Some people have this perception that coaching/mentoring is just a fluff thing and predominantly a service used to make others ‘feel good’. That’s the training, marketing and brainwashing used over recent years that has led to 25 year-olds thinking they are equipped to handle another’s inner process when they themselves have not yet discovered their own. On the value scale (based on old conventional ways of looking at service and commerce), it’s considered a joke and a ‘nice to have’ until shit hits the fan and someone is in crisis. Then in crisis, they reach out to a conventional form of assistance called therapy that deals with ‘mental’ issues.

Many therapists and practitioners (not all) of the so-called mental health profession are in it because they ‘want to help others’. And who doesn’t these days. However, most have done very little to no work on themselves. They position themselves as ‘experts’ in the ‘saviour’ or ‘martyr’ archetype attempting to save, fix, rescue parts of themselves through their clients. There are times when intervention is required… there is no doubt. But for most, including the professionals, there is no grounding or agency and definitely no true empowerment.

For most professionals, it is a career and something clinical, something detached from their own reality. They are separate and don’t see themselves as the creator of their reality or their own problems and issues. They are too busy ‘saving, rescuing and fixing,’ others; sacrificing their time and energy and knowledge for the other, which leads to resentment, entitlement, burnout, addiction, personal issues, feelings of emptiness, etc, etc, etc…

Most will deny this and insist on honourable intentions to maintain the martyr archetype and their professional image… aka the illusion. Perhaps their intentions are honourable but they still haven’t done the deep, hard work on themselves. They are always half full inside, if not less, trying to help others be 100%. That simply doesn’t make sense.

They need to have fully overcome and integrated their shadow side and past wounding and be aware that grief is a process for transformation before they can be any good to themselves and others. They need to fill their inner cup first so that it can ‘runneth over’ for others.

The system teaches professionals to dehumanize… separating their own personal ‘humanness’, for the sacrifice of standards, the field of practice, medicine, the patient… you name it. It’s based on very old patriarchal constructs that have been around for centuries. Thankfully some of these aspects of healthcare are changing slowly as health professionals begin to accept their needs, their trauma and their own grief, and do the inner work to take care of themselves first.

So, when you are ‘shopping’ for a therapist or a coach, ask them point blank, “What inner work have you done? What did you learn? How long have you been doing actual inner work on yourself? What do you value? How often do you check in with yourself? What aspects of your shadow have you integrated? What traumas have you uncovered withing yourself? What do you do to replenish yourself and how often? What does balanced living mean to you? Do you know what a shadow is? What is your world view?

You are interacting with a human with coaching skills or therapeutic skills. If they haven’t done the work on themselves, what mirror will you be working with? If they have not integrated fully, if they are only partly awake themselves, how can they help you unfold your potential?

It’s not about them seeing your issues. It’s about them helping you identify your issues. Huge difference!!! Many of the more seasoned therapist and coaches know this. The newer ones or younger ones do not. They cannot, in all fairness. They are simply mimicking what they see on social media, an interpretation of what they are perceiving.

It’s been my experience that we are not dealing with mental illness. We are dealing with emotional issues. We have not been taught how to integrate and understand our emotions; their purpose and how they fuel our imagination and creativity. Clear the emotions, the mental will follow.

Anyone can get credentials now. Anyone can get a certificate online. Blah, blah, blah… Anyone can hang a sign on the door. Anyone can regurgitate all the buzz words to make themselves sound important, successful and legit.

But what makes a good therapist? What makes a valuable coach? And which is best for you to help you explore more of who you are and to help untangle some of those old beliefs.

None of the approaches are right or wrong and will most likely change as you change. There is not ONE way. There are a multitude of ways and combinations. Working with a coach is not a long-term thing. That’s called therapy.

Some things to contemplate…