Markers of emotional intelligence (and health)

 
Photo by  Alex Blăjan

Photo by Alex Blăjan

 

Coaches with a background in psychology are grounded in theoretical perspectives of family systems and the impact a family template can have on adult development; how our lopsided natures can hold us back from the progress we wish to make; and, how denial can lead to blocking learning and remaining stuck—among many other aspects of human development.

It is a great myth, and one that we have bought into, that we are one person at home and another at work. The fundamentals we just reviewed—how families work, how our lopsided natures are formed, and how we become stuck—give us a very high level, basic understanding for why “conscious leaders” and “emotionally intelligent leaders” are so highly prized in the work environment.

One way to start understanding just how lopsided we have become from our earliest experiences is to identify a range of markers of emotional intelligence and general emotional health, visualizing how we rank in comparison. In therapy we would direct most of our repair work and attention toward healing those early experiences that generated the most hurt, and therefore contributed to the greatest gaps in our emotional health. In coaching, we recognize that these experiences occurred, gain awareness and insights about how they contribute to our present, and determine actions that will increase our effectiveness and performance.

At least five qualities come to mind.

1.       Self-love: the ability to like oneself, wholly.

Before we can empathize with other’s experiences, we must learn to empathize with our own internal experience—the emotional reactivity and interior monologue that is generated when we are under stress.

Self-love is the quality that determines how much we can be friends with ourselves, learn to become our own (caring) advocate, and commit to constructive choices that suggest we are on our own side.

When we observe a stranger having things or experiences we don’t, how quickly do we feel less than or resentful? How long is it before we are making assumptions of how they came by those things and experiences or questioning the fairness of things? When another person irritates or demeans us in some way, can we let the slight go? Can we see the action for what it was (senseless spite) or are we left brooding and lose ourselves in overwhelming sadness, indirectly agreeing with the verdict of those judging us? How much can the disapproval or neglect or public opinion be counterbalanced by the memory of the steady attention of a few significant people in the past?

In relationships, do we have enough self-love to leave an abusive partnership? Or are we so down on ourselves that we carry an unspoken belief that mistreatment, disapproval, or outright abandonment is all we deserve? In a different vein, how good are we at apologizing to a lover, a family member, or dear friend for things that actually might be our fault? How rigidly pious do we need to be? Can we dare to admit mistakes, or does an admission of guilt or error bring us too close to a sense of complete insignificance?

How do we regard our desires? Therapy will venture into family histories and the bedroom for those answers. Coaches will seek to understand how we define and self-edit our desires for success. Are our desires clean and natural or alternatively disgusting and sinful? are we a little off, but not bad or dark, since they originate from inside us and we are not wretches?

2.       Candor: the ability to be truthful and authentic about oneself.

Candor is about being “real” when you might feel vulnerable to judgment and open in the face of difficult ideas and troubling facts. It determines the extent to which you can consciously open your mind, to thoughtfully explore and accept facts without denial—without lying to yourself (and then others).

One question both therapists and coaches get equally: “Am I normal? You’ve seen this before, right?”

The fact is, there is no normal. And, yes, we’ve seen it before.

The essence of candor is intimacy, with ourselves. How much can we admit to ourselves about who we are—even if, or especially when, the material is unflattering? How much do we need to insist on our own normality and sanity in order to accept ourselves and admit our inner natures? Can we explore our own minds? Can we, as one psychology professor challenged, confront “the dogs in the basement”? Can we shine light in those darker and more troubled corners without flinching too much? Can we admit to foolishness, envy, sadness, confusion, and galactic mistakes?

Around others, how ready are we to learn? This matters for parents and partners as much as it does for newly minted managers and CEOs. Do we need always to take a criticism of one part of us as an attack on everything about us? How ready are we to listen when valuable lessons come, painfully, over and over again through multiple contexts?

3.       Social Skills: the ability to communicate, persuade, influence, and listen.

Can we patiently and reasonably put our disappointments into words that, more or less, enable others to see our point? Or do we internalize pain, act it out symbolically or discharge it with counterproductive rage?

When other people upset us, do we feel we have the right to communicate or must we slam doors and retreat into sulks? When the desired response isn’t forthcoming, do we ask others to guess what we have been too angrily panicked to spell out? Or can we have a plausible second go and take seriously the thought that others are not merely being nasty in misunderstanding us? Do we have the inner resources to teach rather than insist?

 4.       Motivation: having an interest in learning and improving oneself.

Do we have the strength to keep going when there are obstacles in life? Motivation is about setting goals and following through with them.

When something deeply interests us, we take initiative and demonstrate the commitment to complete a task. If we are truly passionate about our goal we will persist through adversity, boredom, frustration and find creative ways through setbacks.  

Embracing better health, taking steps to advance our career by attending graduate school, saving for retirement, and paying off loans are examples of goals that motivate us internally and result in self-improvement.

Marrying at the “right time”, getting the best grades, having the latest gadget or car are examples of chasing goals that flaunt wealth or status and can represent a slippery slope. Failure in the face of these kinds of goals is unlikely to result in a constructive learning opportunity. More than likely failure to maintain the perfect house, keep the kids in private schools, avoid divorce and poor performance at work will result in increasing self-doubt, and reducing one’s ability to be their own best advocate (and friend).  

5.       Self-Management

How do we react in the face of risk? And, how do we manage our impulses in relation to those risks? Do we think before we speak/react? Do we express ourselves appropriately?

How well would we perform a challenge in the form of a public speech, a romantic rejection, period of financial strain, immigrating to another country or lengthy physical illness? Sometimes a small cold can set us back in ways we didn’t expect. How close are we, at any time, to financial, professional, or personal disaster? What mettle are we made of?

Is the stranger dangerous or benevolent? If we lean towards be a little more direct than most, will they accept us or ghost us? Will unfamiliar situations end in a disaster? Around love, how tightly do we need to cling? If a lover, parent, sibling, friend is distant for a while, will they return? If a boss neglects regular touch points, stakeholders go silent, or direct reports fail to check in are they sabotaging us or will they still support our efforts? How controlling do we need to be? Can we approach an interesting stranger or colleague to connect on some interest or other? Or move on from an unsatisfying relationship?

Overall, do we think the world is expansive, safe and rational enough for us to have a genuine shot at fulfillment, or must we settle, resentfully, for inauthenticity and misunderstanding?

Our first answers to these questions are not our fault, or anyone else’s. They are merely the first responses that were wired into us during a galvanizing experience. Many of these questions are so hard to answer sincerely in a positive light. But, by considering them, we are at least starting to know what sort of impact our primal wounds have and, therefore, what we need to do to address it.

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This blog post is part of a series related to The Little Book of Coaching pending publication.

  The emotionally healthy childhood

 
Photo by  Annie Spratt

Photo by Annie Spratt

 

An emotionally healthy childhood can’t be idiosyncratic, dependent on a particular environment, or come down to good luck. There are distinct themes to identify. With optimal development in mind we can start to form a map. From there, we can see with greater clarity where we are taking a left turn, what we have to be grateful for, and where we feel our greatest shame. At a societal level, this map might serve as general direction toward what there is to achieve in order to create a more emotionally stable and therefore slightly saner world.

An emotionally healthy childhood could give us the following:

A lifelong advocate. Someone will put themselves profoundly at our service. If as adults we have even a measure of mental health, it is undoubtedly because, when we were small and dependent, there was a person (to whom we essentially owe our lives) who pushed their needs aside for a time to focus wholly on our own. They understood our babble and heard us into speech; they gave us their best guesses on treatment when we were sick; they calmed our fears, consoled us in our insecurities, and protected us from harm. They provided a protective barrier from the chaos of the world, showing us just enough of it—carving up our experiences for us in manageable pieces. Without thanks or sympathy, they didn’t expect us to ask how their day went or how well they slept. They catered to our needs, so that we would later on be able to submit to the rigors and slights of daily life. This lop-sided relationship was temporary, but by modeling with consistency, made certain our ability to form a healthy one.

We generally think of egocentricity a quality resulting from too much love or attention. But it’s actually the opposite. An adult who is ego-centric never got their fill as a child. Self-centeredness has to have a clean run in the early years if it isn’t to haunt and ruin the later ones. Those we regard as narcissists are simply unfortunate people who never got the chance to be exceedingly admired at the start.

In an emotionally healthy childhood, our advocate is there to give us the benefit of the doubt. They offer us a positive spin on our behavior. We are assessed by what we might be one day, not by what we are right now. From this we learn kindness and charity.

If our advocate is a harsh critic, for example, they might say that we were ‘attention-seeking’. They imagine that what we most need is a hug and some encouraging words. We might have acted meanly. Our advocate adds that we must have been feeling threatened. If we dropped something accidentally or were negligent; our advocate remembers that tiredness could have explained it, or they were distracted by a new visitor.

Our advocate constantly searches for the story behind the story. They look under the surface for more compassionate explanations. They help us to be on our own side, to like ourselves. If we actually like ourselves, we learn not to be too defensive about our flaws. We learn there is always something to work on, constructively, and we learn to accept ourselves as we are.

In a healthy childhood, the relationship with our advocate is stable, dependable and long-term. We have faith they will be there tomorrow and the day after. They aren’t explosive or fragile. They are almost boringly predictable—so much so, we might start to take them for granted. As a result, we project this trust on to other relationships we develop throughout our life. We are able to believe that what has gone well once can go well again. This belief influences our choice of friends, adult partners, bosses—everyone. We aren’t fascinated by people who are abrupt with us or unreliable; we don’t relish being punished, judged, or mistreated. We can pick out influences who are kind and nurturing, and don’t view them as weak or deficient for being so.

If trouble strikes with our kindly partners, we don’t go into an instant panic. We don’t immediately try to defend ourselves by turning away, avoiding or cutting them off. We can confidently set about trying to repair a love we know we deserve.

In a healthy childhood, we aren’t always required to be wholly good. We are allowed our emotions. We can get angry and sometimes be disgusting. We can say ‘no more, absolutely not, no way’ when we disagree, or settle a dispute with ‘because I feel like it’. Our advocates are adults and know we all, no matter what our age, have our own flaws. As a result, they do not expect a child to be fundamentally better than they are. We do not have to comply at every turn to be merely tolerated. We can let others see our see our shadow sides.

This kind of freedom within our family systems prepares us one day to submit to the demands of society without having to rebel in unproductive, self-defeating ways (rebels being, at their core, people who have had to obey too much too early). We can tow the line when it’s in our long-term interest to do so. At the same time, we’re not overly cowed or indiscriminately obedient either. We learn to find a sound middle point between being completely submissive and self-destructive defiance.

In a healthy childhood, our advocate isn’t jealous or competitive with us. They can allow themselves to be overtaken and superseded. They have had their moment in the spotlight, or else are having it elsewhere beyond the family. They can be proud rather than resentful of the achievements of the (usually same-sex) child. It doesn’t need to be all about them.

The good advocate doesn’t live through the child’s accomplishments. They want them to do well, but for their own sake, and in their own way. There is no particular script that the child has to follow to be loved. For instance, the child doesn’t need to become a doctor or a famous soccer player because that is the path their parent chose. The child isn’t required to support their advocate’s self-doubt or pump them up to others.

In healthy childhood, the child learns that things that break can be fixed. Things that spill can easily be picked up. Plans can go awry, but new ones can be made. The advocate models for the child how to self-soothe, calm down, keep going, and remain hopeful. A voice of resilience, originally external, becomes the way the child learns to speak to themselves. There are alternatives to panic.

Notably, even emotionally healthy childhoods suffer from thins going awry. No one has hung their reputation on the notion that anyone’s childhood could ever be perfect. The advocate does not see it as their role to remove every frustration, pad every sharp corner, or remove every obstacle. They sense that a lot of good can come from having the right, manageable kind of friction through which the child develops their own resources and individuality. Having contact with bearable disappointment, the child is prompted to create their own internal world, in which they can dream, generate new plans, learn to self-soothe and build up their own resources.

Even emotionally healthy childhoods suffer from things going awry.

The child can see that the advocate is neither entirely good nor wholly bad, and therefore is worthy of neither idealizing on a pedestal nor casting out in disparagement. Just as the adult accepts the child with its faults, the child learns to accept the adult with theirs with a blend of melancholy, maturity and gratitude. They learn that, like their advocate, they need to accept that everyone they come into contact with will be a mixture of positive and negative, and that the presence of negativity or flaw is not cause for banishment. As adults, they won’t fall deeply in love and them (becoming fast friends or quick lovers), nor will they become furious at the first moment of let-down (by ghosting or giving off a vibe of being cast out). They have a realistic sense of what can be expected of life alongside another human who is, like them, good enough.

Unfortunately, despite all our advances in technology, education, and material resources, we are not much more advanced in the art of delivering emotionally healthy childhoods than previous generations. The number of breakdowns, inauthentic lives keeping up with some external image of success shows no marked signs of decline. We are failing to offer one another tolerable childhoods not because we are malicious, apathic or uncaring but because we still have so far to go before we know how to do that most apparently simple yet infinitely complicated of things for ourselves: emotional intelligence.

One tool that might just get us there is coaching.

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This blog post is part of a series related to The Little Book of Coaching pending publication.

Denial, blocked, and stuck

 
Photo by  Tomas Tuma

Photo by Tomas Tuma

 

Our childhood experiences are the single greatest cause of how we function emotionally as adults. Therefore, what is surprising and unfortunate is how little of the past we can really remember. We can recall the basic facts and a few occurrences here and there, but in terms of grasping detail with camera-like precision, how our present is influenced by the figures and events of our early years, we are often beginners or simply skeptical as to the point of examining the past. In many cases, it would not be too strong to speak of kind of willed mental block.

The tendency, and sometimes desire, to forget the primal wound of childhood is not hard to understand. To be presently impacted by events so far into our past feels implausible and crushing, but also humiliating. To subscribe to the notion that our personalities might remain forged by incidents from before our sixth or seventh birthday leaves us feeling helpless. No amount of blunt (“just get over it”, “let it go”) or cliched-sounding mental health determinism (“think positive”, “reach out to more people”) denies our hopes for a more dignified life of adult autonomy. We would like to make sense of our moods in terms of what is happening in the present. If we feel angry with someone, we would like to believe the cause lies with them and their actions, rather than something tripping a low-lying frequency laid four decades ago rendering us especially sensitive and flinty.

Over time the lens on the past softens. What was a challenging norm becomes and endearing exception or quirk. This is aided by family photos, almost always capturing happier moments, even if they were staged. There is much more likely to be an image of one’s mother going down a playground slide with a carefree expression than of her yelling at her children about the misery of everything she gave up for her current predicament; there will be a shot of one’s father genially posing with the children or family friends in very on-trend plaid pants, but no visual record of his long, brutal mealtime silences. A lot of editing goes on, encouraged by all participants, anything to be remembered as a softer version of themselves.

As we age, we lose the idiosyncratic and peculiar perspective of a child and instead view the world through the pragmatism of an adult. An adult observing a toddler’s tantrum in a bookstore is judged as frustrating, dramatic and bad-tempered. While that one perspective has merit, it might be harder for us to access the support or empathy and attempt to recreate the strange inner world of a small person (an inner world we once had) in which he might feel tired and confused, exasperated that naptime is so far away (even though admitting that he’s tired is admitting some kind of defeat), or lonely and shy by being the smallest person in a large store with beige carpet and books that have no dragons in them, far from his teddy bear, left by mistake in the car outside.

When an adult locks the door to the spare bedroom to ensure silence for an hour-long business call, we don’t typically picture the scene from the perspective of the young child on the other side, for whom this repeated exclusion may seem proof that everything magical and good has suddenly gone. Or when the parent has after-hours obligations that help raise her profile at work and she misses opportunities to support after school activities. Or when the parent is incessantly on his phone, laptop or other gadget—checking in on it like a digital pet—ignoring the needs of the small child seeking connection in the here and now. Adults’ professional responsibilities are no small thing, they maintain a livelihood and enable opportunity for each member. At the same time, these slights to our self-worth and self-esteem, if too numerous, have a cumulative effect. It becomes difficult for us to keep in mind how much in our respective personalities was marked by what are (from a grown-up perspective) almost laughably minor yet hugely potent incidents.

It is not merely that we have forgotten the past. We could in theory re-enter the mental spaces we once occupied. We have our reasons for pushing aside, ignoring the memories and willfully limiting contemplating on our histories.

We maintain a safe distance from our inner selves because what we might learn about ourselves or the people the hurt us will likely be uncomfortable. We might learn that we were really angry with, and resentful about, certain people we were only meant to love—or worse yet, that our anger has been misdirected toward innocent people trying to protect us. We might discover how much ground there was to feel deeply anxious, inadequate and guilty on account of the many errors and misjudgments we have made. We might find that, we held illusions that went in other directions. We might come into recognition just how much happiness was nauseatingly compromised and needed to be changed about our relationships and careers. And we would be faced with needing to take responsibility for our current outcomes.

So we hide. It is part of the human tragedy that as such creative beings, we are such natural self-deceivers of our own unique greatness. Our methods for camouflage are many and we do much to escape being noticed.

We become addicted to the kind of numbness that comes from opting out—a kind of floating above the surface of life. Our addiction isn’t to drugs or liquor (although that can happen to), but to the mundane, everyday activities that keep us busy and distracted. We watch television or clean the house, exercising or continually start mew projects at home or work. We might cook or can food at odd hours, or reorganize the garage.

We tell ourselves we are being productive. To the world, it might even look that way, but our compulsiveness has motives. We watch the television to focus on news or narratives to avoid learning about news and narratives about ourselves; we take on projects around the house or raise our hands for new projects at work as a way to avoid really losing ourselves in something we are passionate about—as much as we crave meaningful work, we run from it. Addiction is not about what someone does, it that they do what they do avoid feeling what they feel and knowing what they know—about themselves. We are addicts whenever we develop a twitchy reliance on something—anything—to keep us from encountering the dogs locked in the basement of our minds.

We lie ourselves first, and later others, by being overly optimistic and cheerful. There is a fine line between optimism and happiness that is hard to detect. Optimism doesn’t contain any remorse. It is insistent and upbeat, aggressive even in its persistence but doesn’t necessarily fulfillment. Optimism can’t tolerate any other emotion, especially sadness. So negative emotions are left unexplored to the point where they have the power to overwhelming us with disappointment and grief.

We lie to ourselves first, and later others, by going on the offensive. We attack and demean what we love, virtually guaranteeing we don’t get what we so deeply want. We let go of the people we once wanted or even had as friends. We watch the careers we hoped one day to have pass us by. The lives we tried wanted to match and learn from fade into a fog in our consciousness. To prevent ourselves from feeling the loss of what we might never achieve, we allow desired but painfully intangible goals to erode.

We lie to ourselves first, and later others, by embracing cynicism and calling it pragmatism. We are preventing, we believe, future misery and disappointment. To preserve our dignity, we tell ourselves that all humans are terrible and every activity is likely to fail so that the specific cause of our hurt does not attract examination and feelings of humiliation.

We lie to ourselves first, and later others, by filling our minds with lofty ideas, putting our intellect on full display in such a way that suggests we have little left to learn, thereby stunting what development our personalities may require.

We write dense books on big topics. We earn advanced degrees. We seek positions on boards. Our minds are crammed with esoteric information—facts interesting at cocktail parties and dinner conversation. But we don’t remember much about our own lives, how things really were, back in the old house, when dad lost his spark, mom stopped smiling, our sibling started exhibiting anxious behaviors and our ability to trust in happiness broke into tiny pieces.

Our great tragedy as human beings is that we are such natural self-deceivers.

We acquire and share knowledge and seek new ideas that garner respect but also protect us against the essential knowledge from our emotional past. That knowledge that, if left untended might attempt to interfere in our path. That knowledge that bubbles up and inopportune times threatening us to wake up. We bury our sensitive, personal stories like a time capsule beneath a mountain of knowledge and skills. The possibility of a deeply significant and intimate enquiry is consciously judged as weak, frivolous, and inconsequential compared with an allegedly more impressive task of securing an executive for an important meeting, or addressing a conference.

We prop ourselves on the glamour of being knowledgeable ensuring we won’t become too knowledgeable about ourselves. We learn about anything outside of ourselves to avoid the pain of self-awareness and true wisdom.

We lie to ourselves first, and later others, by suggesting that people are really just simple beings. We tell ourselves that too much psychology might be just a little too much static and complexity. We rely on a version of robust common sense denying ourselves deeper connection our own awkward complexity. We imply that not thinking very much is evidence of a superior kind of intelligence and elevated emotional state—when really it is the blankness of ignorance and lack of deeper thinking or curiosity.

When we are with others, people who will judge us, we vigorously ridicule more complex perspectives on human nature. We discount personal investigation as unduly fancy, bizarre, or weird. The very desire to lift the lid on our inner life could never be yield anything of value or good. This kind of sprightly self-ordering is most likely at the start of the week. Our sense of practicality is most keenly felt at 9am on a Monday morning as we muster our aggressive optimism toward our goals. But this energy eventually softens in the late evening when we are confronted sometimes harshly, sometimes by surprise, with more complex insights as when the path we have walked through our life and the choices we have made and the impact we have had on others, and the lost opportunities for happiness and contentment come into relief for the first or perhaps the umpteenth time—all pouring through the nighttime window toward you as you stare into the stark moonlight. With an attitude of forceful common sense, we strive to make our moments of radical discontent seem like outliers rather than anchoring moments of insight they might actually be.

We want to believe that our personalities are non-tragic, simple and easily understand so we can reject the stranger, but more useful, facts of our true, more complicated selves.

Being honest with oneself, and eventually others, has nothing to do with morality or righteousness. Seeing reality and ourselves with greater clarity is actually listening to a cautionary tale. We all could use much more of the truth because we pay too high a price for our believing our own lies. Our deceptions cut us off from possibilities of growth. Large portions of our minds end up uncreative, argumentative and defensive, while others around us have to suffer our touchiness, pessimism, artificial happiness or defensive rationalizations. Neglecting our own awkwardness buckles our very being, manifesting as insomnia or impotence, weight loss or gain, stuttering or depression; revenge for all the thoughts we have been so careful not to have. Self-awareness and an increased self-knowledge are not luxuries. They are preconditions for sanity and inner contentment.

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This blog post is part of a series related to The Little Book of Coaching pending publication.

Coaching v Therapy

 
Photo by  Kari Shea

Photo by Kari Shea

 

Executive coaching is very solution-focused. Some engagements can be as short as 1-3 sessions. Other clients need longer periods, from six months to a year, strategies and tools to interweave results and relationships at the individual, team, and organization level. It sounds like a simple concept, but it is not easy to pull off. A coach’s background varies, accounting for a wide spectrum of talent. A coach can hold a behavioral, social science, or psychology master’s or doctoral degree.  And, there are also coaches practicing with little professional background. Both types of coaches submit to the requirements of a coaching program. Both types of coaches can get certified through an accrediting body by taking a 3-hour open book test. Because the certification body accepts all comers, some choose not to become certified, using their academic degrees and experience as credentials. There are no state licenses for coaching.

Psychotherapy is a long-term process. A patient works with a therapist to diagnose and resolve problematic beliefs, behaviors, relationship issues, feelings and sometimes physical responses generally resulting from past trauma. The therapist holds a clinical master’s or doctoral degree and submits to state licensing requirements. In general, states license two specific types of roles—mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists. 

In choosing a practitioner with coaching or therapy, the client needs to decide what level of rigor they are looking to engage with and distinguish for themselves the difference between wise counsel versus friendly advice.

Dipping v Dwelling

Both therapy and coaching are collaborative processes based on the relationship between an individual and a practitioner. Both are grounded in dialogue, provide a supportive environment allowing clients to talk openly with someone who’s objective, neutral and nonjudgmental. Both practitioners use a client’s past as a tool for understanding present behaviors. It is here a therapist will dwell to heal and a coach will dip to frame understanding of how the past influences the present. Coaching can be therapeutic, but it is not therapy. Together with the client, both practitioners will work to identify and change the thought and behavior patterns that are keeping clients from feeling and performing their best.

While there is a shared understanding and rigor between trained therapists and coaches educated on behavioral theory, the fundamentals of coaching are what distinguish it from therapy. Therapy dwells in the past and attempts to heal an individual’s emotional pain by reversing the suppression of memories and emotions. Coaching dips into the past and attempts to help an individual frame painful experiences to increase awareness of past patterns and understanding of their impact in present situations. In this way, coaching is not therapy, but it can be therapeutic.

 

Coaching is focused on helping leaders work through their dilemmas so they can truly learn on the job (in front of others, under pressure) and directly translate that knowledge into results for their teams and ultimately the organization.

 

Coaches use diagnostics to asses individual and organizational effectiveness and performance. They do not diagnose mental illness. A coach with a background in behavioral science, psychology, or related field has an understanding of the fundamentals of human behavior from a theoretical perspective (how family systems work, human development, adult learning, our lopsided natures, and the impact of denial—to list a few things). Therapists apply a similar lens and use it to determine illnesses and pathologies so their patients can be clinically treated.

 The coach’s focus is typically present-forward compared to the retrospective lens of the therapist. The coach is not focused on healing the past, but rather taking note of how it influences the present and what strategies can help the client increase their effectiveness. Coaching never requires medication, micro-dosing, coordination or services, or adjunct therapies though the client might opt for any those experiences separately with a therapist.

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This blog post is part of a series related to The Little Book of Coaching pending publication.