This article’s theme area:
A question I hear often:
How do you know if you need a therapist or a coach?
My answer: if you are even thinking the question, you have answered the GREATER question: yes, you need some kind of support.
The next query is often: which one, coach or therapist?
My answer: Mentor!! A little self-serving it seems, but realistically, if you don’t have a clear direction, Mentors are an excellent jumping off point to explore what kind of resource is best for you. Because mentoring is more affordable than counselling/coaching, and a true PARTNER in the furthering of lifeskills and mental health rather than a competitor, it’s an efficient and non-threatening resource to wade in with!
Oftentimes when we are feeling like we need “something more” in our lives, people simply need to fill an absence of a “safe” open-minded place to express thoughts and concerns. The wisdom and accessibility of a mentor may be enough. Mentors are also well versed in the variety of resources that people can draw on to move their lives forward – from books to nutrition to psychotherapy. If any of these resources are a more appropriate or efficient path to deal with your particular needs, your Mentor will help you make the move. Coming more from a place of life experience than diplomas, there are very clear boundaries for Mentors; and those boundaries mean they are happy to refer you elsewhere when you require more specialized direction.
So… I suggest you consider a Mentor your “guidance counsellor” and don’t overwhelm yourself trying to pre-analyze things that – let’s face it – you probably can’t even see!
Mentoring is a simple (and cheaper!) way to just take action now: stop thinking about it – do it. The eternal “thinking about it” may be the problem itself! Let’s move on. Together. -SL
Some indicators from mentors/coaches/therapists alike:
You Need to Take Action if …
(adapted from article by Carma Spence)
1. You just feel it.
2. You really don’t have a trusted friend or resource for simple venting. Having somewhere to get things “out of your head” is a must in everyone’s life. If you really don’t have this resource in your life, the use of a “life professional” meets the most basic of human needs, and will give you tools to create this for yourself, and pursue additional support if needed.
3. Your life is not producing the outcomes you desire. This is what is sometimes called the ‘hamster wheel effect.’ Basically, you keep producing the same outcomes, but they are no longer what you want. But, no matter what you try, you find yourself stuck in that hamster wheel of repeated results. A “life professional” can help you see your situation from a different perspective and assist you in shifting to new habits, ways of seeing things and strategies that will get you the results you want.
4. You notice you have a self-defeating monologue in your head, but can’t seem to stop it. Negative self-talk is one of the worst things you can do to your self. Sometimes this self-deprecating monologue is inspired by words spoken to us by family, friends and cohorts, other times it is an off-shoot of a negative experience. A “life professional” can help you re-frame those self-defeating words and turn them around into a new self-confidence boosting script.
5. You want to take a self-inventory to find areas to focus on for improvement Sometimes you know you have some things in your life that you want to change, but are feeling overwhelmed about where to start. A “life professional” can help you develop an inventory of areas to improve upon and then assist you in prioritizing which areas to work on first.
6. You have self-sabotaging behaviors you want to reprogram Much like negative self-talk, bad habits can keep us stuck in a rather unpleasant hamster wheels. These behaviors can be obvious, like smoking or eating too much fast food, or they can be more subtle like chronic procrastination. Whatever your self-sabotaging behavior may be, a “life professional” can help you turn it around.
7. You have a life goal that you want an unbiased accountability partner to help you achieve Sometimes we need help achieving a goal. That’s why athlete’s hire sports coaches … to help them achieve their athletic goal. A “life professional” can help you with life goals, such at finding a significant other, losing weight or facing a fear of heights.
8. You want to change, but you don’t know how Sometimes you may feel the call to change your life, but you aren’t sure of how that change should look or be approached. A “life professional” can help you get clear on what you want out of your life and then how you can achieve it.
If any of these sound like you: