Live your imaginable.

How Coaching and Therapy Supported my Mental Health

It may be a coincidence that October 10 is both the anniversary of Haraya Coaching and the commemoration of World Mental Health Day, and for the past 11 years that we’ve grown in our practice, I am more convinced that it is a meaningful integration. I’ve personally seen how coaching can support mental wellness and I feel so much more resolve to share how this is true. I am often asked about the difference between coaching and therapy, and while there are many resources one might find online, and I could share more formal definitions of these practices, I thought it would be useful to share my own personal stories of how both modalities have helped me.

Coaching helped me re-design my life and move forward.
I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2018 and had a wonderful support system around me. Loved ones were around to be with me all throughout my journey and I never really felt alone. I knew I was loved and that gave me a lot of strength. It was initially difficult though, for me to see beyond my illness. I couldn’t see too far into the future and worried about others around me. How would I continue to make a difference and contribute to the world? I felt I was being derailed from my life plans. I was so blessed that a friend offered to coach me through my cancer journey and allowed me to reflect on how this experience integrates into my life and I found a new sense of purpose – one that did not disregard my cancer but embraced it as a blessing that could help me become a different version of me. Coaching supported me in the
design of that new purpose and in taking accountability for making it real.

Therapy helped me understand my inner thoughts and feelings.
Fast-forward to 2020 when the world came to a standstill caused by Covid, and the normssuddenly became isolation and avoidance of human contact. The world was grieving. We lost friends and family to this dreadful disease. We also lost human connection. I found myself catatonic at first, watching the news, not knowing what to do, and feeling terribly sad and angry. I was sad from the loss of life and freedoms and angry with the government for everything else. I felt betrayed and wanted to lash out, but I didn’t know how and where to do so. Every day my anger brewed deeper and stronger. While I was able to rely on my family and team for support and we created plans for moving forward with the business and helping others to cope during that time, I could still sense that anger brewing and boiling day by day. That was when I decided to seek help. I scheduled an appointment with a psychologist and one session of release became a weekly habit for over a year. These sessions helped me to understand where the hurt and anger were coming from and to release my thoughts and feelings without judgement. I didn’t need to make any plans because those were already happening. I just needed to look inward and honor what was going on inside me.

What was common about these two situations?
· I was experiencing challenges in my mind. My thoughts were getting in the way of me
showing up in the world as my best self.
· I needed help. I knew that having someone to talk to would be valuable to me in
processing my thoughts.

What was different about them?
· In my cancer experience, I had acceptance of my illness and felt a strong resolve to
overcome it, but I just didn’t know how I could move forward beyond the disease. I
needed help to imagine a different version of me and my future, and to begin taking
steps towards it.
· In my Covid experience, I was already moving forward with steps and externally felt
clarity about what I wanted to do. I needed help in unpacking the darkness that seemed
to be lingering in my thoughts despite everything going in the right direction.

As a professional coach myself, I knew that I couldn’t get through these situations alone. Having the right support in both these experiences was so critical for me and I feel very blessed to understand what I needed in those moments and to have direct access to both types of help. I know that many are still struggling and don’t realize they need help. And others know they need help but not sure what type of help and where to get it. I hope that, by sharing my own stories, it might shed some light and nudge others to seek support from the right sources.