OK, the single most common question I get – by far – is “so what is wellness coaching?” And while I know I have a short definition up on the appropriately named “what is…wellness coaching” page, I wanted to take some time and go a little deeper. I’m fond of using the phrase ‘well-being’ rather than ‘wellness’ because for me, it’s about the whole being – body and mind – being well.
So let’s look at some of the aspects of well-being that coaching can address.
As a reminder, here’s the definition of coaching as provided by the International Coach Federation:
Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.
OK, so – wait what? I know, this is a decidedly NOT helpful definition. Let’s see if this post series can clear somethings up. For starters:
- Coaching is about intuition
- Coaching is about feeling
- Coaching is about listening at a deep level, much deeper than most people are used to being listened to
- And most importantly, it’s about YOU
The first aspect of well-being I want to talk about is – being heard.
This is something that a lot of people, I feel OK saying most people in fact, overlook when thinking about wellness. An example story from my life: I’m an introvert. Like 100%. All through high school, where students are rewarded for speaking out, being socially active and involved with extra-curricular activities and working in groups – well let’s just say I wasn’t feeling very heard by whatever definition. Then when I did offer a well thought out opinion or comment, it was most often glossed over for something one of the outgoing group members had said. Generally something quite similar to what I said, just said with a smile and lots of hand gestures instead of in my soft-spoken voice with lots of details and a couple of tangential thoughts thrown in for good measure. I ended up completing my senior year at a community college. I didn’t feel heard, instead I felt that my voice was getting lost in the background noise.
What inventions are we living without, what possibly life changing discoveries do we not know of – because the quiet kid who didn’t feel heard eventually stopped trying?
Feeling heard is empowering. In feeling that someone is listening TO YOU, your self-esteem gets a shot of adrenaline. The validation this simple act provides can be life altering. A student who feels heard may go to class the next day and have the courage of their convictions to stand by their ideas until they get that same feeling, deep down, that they’re being heard – not just listened to.
That feeling will then spread to other areas of an individuals life. Maybe they aren’t loving their job and want desperately to break free and change careers. It takes a lot of faith in yourself to make a change like that. Feeling heard and the self-confidence boost it provides may be all that was missing. Now they feel secure in their decision and take that leap into a more fulfilling career. Elsewhere, maybe someone is feeling self conscious about starting that running habit or joining the gym down the street. Now, thanks again to the self-confidence boost received from feeling heard they’re getting in shape for that half marathon their significant other wanted to sign up for. So now their relationship has also gotten a boost.
All that, from the seemingly simple act of someone listening deeply and truly hearing what they had to say.
Next time, we’ll dive into the rabbit hole of “work life.” Get ready, this is a deep one.