Corporate coaching is a highly demanding profession, requiring professionals to be both physically and mentally fit. While coaches focus on helping their clients achieve their goals, they often neglect their own mental health needs. According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, nearly 70% of coaches reported feeling stressed, and over 25% reported symptoms of depression.
Coaches have the unique responsibility of helping individuals navigate challenging situations and make important life decisions. However, their roles often involve absorbing their clients’ emotional turmoil, which can lead to burnout and emotional exhaustion. Therefore, coaches need to prioritize their mental health and well-being.
Perspectives from the experts
Several experts agree that coaches need to prioritize their mental health to be effective in their roles. Psychologist and life coach Dr. Judith Tutin says, “Coaches who are resilient and emotionally stable can model those characteristics for their clients, which can be tremendously helpful in building trust and establishing an effective executive coaching relationship.”
Professional coach and author, Dr. Ben Fanning, adds, “A coach’s mental health directly impacts their ability to be present and effective in helping their clients overcome challenges and achieve their goals. A coach who is struggling mentally will be less effective in helping others.”
Sripriyaa Venkataraman, Global Leadership Development Expert, Executive Coach and Founder of Global Coaching Lab says she has three routes of relaxation and reflection.
“Star Gazing – A habit nurtured from younger days that helps me gain strength and balance to aspire and achieve.
-Meaningfully observing movement in nature – A habit to follow movement, which comes from many years of practicing classical dance. I often like to observe movement, be it birds in movement in the garden or butterflies in the park. It helps me connect with the flow of nature. I do not specifically call this reflection; it is rather meditative and spiritual for me. I make it a point to observe movement in nature every day.
I also seek clarity through reflective powerful questions. This happens when I connect with people whom I respect and believe have the power to help me gain clarity to solve challenges. Being an executive coach myself, I believe in the power and possibilities for human evolution through deep reflection that stems from powerful questions,” she says.
10 Tips to help working professionals cope
Yes, different solutions work for different people. But we are sure these ten tips will at least propel you in your preferred direction of stressless living.
Make self-care a priority
Coaches need to prioritize their self-care, including taking downtime for themselves, eating well, and getting enough rest. Self-care is essential to maintaining good mental health and reducing stress levels. Coaches can make self-care a priority by scheduling regular time-off, practicing good sleep hygiene, and engaging in physical activity.
For example, a coach could schedule time every week to exercise or meditate, or they could take a day off each month to recharge their batteries.
Seek professional support
Seeking support from a licensed mental health professional can be beneficial for coaches who need to manage their mental health. A therapist or counselor can provide valuable guidance and support to coaches who are struggling with stress, burnout, or other mental health issues. Coaches should seek out a professional who has experience working with individuals in high-stress professions like corporate coaching.
For example, a coach who is struggling with anxiety or depression may benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can help them identify and challenge negative thought patterns.
Mindfulness practices, such as meditation or yoga, can help coaches manage stress and improve their overall mental well-being. Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment and accepting thoughts and feelings without judgment. Coaches can practice mindfulness by setting aside time each day to meditate or do yoga.
For example, a coach can have a daily schedule of practising simple breathing meditation for 10 minutes every morning before starting work.
Coaches need to set boundaries to avoid overextending themselves, both professionally and personally. This means saying no to requests that are outside their scope of practice or clashes with their values. Setting boundaries can help coaches avoid burnout and maintain a healthier work-life integration.
For example, a coach could set a boundary that they will not work on weekends or evenings, or they could limit the number of clients they see each week.
Coaches need to take breaks to avoid burnout and to ensure that they can provide their clients with the best support possible. Taking regular breaks can help coaches recharge and stay focused. After leadership coaching, coaches can take breaks by scheduling time for themselves, going for a walk, or engaging in a relaxing activity.
For example, a coach could take a 10-minute break every hour to stretch or take a short walk outside after or before sessions.
Maintain social connections
Coaches need to maintain social connections with friends and family to avoid isolation and loneliness. It is so strange how a person can be surrounded by clients but still feel alone and isolated! Social connections provide support and help coaches maintain a positive outlook. Coaches can maintain social connections by scheduling regular time with friends and family or by joining social groups related to their interests.
For example, a coach who enjoys hiking could join a local hiking group to meet new people and stay active.
Engage in hobbies and interests
Engaging in unique hobbies and interests can help coaches manage stress and improve their overall mental health. Hobbies provide a way to relax and unwind, and they can help coaches stay engaged and energized. Coaches can engage in hobbies by setting aside time each week for activities they enjoy, such as reading, painting, or playing music.
For example, a coach who enjoys cooking or baking could spend an hour each evening trying out new recipes.
Practising gratitude can help coaches maintain a positive outlook and improve their overall mental well-being. Gratitude involves focusing on the positive aspects of life and being thankful for what one has. Coaches can practice gratitude by keeping a gratitude journal or by simply taking a few minutes each day to reflect on what they are grateful for. This is crucial as it could be the sole factor getting you through each day.
For example, a coach could make a list of three things they are grateful for each evening before going to bed.
Coaches need to continue learning and developing their skills to stay engaged and avoid burnout. Continuing education can help coaches stay up-to-date on the latest research and techniques in their field, and it can also provide a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Coaches can keep learning by attending conferences, workshops, or seminars, or by enrolling in online courses.
For example, a coach who specializes in executive coaching could enroll in a course on leadership development to learn new strategies and techniques.
Coaches need to be kind to themselves and practice self-compassion when they experience challenges or setbacks. Self-compassion involves treating oneself with kindness, understanding, and acceptance. Coaches can practice self-compassion by acknowledging their feelings and emotions, accepting their mistakes and limitations, and treating themselves with the same level of kindness and compassion they would offer to a friend.
For example, a coach who experiences a setback could take a few moments to reflect on their accomplishments and strengths and remind themselves that everyone makes mistakes.
Leadership coaching is a rewarding profession that requires a high level of mental and emotional energy. Coaches need to take care of their mental health to be effective in helping others. They have a significant responsibility towards their clients and need to prioritize their mental health to be effective.
By prioritizing their mental well-being, coaches can model healthy behaviors for their clients and provide the best support possible. Incorporating self-care practices and seeking support when necessary, can help coaches manage their mental health and avoid burnout, enabling them to better serve their clients.
Remember, taking care of your mental health is not selfish; it’s simply essential for being the best version of yourself and helping others.