Center for Coaching Certification

Deciding to Hire a Wellness Coach

Deciding to Hire a Wellness Coach

By Cathy Liska

The decision to hire a wellness coach possibly boils down to the time and money involved versus the degree of discomfort with the status quo.  Having said that, when a client has a clear objective and the desire to achieve it, working with a wellness coach is often their best option.

Explore the cons and then the pros in detail:

Cons –

  • Time because working with a coach involves the time for coaching sessions and also the time for following through on action plans.
  • Money is often a deciding factor whether or not this is expressed or even of significant impact.
  • The discomfort of change because working with a coach means choosing to make meaningful change which will require discomfort and effort.

Pros –

  • Awareness of more possibilities and opportunities because a coach expands thinking.
  • Insights from reviewing possible strategies because a coach asks the questions that challenge thinking.
  • The gentle push to create specific, measurable action steps because the coach holds the focus on the desired objective.
  • An accountability partner because the coach checks in on progress, challenges a lack of follow-through, and celebrates progress and success.
  • Support for exploration, strategizing, planning, doing, and achieving desired results.

For each person wanting to improve their wellness, ask yourself whether you are best served by saving money and doing it independently or by investing in yourself and engaging a coach to keep you focused and on track.

What additional pros and cons influence the decision?

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SME versus PE for a Wellness Coach

SME versus PE for a Wellness Coach

By Cathy Liska

SME is Subject Matter Expertise.  The pros of a wellness coach having SME include their awareness of possible implications of different strategies or action steps, the ability to add multiple ideas in a shared brainstorm, and informed observation or feedback.  The cons include the natural inclination to slide into their role as consultant or advisor, knowing the answer instead of supporting the client discovering their own answer, and the possible use of assumptions instead of inquiry.

PE is process expertise.  The pros of process expertise include the ability to move the client forward, a high level of empowering the client, and curious inquiry.  Process expertise often goes hand-in-hand with Subject Matter Expertise.  The cons of only having process is the coach may be unaware of their or the client’s knowledge gaps, and the coach is less informed for helping to identify underlying factors and considerations.

In all types of coaching, first and foremost it is important to have a trained coach, so verify certification and credentialing.  The decision of whether to seek subject matter expertise is typically the next consideration and at the same time research shows that the rapport between the coach and client is the greatest predictor of success. That means decide if and what subject matter expertise is important as a third priority.

A coach who is trained and that connects with the client will provide value with or without subject matter expertise.  Knowledge that impacts client success is available through other professionals or with research.  A coach that empowers the client to explore options, influencing factors, and possible strategies will move them forward.

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How a Wellness Coach Enhances Wellness

How a Wellness Coach Enhances Wellness

By Cathy Liska

First, a question: how is wellness developed?  It starts with evaluating your current level of wellness or defining your baseline.  Next, define your desired level of wellness considering your capacities.  Then, develop strategies and a plan of action.  Implement desired changes, review the impact, and adjust as appropriate.  Manage accountability and celebrate successes.  How is this made easier?  By working with a wellness coach.

Working with a wellness coach supports the process as follows:

  • Awareness: the coach asks questions to help explore the current level of wellness, motivations to stay at that level, and motivations to change.
  • Empowerment: the coach supports the exploration of goals and defining objectives while also considering possible barriers and limitations plus opportunities for moving past those barriers or limitations.
  • Planning: the coach supports the brainstorming and consideration of strategies and then works through a process for the client to define their specific, measurable action steps.
  • Accountability: as an accountability partner the coach asks the client how they want to be held accountable, then checks in with them on their progress; as the client’s partner the coach holds the focus on client intentions, and the coach ensures the client acknowledges their progress and successes.

While it is possible to significantly improve wellness individually, most often working with a wellness coach is more efficient and effective.

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The Growth of Wellness Coaching

The Growth of Wellness Coaching

By Cathy Liska

US News cites Wellness Coaching as an “ahead of the curve” career. Currently wellness coaching is a fast-growing niche within coaching because people are increasingly aware of the impact of wellness and choosing to develop or enhance their own wellness.

As the interest grows it is important that coaches create awareness of the different areas of wellness and types of services for creating wellness.  For example, health coaching focuses primarily on medical condition, personnel training focuses primarily on physical exercise, and nutritionists focus on diet and eating habits.  Wellness coaching involves partnering with clients to create the change they desire.  Wellness coaches are supporting clients in doing their own research, creating new strategies, and designing action plans.  In addition to coaching, providing ongoing educational workshops, blogging and publishing, speaking, and engaging in the conversation enhances the awareness of wellness and wellness coaching.

Wellness Coaches have a passion for empowering and supporting the wellness of their individual clients.  Clients engage a wellness coach because it is effective and impactful for their wellness objectives.

For a coach and a client engaging in the wellness coaching relationship, it is important to explore:

  • Client objectives
  • Coach training and experience
  • How to manage subject matter expertise and coaching process expertise
  • The connection between the process and subject matter expertise for developing a level of rapport that best serves the client

Wellness Coaching continues growing because more and more individuals want to achieve their desired of wellness and a coach is their favored resource.

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Wellness Coaching

Wellness Coaching

By Cathy Liska

What is wellness?  Definitions of wellness range from being free of disease to a complete well-being physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially.  For complete wellness include the whole person.  Consider:

  • Physically: medical condition(s) at the optimum level, functionally fit, desired level of exercise, balanced nutrition, appropriate level of rest
  • Mentally: ability to think clearly, process information, decide effectively, plan, intentionally focus proactively, be creative, organize
  • Emotionally: self-awareness, self-actualization, emotional intelligence, relationship intelligence, manage stress, engaging in spirituality at the desired level, and a general sense of peace, contentment, or happiness
  • Socially: social intelligence, desired level and number of connections, contentment with family relationships and friendships, plus a professional network and colleagues as desired
  • Generally: live in a comfortable and safe place, effectively navigate the community and political environment, satisfied with career and income

What is coaching?

The International Coach Federation defines coaching as: “Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

What is wellness coaching?

Wellness Coaching involves a trained coach serving a client by empowering them through a process wherein the client chooses their objectives, strategies, action plan, and accountability.  Wellness Coaching is an opportunity to define desired wellness, plan and implement strategies, and have an accountability partner in service of creating desired, meaningful change.

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Expand Opportunities as a Wellness Coach

Expand Opportunities as a Wellness Coach

by Chris Simon – https://origympersonaltrainercourses.co.uk/blog/

Ten years ago I graduated as a fully qualified fitness trainer.  Back then you could gain passage into the industry with the bare minimum of a Level 2 Personal Trainer certificate.  I entered the industry with what is now considered a minor qualification and I believe that I gained more education with experience in the sector.

I believe that most wellness coaches will feel the same.  Health and fitness coaches bathe in the same pool (pardon the analogy).  There are many similarities between the two because fitness is wellness and wellness is fitness.  Specifically, a personal trainer is defined on www.Dictionary.com as a person who works one-on-one with a client to plan or implement an exercise or fitness regimen.  Wellness coaching, using the definition from the International Coach Federation, is “a strategic partnership in which the coach empowers the client to clarify goals, create action plans, move past obstacles, and achieve what the client chooses.”  The difference is that a personal trainer teaches and creates the plan whereas a coach empowers and challenges the client to discover their own solution.  Both focus on the client.

They are both striving towards a common goal.  So how do they benefit from each other?  They can:

  • Market effectively – This is essential for any coach who is independent. A large proportion of the health and fitness industry resides online.  Learn how to utilize the internet and turn impressions into clicks with a unique combination of fitness and coaching expertise so you stabilize your income in a time of great competition.
  • Expand your business into other sub-sectors – Health and fitness coaching has become a very popular profession. Coaches often develop multiple sources of income.  First, make sure that your revenue streams are inter-related with your service.  If you are a fitness trainer and a coach, you target multiple aspects of the health and fitness market.
  • Gain more qualification – As I said before, when I entered the industry a Level 2 was enough to stand above the rest. This statement is no longer true.  Health and fitness trainers are expected to extend their studies and gain more qualifications.  Similarly, coaches are expected to qualify for ICF membership and earn a credential.  This will attract clients. For example, as a wellness coach with prior experience in nutrition you will fare well in a personal trainer course.  You can then develop and sell complete health and fitness programs.  You will be coaching from start to finish in every aspect of the program.  This will expand your services and stabilize your income.
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Note-taking During Coaching Considerations

Note-taking During Coaching Considerations

By Cathy Liska

During coach training the question often comes up as to whether face-to-face or telephone coaching is most effective.  The debate between the two is fascinating.  Based both on what I have read and experienced, I am firmly on the side of telephone coaching being more effective.

First, telephone coaching eliminates miscues based on visual perceptions.  This applies to both the coach and the client – few are trained enough to correctly read and evaluate facial expressions and body language.  For the client, they sub-consciously respond to the coach based on the visual cues they see – facial expressions and gestures.  This means instead of thinking it through for themselves they are responding to someone else.    Telephone coaching also minimizes subconscious biases influencing the relationship.

Next, telephone coaching requires the coach to listen more deeply.  Because understanding is 55% visual, when the visual is removed the significance of words, tone, and pace increases.  This requires listening deeply.

The logistics of telephone coaching are far more easily managed.  Plus, telephone coaching opens up the source of coaches and clients supporting a better match and more opportunities.

Next consider the note-taking.  During the coaching certification practicum, the coach takes notes.  In a face-to-face setting this introduces the challenge of balancing between eye contact and writing.  Additionally, the client starts wondering what the coach is writing, or hoping something is not written, or wanting something significant to be captured.  The coach is distracted by the eye contact and the client is distracted by the note-taking.  This minimizes the value of the coaching and limits the notes too.

Telephone coaching simply makes more sense.

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Note-taking and Coaching Competencies

Note-taking and Coaching Competencies

By Cathy Liska

As a surface level consideration, having the notes from coaching sessions sets the coach up to effectively apply the competencies during coaching sessions.  A challenge for each of you is to re-read the ICF 11 Core Competencies information you studied in your coach training with the thought in mind of whether taking notes impacts your ability to demonstrate that competency or sub-competency.

For example, ICF Competency 5. Active Listening, sub-competency 4. Summarizes, paraphrases, reiterates, mirrors back what client has said to ensure clarity and understanding.

For this competency, while some are able to remember and summarize back to the client what was said, for most too much information gets lost without notes.

For ICF Competency 11. Managing Progress and Accountability, sub-competency 4. Effectively prepares, organizes and reviews with client information obtained during sessions.

Preparing, organizing, and review seem to indicate the coach has notes.

Taking notes as a coach means you have a list of actions to hold a client accountable to in follow-up sessions.  Taking notes means you are able to stay on track with client objectives and also adjust as appropriate for the client.  Sharing the notes means the client knows you heard them plus they have their list of action steps.

For ICF Competency 9. Designing Actions, sub-competency 8. Helps the client “Do It Now” during the coaching session, providing immediate support.  Notes document brainstorming and often include lists or files that are created during the coaching session.

Coaching certification provides the opportunity to develop the competencies, review exactly what each means, and also to discuss the application.  Mentor Coaching is an opportunity to dig into how each competency and sub-competency are demonstrated when coaching.

As a coach, reviewing the competencies regularly and reflecting on the implications in terms of what you do and how you do it is smart.

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How are the notes taken?

How are the notes taken?

By Cathy Liska

During coach training, options for note-taking include the obvious paper and pen, computers, iPad, etc.  While some prefer pen and paper, the disadvantages include legibility, ability to share them easily, and managing storage.  Personal computer or iPad makes the most sense in terms of protecting and storing notes, legibility, and ease of providing the client with a copy.

Sometimes I am asked about recording sessions.  While recording is done for the purpose of mentor coaching and ICF credentialing, consider the client.  While a client may give permission for recording, if every session is recorded they will filter what they say and limit the effectiveness of coaching.

When notes are taken on a computer, some people use Evernote or Word.  A software I find very helpful uses mind mapping.  Mind mapping involves spokes or lines from one sentence or phrase to the next.  This is nice because all the notes are immediately visible and simple to organize.  There are many different versions.  MindMapper.com offers a version that is very easily converted to a Word document which in turn makes it easy to share with clients.

For the coaching certification program, recordings of coaching sessions are available to the coaches.  In addition to listening to the coaching, the note-taking is shown using the MindMapper software.  It also shows what is included in the notes.

As a coach, plan for how you will take, share, and manage notes.

As a client, ask your coach about notes and be sure you are comfortable with the plan.

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Information Included in Coaching Notes

Information Included in Coaching Notes

By Cathy Liska

During coach training when practicing a coaching session, it quickly becomes clear that to write everything that is said, plus include observations, while ensuring the conversation continues to flow, requires writing or typing at an incredible speed.  This then invites the question: What is included in the notes?  If the coach is writing their interpretation or thoughts, then they are moving out of coaching into more of a consulting or mental health professional role.  Typically, coaching notes include the client’s key phrases, or are taken in a bullet point or outline format.

Because coaching is focused on the future, instead of investing time in the past or even the present, there is enough past or present information for context and understanding.  The coaching session is about what is wanted and how to move forward.  The language used in coaching is both positive and proactive.  The notes for the coaching session follow the same parameters.

For example, if a client talks about what they do NOT want, the coach asks them what they DO want instead.  This is the answer that is included in the notes.

This means coaching notes are ideally organized by question or subject, key points only, and future-focused.  Coaching notes are primarily positive and proactive. The Certified Professional Coach training program offered through the Center for Coaching Certification coveres note taking as part of their curriculum.

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