As a Wellness Coach, our first and foremost aim is to connect with the client. But often it’s quite tricky to define how we actually do this.
There are many meanings of the word “connect” but some of the less obvious that may resonate with you include “meld with”, “come aboard”, “relate”, “ally” and “unite”. All of these words really describe what we try to do as coaches. Connecting is an extremely important first step – we want to engage the client, gain their trust and create a solid foundation to work from. We know the importance of body language and the human skills of coaching: warmth, zest, calmness and authenticity, but how much difference do the words we choose and how we use them make?
Here are some reminders of their significance:
Speak slowly, allow pauses. There is nothing quite so overwhelming as a coach who rattles off observations and questions. When you slow down, the client slows down. In a fast-paced world this can be a really restful experience.
Ask more than tell – come in with curiosity and go where the client wants to go. If you are curious, your questions will come from the right place and be delivered in an engaging manner. Clients know when they are being “led” in a certain direction. Curiosity without judgment reveals interest and suggests caring!
Reflect what they say and know that this can be as effective as any probing question in helping the client connect more deeply to their emotions and to the truth. Questions are great but they often make the client go into analysis mode, searching for the right answer. Reflections activate a more emotional response.
Use the same framework as they do. If a client uses a metaphor that involves physicality, such as “I’m stuck”, don’t respond with, “How does that make you feel (emotion)”, but ask how “they can move forward”, for example.
Never talk over the top of someone. This would have to be one of the biggest mistakes and often comes from the excitement of sensing something that the coach wants to share with their client or a great idea of their own. Remember that the client’s own words are much more powerful than anything we can say.
Creating a connection is an essential element in providing valuable and significant Wellness Coaching experiences to clients, it is a foundation “puzzle” piece. Becoming a Wellness Coach is a career path for those of us who are passionate about supporting individuals in healthy lifestyles and empowering clients to achieve their health and wellness goals. Even the most experienced Wellness Coaches often reflect on the language of connection, and revisit the points above as each client may present a new perspective.