A Coach is not a Dictator

Making positive changes that result in benefits across multiple aspects of your life is rewarding. Little did I know, when I made some small changes to my family’s diet, the impacts these changes would have. It opened the door to a number of changes, each rewarding in their own way. Our stress levels improved, our immune systems became more robust, our energy levels improved and we all became more resilient. Other extended family members became interested in the improvements we made, and they too started to reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

All this inspired me to become a health coach, I was going to tell people what to do and how to make their lives better. Instead, when I started to learn what a health coach does, I came to realise that being a certified health coach was much more rewarding than I could have imagined. Health coaching employs a wide range of techniques and skills which;

  • assess readiness to change,
  • identify motivation for change,
  • identify the client’s values and strengths, and
  • work towards goals set by the client and/or their health care practitioner, not the coach.

All this was eye opening for me, but the real kicker was the impact coaching had on me.

As part of our training, we practiced on other class members. When it was my turn, I was astonished at how being coached clarified my thoughts and identified my skills and character strengths which could support me in making the changes I identified. A good coach can hold a mirror up for you, help you to see who you are and what you want most out of life and supports you to experiment with plans to bring about change.

Coaching taught me that experimenting with change is important. You can try something out and if it doesn’t work, review the outcomes with your coach. An experiment which doesn’t work is an opportunity to learn, not a dead-end. As a simple example, let’s say you are aiming to increase the amount of water you drink in a day to 2 litres. All goes well for the first few days; you have a plan to drink a cup of water ever hour or so until you reach your goal. Then you are in your office one day and get called away for several hours, and do not have access to drinking water, so you do not reach your goal. This is not a failure; this is a learning opportunity. When reviewing with your coach you may explore options and develop an adjusted plan such as keeping a bottle of water with you in your bag, to cover those times when water is not readily at hand. 

So coaching is not telling the client what they need to do to be healthy, most people already know what they need to do or have been advised by their healthcare practitioner to make changes. Coaching recognises you as the person who knows yourself best, a complete person with skills and character strengths which enable you to instigate the change you wish to make. You are the expert on you, the coach facilitates, supports and shines a light on you, while you the client are in the driver’s seat making the decisions about changes which are the most important to you in a way that works best for you.

If you’d like more information about how health coaching can help you make meaningful lifestyle changes that work best for your values, strengths and circumstance contact Annette for a discovery chat.

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