Coaching and mental well-beingSunday, February 28, 2021
I was recently approached by an old friend who confided in me that her son was failing in school and was having a hard time coping with the online classes. When I asked the son how he was doing, he responded: “Auntie, I feel like I am going out of my mind. I am stressed.”
For many Jamaican parents, the word “stress” has no right coming out of the mouths of children. After all, what do they have to be stressed about? Their only responsibility is to perform well in school.
I welcomed the opportunity to work with the child and, after three sessions, I began to see a shift in his mindset and a more positive approach to his studies. He became more focused and intentional about his academic performance online. This is the result of a successful coaching relationship. Coaching brings value to what we do and brings out the inner dreamer in us.
According to Forbes magazine, coaching is estimated to be a US$2-billion industry and growing, especially within developed countries. The International Coaching Federation says that individuals who have employed the services of a life coach have experienced improved levels of self-discovery and awareness, more fulfilling relationships, and the achievement of personal and professional goals.
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the onset of the novel coronavirus crisis locally, many individuals are saying that their mental well-being is at risk. Many of us are all ' Zoomed' out from the extended hours spent in meetings online.
In a new report, McKinsey surveyed 1,100 executives and 2,656 employees across 11 countries to see how the pandemic was impacting workers. They found that while 96 per cent of companies globally have made changes to their human resource policies and increased employee resources, only one in six employees reported feeling supported while 62 per cent of employees consider mental health issues a serious challenge.
According to Sarah Stewart-Brown, professor of public health at University of Warwick, “Feelings of contentment, enjoyment, confidence, and engagement with the world are all a part of mental well-being. So, too, is having a healthy dose of self-confidence and self-esteem. Good mental well-being does not mean that you never experience feelings or situations that you find difficult. It does mean, however, that you feel you have the resilience to cope when times are tougher than usual.”
When taking these definitions into consideration, life coaching is a valuable option to promote, support and maintain mental well-being, especially during this pandemic.
As coaches, we empower our clients to acknowledge their resourcefulness, devote time to self-discovery and inner awareness, set goals to reach their full potential. It is a collaborative approach based on equality within the coach/client relationship. During sessions, the coach uses mindfulness and active listening to be fully present with the client. The space created by the coach is a safe one, void of judgement, biases or opinions which could be detrimental to the client's self-exploration and self-awareness.
Powerful questioning, curiosity and intuition assist the coach in supporting the client to expand his or her thinking and to explore different perspectives to achieve the desired outcomes.
Tips for maintaining mental well-being during this pandemic:
• Make time for daily devotion and strengthen your relationship with God.
• Remain connected to family and friends in a safe space.
• Take intermittent breaks from all the technology and go outdoors and treat yourself to some vitamin D, some good stretches. Walk your dog, tend to your garden – just breathe before logging back in.
• Limit accessing all the news stories about the pandemic as it can become depressing.
• Observe the COVID-19 safety protocols as approved by the Government.
• Take care of your body.
• Eat healthy and nutritious meals.
• Exercise regularly.
• Get plenty of sleep.
• Avoid tobacco use and excess alcohol.
• Continue with routine preventative measures (such as cancer screenings) as recommended by your health care provider.
Yulit Gordon is a certified life coach and health advocate.
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