Management & Leadership

Coaching for Mental Health and Well-being

Nov 10, 2021 | By Saranne Durham
Coaching for Mental Health - SACAP

Can coaching improve mental health and boost your well being? It may sound like a stretch, however it’s not. There is a growing body of evidence which shows that coaching can positively impact your mental health. Coaching can happen within a work environment, in groups or be undertaken individually. Enabling it to be used as an intervention at a professional and personal level. Its inherent versatility means that the skills learnt from being coached are transferable across all areas of life. This makes the question “How could I benefit from Coaching?” worth asking yourself. Especially, once the value of coaching from the perspective of maintaining mental health and wellness is unpacked.

Why Buffer Your Mental Health?

Our mental health determines how we think, feel, interact as well as relate to the world around us. Essentially, it can impact our work, how well we are able to look after our health and our relationships. Thereby, making it an important part of how we are able to function in our everyday life.

Mental health issues can affect anyone regardless of where they come from, their circumstance or demographic. There are two main triggers which could result in someone experiencing mental health challenges. One is biological, which is linked to our brain chemistry and therefore could be inherited. And the second is environmental. Such as, life experiences like stress, abuse and traumatic events.

Therefore, being aware of and proactively looking after your mental health is a healthy and wise decision to make. It does take effort, time and is a conscious decision that needs to be made continually. However, it’s often easier to implement preventative measures that buffer against things like stress; than to have to treat a mental health decline or disorder.

What is the Point of Coaching?

Coaching focuses on where you are now and achieving set goals, rather than addressing past issues. This means that it is neither counselling nor therapy. It is also a shorter-term intervention strategy and therefore differs from a mentoring process.

“Coaching differs in focus from counselling, therapy and mentoring.”

Coaches seek to leverage their client’s individual talents and advantages in order to maximize potential and achieve goals. They are essentially an accountability partner who helps define, set and support you to achieve the goals you want to. Coaching is adaptable to settings and can therefore be tailored to both workplace circumstances and an individual’s context.

Coaching and Mental Health

BetterUp Labs conducted research looking specifically at if coaching could be an effective wellness approach which also improved mental health. They looked at how coaching, as an intervention strategy, affected someone overtime. How they measured the effectiveness of coaching was to look at dose, time and impact. This they did using a large cohort of individuals and coaches from across the world.

The Results of Research on Coaching

How long coaching took to have a positive impact varied between the individuals in the study. However, a general timeframe linked to specific improvements was observed:

  • 1 – 3 Months: Improvement of introspective skills, such as self-awareness.
  • 3 Months: Stress management improved.
  • 6 Months: Greater resilience was observed.
  • More than 6 Months: Accelerated improvement of all round life satisfaction.

The Impact of Coaching on Mental Health

The overall result of working with a coach was that because people had a greater self-awareness, they were able to regulate their emotions better. This resulted in better relationships and connections with those around them. Those coached also had a deeper understanding of their own life purpose. The longer-term impact of coaching led to improved well-being, enhanced life satisfaction and overall greater happiness.

“Research shows that coaching positively impacts mental health and well-being.”

The better your mental health, the more able you are to adapt to changing circumstances as well as unexpected events. Coaches assist clients to do just this as well as empower them to face life’s challenges rather than avoid them. Through coaching, clients improve their skills in adjusting to, recuperating from and growing from trials they encounter. Having defined and setting achievable goals which are then reached, creates a sense of well-being, purpose and improved life satisfaction. Which, in turn, nurtures and strengthens a positive attitude towards life in general.

Additionally, this all-round nurturing and reinforcement of a positive approach to life, enables a greater sense of happiness. Happier people have been shown to recover faster from illness, than those with a negative outlook on life. All of which further assist in the building of mental resilience, thereby improving mental health and well-being.

Thus, through coaching, clients are upskilled to deal with environmental factors which could cause mental health challenges.

How to become a Coach

SACAP offers a range of coaching courses through its Management & Leadership faculty. These are accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and aligned with COMENSA. Contact an advisor today to book an appointment or apply online.

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