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Five Steps To Coaching Wellness by Sharon Graham

Mar 29th, 2009 | By | Category: Wellness Coaching

red-pepper-72Second only to financial concerns, wellness is the next most talked about and sought after topic occupying people’s thoughts and minds these days.  Baby boomers realize they are not invincible as the occasional aches and pains become a more constant, unwanted companion.  Younger people are pushing their schedules and their bodies to the limit bringing along many unwelcome enemies such as extra pounds, less sleep, premature wrinkles, and even disease.  As a wellness coach, you can have tremendous influence and offer valuable information to your clients.  Most people want to walk in optimal health and wellness.  They’re just not sure how to go about it.

Step 1 — Begin with the end in mind.

In Stephen Covey’s bestseller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, his number two habit is, “Begin with the end in mind.”  Help the client to talk about their eventual goals in a concise and defined way.  What would optimal health look like and feel like to them in six months?  Have them visualize how they would feel, what they would be doing that they’re not able to do currently?  What size clothing would they be wearing?  Would they wear a different style of clothing?  For some clients, this exercise will be a delight.  For others, it will be agonizing, but nonetheless necessary.

Step 2 — Examine the client’s current reality.

Where are they now in terms of their health?  How well do they feel on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best?  Several areas can be evaluated.  Have the clients talk about and offer scores for their satisfaction with several categories such as their exercise schedule, how well they sleep, their weight, their energy levels, etc. Get them to think about how satisfied they are with where they are currently in the various areas surrounding their health.

Step 3 — Why now?

What is the motivating factor at this point in time for them to want to address the area of wellness?  What’s prompting this quest at this point in their life?  Perhaps they’ve lost a friend or loved one to a common, ugly disease.  Or perhaps their father died from a heart attack at the age of 52…and your client is now 51.  Maybe a client has a closet full of clothing and can only wear two outfits due to weight gain over the past couple of years.  Probe for why now is the time and how motivated they are to make changes.

Step 4 — Action steps

What can they begin to do to make shifts and changes?  A simple S.M.A.R.T. goal should be created.  If someone has no idea of how much water they drink in a day, a simple goal would be to begin measuring how much water they’re drinking.  If someone is only drinking 16 ounces per day, a simple goal would be to increase that to at least 32 ounces.  Once that goal is mastered, then move to 64 ounces per day by a certain date.

Step 5 — Accountability structure

As with any coaching client working on a goal, ongoing accountability will assist the client’s success.  Once an action item is established, let the client know that you will be asking them how they’re doing with their goal.  For example, when working with clients to develop the habit of drinking water, many clients send an email to me each day with the number of ounces they drink.  They merely put the number in the subject line.  No need to write an actual email.  As a coach, be persistent and consistent with asking the client how they’re doing with their action items.

I have a particular passion for coaching wellness.  However, any coach with a passion to help their client grow and change can become an effective coach in the area of wellness.

Sharon Graham is a professional lifestyle coach and a wellness authority who coaches a broad range of clients in how to achieve and maintain wellness.  She is also an author of a recently released e-book on wellness, a blogger (The Coaching Pair), a public speaker, and is currently compiling a cookbook.  (Click here for bio.)

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