Men’s Health

Not totally sunny (c) R Dennison July 2013

Not totally sunny (c) R Dennison July 2013

In my experience of working with male coaching clients, health concerns are just as important as career issues.   Health concerns can taint an otherwise sunny outlook, just like job woes.

I think it is interesting to note that Men’s Health Week took place in June and it highlighted the silence many men keep regarding one aspect of their wellbeing, their mental health.   There are details here:


This silence is sobering stuff coming a few days after the actor Paul Bhattarcharjee apparently took his own life (without family and friends seeing any warning signs).  Many men don’t show they are in distress, until it is too late.

There seem to be three parts to the challenge to coaching men to manage their mental health needs.  The coaching, responding to the client’s issues, should be helping them:

–      recognise what a healthy state feels like


–      acknowledge when those feelings are absent for a significant period


–      feel confident in seeking professional help in returning to health


Supporting a client in developing that awareness is quite a challenge.  It is though an important one to tackle, for the sake of men, their loved ones and their friends.


It Is OK To Be Assertive

Artists deserve to be paid too (c) R Dennison July 2013

Artists deserve to be paid too (c) R Dennison July 2013

As a coach (and an individual) I have come across the limitations caused by self-belief issues quite a few times, in professional and personal contexts.

For instance, there is something powerfully inhibiting in the self-belief that one is not entitled to ask for one’s needs to be met.  Wherever that belief comes from (perhaps instilled by family, school or culture) it is a damaging notion to hold onto.

I believe that notion is lurking in the background to a query raised in the Guardian newspaper recently.  The query comes from a commercial artist, who is having difficulty getting a long-term client to pay for services rendered.   The artist is asking if readers have ‘a foolproof strategy to – nicely – get people to pay up?’

To my mind the giveaway is the artist’s suggestion they need to ask nicely to get what they want.  The coach in me wants to ask a couple of questions immediately: first, what does a ‘nice’ request sound like? ; second, how would you phrase the request assertively?

Actually there is a third question hanging in the air: what more might you gain by acting like someone who truly deserves to express their needs?

See what you think about the issues by visiting the link below.  You might also want to consider this question: how would you benefit from being more assertive the next time you have to ask for what you want?

Three Steps Toward Happiness

Can Money Make You Happy? (c) R Dennison July 2013

Can Money Make You Happy? (c) R Dennison July 2013

Actively pursuing a goal can contribute towards personal happiness, although gathering a pile of money might not be enough to put a smile on one’s face.

The BBC  reports that recent research, led by Professor Ruut Veenhoven from Rotterdam University, indicates that:

“In order to lead a happy life, a rewarding life, you need to be active, … So involvement is more important to happiness than knowing the why, why we are here”

The top three indicators that you are likely to be happy include being:

  • actively engaged in politics
  • active in work and in your free time

So perhaps having a goal which regularly engages personal, or professional, energies helps move individuals one step closer to happiness.

There is more information in the link below about the research (and a list of the top ten happiest nations).

The Magic Management Pill (Doesn’t Exist)

Magic Management Pills (c) R Dennison July 2013

Magic Management Pills (c) R Dennison July 2013

I wonder how many people managers have wished for a daily pill they could take to make leading their teams easier or at least painless?


Sadly there is no substitute for the confidence that comes from practising regular and effective people management.  Leaders ‘To Do’ lists can include a mixture of practical, stretching and contradictory objectives, such as: delivering high quality outputs; exceeding customer expectations; satisfying formal obligations to staff.  The trouble comes if people management is too low on the list of priorities.  Quality outputs only come from motivated people who are supported by their leaders.


The complication is that members of staff come to work with their personal and family situations in tow.  Sometimes those factors can get in the way of team performance.  An advice piece in The Guardian newspaper’s work blog explores that complicated relationship.  See what you think of the options available to the manager.