But, more often than not, my curiosity seems to trigger silence on the other end of the line or table whenever I ask "Why?"
You see, the human psyche is such an interesting thing. If we just get it warmed up and started discussing the depths of it's subconscious contents, it unveils such valuable information.
Most of us, on the surface, really don't know what we want in life, much less in regards to our health. So, often, when I ask the question: "What do you want?", I am met face to face with what the person doesn't want.
But, un momento por favor! I asked what you WANT. Not what you DON'T want.
These are two very different things. And when the entire circuit board within your mind is wired to avoid what you don't want, you live a life of fear and deprivation.
But, whenever you are extremely clear as to what you want out of this life and you are determined enough to do what is necessary to achieve it, all of the other noise that seemed to drown out your "happiness" and clarity, just seems to fade away.
Now, while this may seem all sunshine and rainbows, it isn't. There can be no real accomplishment in this world without putting in the work. And that is no different for self-mastery. You can't lead, yourself or others, without having first discovered what it is that you must conquer within yourself. Which brings us to number 1:
1. "I know my body!"
Perhaps, but even fewer people know their "thinking".
Most people in your life have an agenda. Your partner wants you to be a better husband/wife. Go ahead and try and be whatever you think that means, and you'll fail. You have to first know what they mean by that.
Your boss wants you to be the most productive, and efficacious leader for the sake of the company. If you haven't taken the time to figure out what exactly they mean by that or what you need to measure to ensure that you are growing into the role that they expect, you'll fail.
With your health, the same principles apply. If you think that your lifestyle and current measurements of health are what you ought to be doing, you will continue to do the same things and wonder why you are not improving or progressively feeling more lethargic, bloated, or depressed as the months fly by.
Now, I am not saying that health coaches have all the answers and can "do life" for you, but you can bet that your coach (at least the good ones) are going to question your thinking around why you are doing something or what you are hoping to accomplish by doing it.
2. "I don't have time for a health coach."
This one is always interesting to unpack with people. Let's breakdown that statement, but from a different angle: Thinking about my health does not currently take precedence or priority over:
- My Instagram or Facebook Posting
- Pouring a glass(es) of wine at night
- Snoozing my alarm clock
- Watching TV
I could continue down this path, but I digress.
Now, the only problem with the above thinking is that technically the people that use this reasoning don't really understand what I do at HPHI. They are placing me in the dietician or nutritionist bucket.
Please do not do that to me. You are better than that.
You see, I am much more concerned with WHY you are making certain choices as opposed to the choice itself.
I am also much more curious if you have thought about the consequences of making certain choices based on the result you have experienced with that choice in the past.
I also am much more interested in what YOU feel could be beneficial to move you forward in regards to how you feel and your stated goals.
I do not tell you what to do based on what my college curriculum and/or state licensing allows for me to tell you. There is no current license for what I do (although I am currently creating a curriculum for nurses to help carry this torch with me. More on that soon.)
I measure only performance. Health has everything to do with how you feel and what you, the person, says it is for you. Health isn't what some book says it should be. So, before you claim to not have time for "coaching", sit and ponder what it means to be healthy, for you, then take a critically hard look at your current lifestyle and evaluate it accordingly.
If you can do that, then you are right, you probably do not need a coach.
3. "I don't want to bulk up or look like a bodybuilder nor do I want to run marathons."
I know what you are thinking: Is this a real concern for people? I know, I used to think the same thing, but it actually is on the forefront of most people's minds.
I am not sure if it was the media that caused this or just old fashion gossip, but somewhere along the line during the past 20 years, people started to feel and think that if they picked up a weight, then lowered it back down, then repeated that motion for a few reps, that they would just magically grow muscle and drop down to single digit body fat percentages.
The other issue is that these same people feel that everyone in the health and wellness space is going to force them into a gym membership or have them run a marathon. I am not sure where the gray area in between "Olympic Decathlete" and "Asthmatic Coach Potato" disappeared, but apparently, some folks feel as though there is no in-between the two.
Humorously enough, I have had many clients tell me upon starting, "I want to get healthier but I will not give up my wine at night and I will not start working out right away." This is always music to my ears, because (and you can ask them) my reply is often, "Oh good. Then this will be easier than I thought."
If you are surprised by that response, then you might want to try out this whole "health coaching" thing.
4. "I don't need coaching. I really just need to know what to do."
Now, this is where things get interesting. What you may expect me to respond with is "Oh, tell me more..." with my famous Willy Wonka grin and top hat. But this is actually a great response. It is kind of like our judicial system: Innocent until proven guilty.
This is where I differentiate between a health coach and a mercenary. Health coaching is for those that know what they should be doing, but they are just overwhelmed or perplexed as to what they need to do first or how to incorporate the changes into their existing, hectic life.
The mercenary role, on the other hand, is the role that I play when the client actually just needs answers. They want to know what lab tests they need to run, what the results mean, what supplements to take, what foods to incorporate, which to avoid, when to exercise (how long, what modality, and what intensity), what their sleep needs to look like, and when they need to check back in with me.
That is what the mercenary does. They take orders and help complete the mission. Fewer questions are asked and less time is spent, BUT the same rule applies for the clients who choose either the health coach or the mercenary: if you do what we agree to together, you will be successful.
Often, the mercenary client is successful. But when they are not, due to "life" getting in the way, I remove my mercenary helmet and don my health coaching cap and then we get down to business incorporating the necessary habits into their existing life.
- Meeting them where they currently are and establishing the small wins.
- It requires evoking what they are inevitably trying to accomplish, and formulating a plan with the step by step targets that need to be achieved before their end goal can be accomplished.
- Encouraging the client to understand that there is no "there" or destination when it comes to health. Health is a lifelong, zig-zagging process that our coaching relationship will help arm them for the future battles that they are inevitably going to face as life goes on, and the aging process ensues.
- Figuring out the best way to have both of us not only see, but discuss, what their current habits are and more importantly, their thinking and intentionality around their decisions.
- Explaining that the coaching process is not always comfortable. But if we meet the discomfort and unpack the lessons through it, it is always rewarding and fruitful.
- Understanding that health coaching is not about the "recipe" being sold. It is about the "chef" that is created in the process. Cooks must follow a recipe. Chefs take the ingredients given to them and make the best dish (life) possible with whatever tools and ingredients at their disposal.
Do you want to be the "cook" or the virtuosic "chef"?
Chefs, click below to learn more.