Why you should coach your patients
Teach a person to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime ends the Chinese proverb. This old adage may sound cliché, but we can all use its timeless power. Bring to mind for a moment something you want to change in your life and need help with. How would it feel to have a teacher who supports you in your endeavor, won’t criticize or judge you, and wants you to succeed?
What if this teacher helps you discover exactly how to make that change happen, in a way that you choose is right for you, free of any agendas; would you want them on your side? How about if they sat with you to identify the barriers to your success and how to overcome every one of them – is that someone to have in your life? We have them right here at Life U.
The best teachers are coaches
Instead of being teachers in the traditional sense, the Life Coaching program interns teach you to fish. They help you to catch hold of your inner strengths, which at times are obscured by the muddy waters of doubt, guilt, and fear. Using a skill named process coaching, the interns will talk you through your inspirational and motivational blocks, and assist you in transforming them.
After a coaching session, the rules of how to get what you want are imperceptibly rewritten, and you’re more at ease about following through with any goals you set for yourself. It’s as if you can see the challenge ahead with your eyes wide open.
You’re still the same you underneath; no one has waved a magic wand, but something is subtly different. There’s a sense that your inner strength has been nourished at a deep level, and the fears you felt in the past have diminished and been replaced with a quiet knowingness that you will succeed. Together with your coach, you talk through the barriers to success, one-by-one, and identifiy what you’ll do to overcome them. The process of talking makes you comfortably aware of the fears, instead of letting them lurk disruptively beneath the surface. Your coaching session creates a gentle sense of peace and confidence inside you.
Coaching boosts motivation to change:
The beauty of coaching is that change actually happens between sessions. Process coaching is only one of many types of coaching which helps people make life-transforming shifts. Its great power comes from making you aware of the thoughts and feelings needed to clear your path to feeling intrinsically motivated. If emotions scare you, ask yourself these two questions: How can you change without feeling motivated? How can you feel motivated without knowing what feelings you need to access?
From an emotional standpoint, coaching is unlike therapy or counseling. Rather than emphasizing the past, coaching instead focuses on the present and future, which makes the experience lighter, more inspired, and insightful.
Delivering exceptional service – How you can use coaching:
You can also give the gift of this powerful experience to your clients and colleagues. When you leave Life U, at some point you’ll be either an employer or an employee. Whichever you become, others will need your help many times throughout your life. As soon as you hear a knock on the door for your assistance, you have several choices:
1. You can tell them what to do, which will probably be reminiscent of their parents, schoolteachers, and other authority figures or experts. This kind of relationship is what most doctors have with their patients and is built on inequality. It’s a relationship where one person knows more than the other, which is built on power and authority.
2. You can leave them to get on with it and discover how to do it themselves. This is unsupportive and your actions would say that you’re not willing to help;
3. You can coach them through it, working side by side as a partner. To do this you listen and ask questions. Each of your inquiries will help the other person to discover and decide what to do for themselves. They’ll appreciate you helping them to learn for themselves, and for being right there with them.
You can either coach people to fish for themselves, or give them a fish by telling them what to do. With the latter, you make them dependent on you and create an unhealthy relationship built on need and codependency. As a health or business professional, you’ll also experience the ongoing frustration of people abdicating self-responsibility and not following through with your recommendations. This is exactly the way that doctors, managers, exercise and sports trainers, and many nutritionists have been practicing for a few decades.
Instead of dictating what people need to do, acting as if we know what is best for business, and for the patient’s body, we must empower people by fully including them in the decision making process. Change then becomes a beautiful journey of discovery embarked on together by the client and coach.
Real people – Real benefits:
What you are about to read may sound controversial. It is meant in the spirit of helping you think wider than what you’re taught so we can help more people, more effectively: What good is it to give a patient a medication, adjustment, nutritional plan, or exercise program if you fail to coach them through the blocks to implementing it in their life?
• The chiropractic patient will keep returning to your office having vertebra or groups of vertebra out of alignment; chiropractic treatments can be fully preventative when patients are coached on how to be aware of their body, what good posture feels like, what muscles to stretch and strengthen which are contributing to subluxations, which mobility exercises to perform, and how to move their body safely to prevent repeated misalignments.
• A nutritional patient’s compliance with their meal plan will be low because a stressful event happened soon after they were given their plan, and they resorted to their old comfort-eating habits. These individuals need coaching through the emotional blocks to eating healthily on a consistent basis, and they need to learn new ways to cope with stress instead of relying on food if they’re going to stay on their eating plan consistently.
• The exercise client will keep saying their lack of energy or not having enough time were the reasons for them not going to the gym or performing their rehabilitation exercises frequently enough. These individuals may benefit from their trainer coaching them through their values, which helps people to identify what is truly important to them. When the client is clear that exercising is vital for their health and happiness, they can be coached through the barriers to making it a top priority, and exercise more regularly.
• Then there’s the business partner or colleague who can’t seem to pull their weight at work and seems unmotivated, resulting in you or others having to do more work. Maybe they need coaching to understand what they need to feel more motivated so their productivity can return to normal?
In each of these cases, the patient, client, or colleague knows what they should be doing, and feels tension because they’re not following through. As a coach, you can help reduce that tension by coaching them through their motivational blocks and watching them talk themselves into changing. We help people change by involving them every step of the way and giving them power to choose what is right for them. Our agenda is not always best or right for our clients.
If you’re not coaching, you’re persuading
Persuading others to change and do what we think is right for them is most likely to fail because the other person has not been invited to be part of the process. Just imagine someone telling you what to do with your life, not listening to your needs or what’s important to you, let alone whether you can or want to do what they’re suggesting. What would that feel like? To add further tension, the person fails to tell you how to do what they’re suggesting.
Every person who dispenses advice or recommendations, whether as a doctor, practitioner or friend is doing just that. It’s akin to dropping a fishing line into the ocean and blindly hoping a fish will bite. It’s far better to teach a person to fish for their own success and be right there with them, than keep throwing them a fish and saying, “Here, now eat this, just don’t ask me how.”
Coaches give life adjustments:
Chiropractors adjust patients‘ spines, nutritionists modify nutritional habits, and exercise science majors alter people’s workouts. Life coaches give life adjustments so that change happens smoothly and with a greater probability of success. Having life coaching skills will improve the results you and your patients experience, whether you’re a chiropractor, nutritionist, exercise science practitioner, or business major. The coaching program at Life University has been revamped for 2011 to help you learn real, usable skills. It is worth taking next quarter; dip your toes in the water by starting with the introduction to coaching class.
How could you life benefit from a life adjustment? Every Tuesday, between 5:30-6:30PM in room 114 in Annex B / CUS, the Life Coaching club has skilled student interns available to help you get more out of your life. It is open to all members of the Life community, and all we ask from you is a $1 charitable donation.
Come and visit us, call 678 653 2080 or email ThatsLifeCoaching@gmail.com for more information.