Mental health coaching helps clients envision life without depression or other obstacles to emotional well-being. It is a niche within the coaching field which touches on psychotherapy, but it does not work with or attempt to treat mental illness. Coaches in this niche don’t view mental health in terms of illness or psychological problems; they view it as an issue needing life goals clarification and identification,, support and guidance, behavior modification, and life skills training.
Mental health coaching is a profession that is completely different from counselling, advice, consulting, or therapy. The coaching process examines what is going on in the person’s life right now, unpacking what their obstacles or challenges are, and formulating a course of action to help them achieve the things that they want in life. A life coach will provide a safe and empowering space for individuals to identify the ways that they want to improve their life and then create goals that are positive, future focussed and inspiring. They will help to break down these goals into manageable steps to help the person transition from where they currently are, to where they want to be. They will actively listen and offer challenge and thought provoking questions to help the person develop a deeper understanding of themselves. Furthermore, a life coach will also provide accountability and challenge the person’s perspective, helping them to step outside of their comfort zones. Life Coaching is different from counselling where sessions focus mainly on the person’s past in order to bring about understanding and healing. It is also different from mentoring or advice – the life coach’s goal is not to tell the person what they should do or how to live their life. It’s about being a facilitator that empowers the person to identify the changes that they would like to make and then helping them through the process of achieving these goals. Life coaching is about asking questions and offering a range of skills that empower the person to find the answers within themselves. ‘A purposeful conversation between two people, that inspires them to step out of their comfort zones and take the initial steps towards doing what they want and being who they want to be’.
A firm belief underpinning life coaching is that the person is the expert of their own life. The life coach is simply an expert of the coaching process, and their goal is simply to help the person discover what their own personal ‘best’ might actually be. Every day we all make choices about what we do or don’t do. Each of these choices (no matter how small) will affect the results that we get in life which therefore influences how fulfilled or unfulfilled we go on to feel. Life coaching helps the person to identify their core values (what’s really important to them) which enables them to make wiser choices and ultimately create a more effective, balanced and fulfilling life.