizing your closet or measuring your fat percentage or keeping up with the bills BUT the rest of your life, everything else is at a stand still?
You are not alone. Everybody can be better. I’ve got you. You are in the right place.
What to Do
Choose a monthly coaching packet from the Shop page. Each month you receive tasks, challenges and activities to engage all your senses to make small, incremental improvements in the areas of Receptivity, Organization, Sequencing and Efficiency. This includes:
Try a New Thing
Choose a few or all of them and do them to the best of your ability. That’s it. Positive change will happen over time.
Offering LIFE Monthly Coaching Packets
and one on one coaching sessions. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.