Having met many wonderful coaches at the Harvard Medical School conference (this year's event is next week -- be sure to join us!) and other IOC events, I know I am not alone in having found myself with clients who have experienced a wide range of mental health challenges -- substance abuse, depression, anxiety, ADHD, etc. We only need think of the recent tragic loss of comedic genius Robin Williams to remind us how debilitating these issues can be, and how crucial it is that coaches be able to navigate the mental health landscape.
No matter your background, becoming an effective coach means learning the distinction between coaching and other mental health services -- and knowing when and how to approach, with sensitivity, topics that can engender vulnerability, fear, and resistance.
For this timely and important topic, we invited Harvard psychologist Dr. Shelley Carson to share her insights on mental health literacy for coaches. Shelley is author of the award-winning book, "Almost Depressed", which is part of a series focused on what a group of Harvard researchers have named the "almost effect". You can learn more about these important books at www.almosteffect.com.
In the meantime, this month we invite you to dive into the research with the article below, join our live webinar with Dr. Carson, and take advantage of our online MasterClass specifically designed to help coaches:
Assess whether your client's symptoms are a problem
Gain insight on how to intervene with a struggling client
Gage the physical, psychological, and social impact of a client's symptoms
Determine when and how to get additional professional help for a client
No matter what level of experience you have as a coach, we all need to understand the fast-changing terrain of mental health. As more people avail themselves of a health, wellness or leadership coach, we will more and more often find ourselves on the front lines of support. Our gifts—and skills—are crucial: we need to know when and how to provide guidance, help – and hope.
Director of Education and Business Development.
At the Border: Coaching a Client with Dissociative Identity Disorder, by Francine Capone, International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring ; 2014, Vol. 12, No. 1.
Special thanks to Brodie Gregory, PhD for reviewing this research article and translating the key points to use in your coaching practice.
Chances are, at some point in your coaching practice you have encountered the challenging grey area where the lines begin to blur between coaching and counseling. Frequently, one clear way to differentiate is through the purpose of the practice. Whereas counseling is for addressing and managing psychological dysfunction, coaching is for improving performance and enabling growth and development. But, what if a client has both needs?
In her recent International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring article, Francine Campone presents an eye-opening case about a coaching client with a clinical diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder, where the intersection of coaching and counseling is clearly tested. As Campone notes, this case “offered an opportunity to observe and learn from such an intersection by constructing a case study from participants’ journals and interviews, observation and reference to peer-reviewed literature” (p. 2).
The case provides useful and thoughtful insights into critical steps for coaching in this context. In fact, Campone outlines five critical “checkpoints” for carefully managing the border between coaching and counseling. These checkpoints include:
In the article, Campone provides details on what each of these checkpoints “looks like” for both the coach and client – a useful dual perspective. Interested in seeing more? Take a look at Table 1 on page 9 of the article.
Why shouldn’t clients with clinical diagnoses also enjoy the benefits of working with an executive coach? While counseling and appropriate treatment are essential, working with an executive coach can help clients with disorders live a richer life and flourish in spite of their diagnosis. The Campone case presents a valuable example of how to carefully work with clients with a clinical diagnosis, while still respecting the coaching/counseling border. Take a look at Campone’s full article. How can you use this case to help you provide better coaching services to clients or potential clients with a clinical diagnosis?
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