There is a huge need and an enormous market for health and wellness coaching in our sedentary and stressed out world. Parents want to stay healthy so they can watch their grandchildren get married. Executives want to have more energy, get more done, and be less stressed as they make their way up the corporate ladder. Companies want to boost morale, improve productivity, and pump up their bottom line. Wellness coaching impacts and supports all of these outcomes, and is fast becoming accepted as a worthwhile investment at all levels.
Starting Out: Motivation
For any kind of coaching to be effective, your client must be motivated to participate in a committed way. When you first see a client for wellness coaching, she has probably already tried on her own to start exercising, meditating, etc. And she probably failed–otherwise she wouldn’t be coming to you!
So, how do you get your client motivated? You guide her to experience, in her own mind, what she has lost in the past by not following a healthy lifestyle, what she is losing out on now, and what her future looks like if she doesn’t make some changes. Help her clarify what her wellness focus is–losing weight, sleeping better, healthier eating, managing stress, whatever, and what her deepest fears are, about what will happen if she doesn’t change. Clarity, and a visceral experience of the consequences she fears most, are a powerful motivation combination.
Make Wellness Coaching a Great Experience: Mindset
Keep your client’s wellness coaching experience positive and fun wherever possible. Maybe your client can acquire a bright red “that was easy” button, like the one on my desk, to help keep a positive perspective. Help her set up a reward system for keeping her wellness commitments. Coach her to understand and accept that the reward is for her consistency in following through on her actions, and not for the results of the actions. Be her cheerleader. And don’t forget to give her motivation a boost when you see it flagging.
Changing habits can be challenging and threatening to your client, and sometimes to people close to her. Losing weight, for instance, may bring up boundary issues in your client, or insecurities in her partner. New eating habits may make her she’s being disrespectful of her parents or critical of the way she was brought up. Part of wellness coaching is coaching your client to be powerful and committed through whatever comes up and threatens her success. Hold the expectation of success for your client and help her keep the positive mindset she needs to move forward.
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Dorine G. Kramer
JTS Strategy and Accountability Coach