Coaching is very much involved in the way that people see the world, their beliefs, their habits and their actions.
Coaching can be very effective for helping people past performance blocks and to overcome limiting beliefs.
A coachee with a sound mind is able to explore options, make decisions and then take actions towards a successful achievement of their goals.
Some coaches even have skills and techniques to work with the ‘unhappy well’, those people that demonstrate some of the characteristics of mild depression and poor motivation.
There are, however, people that you will come across in your coaching practise that have personality issues that you are not prepared nor qualified to deal with. They may be drawn to the coaching world as a means of seeking to overcome their situation, misinterpreting it as a performance or life style issue rather than an underlying medical or mental problems. Identifying such people can be quite difficult as they can appear normal.
When you see the first indication of any behaviour that you think is inconsistent with the normal coaching profile then call a halt to the sessions and have your client seek professional help. With one in four people suffering from some level of mental health issue, you are certainly likely to see one of two in your practise.
Some typical issues include:
Borderline Personality Disorder which can be associated with specific problems in interpersonal relationships, self-image, emotions, behaviours, and thinking. Particularly in the restructuring of events to meet their own interpretation.
Eating Disorders which include Anorexia Nervosa, binge eating and Bulimia.
Addiction: to alcohol, drug and substances, nicotine and other compulsions such as gambling.
Multiple Personality Issues such as Schizophrenia which is a severe illness of the mind.
Bipolar Disorders and associated symptoms of grandiosity, rapid speech, racing thoughts, selective listening and remembering, distraction and excessive energy that leads to high levels of exercise.
If your client exhibits any of these characteristics or behaviours, it is prudent to advise them to seek counselling or further medical advice and not continue the coaching sessions.
Coach those that are healthy and the unhappy well and leave dealing with those with mental health problems to the counsellors and health care professionals.