We as human beings have the right to thrive in life, not just to survive or exist. Mental health coaching is an upcoming aspect of coaching.
Coaches empower people to improve their behavioural health, and a mental health coach is a niche helping people with depression and anxiety issues.
What Is A Mental Health Coach?
While coaching, in general, provides action-oriented support, guidance, and motivation to affect behavioural health, emphasising an improvement of one’s life and reaching goals for the future. Health and fitness coaches support their clients by keeping them accountable with their exercise and nutrition plans, motivating their clients to reach their goals.
Wellness health coaches also guide their clients through the process of creating an ideal vision for their health and wellbeing.
Coaching mental health issues focuses on mental illness such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Mental health coaches use a partnership model where the client is an active participant in their own recovery plan. The client is guided to decide what they can do, and the coach provides their expertise and support for successful change and accountability which keeps their client on track and in the drivers’ seat.
What Does A Mental Health Coach Do?
Mental health is an issue that has been rising around the world. Many people want to move forward by improving their mental health but they’re often not sure how or where to start. This list can help you understand what mental health coaching could do for you.
CBT & Strengths-Based Approach
Mental health coaching trains coaches to use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and strengths-based support for their clients. CBT is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on the here and now problems that come up in day to day life. Its goal is to change the thinking or behaviour patterns that are behind peoples’ problems, thereby changing the way they feel. Strengths-based support starts with the understanding that each person has specific and unique strengths to use to improve their behavioural health.
Non-judgemental & Empathetic
An important aspect of supporting behavioural health is that the coaching professional remains non-judgemental and empathetic to the client’s current situation. Personal biases toward any ideology toward mental health or any other predisposed assumptions are released in their training, in order for the client to feel comfortable to open up. Also, mental health coaches are mindful that the client may have certain assumptions toward their own mental health issues and feel hesitant in seeking help. It is important for mental health coaches to ease these feelings of self-judgement early on in the relationship in order to see a successful outcome.
A mental health coach listens attentively and deeply to their clients in order to have an understanding of their personal needs, challenges, and desires for their future. Many people with mental health issues can be very high functioning. They may be succeeding in a career and completing daily tasks such as feeding and grooming. It can be difficult for the average person to detect a mental illness in a person because of this. A mental health coach is a professional who is aware that if any of these things stop, it could be time to refer this client to a therapist or counsellor with different skills to support this person further.
Coaches learn in their training to ask powerful questions in order to guide their clients to look deeply into their issues. This helps the client to see themselves in new ways and open up new paths for transformation.
Good mental health coaching is rooted in the understanding that the client has the knowledge and capacity to make their desired changes. It is only required that they be coaxed out of hiding and be revealed to the person. So the client is empowered by the coach making it clear that they are partners in healing the mental health issues. Partners have the responsibility to keep each other accountable for their role in the partnership.
Support Strengths & Wisdom
No one knows better than the client what is best for them. Coaches do not possess the power to come up with the clients’ solution, only to support the client to find their own way supporting them to tap into their strengths and wisdom. It is important to the process that the client feels an increase in their value by participating in the improvement of their own behavioural health.
Mental health coaches help clients develop evidence-based skills that help them overcome the problems they’re facing to improve their behavioural health and move forward in the direction they desire.
By bringing in a fresh perspective, the coach can show the client how to reframe their thinking. This can enable the client to see their situation in a new light and address problems from a different viewpoint in a healthier and more beneficial way.
Inspiration and Motivation
Moving forward can seem impossible at worst and terribly uncomfortable at best when a person is living with mental health issues. The coach can provide motivation for the person to see possibilities, where they maybe could not see them before, builds the clients’ drive, or inspires them to take the uncomfortable steps toward the future they envision.
New Plan of Action
Together the client and coach can come up with a new plan of action to move forward and make behaviour change easier. Like any new change in behaviour, it takes consistent conscious reinforcement to make it into a habit. The mental health coach is there to hold the client accountable for putting it into practice.
By having the coaches’ support and the client’s newfound strengths, this helps the person create lasting change. They feel confident they can thrive because their success is attributed to themselves rather than to an external source.
The Benefits Of Mental Health Coaching
Mental Health Coaching can be very empowering for people with mental illness. Coaches use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and forms of a strengths-based approach to help clients find ways of:
- Obtaining and maintaining stability
- Managing difficult symptoms
- Rebuilding relationships
- Finding purpose for living
- Creating a clear plan of action
- Using current strengths to reach future goals
Because there’s such a wide range and severity of mental health issues, some people may benefit more from a timely intervention with a referral to a therapist with different resources. It is important for the coach to use their discretion and keen observation to understand if the behavioural health of the client will benefit from a different type of treatment.
Mental Health Coaching Vs. Therapy
Mental health coaching varies greatly from counselling or therapy. A mental health coach works from your present time reality to help create and support your plans for the future.
Therapy and counselling often work through your past to help with your present issues.
Mental health coaches touch on your past however, the main focus is what you’re dealing with now and how to get to where you want to go from here.
A counsellor would talk to you before getting in the car, and delve into your past problematic driving experiences.
A coach would ask you to get into the driver’s seat, sit next to you in the passenger seat, ask you where you’d like to go, give you the keys, explain the basics of how the car works, and offer guidance and support as you drive away.
For example, someone struggling with depression can see a psychiatrist for medication. Yet, while they receive the medical treatment a coach can support them to move away from just living with depression. A coach can support the client to move towards a life where they are thriving without medication if that’s what they choose. Mental health coaching can be a relatively short-lived process, while therapy or counselling can go on for a long time.
Coaching can and will work alongside therapy and counselling. Mental health is an important part of your overall health, so any and all forms of support can provide better results.