Creating Synergy in the Addiction and Coaching Fields by Camilla Crichton-Stuart

How confident would you be offering coaching to a recovering addict?

As a coach experienced in this area, I believe there is much more scope for Coaching in the Addiction Community than is currently encouraged within the Coaching Communities.

About 75% of addicts in this country are in employment, which means they will cross paths with executive coaches, business coaches and many other coaching niches. As coaches, we have plenty of skills to be of use to these individuals and systems they are part of.  The addiction treatment community offers so many resources for coaches to refer said clients to. I would love to see these worlds/communities more integrated, or familiar with each other, and to experience what each has to offer the other. This not only helps vulnerable people – including families and employers – but also empowers coaches and offers them resources to add to their toolkit should addiction cross their path.

 Addiction can often be a life-and-death situation and there are ethical boundaries about what a coach can and cannot do, on the principle of first do no harm” – this blog focuses on what coaches CAN do, in light of addiction-research credit

I have worked as a coach with addicts in recovery, supporting them in living their life in recovery, free from active addiction. The required skills are those of other accredited coaches. You already have the skills. All you need to add is the knowledge and context of when to use those skills and with whom.

On a personal level, coaching has afforded me so many breakthroughs in making the changes to my own thinking and behaviour, just as addicts in recovery are striving to do. It is an integral part of the recovering process, albeit a lifelong one.  

Coaching lends itself beautifully to the recovery journey, wherever you are on it.  As coach, I walk alongside my clients, supporting them and loving them, championing and believing in them. Coaching is a supportive, empowering process.

 For addicts to be in long-term recovery, it is important to reduce and minimise all potential relapse behaviours. This aligns with coaching goals. They need to give themselves the optimum chance at feeling good about who they are. It is vital to live a life that is honest and true to themselves. At times this can take an enormous amount of courage. When we live a life honouring our values, we naturally lead a life that is authentic and fulfilling. Coaches have many tools to help their clients to identify their values: what is uniquely important to each of them.

As anyone with even a cursory knowledge about addiction is aware, chronic low self-esteem, and often cripplingly poor self-belief are major features of the illness. A coach SEES their client, reflects back what they see in their client and, along with numerous existing tools and tactics, aids in building their self-esteem and self-belief.

There is enormous value inherent in coaches’ toolkits, to support anyone with an addiction in living a life free from active addiction and in recovery. I am passionate about dispelling the myth, that addiction is a red flag in the coaching profession. Right from the start, coaches can motivate people with addictive behaviours to seek help from the appropriate sources, and they can support them alongside professional help and/or self-help groups, and afterwards. Addicts in recovery are among the most responsive and well-suited to coaching, because they already have ‘buy-in’ to want to make changes to their thinking and behaviours – to be the best they can be.

Coaching supports this.

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