Read time: 4 mins      Added: 14/11/2022

Being a business leader can carry a lot of weight. Work can become overwhelming, but many leaders find that coaching can help.

Working with coaches can explore all aspects of a leader’s workload, making it a worthwhile investment in helping to build mental resilience. Therapeutic coaching is delivered by a registered practitioner who's trained in both counselling and coaching, and can incorporate techniques from both.

Meeting the coach

Joanne Wright is a qualified coach, counsellor and mediator with 15 years’ experience working in corporate and charity settings and has a background in Organisational and Leadership Development. She specialises in workplace therapeutic coaching and has worked with Mental Health UK on various projects.

Joanne believes that therapeutic coaching can have a huge impact on improving businesses and the people who work in them. “People who’ve had therapeutic coaching often say that it's like pressing the pause button,” says Joanne. “It gives you a confidential space where you can feel safe to really speak your mind without judgement. It gives you a unique opportunity to reflect on different options alongside someone trained to help you find clarity.”

What do coaching sessions typically look like?

Joanne says: “One way to describe coaching is like tipping out a box of puzzle pieces. Lots of the pieces face upwards but a lot face downwards. In a coaching session, we’re trying to get more pieces turned over to get a clearer picture of what people need to do. Sometimes, that requires a bit of challenge, while other times it’s about seeing what’s stuck and what might need to happen to get unstuck. Sometimes, we might have to go backwards and get some information about previous experiences to be able to set the goals going forward.”

Many business owners work with Joanne and coaches like her, because of the high stress levels they’re experiencing. So how might someone identify when stress has become an issue? “People get frustrated, their tempers get shorter, they get more angry with people and find themselves snapping at everybody,” Joanne explains. “A lot of people have been telling me they find themselves sitting in the car, crying. Often, they’re not sleeping. Their workload is huge, and their work-life balance is harder as many small business owners work from home.”

One of the key benefits to coaching is that it gives you the proper time you need to reflect. “People don't have time, do they?” says Joanne. “We’re all on the hamster wheel, panicking ‘I've got to do this! I've got to do that!’ But the really insightful and creative ideas for solving the problems happen when you give yourself a little bit of space.”

Planning during uncertain times

Joanne has seen the impact of the uncertainty in today’s business landscape first hand, both in the aftermath of Covid-19 and the current cost-of-living crisis. “The pressures I’m seeing are widespread,” she says. “People talk about how it's really difficult to recruit and retain staff now. Businesses can't get the goods that they need and everything's just taking so much longer. It's really, really difficult to plan.”

Within this uncertainty, coaching can help extract the things you might be concerned about but have no control over from the things you can influence. “In coaching, we talk about the circle of influence and the circle of concern,” Joanne explains. “It's about understanding and making decisions about what you're going to worry about. You’ve got no influence or decision-making power over fluctuating corporation tax, for example. You just have to live with the consequences and manage things the best you can without being completely side-tracked.”

One final tip from Joanne is “Don't hold it all in. Coaching gives you that space to talk, offload and get some clarity. Sometimes, all people need is just one session!”

Supporting Scottish businesses in partnership with Mental Health UK

Many business owners and leaders feel they need help with their mental health but don’t know where to start.

Developed in partnership with Mental Health UK, the content in this hub is designed to provide tips and guidance for improving mental health and building resilience to help set you and your business up for success. 

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