Coaching for Men
Your Challenge: Outclass the man you used to be!
Coaching for Men
Here at Psych-Fitness, I often meet men struggling with a changing world, where their masculine 'hunter' role is no longer as important as women become more independent. This sometimes disrupts their identity and sense of purpose, and they find it difficult to focus on what's important. They can be lonely, having been conditioned not to talk about their feelings, and often have no-one to talk to when things aren't going right.
A lot of help and information is targeted to women; so to fill that gap, I've teamed up with EJ Walkden-Brown, a wellness coach and personal trainer, to offer a specific type of coaching designed for men and your unique challenges.
In a relaxed, casual setting - a pub, cafe or your home - you can talk through any difficulties you're having and we'll help you make practical changes to your life. Maybe you want stronger relationships, are unhappy with your career path, aren't making time for your health and fitness, or are just dissatisfied and not really sure why - we can help you figure out where the gaps are and how to be your best.
You can be as open as you like, if you don't want to talk about your feelings, no problem! This type of coaching targeted to men is all about unbiased, non-judgemental, practical and logical advice to help you make some changes and achieve great results.
This page provides you with some information about the difficulties experienced by men in defining their identity and values, and in their relationships, followed by details of how coaching could help you.
In our evolving society, it is becoming more difficult to define a man's role, personally and professionally. Women are becoming more physically, emotionally, and financially independent, are competing with men in education and in the workplace. The concept of the nuclear family is diminishing, with divorce rates rising and child custody still typically favouring the mother. These changes and more, fuel the growing perception that a woman can make it alone and 'have it all'. While this is in no way wrong - gender stereotypes will naturally realign as human needs change - little thought is given to the effect on men.
Society and the media still promote men as strong, stoic, dominant leaders, encouraged to aim for the top, to be competitive and powerful, not to show signs of weakness or feelings such as pain and fear, and fundamentally to be the provider and protector of their family. These standards are high, and clearly are not going to be aligned with the personalities of all men, nor achievable for some. Further, as the female role is now evolving more 'masculine' traits, relationships both at home and work can develop power imbalances and cause friction.
Have you thought about your identity? Where do you fit in at home and work? Is it working for you?
Given these expectations of masculinity, it is unsurprising that male depression and anxiety are increasing, with suicide rates higher than those of women - yet these same expectations cause reluctance for men to seek help.
Human beings are social, and are wired to seek connection, to build relationships and be empathic, however society has developed a male identity which sees this as weakness, with success often being seen as power, fame and wealth. It is important for us to recognise that the masculine identity must now evolve in tandem with the changes occurring for women, and that mental and emotional strength and growth is becoming ever more important for every man.
What is Your Identity?
So what is the solution? For you as an individual, it is not easy and may go against many long-held beliefs of what you 'should' be doing, which have been developed in your past. Competition between men in their peer groups as well as expectations from family, upbringing and society can sometimes mould men in a way which is inauthentic and not congruent with their personality and values.
Understanding your own identity, how you fit in your current environment, work, relationships, and social activities, and how you would actually like to fit, can help you work towards personal success and what may truly make you happy. It is time to stop 'settling' and feeling disillusioned. It is up to you to separate what YOU want from what society tells you that you should want.
Do you feel authentic? Is your personality your own or what others think you should be?
The first steps in really understanding your identity and what you want in life is to look at what your values and needs are and whether these align with how you make decisions and what you are working towards in life. Two ways to look at this are provided below.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs provides one angle from which to consider your needs, and how they fit with your identity and purpose.
It is part humanistic psychology, which holds the belief in the human capacity for creativity, growth and choice and that every individual strives to achieve their full potential. Abraham Maslow studied healthy individuals and looked at human motivation, a person’s strengths and their potential for change.
According to Maslow, people will strive to reach their full potential, known as self-actualisation. He showed self-actualised people to be realistic and accepting of others, independent, with healthy relationships and a small number of close companions rather than many superficial relationships. They tend to be solution-focussed and seek purpose, meaning and justice.
Consider each level of the pyramid, and whether your needs are being met. What areas could you focus on to better meet your needs?
More information can be found on Maslow's hierarchy of needs here.
The words should, must or ought are often used for motivation for you or directed to others with the consequence of lack of action being guilt, resentment, anger and frustration. This concept is known as a Cognitive Distortion and can disguise what you truly feel. Distortions can be addressed and understanding your values and making decisions based on those values can help you do this.
Have you thought about what you believe you 'should' be, and whether this is what you actually want to be?
If you have a look at the About page, the first thing you will see are my vision, mission and values. Your personal values may be different to your professional values, however I have evolved my career path so that values from my personal life are now closely aligned with my professional life. It took me a while to get to this stage but I can personally vouch for feeling more productive and happier once I made this change.
Your values show what is important to you in how you live and behave, they help you understand what motivates you and what you are inspired by. If you aren't being authentic and living by your values you may feel unsatisfied. Values can change throughout your life and also can be changed, so it is up to you to work to be comfortable with yourself not with what you think you should be.
Think about what key characteristics you want in your relationships, career, health, social life to develop your list of values, and if you are not achieving your goals or feeling unhappy look for any disconnects.
Please contact us for a free worksheet to define your values.
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Sometimes men we work with are struggling to have and maintain relationships. Getting to the bottom of this can be tough.
Difficulties we have seen include fear, lack of a strong identity and values, peer pressure and competitiveness, strict beliefs on how a relationship should be, problems communicating, or ineffectively dealing with emotions and conflict. These can result in men having multiple shallow relationships, or choosing a partner who does not challenge them to grow and be their best - this may give men the feeling of being in control and safety but is not a good founding for a long-term relationship.
The perception that the 'grass is greener' is promoted through society, at the expense of the basic human need to form strong and connected relationships. For every man the problems are different, but it's often worth fighting through any of your superficial assumptions and figuring out the root causes of problems in your relationships. If you're having difficulty committing at all then maybe your values or your 'shoulds' are in conflict as described in the last section. If you're a bit scared of getting hurt that's normal, society doesn't like men to be vulnerable but if you want a lasting relationship it is important to allow yourself to be open about your feelings to yourself.
How are your relationships, are you being true to yourself and challenged to be the best you can?
One of the biggest problems with relationships can be the human drive for consistency, to stick with what is familiar and understood. This often results in repeating negative patterns seen in family relationships or others of your past relationships. Knowing your patterns is a great start to changing how you behave and communicate to develop stronger relationships. Psych-Fitness' Relationship Counselling page also goes into a lot of detail on communication, conflict and behaviour patterns in relationships which is worth a read to see if there is anything you could improve upon.
The term 'triangulation' is sometimes used in the context of relationships - where there is unresolved conflict, couples sometimes use a third party or external factor to diffuse the tension. This is an avoidance strategy and can include other family members or friends, infidelity, excessive work, socialising or substance abuse.
This behaviour can also be demonstrated in other situations outside of relationships and people sometimes use these tactics to avoid the real problems. Commonly, drinking alcohol is used to cover up emotions and show outward happiness, or working excessively can be used to avoid problems at home. These are basic avoidance tactics people use to try and cope with problems and risk becoming an excuse to avoid addressing the real issues.
Think about yourself and your past, how do you deal with your problems? Do you use healthy behaviour to work through your stress or do you hide behind something else?
Coaching for Men
The information above provides you with some insight into the challenges many men experience. Sometimes men don't find it easy to admit to having problems to their partner, family and friends, and often find it hard to talk in detail about things.
You may be thinking "well how can a stranger help me then?" So consider how athletes have coaches who work to improve not only physical performance, but also their mental performance and motivation. We work with you in a similar way - we cover everything from lack of direction, uncertainty and unhappiness, to specific career, health and relationship problems.
It may seem weird the thought of talking in depth to a stranger but remember we come from a place without judgement - we have no personal investment in your life, only professional, therefore we can offer you unbiased and practical advice...and no-one ever needs to know that you didn't do it all on your own!
If you don't quite know what the problems are, we can help you reveal them and work to improve things. Alternatively, if you know where you need work, we can provide you with help in setting specific goals, ideas for changing your behaviour, motivation, and help you be accountable for your personal success.
Fundamentally, we help you to improve your 'performance at life'! Coaching provides a partnership of guidance, promoting your personal and professional development, and motivation to action. Contact us now!
"Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself" -
Jean Paul Sartre
Elisa and Eunice are trained in across a number of areas including coaching, counselling, wellness and physical fitness. Your first session will be to chat about you and anything on your mind that you feel is blocking you. Depending on what areas you want to focus on, we will look at who has the most relevant skills and experience to work with you and tailor a plan for you and your personal goals.
We work best through open and honest discussion, from a strong analytical and objective perspective and a well-studied interest in people, psychology and the mind. This has allowed us to develop high awareness and problem-solving abilities which have been incredibly useful in making improvements in our own and others' lives.