Your client’s wellness vision can determine many things. It can define a self-image, it can define the desired behavior also if you want it to.
A vision can also define an outcome goal. As an example, it could be something specific like “I want to lose 5 pounds”. Visions also define motivation and in fact, it has to define and include those things that will keep your client on track. Questions like, ”Why do you want to do this?” Or, “Why is it important for you to play with your kids?”, are good examples of questions that coaches can use to help the client come to an outcome goal or vision.
The client’s typical responses might come back as ”So that I can be a better role model for my kids”. In this case, the client’s response back to you is defining what their motivation is. It can also include obstacles. We very rarely want to dwell on the negatives while coaching in this particular area of cultivating our client’s vision, but in reality, we need to know what our client feels about barriers and obstacles that they may face. This is a really good and realistic way to look forward at what can get in the way. If we account for obstacles and barriers up front and recognize this as part of the overall vision statement, we can then move to the next part of it, meaning that we can explore strategies to help our clients through these obstacles or barriers that they will face.
Strategizing for obstacles and barriers is good responsible coaching. So what are some strategies that you can put in place to overcome the particular obstacles that your client will find getting in the way of their attempts to change a particular behavior? A wellness vision has to include strengths. A coach will ask the client,” What have you used in the past to achieve these goals”? By helping the client to uncover behaviors that they are already proficient at and then accounting for them as part of their overall wellness vision, we are also increasing our client’s confidence level that they can succeed toward this goal. Again, it’s a lot like small pieces in the puzzle that come together to provide a stronger motivation and support system for behavior change in our client.
Determination and Organization
Both determination and organization are two things that tend to really be helpful for someone when they are trying to follow a plan toward behavior change, especially one that would represent long-lasting or lifelong change.
Use assessments or informally go through all of the items involved in your client’s mission. Instruct the client to rank each item as indicated for each assessment. Have your client indicate their thoughts for where they are at currently in each of the different categories being assessed.
The main goal of this activity is for you to help the client in creating a vision for themselves. What you are trying to do here is to just take one element of the list at a time and to put it under a microscope.
If your client has indicated a low score on a certain item, ask them to think about how they could change this to improve their score or rank. Then, think about creating a vision statement around that particular item. As an example, let’s say that your client has indicated stress as problematic in their daily lives. They may say to themselves that they are only at a 5/10 because they feel that they are not sleeping very well, they are not as relaxed, or they may display a little bit more temper at times towards friends and family. The client’s vision might be something like “I would like to learn to manage my stress levels in a more productive way so that my sleeping patterns are less disturbed and so that I can interact with family members and coworkers without losing my temper or snapping at them, or so that my relationship with these people can be better”.
Try to dig deeper as to why the client would like that particular area to be a higher score, or why the client wants to change in that area. “What do you think will happen if you continue doing what you’re doing, or if you do not make a change”? “What will it be like if you do change this behavior”? “ What about being able to sleep better would change how you perceive your stress level”? Spend a fair amount of time on clarifying your clients’ vision. You can even have the client write a short paragraph that is written in the first person.
Writing Out the Vision Statement
With barriers in mind, have the client write what they think could get in the way of them reaching an outcome goal for behavior change. In this scenario mentioned above, consider having the client write down some of the things that actually cause stress in their life and what some strategies are to effectively overcome these stressors. There is no right or wrong way to construct a vision statement, so encourage the client to communicate openly. You may also want to have your client think about what they truly want as a result of clearly defining their vision and as a result of being willing to work on changes in their unwanted behaviors.
Putting it All Together
When we began to work with a client as their wellness coach, it is essential that we understand not only what wellness coaching is or the history that brings us to our current state of evolution, but those skills that are required to understand the client better.
Try to also consider aspects of behavior change. Most people do want to change unhealthy behaviors and they more than likely know what to do. Sometimes coaches assume that their clients don’t know what to do or we see that they don’t know how to move forward with changing a certain behavior. When this occurs, we run the risk of being bogged down in the “ information sharing” process. The reality and truth is, most people already know the basics involved in maintaining good health.
This will mean that you will be needing to assess your client in a number of ways. Although you will need to assess the client with physical biometrics as well, the psychological component involved is simply too important to be overlooked. With experience, you will learn to efficiently assess your clients in order to maximize the results of your coaching efforts. This all begins by understanding why the client would like to make a change from the onset.
How You Can Help
Becoming a Certified Wellness Coach is the perfect addition for the fitness professional who wants to offer more all-inclusive wellness services to clients. The time is now for you to enjoy this exciting and rewarding career, which offers you personal fulfillment while improving the lives of others.
If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out what it takes to start a career in personal fitness training. This is your most affordable and fastest way to become a highly qualified personal trainer.
NESTA coaching programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.