How to be a better health coach
At PREKURE, we often talk about taking off the training wheels and moving into building the craft of health coaching. You will have studied & practiced the foundational competencies and skill set in the marriage of lifestyle medicine & transformative coaching. The time then comes when you will find yourself at the crossroads and taking the jump towards courageous experiences that will enrich your coaching practice. You will have let go of the checklist, and have learnt to fully trust your client, yourself and the health coaching process. This is when the magic of health coaching truly happens.
In the process of letting go, a shift occurs. The shift from behaviour modification to inward transformation for your client. The shared space you have created to allow creative flexibility and ownership of the learning process will support not only your clients forward momentum in their health aspirations. You are also supporting their growth in learning how they can see new perspectives and learn in a different way.
Changing behaviours provides temporary relief, but inward transformation creates that seismic shift that provides long-term change & sustainable growth. – Marcia Reynolds
In the middle of all of our brains are stories we use to navigate every day of our lives. From the moment we wake up, to all aspects in the navigation of our day, these stories hold center stage i.e. ‘I always wake up early’, ‘I cant seem to change‘, ‘I’ve never been good at exercise’. These frames keep us both safe & stuck. The frame around our stories is made from significant life events and learnings. Within this is our identity and values: The rules and standards that define our lives. In health coaching we work to reflect on our clients’ stance. We listen to how they are relating to the story they tell. Sharing curiously what we notice about our clients behaviour, values and beliefs (stories) can influence new exploration of their impact on their health, work, relationships and aspirations. Search for and highlight the inconsistencies in your clients words. A new discovery, clarity, a new story, a new mindset are all the jewels in the crown of behaviour change.
For all of us it is different, our level of courage and readiness to accept the risk and vulnerability to step out into our best health coach self is variable. It is true that you can only coach as far as you have come yourself. A small grounded theory, interview style study of 12 coaches of all levels of experience Wood & Lomas, 2021 supports that courage plays an ongoing role throughout a coaching career. It is integral to a cycle of increasing self awareness and professional development. There is a point where coming out of the stuck and following your intuition & heart as a health coach, can facilitate the strength to navigate whatever shows up, even when getting it wrong.
Being comfortable with being uncomfortable is key. It is the fabric of the health coach-client alliance. Our skill entails preparing the client for the health coaching process and with that, supporting them when they are uncomfortable. Supporting is not rescuing. It simply means to sit with clients who are uncomfortable so they can find their own answers. Successful and sustained habit change is uncomfortable and often messy. A willingness to recognise the power of being ‘in the uncomfortable’, can facilitate the tipping point for real change. As you continue to build your craft, learn to recognise your own discomfort , notice when it appears, breathe and lean into it.
As humans we have and will always have imperfections. See the beauty in your clients’ imperfections. Bring to the surface their values, beliefs and stories. Champion their courage to be vulnerable and unsure. Reflect that courage in your own transformation as a health coach when you find yourself at each crossroad. Recognise and find the greatness already in your client, and they will see and discover in that mirror their own greatness within.
Coaches become change agents who actively recharge the human spirit. – Marcia Reynolds
Sonya English is a PREKURE Lead Health Coach and transformative life coach. With a Masters of Health Practice, Sonya is also a highly experienced critical care nurse.
Sonya is a passionate advocate in the proactive prevention of disease and living the best quality of life you can. As a health coach she believes working with her client’s vision and values to support their movement from where they are now to their desired goal is paramount. Her focus is on her client’s strengths, their lifeworld and untapped awareness to move forward positively and sustainably. Her vast health experience affords a holistic approach to championing her client’s wellness.
Learn more about PREKURE’s Health Coach Courses and how you can study with expert coaches like Sonya to become a masterful Health Coach.
- Reynolds, M. (2020). Coach the Person not the Problem: A Guide to Reflective Inquiry. Berrett-Koehler Publishers Ltd. Oakland.
- Wood, C., Lomas, T. (2021). The role of courage in the development and practice of coaches. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring.
- Koh, J. (2020). The Seven Principles Of Masterful Coaching Conversations To Create Deep Inner Work. Forbes.
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