Health and wellness coaching is a popular and growing coaching niche. As a coach in this field, you need to be a strategist, a cheer leader and often, a task-master. Here are some ideas on how to maximize your effectiveness with clients who want your help in this realm.
Where is your client headed?– Setting Goals
Wellness coaching, like any other coaching, requires specific goals. Without them, how will you and your client measure his progress? From his story, his or his family’s history, and of course, just by asking, you know what wellness behaviors he wants to change. You can work with him to develop specific, measurable goals, and possibly a time line for achieving them.
Depending on your own particular coaching philosophy and experience, you may already have a system for coaching on particular health and wellness goals. If not, be sure to break the steps to each goal into reasonable size chunks, so your client doesn’t feel overwhelmed and give up before he starts.
If your client is adamant about any weight or fitness goals which seem particularly extreme, consider asking him to consult an appropriate medical or fitness professional. Let him know you are committed to his success, and you want to make sure his goals are physically safe. This not only protects you both, but it can also open an opportunity to coach your client around good decision making, body image, or other issues.
Run interference on your client’s wellness coaching issues
Be a super sleuth. Find out what happened in the past that’s holding your client back now. Maybe he couldn’t find the time to exercise. Maybe he got frustrated because he wasn’t seeing the results he expected. Maybe he got injured and now is frightened of getting injured again. Whatever happened before, he’s working with you now, and successful wellness coaching requires getting him motivated and committed to continue, this time. Reassure him that you will coach him through whatever challenges crop up on the way to his goals.
Keep moving forward: Accountability
Accountability is critical in wellness coaching. It’s a challenge to replace old habits with new healthier ones. Your client will be more motivated to keep whatever action commitments you’ve agreed on, when part of the commitment is reporting to you. He won’t want to disappoint you or run the risk of you being annoyed or angry with him. And, he’ll feel he’s getting great value for money, because you’re keeping track of his actions between calls.
Because most wellness habits need to be a daily practice, keep your wellness coaching client on track by having him call or email you every day to report that he’s either kept or not kept his commitments around food, exercise, meditation, or whatever you’re working on. Let him know you may not pick up the phone or respond to the email, but you do expect him to report. Then hold him accountable in your next session.
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Dorine G. Kramer
JTS Advisors Strategy and Accountability Coach