Given my profession and my demographic, it’s no surprise that people have been verrry curious about my take on Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why (the story of a high school girl and the series of events that leads to her suicide). There’s been quite a bit of controversy around this show, focusing on everything from the glamorization of suicide, to the risks of exposing vulnerable youth to graphic content, to concerns about copycat behavior by young viewers.
I’ve heard a wide variety of perspectives on these issues, and while there may never be a consensus about the value, appropriateness or accuracy of the show itself, there is one crucial takeaway that I hope we can all agree on:
We need to focus our attention on prevention as opposed to crisis management.
Because here’s the cold hard truth: the crisis is coming. It always does. Life is messy and complicated and unpredictable, so the most valuable thing we can do is anticipate the struggle and prepare ourselves in advance.
May is mental health awareness month, so there’s no better time to assess the quality of your/your family’s well-being. Ups and downs are a natural part of life, and frankly there is tremendous value in learning to navigate through struggle and pain. That said, there’s absolutely no sense in waiting until you’ve hit rock bottom to seek support.
Think of it this way: do you wait to apply sunscreen until you’re already burnt to a crisp? Of course not. You wisely apply sunscreen before you hit the beach in order to protect yourself from a painful burn today and a cancer crisis tomorrow.
Similarly, the presence of a positive support system is a protective factor against mental and emotional suffering today, tomorrow and beyond. Coaching is precisely the kind of positive support system kids and adults need to explore present and pending obstacles, overcome challenges in real time and prevent suffering in the future.
***For the record, the coaching profession does not aim to address mental illness, nor do I directly treat clinical disorders in my coaching practice.***
That said, my unique background in counseling psychology, positive psychology and coaching has equipped me with a comprehensive skillset that allows me to seamless rotate through various roles of positive support for my clients. I’ve been referred to by clients as everything from coach to mentor to advocate to big sister to therapist to cheerleader.
But no matter the role I play, my goal is always to offer the kind of support that can aid in preventing the crisis as opposed to triaging it.
So how can you know if coaching is right for you? Here are some of the most common reasons for hiring a coach, as well as some of the lesser known indicators that coaching could be just what you need. If any of these reasons sound familiar, don’t wait. I encourage you to take action today to get the support that you need and deserve.
1. You talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.
Most of us talk a big game about how we want to show up in the world, what we want to achieve, and how we want to live. And yet, most people struggle to follow through on their goals, no matter how enticing they are. Coaches provide the reliable accountability you need to take actionable steps towards achieving your most desired goals.
2. You’re relationships are suffering.
If you find that you aren’t connecting with people as easily as you’d like, you’re not attracting your ideal friends or you’re struggling to forge lasting and meaningful relationships, chances are you need to take a hard look in the mirror and deepen your self-awareness around what you’re bringing to the table. Relationships are a two-way street, and coaching can help deepen your self-awareness so you can be certain that you are putting your best foot forward.
3. You feel hopeless or helpless.
When we’re in the midst of challenge it’s easy to fall prey to self-limiting thoughts and feelings. A coach will help you to call on your strengths and leverage your personal resources in order to tap into problem-solving skills and find a solution.
4. You hem and haw.
Indecisiveness is brutal. Not only is it frustrating to be the one who can’t make a decision, but it drives everyone around you nuts when you constantly change your mind or always defer to other people. Coaching can help you to improve your decision-making skills by teaching you the art of identifying the option that is most in line with your core values.
5. You feel lost.
When you feel like you’ve lost your way or gotten off path, it’s time to do the work to get clear about what’s most important to you. Coaching will help to clarify your core values so you can create an action plan for moving your life in the direction you most wish to go.
6. You’re in transition.
Transition can be extremely uncomfortable, and the uncertainty about what’s coming next almost always brings anxiety and fear. Coaching can strengthen your mindfulness muscle so you are better equipped to notice when you’re angst-ing about the future and re-focus on the present.
7. You’re comfortable.
Being comfortable is great, but it’s only a matter of time ‘til your bored. Although we do need a certain level of predictability in our lives, it’s also true that we need variety and spice of life! Coaching will challenge you to stretch out of your comfort zone so you continue to evolve into your best self by setting goals that are exciting and aspirational.
8. You’re a negative Nancy.
If you tend to see the world through a pessimistic lens or struggle to see the silver lining when the going gets tough, it’s time for a mindset shift. Coaching encourages you to embrace a growth mindset in which effort is seen as the pathway to mastery, obstacles are opportunities for growth, and persistence in the face of a challenge builds grittiness.
9. You beat yourself up.
Do you constantly criticize yourself? Are you your own worst critic? Do you have unreasonably high expectations for yourself that leave you feeling like you’re never enough? Coaching can teach you the critical skill of self-compassion so you can begin to treat yourself the same way you would treat someone you love.
10. You’re overworked, overbooked and depleted.
These days most people are just simply tapped out. Too many commitments and not enough hours in the day. And when we get busy, the first thing that gets put on the back burner is self-care (i.e. sleep, balanced nutrition, exercise, meditation, etc.) Coaching can help you to re-prioritize self-care as an essential aspect of your daily/weekly routine so you maximize your potential and feel good while you’re at it.
11. You’re in therapy but aren’t making progress.
Therapy is a beautiful thing, but typically it mostly focuses on processing. And talking about our stuff is a great start, but at the end of the day, a good coach will challenge you to DO something about your challenges. Coaching is an action-oriented process that will arm you with a clear vision and action steps for affecting positive change.
12. You’re struggling to bounce back.
Failure is an unavoidable part of life, so arming yourself with the tools to get back up after a fall is crucial. Coaching can help sharpen the cognitive skills you need to increase your resilience in the face of a challenge and continue taking healthy risks that are necessary for growth.
13. You’re happy.
Sounds counter-intuitive, but the absolute best time to hire a coach is when things are going well because you’re more likely to be open to challenging yourself in the name of growth. Plus, coaching is an invaluable form of prevention, arming you with the tools and strategies you’ll need to access in the future when the going gets tough.