Coaching and Wellness

By Mary Verstraete

Coaching and wellness may not seem to go hand in hand however, in actuality they are highly compatible. One of the individuals who leads the research for wellness and coaching is Margaret, aka Coach Meg. She founded Wellcoaches Corporation in 2000, the first School of Coaching for health professionals and now a global standard-bearer for professional coaches in healthcare and wellness. The Wellcoaches School of Coaching has trained more than 12,000 coaches in nearly 50 countries. Margaret is a 17-year veteran of the biotechnology industry in the U.S., UK, Canada, and France.

She keynotes how coaching impacts people from the neuroscience and behavior change perspective:

“The big and brilliant human prefrontal cortex is struggling under terrible operation conditions: chronic deprivation of sleep and reflection time, a low-octane diet, nervous-system overload, and inadequate fuel sources (e.g., meaningful purpose, creative expression, physical movement, and more heart-to-heart moments”).

She notes that even teenagers are being diagnosed with early heart disease and type 2 diabetes–which could be poised to wreak economic and social havoc in the next few decades.

Here is the upbeat news: She takes the stance that professional coaches can help people better engage in primary capacities and needs that is shown to be vital to human well-being.

The following is a peek into the world of wellness coaching and how two primary capacities generate a sense of wellbeing and health.

  • Curiosity. Todd Kashdan, Psychologist asserts that curiosity is a primary driver of human wellbeing.

    “When we experience curiosity, we are willing to leave the familiar and routine and take risks, even if we feel anxious and uncomfortable with the risks of new challenges. Instead of trying to control our world, we embrace uncertainty and see our lives as an enjoyable opportunity to discover, learn, and grow.”

    “We have a primary need to explore, learn, and change, however, is often squashed by the demands of life. In our ever-changing world today, the ability to adapt, be agile, and never taking anything for granted is an important capacity.”

Result of not being curious: Declining mental capacity, which leads to other serious mental and brain digressions.

Coaching is all about curiosity! Skilled coaching helps clients to move beyond the familiar, thinking beyond the mental barriers to a greater confidence, motivation, and an overall “sense of wellbeing.”

Coaches are trained to ask powerful questions, the kind of questions that evoke exploration, insight, discovery, and action. Questions that create a focused state of mind because of the mental images they create, highly motivating the client to consider and explore the answers. This is curiosity at its finest!

 

  • Relationships. Serving others, taking care of others, being compassionate and kind are important sources of human thriving. This leads to a sense of wellbeing and generates positive emotions that creates moments of connection, calms the nervous system, and improves brain function.

Compassion for negative emotions is soothing because negative emotions need a warm, appreciative embrace to settle down to allow the person to move beyond the situation.

Coaches extend compassion by paying attention to the images, metaphors, and internal words and phrases that develop during the conversation. This serves as intuitive connection with the client—defined as empathic accuracy. Coaches empathically listen by getting inside another person’s frame of reference, looking to see the world the way they see the world, understanding their paradigm, and understanding how he or she feels.

Coaching is a relationship where compassion can be experienced. Coaches create supportive, safe environments for clients to discuss and talk about what is important–coaches validate what a person is experiencing and don’t judge the person. Coaches listen, resonating with the clients’ words, meaning, and tones.

Result: Trust, hope, perspective, empowerment. A authentic gift of compassion to the client.

A mind stretched by a new idea or new understanding will never fully return to its original dimensions.   –William James, American Philosopher and Psychologist

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