Though the latter is how health coaches should be approaching the business, many don’t simply because they aren’t taught how to during their health coach certification program.
But what exactly does it mean to empower your client and put the responsibility in their hands?
To help put this into perspective, let’s assume we have two health coaches.
The first health coach is constantly advising clients on what to do and not to do and stepping into a different area that increases her risk.
This type of coach is likely to use language such as this with a client:
“Here’s the diet for the next 30 days. Make sure you follow this and work out six days a week. Write down everything that you eat and during our next session, I’ll tell you whether you should continue with that plan. Okay?”
The second health coach knows that she is simply a source of education and motivation for the client. So, she provides the client with a few different options so that the client can do her own research and commit to a plan on her own based on what she thinks would work best for her body and life.
This coach is likely to use language such as this with a client:
“I understand that you have lot of goals you want to meet and there are a lot of variables involved. I’m going to provide you with some resources to study that are going to help you decide which is the best course of action for you, and then you can tell me which one resonates with you and which one you chose to do.”
Do you see the massive difference in these two approaches?
Not only is the second client likely to have a more positive and low-stress experience, she is also likely to achieve more sustainable results. And even if she doesn’t, the responsibility is taken off the coach because the client made the decision.
For example, in the first situation, the client is likely to come back to the next session if the recommended plan didn’t work for her and respond like this: “You know what, my diarrhea got worse. I felt worse. It’s not working for me. Why did you tell me to do that?”
However, in the second situation, the client is likely to come back to the next session if the plan that she chose didn’t work for her and respond like this: “You know, I chose to go with the SCD lifestyle plan. It really wasn’t working that well for me so I decided to move into the GAPS plan. And I’m feeling much better. Thank you for your guidance.”
The moral of the story is this – always practice a low-risk and functional health coaching approach that puts the power in the clients’ hands!
You only further increase your risk every single time you think that it is your job to tell your clients what to do, what to eat, and how to live!
Provide the resources and end the overwhelm for them. Give them the support and the inspiration and guide them along the way. Be there for them and let them make their own choices.
That’s called inspiration and empowerment and that’s what we’re supposed to be doing as functional health coaches!