More than likely, you’re already aware that all the elements of your life—health, money, relationships, environments, and career—affect one another. For example, if you’re stressed at work, your immunity suffers and you’re more likely to get sick. If your house is a mess, you may be more likely to bicker with your spouse.
If you’re considering becoming certified as a coach, then, you may consider becoming certified as a holistic coach—a coach who supports clients in bringing harmony and balance to all the various elements of their lives.
Holistic coaching is important because no single part of someone’s life exists in isolation.
Today, we’re sharing five things you should know if you want to effectively support your clients as a holistic coach:
- Holistic coaching views clients as if they’re already whole.
Your clients have everything the need within them. They have the answers, the tools, and the smarts.
Your job, as a holistic coach, is to support your clients in accessing those answers and tools so they can reach their goals. It’s to facilitate a powerful process of self-discovery.
Your job as a holistic coach is not to “fix” your clients … which brings us to the next tip.
2. Holistic coaching won’t fix everything.
Coaching isn’t about helping your clients heal from past trauma or hurt. It’s not about fixing something that’s broken. It is about providing your clients with the action steps, framework, and support they need to reach their goals.
It’s critical to develop a great referral network of other professionals to whom you can refer clients who you identify as struggling with mental health issues (think counselors, psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and doctors).
- Holistic coaching means letting the clients guide the conversation, even if that means drifting away from the original topic.
As a coach, you’ll sometimes find that your clients seem to wander during conversations. A client may come to you seeking help with money issues, and you find that she leads the conversation toward her relationship with her husband, or with her career. You may feel like the session is getting “off-topic.” But, as we mentioned earlier, all elements of a person’s life are interrelated, and your client may actually be discovering the root cause of her money problems as she speaks to you.
Although it may be tempting to try to get the conversation back on track, don’t try to steer it back to the original topic.
This is key for two reasons:
- Your clients should always feel heard on all different levels.
- Sometimes our clients don’t know the root cause of their issues in one area, and “talking it out” may be a particular client’s best method for dialing in on the root cause. For example, even though she came to you for support with money issues, through talking things out with you, she may discover that she’s having money issues because she’s using retail therapy to deal with her dissatisfaction in another area of her life.
A quick note, here: sometimes, conversations do get off-track, and you’ll need tools for making sure your client is focusing on an important issue. It takes some practice to know when that’s happening, versus when he or she is exploring. If you determine your client is steering the conversation toward something irrelevant, you can ask refocusing questions like, “You said you wanted to talk about ____. Now we’re talking about ____. Do you want to continue in this direction?” or “Okay … we’ve been chatting about ___ for five minutes. Would you like to keep going?”
- The role of a holistic coach is to ask questions; let your clients do most of the talking.
All coaching is the process of aiding and supporting self-discovery. Therefore, coaches should do very little of the talking—and when they do talk, they should be asking questions that help the client discover the answers she’s seeking.
In general, the client should do 80 percent of the talking, and the coach should do the remaining 20 percent—with most of that being question-asking.
- Holistic coaches never react in a judgmental way to what their clients say.
Because the role of a coach is to aid in the process of self-discovery, there’s no need for a coach to judge a clients’ thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes. We’re simply here to support them as they move toward certain goals.
So practice your poker face! If a client says something you perceive as negative or impossible or even “weird,” simply listen, and ask the next question in the series of questions you believe will best lead your client farther down her path of self-discovery.
In conclusion …
Because holistic coaching gives coaches the chance to help clients bring their entire lives into balance, it can be such a fun and rewarding career, especially when you employ the best practices we outline in this article.
We’d love to hear from you: which of these tips resonated with you the most strongly?