It's Mental Health Awareness week, and I've been reflecting on how much more aware I've become of the importance of Mental Health since I started coaching. My career as a coach started with a curiosity of how to support the transfer of learning from books and the training room into real meaningful change, and it's true that coaching really does help with this. However what I didn't fully appreciate, was also how important coaching was for supporting people's mental health and well-being, and actually how the two inter-relate. This aspect has become a really important part of my coaching as my career has progressed, and in particular during the pandemic.
This year's topic for Mental Health Awareness week is Loneliness. From the CEOs who feel lonely at the top, the remote workers struggling with the lack of social interaction, the new employees starting new jobs and feeling like they don't belong - loneliness has been at the core of many of my coaching sessions.
As I coached these people, I realised that good mental health was the foundation for learning and growth and crucial for people to fulfil their potential. I was mindful that I needed to be able to spot the signs when a different type of intervention such as therapy was required, and to that end I recently completed a Mental Health First Aid certification. However, there are times when people realise they need a bit of support but are not in need of clinical care, they just realise something needs to change. Maybe they're lonely, maybe they feel like they don't fit in, maybe they feel like an imposter, maybe they are burning out and need to get a better work-life balance.
Coaching can support you to work out what needs to change, what is getting in your way, and to find strategies that will work for you going forwards. It can help you find the right work life balance for you, and to help you to take not only corrective action but also preventative action, as advocated by positive psychology, to safeguard your mental health. It can also help you feel less alone, a safe space where you can think and talk openly, and work out how you can get out of your own way.
One of my favourite ways of supporting my coachee's well-being is by coaching outside, getting away from screens, grounding yourself in nature, and getting a wider perspective whilst exercising in the great outdoors. This doesn't have to be in person, we can also chat on the phone as we both go walking - far apart but not alone.
If you're interested in how working with a coach can help you, your team or your employees, do get in touch.