Updated: Mar 30, 2021
This new Mental Health Awareness Course provides coaches with greater awareness of mental health and wellbeing issues, acts as a foundation for supporting clients and the coach themselves, and a pathway to resources.
A core attribute of coaching is the ability to provide value through supporting people in their behavioral changes to enhance their wellbeing and health. This support is increasingly valued as recent research confirms that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England. The instability of everyday life as a result of the recent global pandemic has meant that more and more people are suffering with their mental health.
In light of these circumstances, organizations such as MHFA England have developed Mental health awareness training courses to provide wellbeing support in the workplace. These initiatives are highly appreciated; however, we believe that the support needs to go beyond an organisational level and be used to support mental health discussions within the coaching process as well. Coaches may often be engaging with clients who wish to discuss and explore wellbeing issues.
Coaches face uncertainty when navigating mental health conversations
It is no secret, that conversations surrounding mental health are making their way during coaching sessions, but how confident do coaches feel when navigating these conversations?
Based on a recent survey (2021) we conducted with coaches in the UK, 67% of the participants said that they are hesitant to cross boundaries when speaking to clients about their mental health. This uncertainty and pursuit for guidance can be seen in the types of questions the participants asked:
“Would you encourage coaches to have open and frank conversations with clients if there is any concern (however slight) about their mental health? If so, is there any research around the effects/outcomes of any such conversations?”
“What do I do first when I spot someone in a mental health crisis?”
“What is the best way to start a conversation about mental health with a client?”
“I sometimes worry about the mental health of the coaches. How can you spot if you have a problem yourself?”
“How can I be of most use to a client on their mental health issues without referring on?”
“How can I best acknowledge and hold my client’s mental health issues whilst continuing to catch and support them?”
Our Mental Health Awareness course delivered in collaboration with Primum is a half day video-based session, with future plans set in place for a longer, and in-depth 1–2 day course. It is designed to promote good mental health; provide the right support; destigmatize mental health; and most importantly help coaches navigate the unspoken boundaries of communicating to clients about their mental health. Participants of the course are provided with a booklet with resources that further support what is being taught in the session.
Why MHAC? Insights from the previous course participants
We have received great feedback from previous participants. Feedback suggests that all of the previous participants left the session with greater knowledge on mental health, with 67% of the participants stating that they have a greater awareness of their role as a coach and how to help their clients with their mental health. A previous participant illustrates the greater impact of this course:
“Really informative, with lots of useful guidance for a coach to be able to understand, recognise and appropriately handle mental health challenges that may present themselves during coaching sessions.”
· To find out more about this course, contact us here
 Mind.org.uk. 2021. How common are mental health problems?. [online] Available at: <https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-and-facts-about-mental-health/how-common-are-mental-health-problems/>