17. March 2021

Mental Coaching – Success starts in your head

Managers are challenged in many ways: they should not only manage profitably for the company, but also be able to inspire, motivate and appropriately support their employees and act as role models. This requires qualities such as authenticity, persuasiveness, self-discipline, self-reflection, willingness to learn, ambition, empathy, self-confidence, credibility, and trustworthiness. Being a leader is not an easy task! To be successful as a leader requires mental and emotional strength, as well as resilience and health.

Mental strength – the inner attitude

A healthy leadership style is characterised by appreciative interaction, the creation and cultivation of values, and the ability to address conflicts and find solutions. All these points are related to the inner attitude or the mental and emotional strength of a leader.

According to Loehr (2001)1, mental strength means being able to fully exploit one’s performance spectrum on day X, regardless of adversity and internal and external disruptive factors. The word mental2 stands for spirit, mind and intellect or also present in the mind, arising from thinking. According to Eberspächer (2012)3 , mental training refers to the planned, repeated, systematic, conscious, and controlled optimisation of ideas about one’s state, an action, or a path without simultaneous practical execution. The training aims to use one’s imagination to mentally play through situations optimally. Among other things, plans of action, such as a difficult appraisal interview or a challenging task, e.g. giving a presentation, can be thought through mentally in advance. Also, the participants learn to better withstand upcoming adversities and to find quick, appropriate problem-solving strategies in difficult situations.

 

The proper software for our brain

After a consultation, the mental problem is analysed, and the training goal is defined. In coaching or training, the coach uses various coaching techniques that help to overcome blockages and tackle changes. Finally, they provide ideas for solutions to achieve the jointly defined coaching goal.

In coaching, suggestive, imaginative, or confrontational interventions are used, to name a few. A distinction is made between coaching and training. Depending on the form, a consultation and 6-10 sessions are held.

The coaching process is not only about working together towards the coaching goal, but also about understanding the way the brain works as best as possible. The functioning of the brain can largely be compared to that of a computer on which various “programmes” run. These programmes run mainly unconsciously and can be counterproductive for the person. In the coaching process, the coach helps the coachee with mental techniques to uncover, delete or overwrite the negative programmes. If the brain is now optimally programmed and the mental software is regularly updated, it is possible to fall back on good, helpful programmes that mentally support the person in times of high challenges.

 

Topics in mental coaching

The usage of mental coaching can be divided into four main subject areas. In the performance topics, for example, a prospective leader might not yet feel up to the future demands and responsibilities. Thus, mental coaching could help a prospective leader to strengthen his or her self-efficacy. Another topic area would be development, where mental coaching can be supportive, for example, as a professional orientation aid or reorientation. Motivational or health issues would be further areas on which mental coaching could focus.

 

A better understanding of one’s psyche

The goal of mental coaching is not only to eliminate the mental problem but also to better understand one’s psyche. Mental challenges should not be a taboo subject for managers. In the best case, dealing with one’s psyche becomes routine. A mental coach can provide optimal assistance in finding access to oneself. Knowing yourself better, knowing ” how you work “, can only be an enrichment in every area (whether private, professional or otherwise).

 

If I have caught your interest in mental coaching or if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Judith Witzemann
Executive Education Consultant, ES-HSG
judith.witzemann@unisg.ch
+41 71 224 7509

 

1 Loehr, James E. (2001) Die neue mentale Stärke: sportliche Bestleistung durch mentale, emotionale und physische Konditionierung. München: blv
2 www.wortbedeutung.info
3 Eberspächer, Hans (2001), zitiert in Mayer J., Hermann H.-D., Mentales Training: Grundlagen und Anwendung in Sport, Rehabilitation, Arbeit und Wirtschaft. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

 

 

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