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Glimmers and Triggers: Finding the help you need

Choosing the right counselling or coaching service
Are you looking for help and feel a bit confused about where to start? How to choose the right service? Are you wanting to help others get to the right help?  

We can help by providing you with some tips, resources, and information to get you started.  

What are you feeling right now?
Are you feeling a bit down, ‘jetlagged’, overwhelmed, and unmotivated right now? Wanting some help but not quite able to take that step yet? You are not alone.  

It is understandable to be feeling this way.  Current environmental stressors are at peak levels, driving people towards burnout from overloaded schedules. Sometimes unhealthy states of mind can lead to anxiety and depression. If you are feeling this way you can get the help you need to refresh your outlook and determine what is important for your health going forward 

I invite you to curl up with a drink for ten minutes and browse a few of the most popular articles I’ve posted on my LinkedIn recently, maybe jot down a few of your thoughts and feelings. 

The first article on glimmers and triggers is great. It describes ways some very simple ways to gently move out of fight, flight or freeze mode and back into balance.  

Types of Issues You Might Access Counselling or Coaching for:
The following list outlines the areas of counselling or coaching that you might be looking for. This list is not exhaustive, but covers a wide range of issues and feelings that motivate people to seek help:  

  • Developing strategies, planning goals 
  • Improving your communication or assertiveness skills (micro skills) 
  • Managing personal change 
  • Relationships 
  • Stress (current or past) 
  • Wanting to build confidence but don’t know how 
  • Depression and anxiety 
  • Family issues 
  • Grief 
  • Personal issues 
  • Feeling mixed up or sad 
  • Anger 
  • Abuse 
  • Not feeling like you fit in 
  • Wanting a sounding board 
  • Life direction 
  • Addiction – gambling, in debt, drugs or alcohol 
  • Problems at work or home 
  • Not feeling like you can cope 
  • Feeling a lack of resources and help 
  • Feeling embarrassed that you need help
  • Feeling trapped (nowhere to go) 
  • What can help? 
  • Talking confidentially in a ‘neutral’ situation to someone you trust 
  • Feeling safe and listened to 
  • Getting referral contacts 
  • Having the opportunity to understand and prioritise my issues 
  • Knowing how to help others get the right help 

Need some more help, tailored to you? 

Here are some tips for approaching, preparing for, and choosing a counsellor/coach: 

  • What questions do I ask?  
  • What can I talk about?  
  • What’s the difference between different services?  
  • How can a get a colleague I’m concerned about to the ‘right help’?  
  • How do I improve my own coaching/mentoring skills?  

Different Types of Help
There are many different counsellors and coaches that offer various services. Below is listed some types or groups of services. One area may resonate for you more than others: 

  • Counselling:  An opportunity for an individual to take time out in a safe, confidential environment to clarify issues, often of a personal/sensitive nature. E.g. Depression, stress, needing to build confidence, bereavement, relationship difficulties, drug and alcohol problems.  
  • Coaching: Development of specific skills and competencies. E.g. Communication, assertiveness, managing others. Often it is especially valuable when transitioning into a new role. E.g. Moving into a management role. It can also be the outcome of a Development Plan formulated from a Career Review. 
  • Mentoring: Overview, focus of life/career prospects, guiding and offering opinions and advice. Also, role modelling and referring 
  • Career coaching: Career review, planning for new roles/opportunities, upskilling. Interview skills. Image, profile creation. 

Questions you can ask counsellor/coach before you commit

  • Do you offer you a free, no obligation opportunity to meet?  
  • How did you get into this area? Do you have any specialty areas?
  • How many years have you been practicing for? What did you do prior to being a counsellor/coach? 
  • What are your qualifications/professional memberships? 
  • Do you attend professional supervision sessions on a regular basis? How does that work? 
  • What type of professional development do? 
  • What Code of Ethics do you adhere to?  
  • How does client confidentiality work? 
  • Do you carry legal liability insurance? 
  • What prior experience do you have with people in a similar situation/ industry to the one I am in? Do you see any potential areas where there might be a conflict of interest? 
  • May I see a copy of your terms of service/contract? 
  • What days/times might work for us to have sessions? 

Remember to be guided by your instincts to a counsellor that you gel with. If the counselling relationship isn’t working for you, it’s ok to change.

How to Approach a Conversation with a Friend You’re Worried About (recommendations from the Mental Health Foundation) 

  1. Ask them how they are going by saying things like “I’ve noticed you don’t seem like yourself – what’s going on for you?” Then really listen without judgement. 
  2. Don’t try and jump in with advice or solutions. You don’t need to ‘fix’ them. Just be there. 
  3. Ask them if they think they would like some professional help and offer to support them to get it. 
  4. Don’t get defensive if they are not ready to talk. Let them know you are there when they are ready and suggest others who they may like to talk to.

Possible barriers to getting help: 

  • Cost (contact low cost or free services yourself directly or contact the Citizens Advice Bureau) Phone 1737 for free trained counsellors 24/7 
  • Confidentiality (see NZ Association of Counsellors website Code of Ethics which outlines why/how counsellors are trained to keep confidences, also what exceptions there are to this) 
  • Feeling like I’m forced to see someone I don’t relate to or don’t like (you do have choice).  
  • Safety – counsellors are trained to run a safe practice and are supervised  

How do I improve my own coaching/mentoring skills?
People ‘mentor’ each other informally every day. However most have never been formally trained in these skills. We want to help but sometimes it is ‘tricky’ when we have multiple roles like mentor/manager, family member/colleague/friend. Or someone wants our professional help and then mentions something personal. There’s much to navigate when a 5-minute chat slips into murky territory… 

Do you want to: 

  • feel confident, focused, excited and safe in a mentoring relationship?
  • Learn how to find a mentor (or several) to support you personally, professionally 
  • Learn key skills and competencies needed to be an effective mentor



Hi, I’m Erica Steele, personal counsellor, career coach and mentor. Member of the NZ Association of Counsellors and author of The Mentoring Handbook – a guide for mentors, proteges and organisations (used for national mentoring programmes and workshops). 

With over a decade’s experience as Director of her own consultancy, Erica has worked with a wide variety of people (including Chief Executives, SME owners, exporters, farmers, diplomats, technical specialists and new immigrants) from a diverse range of industries in the areas of mentoring, career and personal counselling. She has also contributed voluntarily organisations including The Peace Foundation, Salvation Army Youth Services, Business in the Community and the Rural Support Trust network. 

In addition to her Masters Degree, and Diploma in Personal Counselling, she has NZ accreditation in training, accelerated learning and action method techniques and is a Member of the NZ Association of Counsellors and is the author of The Mentoring Handbook – a guide for mentors, proteges and organisations which has been selected as the text for a number of national mentoring programmes and workshops. 

Contact me, Erica Steele [email protected]. I offer: 

  • one-one or group coaching/training in this area 
  • Professional and personal development via one-one or group sessions (coaching, mentoring, counselling) 
  • The Mentoring Handbook – a guide for mentors proteges and organisations. Learn about mentoring ‘on the run’ with this comprehensive 285 page ‘dip in dip out’ text. $35 + p&p.  

If you’d like more articles go to:
LinkedIn Articles – Erica  

Do you need help now?

If you, or someone you know, requires crisis or emergency support, please reach out for help via the links below. You are not alone; there are FREE professional resources available to help you.