Great example of the benefits of coaching from one of my clients who wanted to lose weight.
My company offers health coaching as an employee benefit. Her name is Colleen and I love her! That is, I love the process she uses to help me. Here’s how she works and examples of the benefits of coaching.
Start with your goals
We’re always focused on what my goals are and how we’ll know that I achieved them. For me, I have a weight loss goal that we’ve broken down into 1) control portions at meals, 2) eliminate late night binge eating, 3) drink enough water, 4) eat enough vegetables and 5) substitute unhealthy food.
Fill your toolbox
Colleen has lots of ideas for how to make it easier to do and stick to those things. Infuse water with fruit or mint; have a lollipop or low-fat pudding at night; put your veggies into a fruit smoothie; cut my meal in half and put one portion away for leftovers… She listens to me explain why I stumble and how I’m struggling and she comes back with stories of her own struggles and then tactical ideas I can try. I fill my “toolbox” with these ideas so I can employ them out when I’m struggling.
Define reasonable action items
Each week, at the end of our call, she asks, “what are the items you are going to work on before our next call?” It’s fairly open-ended which lets me choose reasonable, achievable goals. I’m sure it helps that I’ve committed to her verbally what I will do – a kind of social pressure. I choose goals I’m comfortable with such as 1) logging my water intake, 2) buying low-fat pudding instead of ice cream at the store, 3) setting an alarm to go to bed on time, etc.
We meet every week or two. Sometimes I push our meeting out by a week and once I took a couple of months off. I don’t usually look forward to the meetings but they are easy, move quickly and I almost always feel better and enthused. Every week is the most effective interval for me. I remember my goal for the day after my meeting and then a day before my next meeting. There’s just too much time in between if I only meet with her once or twice per month.
Report on progress
At the start of each phone consultation, she asks if I weighed myself and what that weight is. Even when I lose only 1 pound she gets me fired up that I was able to accomplish that. She’s right – it does mean something and I should feel good about it rather than feel it wasn’t enough.
She also asks how I did with my goals from the previous week. This is often where I open up about how I’m struggling and what it is that is challenging me. She lets me know it’s okay and usually tells me one of her own stories. Just hearing about her own struggles is one of the best benefits of coaching, for me. Then she brings it back to my goal and the tactics I have in my toolbox to use to combat those challenges. There’s something very elegant about how she is so systematic!
Lather, rinse, repeat
Each week I know what is coming. While sometimes I would rather blow the call off, I always take it because I love the benefits of coaching. Thanks to the frequency of our calls and the repetition of some of the tactics, I can see my habits starting to form. Yes, it’s getting easier to make better choices at restaurants and in the evenings. My exercise routine has been the easiest habit to form – I never thought I could do 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day!
The benefits of coaching
I’m not sure if this is true coaching but, honestly, I’m the one coming up with the goals and the actions. I drive the meeting times and I’m the only one who puts pressure on myself. She is there to give me ideas and guide me through a structure. She’s changed my life by opening my eyes to what I’m capable of. How do I clone her for the other parts of my life?
This is why I recently hit up a life coach and a career coach. I’m looking into whether my company will pay for these coaches still but, even if I have to pay for it out of my own pocket, it’s a helpful motivator to get my money’s worth. Would love to hear your stories about coaching below in the comments.
Amy Wolfgang is a career coach who founded Wolfgang Career Coaching and co-founded Coaching 4 Good. She brings over 15 years of corporate and coaching experience to help organizations boost employee engagement while simultaneously helping her clients excel in their careers. She is a certified PCM (Professional Career Manager) and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.
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