The benefits of coaching

What is coaching?

Although it takes many forms, coaching is the process whereby an experienced person or someone with special skills mentors another person – or group of people – who lack them. As such, as a typical example of a coach would be a football team manager who passes on tactical ideas and ways of developing skills among players, even though he or she does not play in the team. Many managers in commercial businesses consider themselves to be coaches, too. However, being in a position of managerial responsibility does not automatically mean you are a coach. Coaching requires you to take active steps to get the best out of the people you are coaching, whether that means training them, looking for insights into their practices, or simply offering advice.

What is life coaching?

When coaches get involved in the overall life goals of somebody, this is usually referred to as life coaching. It will mean trying to identify what somebody wants to achieve in life and the barriers that may be preventing them from getting there. A life coach will often have a wide-ranging discussion with the person with whom they are working, in a similar way that a psychologist would. However, life coaches differ because they do not necessarily have any form of clinical training. What they often provide, however, is an insight into things like the work-life balance of the people they are helping, something that can lead to positive changes being made.

Can coaching help depression?

In some cases, coaching is a technique that can be used to alleviate the symptoms of depression. Where techniques that can help people who are suffering from depression and anxiety are not being deployed – such as getting more physical exercise, for example – a coach can help to address such issues. However, coaching could never be considered a cure for long-term or chronic depression.

What is coaching psychology?

Unlike other forms of coaching, such as sports or acting training, coaching psychology is a field of applied psychology. It aims to enhance the performance and mental-wellbeing of patients by combining theories in learning and social psychology with humanistic psychology and positivity theory. Various models are used with this psychological approach, known as GROW, PRACTICE and SPACE, among others. As well as helping individuals, these models are often used with sports teams and in educational settings to help get the best from students.

Which applications for coaching are there?

As mentioned, coaching is used extensively in sport, but also to help individuals and students to achieve their life and educational goals. It is also often used to help people with certain disorders, such as ADHD, for example. Another application is in the world of business, where more experienced professionals sometimes mentor employees. It can also be used to help people undergoing a crisis in their personal relationships or marriage.

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In essence, goal setting is a practice that means people will commit to future objectives or achievements and work out a plan that they will try to stick to in order to accomplish them. The idea is that it is really a form of planning that tries to move you on from your current situation to a new, improved one. As such, setting goals in a formal or even semi-formal way tends to improve focus. It also often means that you can keep your 'eyes on the prize' more effectively by helping you to avoid distractions and other calls on your time that do not work towards the objective you have set for yourself. Setting goals will often mean committing to a level of effort in order to achieve them, but by their very definition, the goals ought to be rewarding in some way.
The term work life balance relates to a harmonious state where the demands of work and home life are in equilibrium. In other words, people with a good work life balance do not have too many demands in their personal life that impact negatively on their ability to perform well in their job. Equally, their work is not so demanding or stressful that they are not truly present for their loved ones or so busy that they never have time for them. Most people strive for a good balance between work and life even though it may see-saw from time-to-time. When a work life balance is out of kilter, people can feel very pressurised and, in the worst cases, it can even lead to developing certain mental health disorders for a time.
At its simplest, stress management is the term that is used to cover a wide range of different techniques that will help you to lower the feelings of stress you experience in daily life. Although some aspects of stress management are there to help with high levels of peak tension, known as acute stress, some are more focused on long-term feelings of strain, known as chronic stress. Either way, the idea is to lower the levels of things like cortisol, a hormone that is known to be related to feelings of anxiety and stress. When we learn techniques that will help to lower stress and deploy them properly, this is when stress can go from being something out of our control to a manageable phenomenon. In this regard, stress management is not dissimilar to anger management.
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