COACHING YOUR CLIENTS
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© July 2015. L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
In order to help people stay on their nutritional balancing program, we must offer both nutritional balancing science and coaching. Let use examine what this means, and why it is very important.
WHAT IS COACHING?
Coaching means helping to encourage clients to stay the course. It also means helping them appreciate how far they have come and how well they are doing. These may seem like simple things, but in many cases they are not simple at all.
For example, many people may feel worse at times during a nutrition program. We know this is because they are eliminating a toxic metal or going through some other shift in the body chemistry. However, this needs to be communicated in a positive, encouraging way.
This is similar to a baseball coach explaining why a player may have a bad day, at times, and not to worry about it. It is an essential part of a sports coach and it is an equally important part of being a health coach as well.
HOW TO BE A GREAT HEALING COACH
1. You can’t be too positive. The most effective coaches may reprimand a player at times, particularly if he or she feels the player is not living up to his abilities. However, the best of them are usually very positive and upbeat.
This is not a quality found in most doctors or nutritionists, however. Many are consumed with the technicalities of diseases, and related topics. These are often ingrained in medical school, and to some degree at other healing schools, as well.
Instead of being positive, some health coaches lecture their clients. They do not realize the need to hold out total hope, love and faith to their clients. This is a big mistake.
2. Encourage. This one word sums up the job of healing coach. Everyone, bar none, needs encouragement. It is a rare client indeed who is so self-motivated they will just follow along blindly at all times. On a nutritional balancing program, most people will have days when they don’t feel well. They will have to put up with symptoms and other inconveniences, while spending hard-earned funds to do this.
At the same time, we often ask clients to go without the support of their families, doctos and friends. They may even have to oppose the beliefs of their families, friends, medical doctors and other influential people. This is another reason they all need loads of encouragement and support.
3. Listen carefully and thoroughly. Often patients complain that their doctors do not listen and hear their complaints. It is fine to repeat back statements if you are not sure what the client is trying to say. Often just allowing a client to ‘vent’, or express frustration with not feeling well, can be enough to enable a person to continue with a correct healing program.
I also find that just listening to a client can often help solve a problem on the program. This is “active listening”, in which the client is allowed to think out loud, with your help, and can often come up with the problem.
The coaches role here is to ask simple questions such as “What did you have for lunch today?”, “When did you go to sleep last evening?”, “How much water did you drink, and what kind?” With your feedback, these and similar questions can lead the client to understand what went wrong in many cases.
4. Provide support in many forms. I cannot overemphasize the need to provide extra materials to help support your clients. Here are some simple examples:
Š Reading matter – articles, books, magazines and other.
Š CDs, videos or other media are also excellent.
Š Support groups, if possible. Have clients call one another and get together if possible to help each other.
Š Lectures, discussions and other gatherings.
5. Teach. Don’t just lecture or scold. This is hard for some of us because it is a very different skill. It involves finding out what the client needs and then offering it in a form and style that the person can grasp or comprehend. The section below will give some examples of the problems of the clients in these areas and how one might help them.
COMMON BLOCKAGES TO PROGRESS
Certain tendencies in human beings keep them from progressing or following through with a nutritional balancing program. Some are simple, such as the inertia of their diet and lifestyle. Others are very subtle. Let us examine some of the more difficult ones.
1. The feeling of victimhood or hopelessness. This is a basic human problem. One often feels like there is no hope, or that one is “destined” to suffer this disease or problem forever. Those who believe this way strongly won’t even begin a program.
One answer is to remind your clients that “with God all things are possible”. This cannot simply be a prayer or affirmation, though it can start out that way. It is helpful if it is really felt at a deep level. To get to this, most people need to repeat prayers such as the 23rd Psalm of David, or others.
Only repetition will do for most people. Support from a practitioner is also most helpful in any form such as books, stories of overcoming illness, testimonials, or perhaps speaking with others who have overcome their health problems.
2. I am not good enough. This is different from problem #1 above. It is the idea that I might succeed with my health if only I were a better, purer, smarter, more beautiful, or more talented person. In other words, this problem is an inferiority or guilt complex, whereas problem #1 above is about the nature of life.
This problem can be difficult to solve, as it is usually based on childhood trauma or worse, some deep feeling of unworthiness that again is a spiritual dilemma. In other words, God has not favored me in some way, and therefore I am incapable of overcoming my problem, so why bother.
In truth, we have all “messed up”, at times, and we are all are blessed with grace. That is how I explain the answer to this problem to clients. Once again, testimonials, and spiritual reading or other media may also be helpful.
3. The program is no good. This attitude is also common. Call it skepticism or cynicism. It is very common, and with good reason because most of our clients have tried several to a dozen other programs or approaches without much success.
This problem is a breakdown of trust, a key element in the doctor-patient or practitioner-client relationship. After all, if the client felt he or she could take care of their health all by themselves, they would not need anyone’s help.
Practitioners can limit this problem somewhat by learning their trade well, and by presenting the program and presenting themselves in a thoroughly professional manner.
This includes how one dresses, speaks, writes and everything else about one’s office setting, mannerisms and more. It might be said to include one’s “bedside manner”, but is much more than this.
We must sell ourselves repeatedly and convince those who trust us that their trust is justified and that we care deeply about them, not about our image, reputation, money or other motives for practicing our work.
A serious problem today is that so many people are angry and discouraged with medical doctors. Trust has broken down before a person even comes in the door. This must be repaired, ultimately, or results may not be as good.
To some degree, trust acts as a placebo. That is, it relieves anxiety to such a degree the client progresses better, no matter what you suggest. While this is the truth, competence matters a lot today, especially in nutrition where many people with little training or expertise (including medical personnel) offer their ideas as if they are gospel truth.
Thus the concept of rebuilding trust and confidence is important in all situations of healing today. Practitioners should always be willing to take help and ask questions of more experienced practitioners to keep learning more. This is an important part of building confidence with clients as well. Try to find answers if you are not sure about something.
OTHER METHODS OF SUPPORTING CLIENTS
Chiropractic. Regular, gentle chiropractic is excellent for everyone on a nutritional balancing program. It can relieve nerve blockages and keep a person moving along better, and it is not too costly in many cases, especially since insurance often covers simple visits to a chiropractor.
The best types of chiropractors are those that use more gentle methods, in my experience. These include Toftness, activator, kinesiological methods and others.
Also, if possible, find someone who assesses with non-invasive methods, which means those that do not take x-rays if possible. Non-invasive methods include applied kinesiology or muscle testing, various physical diagnostic methods such as palpating or feeling the spine, visual examination of the spine and others.
Bodywork. Some forms of bodywork, especially Rolfing, structural integration and methods such as foot and hand reflexology are excellent along with nutritional balancing. Both this and chiropractic are grounding for people and relaxing as well.
Other methods in this area are craniosacral work, although I have found it not quite as good as the others unless the practitioner is very skilled. Others are oriental bodywork such as shiatsu massage, Thai massage, Jin Shin Jyutsu, and others. Be careful about recommending yoga and tai chi. While they can be excellent, many people are injured in these classes because the teacher does not continuously walk around and check to make sure the students are doing every posture exactly right. I don’t feel these are quite as good for Westerners for this reason only.
With any adjunctive therapy, make sure the practitioner you recommend understands or at least is friendly toward nutritional balancing. Avoid anyone who might try to dissuade a client from continuing with nutritional balancing.