“People don’t decide their futures, they decide their habits, and their habits decide their futures.” – F.M. Alexander
Almost every habit you can think of is either building your health – or draining it. I’m sure that’s not news to you. But changing your habits is easier said than done. Which is why I include coaching as part of my practice.
Some people are put off by the idea of coaching but that’s normally because the process is not well understood. Coaching is about bringing out the best in you – helping to reach inside yourself to uncover the things you know, the things that are in your best interests, and the things that may be getting in your way. The role of the coach is not to give advice but to ask important questions – the sort of questions you might ask yourself if only you had time to sit still and think for half an hour!
Coaching is designed to give you more of what you want and to show you how you can make it happen much more easily than we sometimes believe. It can shift behaviour patterns and change perspectives in order to move you towards your goals. It’s also a way of tuning in to the small and seemingly insignificant things you are doing that are undermining your progress in life and in health.
Effective coaching always starts with an outcome in mind so that you know what you’re working towards. For most clients improved wellbeing is the ultimate goal but often we’ll identify specific areas that are causing a problem and target them along the way. Typical areas that can benefit from coaching include:
- making time to look after yourself
- finding career fulfilment
- uncovering your creativity
- giving yourself permission (to be ‘you’, to have fun, etc.)
- getting enough sleep
- balancing your needs over others’
- building connections with like-minded people
- changing addictive behaviour patterns
- discovering your life purpose, or ‘ikigai’
- tuning in to positive scenarios rather than negative
- wellbeing visualisation and meditation
- improving your relationships
- changing your financial fortune
- connecting with your instincts and intuition
- learning to accept yourself
- making peace with your spirituality
- building an enjoyable exercise routine
Making positive changes in any of these areas has the effect of reducing stress and dissonance which can have far reaching physical effects – improving digestion, hormonal balance, immune response and energy levels — and simply improving your enjoyment of life which in turn raises your level of wellbeing.
Working on lifestyle factors is a core part of my Better than Ever programme but you can also tackle areas one at a time with ad hoc coaching sessions. I tend to recommend that clients book a series of sessions with enough time in between to reflect and make the changes we identify together.
Coaching is an interactive process. You need to come prepared to work: to stretch yourself and use your imagination and creativity to shift patterns and perspectives. My role is to steer and challenge and reflect back to you. It’s energetic stuff! There may be tears and laughter, ups and downs but at the end of the session almost everyone leaves with a big grin on their face and a big aha! in their head.
Image: My photograph of a beautiful tapestry by Grayson Perry