When You Need Stress Relief: Counseling or Business Coaching?

Jan 11, 2018, Written by Sue Miley

Business Coaching

Are you having anxiety or marital problems?  Is it possible that your business is the cause?

When I became a counselor I had a lot of time on my hands. And by that I mean compared to my corporate career, and my new found desire to raise my own children, I went from working 60-70 hours per week down to about 15.

The Birth of Business Coaching

I had restrictions on my time as in carpool drop-off and pick-up, but my brain still wanted the challenge of the career woman. I jumped into the growing internet and social media scene. This was 12-13 years ago and it was really pretty new. I found all kinds of social media gurus of the time and something else… business coaching.

This was a gem as I had just finished my counseling degree and felt that those skills would transfer. I also was missing the business world. In the short run, I could have fun and figure out how to grow my counseling business, but then how much business management was a one-woman show going to require?

As I dove into my counseling between carpools, I started to see a slight trend. Many of the people I saw in my counseling practice had a core issue causing them stress and anxiety, depression, and in many cases, marital strife.

It was like a life-preserver being thrown out to me because this core issue was something I knew more about than even counseling at the time. When I drilled down and started to help clients work on the core issue, their mental health issues improved.

Common Thread:  Small Business Ownership

The commonality in many of these clients was that they, or their spouse, owned their own business. Owning your own business to outsiders sounds like freedom, flexibility, and riches. To those of us who have done it, we are embarrassed to argue, as we know it is a few steel bars that we walked behind on our own volition.

Small business owners aren’t prisoners. At least they don’t have to be. But, getting your business started, developing a strong foundation, and growing consistently takes time, resources, and hard-work.

Common Stress: Financial Resources 

The resource portion causes the majority of the stress in the business owner.

Expenses, cash flow, billing, AP and such was not why I went into business.  Yes, I knew going in I had to pay my bills on time, but I didn’t really think about the time it would take to get my invoices out and get my customers to pay me.

It is always a delicate balancing act and, guess what, if there isn’t money left over, the business owner is the one who no longer has a set salary and doesn’t get paid. This is stress.

Marital Stress: Hard Work and Long Hours

The hard-work and long hours, along with our anxiety, affects our relationships. Our spouse wants to be supportive, but in some ways they were thinking that owning our own business meant freedom, flexibility, and riches too. What happened?

The combination, or either/or, can have us feeling like we are only a step away from depression. What is depression anyway? To our spouse and friends it isn’t clinical. It is just a perpetual bad mood. Everyone wants us to just snap out of it.

Spiritual Stress: Does God Care About Our Business?

We bring it to God timidly. We know we are supposed to depend on Him for everything, but does He really care about our business?

I know we are not supposed to be focused on riches…the Bible says so.  Maybe God is mad at me for worrying so much about work.  It isn’t church work.  As a matter of fact, since I started the business I haven’t had time to serve. God is probably not very happy with me.

Now we are in a circular. It feels like we can’t win and we are working so hard.

Since business coaching wasn’t a popular thing back a decade ago, the stress, depression, and/or marital strife brought people in to see counselors. They were at least going to try to relieve the symptoms. As I begin drilling down to the business issues, I learned several things:

  • Small business ownership without a strong foundation is a core issue that creates the counseling issues described above.
  • God does care about our business as part of our whole life. He created work and he wants our work to glorify Him.
  • Counseling alone can help with the symptoms, however, combined with coaching to help eliminate some of the problems causing our counseling symptoms provides long term healing and health.
  • Look to the Lord for the vision for your business.
  • Find a business resource or coach to help you build a strong foundation (on rock!).
  • Keep good counsel with faith-based counselors, pastors, and community.

Voila, my coaching business was born.

Although at first glance it doesn’t seem like a natural fit to have a combined coaching and counseling center, it is truly a synergistic God-vision. As a matter of fact, most of my referrals came from other counselors in our community and local pastors. They were equipped on the counseling side, but they too saw the core issues being centered around the business ownership and it’s impact on the client or the marriages.

The Intersection of Psychology, Faith and Business

It is important for any small business to have a niche. Crossroads evolved with a wonderful intersection of psychology, faith, and business. We have grown in both the counseling and coaching arena, however, when we receive outside referrals we are uniquely qualified to help clients with their business. And although in these cases we leave the counseling and spiritual direction up to the person referring to us, our counseling education and our deep-seeded faith perspective serves as a supplement to what the client is already working on, not a distraction or divergent path.

Our vision and mission at Crossroads Professional Coaching is to help Christian business owners grow successful businesses on a foundation of their Christian values. We believe that God gives us everything, including our visions. He gave Crossroads ours, and I believe if you own your own business, He not only cares about it, but He has a vision for it.

Our counseling and coaching advice for small business owners:

And thereby, create business, physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health in your life.

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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.