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Helping Your Client Value Themselves by Sharon Graham

Aug 5th, 2009 | By | Category: Wellness Coaching

The Importance of Self-Care

by Sharon Graham

businessmenwithlaptopAs a coach, you no doubt have some very successful clients.  Your client may easily be earning a six figure income and perhaps even seven figures.  They seem to “have the world by the tail,” living in a large, luxurious home full of all of today’s modern toys and conveniences.  They drive a late model, upscale SUV, and their children attend the best and most prestigious schools in the area.  Yes, your client is successful…and busy — but at what cost?

What if the cost of their success is so high that they are actually destroying their body in the process?  Do you have clients who have little to no margin in their lives?  Their packed-tight schedule leaves no room for down time or time to spend with their family.  They run from one meeting to the next, grabbing fast food and heavily caffeinated beverages in hopes of gaining some energy to keep going.  Not only are they on the fiery road to burn-out emotionally, but their physical body was not designed to run at such a pace for a continual period of time.  The piper must ultimately be paid.  They are facing the prospect of adrenal burn-out or adrenal exhaustion.

What are some ways as a coach that you can partner with them to literally save their lives?

Don’t be afraid to ask some tough questions.  If they continue this pace, what will their health look like in five years, or ten years?  How aware are they of what is happening to their physical body?  How well are they sleeping, and how many hours of sleep are they getting each night?

Once your client comes to grip with some facts about their lack of self-care, explore with them about how motivated they are to change.  Oftentimes the Holy Spirit is already at work paving the way for you as the coach.  The client is admitting to some deep inner nudges that they need to make changes.  The body is giving some warning signals that actually cause fear in the client.  Ask the client the question, what if their continued success depended on their health?  How successful would they be, and how healthy would they be?

Partner with them to take a serious look at their schedule in light of their self-care.  Work with them to set simple goals such as getting to bed no later than 10:30 PM.  A consistent bed time means setting work aside at least 1 to 2 hours before bed so the body can unwind.  Another simple goal for them is to be more conscientious about what they drink.  Drinking water will reap tremendous dividends in anyone’s overall health.  Explore setting goals with the client to decrease their caffeine and increase their water with an end goal of drinking half of their body weight in ounces of water per day.

Another critical area of self-care is physical exercise.  Oftentimes the only exercise these busy bodies ever experience is running from one meeting to the next.  Worse yet, only their fingers get any exercise from the many hours of being at the computer or texting on their phone.  Consistent exercise is NOT an option for anyone, but a body on its way to burn-out must first have a time of recovery and then a consistent regimen of healthy aerobic activity joined with moderate strength and weight training.

What your client is eating and NOT eating is also critical to their health.  I recently coached a very successful business woman who had broken the habit of running through the “drive-thru’s” for a fast meal.  After four years of “being clean,” she recently succumbed to Wendy’s and to the golden arches under a time of extreme stress.  With no time for cooking, we explored ways that she could still eat a healthy meal with less compromise than fast food.  I asked if she lived near a whole foods-type supermarket.  She did.  Then I explored with her the possibility of going to their salad bar for a meal instead of the drive-thru.  She was thrilled with that idea and it works for her.  Whole foods grocery stores offer a wide range of salads and other acceptable foods when someone is pressed for time.

A coach must explore with the client what their barrier has been to making time for themselves.  Why have they avoided self-care?  Oftentimes helping a client to see who they really are in Christ is helpful.  They are righteous and holy because of what Jesus has done for them, not because of anything they can do.  God’s love is unconditional and for all-time.  Work with your client to be successful and healthy.  It will reap great dividends for you both.

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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