Do I Walk the Walk or Just Talk the Talk?
Recently a new acquaintance asked me if I follow my wellness advice. It seemed like a straightforward question that begged an "Of course!". I paused and once realizing we were not in a setting where a conversation around the question could happen, I simply answered, "Yes, I do." However, it isn't what I wanted to say. I wanted to say, "Depends and do you have 10 minutes so I can explain?".
My job as a Wellness Coach is not to give straight out advice. If asked for an opinion, I can furnish that but my primary job is to guide my clients in exploring and making choices that are right for them while supporting them in the process.
I could walk around and tell everyone they should eat more vegetables, get 8-9 hours of sleep a night, meditate, get rid of all processed foods, drink 8 glasses of water, etc. But that advice is generic and doesn't necessarily apply to everyone and don't most know that stuff anyway? If we have already heard it and aren't following the advice, repeating the same "demands" won't make it happen.
My job is to listen and decipher what goals want to be reached by my clients, explore what areas would be beneficial to work on and in what order. From there WE create a starting point and plan.
A massive overhaul is rarely the way to go with anyone. I also look at various things such as the level of motivation, the reasons for change, and the level of wellness knowledge. And remember, a wellness journey is not a sprint. It took time to get to where my clients are when they come to me, and it takes time to crowd out bad habits, change mindsets and create a healthier life.
I had one potential client tell me he needs someone to keep him eating well by whipping him into shape. Clearly, that was not going to be me as negativity is not part of my approach.
Yes, I will ask people to stretch outside their comfort zone at times, but ultimately my clients are responsible for their choices.
If a person wants to lose 20 pounds but continues to eat a pint of ice cream every night, it is not my job to reprimand the client. My job is to explore why eating a large amount of ice cream may be more important than losing weight. What are the thoughts and possible barriers getting in the way? There are many, many reasons why this scenario may be playing out, and it's my job to figure that out with my client.
Margaret Meads said, "Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everyone else." My coaching is unique for each client, and although groups tackling wellness together is excellent, each will approach it with individual needs and outcomes will be different as well. Clients are all coming with different past experiences, present situations and mindsets. There is no way a “one size fits all” could ever work.
So bottom line, do I take my advice? I try my best to stay on the path I believe is leading ME to my peak physical and mental wellbeing. However, we are all human, and being too rigged is not great for me either. Being kind to myself when my choices aren’t the best is the number one "Must do," and I coach my clients to adopt that same mindset.