Coaching As A Wellness Issue


By Di√°ne Mandle, 1998

At a recent coaching roundtable I hosted for a women's business group, I was reminded of how differently men and women experience success. The elements that contribute to feeling successful are also quite distinct for each gender. For women, it takes an entire range of issues apart from or in addition to a thriving career in order for them to really feel good. In fact, many successful career women in the group still did not feel satisfaction in life because of a lack of balance in other areas of their lives.
Issues that emerge repeatedly as factors that impact women's ability to feel success include: health, relationships, fun, alone time and creativity. Career satisfaction as a measure of overall success tends to rank higher among younger women who are just starting their careers then those with famiies. Yet most women still devote a majority of their time and energy to their jobs and the activity of money making! Imagine devoting most of your resources to the thing that satisfies you the least- mostly because you are afraid not to, or because you think you have to, or don't know how to really integrate your different needs.

Poet and inspirational speaker David Whyte tells of a women who had been with AT&T for 20 years. In a workshop he conducted she wrote, " I turned my face for a moment and it became my life." How many of us get 'caught up' in life this way only to look back at our lives with regret at what we would have loved to do?
Don't get me wrong. The women in the roundtables all said, "I love my job, but..," But what? But something's missing. But I don't have time for a relationship. But I never have real fun. But I don't do anything creative anymore. But I feel stressed a lot. But, but, but…Do we really believe that the results of all these 'buts' don't impact on our job quality and performance not to mention the other aspect of our lives?

My own wake up call came 12 years ago when several women friends were discussing how they managed their moments of depression. I realized that my only option had been to call a friend- and if they weren't available, I was stuck. Since then, I have discovered numerous options to being stuck such as meditation, journaling, co-counseling, exercise and hot baths. Oddly enough, incorporating these activities into my life has resulted in precious few "blue" moments. But worse than the past depression was my total buy-in to the belief that when I was tired, blue, unproductive, or not feeling sociable, if I was single or didn't have a lot of money, then I had less value, less worth as a person. That notion alone drives many women to doing things they don't want to, just to keep up appearances or to escape feelings of shame and guilt. For years, I stayed in an unhealthy marriage too long, kept an unsatisfying job because of the steady paycheck it brought in and lived in a fear- based rather than a passion-based life.
I won't say that coaching is a cure all to the challenges of life but it can put you on the fast track to a life of wellness and success- on your own terms. It is a powerful ongoing relationship with a unique support structure to increase learning, effectiveness, performance and balance. Yes, balance because coaching addresses you as a whole individual and a program of radical self-care is part of the coaching package! Coaching moves you to clarify values and priorities, determine what you want and what it will take to get there, and to generate a variety of options. The process helps you to identify and replace old self-sabotaging beliefs, attitudes and behaviors with ones that will move you forward. In lasered "in-person" or phone sessions, the coach acts as a facilitator, a cheerleader and an ally. S/He will always be an objective mirror and reflect the highest parts of yourself back to you…. A coach works with you to bring you into your power and holds you accountable to your goals. The coach facilitates access to your own wisdom, insights and answers offering you a different paradigm in which to experience your life.

The poet, Yates, once said "Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved".
Imagine shifting your paradigm so your life's problems suddenly become the object of delightful curiosity; challenges to be met and have fun with. That shift alone would eliminate a major part of your stress and anxiety. You would be experiencing your life from your own true center, from a place of present moment (which, is the only moment that actually exists anyway), and from a place of much greater wellbeing. Coaching does not promise to instantly change your life. It is a process, and all processes that change behaviors and attitudes take a certain amount of time. But in a short time coaching can bring you to much greater awareness, give you the ability to act with confidence and alter the quality of your existence. It can help you drop your resistance and take more time for yourself, tap into your creativity, have more fun, delegate more (at home and at work), and actively bring your dreams into your life. It takes a partnership with a courageous client willing to make a leap forward toward wellness - physical, spiritual and mental.

In 1980 Diane Mandle was a single welfare mother. In 1990 she was Director of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, going on to be the Regional Director of the American Cancer Society in Western Massachusetts. Presently, she is the owner of Life in Progress, Unlimited, a business devoted to helping business people and individuals succeed in work and life. Coaching is part of each sound healing session to help integrate cognitive and cellular aspects of healing

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