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Answers written by the inner armour senior training team
What exactly is Inner Armour?
At the core of the ideology, is the Inner Armour® Coaching methodology® 28 questions, but what is encompassed within the questions, is a training and coaching model unlike any other.
What inner armoUR® really is all about though is infinity. “Celeritate ET iCTUM”.
Inner Armour® is the frontline response in using peer coaching to predict and prevent PTSD, prevent suicide, depression and other mental illness among high intensity working environments.
What is positive psychology all about?
It is a scientific strand of psychology backed in evidence that focuses on the humanistic approach of positive stimuluses in a person’s life. Starting in ancient Greece and recently undergoing a scientific surge of academic evidence in the early 2000 to present day. Positive psychology can be thought of the light in the dark and how to keep that light burning when everything goes wrong.
Why/how would you use psychology preventatively?
Inner Armour® (as a form of psychological defence) coaches an individual to use a structured concept that enables them to deploy psychology and coach others in a way that helps their peeRS. IF YOU NOTICE SUBTLE NEGATIVE CHANGES IN THE THINKING OR BEHAVIOUR OF A PEER, inner armour® can be deployed to act early, inoculate and strengthen psychological defences.
What is peer / positive psychology coaching all about?
At work who do you know, respect and trust best? It is likely to be someone working in a similar environment to you who understands the pressures you are facing; who better to then coach you if your perspective becomes a little warped?
There is strength in numbers and you are usually the last person to know when something isn’t quite right in your head.
Peer / positive psychology coaching is about harnessing the ability to speak to a peer and defend them. Flipping the script from pessimism, positive psychology allows light in the darkest of places, and peer coaching is done in a grassroots fashion, without the need for extensive academic qualifications.
Why would I want to be a peer coach (what’s in it for me / my team / the organisation)?
In the course of your work you often talk people down from situations that may turn critical. Why wouldn’t you want to do that for your colleagues? We often don’t realise the mental, and thus physical, toll the career has on us. It is a slow fade and often we do not realise until we cross that tripwire for hopelessness and have hurt ourselves or others we love.
What makes you think this can really reduce suicide / sickness?
Psychological trauma that leads to sickness and suicide usually builds over time and those close to you notice the early signs of altered thinking or behaviour. Intervention at this stage may reverse the decline and prevent an unnecessary tragic outcome.Get in early and do everything you can to prevent the worst.
I’m no Psychologist or academic, can I still be a coach or will I struggle to get my head around this?
At a very basic level, coaching is simply a structured conversation; in this case using 28 questions that have been developed from years of research by positive psychologists. Once trained, two thirds of people can coach.
To be a coach requires no such education, but a willingness to learn a process of helping. You must harbour an unrelenting positive regard to the process, and believe in it, which is not difficult, once you have experienced it.
To coach is to help, to guide and to pay attention in the progress of others, this requires nothing more than a keenness to help others, and selfless commitment. See the training requirements for more information. That said, not everyone is suited to this.
What sort of person makes a good Inner Armour peer coach?
Someone who cares for their colleagues, is willing to help, listens well and demonstrates tenacity.
Someone that has walked in the same mud as the ones they are coaching and is compassionate and committed to making a difference.
Someone that is willing to grow, and willing to make a difference when it comes to mental health.
What does the training involve?
The training is an immersive, powerful, fast paced 2 day in person course with follow up sessions. The training involves two days of powerful learning through Lego® done through a method that eliminates powerpoint and more conventional methods.
There is a physical presence that brings people and the method together and helps utilise individuals’ own understanding of themselves. It teaches you to respect the process, and trust in the method.
If I’m just following a list of questions, why do I need any training?
To understand the answers to those questions. Every individual is unique and without practice and precision the process will dissolve into a conversation with precious moments to save lives lost. This is not to mention being able to offer recommendations, questions and challenges to the person when they are truly locked into a negative thought pattern.
Without the training, it is simply a list. It is the understanding of the questions and why they are the way they are, and what parameters it sets.
Without the training, it is easy to become lost, or find yourself overwhelmed by the reaction people may have to the questions not to mention unethical and can be dangerous. In short: To know what to do when you don’t know what to do and enable others to do so too.
Do I have to keep requalifying?
It is not a case of requalification, but more of refreshing the skill to prevent skill-fade. If the questions and delivery are the sharp end of the spear, then it must remain sharp, and that requires attention, practise, and understanding. Blunt knowledge or skill fade can cost lives in this area.
What CPD / Other material is available to support me doing this?
There is an official handbook and an app (BETA version) to support you as well as other experienced peer trained colleagues.
Peer review, continuing education, research journals, the science of positive psychology, formed around 2000 and is probably one of the fastest growing areas for the treatment of PTSD and Depression. There are 1000’s of peer reviewed research papers around positive psychology.
Although there is a wide range of material out there to help support, but in that there is also a lot that can misinform or confuse the understanding, so refer to the Inner Armour® workbook for the best material related to Inner Armour® and Positive Psychology Coaching.
Is this designed for me to do with just my team and those I know well or can I do it with anyone?
It is designed to work on anyone and you may be able to join an international team of Inner Armour® coaches in time. The outlay is designed for peer to peer delivery, but in practise it is wise to use people around you that may not be of the same work environment.
There are strict restraints included in the NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) that legally binds you to operate safely, as well as the confidentiality of the 28 questions. Refer to the disclaimer if unsure on how to go forward.
Is this just for people who are feeling suicidal or depressed?
Absolutely not; this is a preventative tool that hopes to notice micro changes long before depression or suicidal ideation sets in. This is for anyone who is “stuck” in a pattern of thinking. Coaching allows people to think about things they have not considered. It allows them to come up with the answer which builds confidence, thus giving them a freedom and a well being sense of accomplishment.
Though there are strict parameters to the framework of Inner Armour®, our mission to help reduce the risk of suicide or depression, which means heading off the issue before it’s manifested, and if that means delivering the coaching on a relatively trivial issue, it could be preventative to the catalyst of someones decline.
Why would I do this with someone, surely it would be better to refer them to Occupational Health, HR or Employee support to get counselling?
This is frontline defence, and a first phase deployment that can help prevent a condition escalating to the point they need occupational Health or Counselling; not to mention the stigma that comes in working environments by going to these areas of mental health support. So by delivering peer to peer coaching, it helps support the pathway to recovery in a less observed and vocal manner.
Inner Armour is a coaching tool; not counselling. It sits lower on the continuum and is used in a preventative stage before our colleague needs counselling. Naturally there will be times when you will need to refer on. The training will teach you where the limits of coaching are drawn.
What if I peer coach someone and find they are a suicide risk or need more help than I can give?
The training will make it very clear when to refer someone to an emergency service and you immediately contact emergency services to get them help as any civilian would do.
As stated in the disclaimer, by following the green, amber and red areas of delivery, if by the end of a session you find someone in a situation that is worse off, then it is imperative to refer them to more professional help or the emergency services. The training will cover this.
What happens if I am peer coaching someone or have peer coached someone and they go on to take their own life, will I be liable at fault?
By ensuring you have followed the Inner Armour® 28 question Methodology®, and kept to the framework provided within reasonable limitations then this is unlikely. Following the framework is the safest and correct way to deliver Inner Armour® coaching, and if done correctly, then there should be no apprehension for liability or blame. If you are trained and your ongoing accreditation is up to date you will be supported by Inner Armour®. Is it worse to do nothing and wish you had had a chance?
Is peer coaching confidential or should I be informing occupational health, line managers, professional standards?
Peer coaching is based on total client confidentiality. Confidentially may only be breached if there is a risk to life. The line managers and professional standards do not have a right to know. This is no different than them talking to an outside counsellor. That said, for an extra layer of safety, if you trust your line manager, they may also sign the disclaimer.
Do I need to keep records of what’s said in peer coaching sessions?
No records should ever be kept to ensure total confidentiality. It is important that all notes are deleted either digitally or in person. Following data protection guidelines, records of the coaching session are strictly not allowed to be kept. GDPR states that records must be destroyed.
If I’m peer coaching someone is it just one conversation or does it involve follow up sessions?
This will depend on the complexity of the issue you are talking about. Some cases are resolved in as little as 25 minutes; others are longer.It is almost always a case by case situation, as with any type of coaching, no situation is ever the same and more sessions may be required.
How is it different from TRiM?