Goodness me, talk about opening a can of worms!
The lovely email from a coaching client that I shared with you last night has prompted a fair few questions about coaching…and I am going to try and attempt to give a bit more information here…so bear with me!
I have some standard information – it’s always hard to know what to say as I don’t know the issues that people want to overcome, but I will try and expand on that – please remember that I am suffering from a stonker of a cold and might not do it all justice!
The first question always surrounds ‘what is coaching?’ Now if you were to Google this, you would be overwhelmed by the responses. Quite simply, I think coaching means different things to different people. For me, it is all about helping someone to trust and believe that they can achieve their goals. I like a definition that Myles Downey gives, ‘the art of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another’. There are then the definitions which surround executive and corporate coaching, such as the one given by the CIPD, ‘coaching is about developing a person’s skills and knowledge so that their job performance improves, hopefully leading to the achievement of organisational objectives. It targets high performance and improvement at work, although it may also have an impact on an individual’s private life. It usually lasts for a short period and focuses on specific skills and goals.” And then there are the definitions that fit with my coaching – Whitmore suggests, ‘unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.’
As you can see, it’s a subject that is hard to define. It is a not a training course, or a program of learning. It is not therapy – although it can be a cathartic process and one in which you realise that you are not alone in your behaviour. It is about action, making progress, learning to think appropriately, and challenging that little voice that doubts you! This is backed up with various approaches from the world of psychology – cognitive behavioural coaching, NLP (neuro linguistic programming), transpersonal, gestalt, person-centred, solutions-focussed, psychodynamic, motivational interviewing…the list is long and I fear that I am losing you!
One of the questions surrounds my experience. My coaching experience spans a number of years now – from coaching senior business execs to graduates…which always turned from career coaching into life coaching, as the life stuff affects all aspects! I obviously want to specialise in supporting people with their weight loss goals, but again, the life stuff really affects weight…so I am working with clients on work issues, relationship issues, confidence, self-esteem issues – a whole host of reasons which prevent them from making progress with their weight loss. We actually find that when some of these issues are ironed out, the weight loss feels far easier and happens naturally.
Then I get asked about qualifications. I have a PgDip in Human Resources, and a Masters in Human Resources – which covered all sorts of stuff, including leadership, motivation, and coaching. Then I have a load of ‘professional’ qualifications from places such as the British Psychological Society which include psychometric and personality profiling. Also some qualifications in the field of assessment and development via the Institute for Leadership and Management. And my current work with Warwick University will first give me a diploma in pure coaching and is the first stage of my Masters in coaching…which are affiliated with the Association for Coaching. Coaching is an unregulated industry – so anyone can claim to be a coach…I want to make sure that I have the education to back up my experience! I also have qualifications in the horse industry too…and surprisingly enough, some of that helps with coaching too!
Another question surrounds the success of my clients (I hate that word, but can’t think of a better one!) I have to be honest and say that my coaching clients are doing really well…but it is because they are prepared to put into practice the actions that they feel will work well for them. So coaching isn’t about me giving you all of the answers – as you know – it’s about working together to find solutions that will work for you and your life. It’s all well and good me dishing out advice, but I don’t know your life and what advice will ‘fit’ with that. You do need to be prepared to work…because if you don’t then nothing will change! I help you build a tool-kit of behavioural and psychological solutions so that you can be in the mindset for success…and continue to stay there. One client has overcome his binge-eating issues in less than two months…and his binging was worse than mine as he likes to boast – he’s getting a bit cocky! In fact, he sent me a message about how he didn’t think that coaching was for ‘blokes’ but is now confiding in his mates that a ‘bitch’ is helping him…Weight Loss Bitch!
Then I get asked how long it takes to make changes…which is kind of like asking how long a piece of string is! I am not interested in keeping my coaching clients on a long-term basis. I want to work with them, give them the tools to deal with the crap that life throws at them, and let them get on with it. Obviously, I am there to catch up as and when needed…and to check in when they have reached their ‘goal’…whatever that might be. What I am trying to say is that I am not interested in dragging it out – I want to help resolve those stumbling blocks as quickly as possible so that you are making progress…I don’t want you paying to speak with me for the rest of your life and getting nothing in return! After reading last nights blog, another client suggested that I share this to give those considering coaching a nudge…
…I thought it was excellent. She didn’t believe it would be possible to change the years of behaviour that has led to her weight problems…but it literally took three months of coaching and she’s off on her own, having made the changes that are producing results for her – results she never thought possible.
Most people find that between 6 and 12 sessions gives them what they need to go on and make those changes. Although I have, and do, work with people on a long-term basis as they get so much out of just having a conversation and sorting through issues with an impartial person. I currently have one lady who is flying ahead after only 4 sessions…and I’ve encouraged her to go it alone, but she still wants to check in every now and again! I even had one chap who just took the two-hour first session and is making great progress after that. I only ever work with five people at any given time. For me it’s about the quality rather than quantity. I want to work with people who want to change…and I want to have the time to support them.
Then come the questions around cost. This is the bit that I struggle with. When I looked for help with weight loss coaching I was quoted £600, £225, and £180 per hour. I want my help to be more affordable and so charge £75 per hour. Generally people have an hour every fortnight, with a two hour session to begin with. As I said though, some people fly off quicker than others and one chap I work with finds that a weekly session is a great help to him…the duration between sessions is up to you. I like to have a ‘review’ after each session so that we can both check how comfortable we are – if you don’t feel that you are getting any benefit, then we finish up there and then and maybe check in again once the things that are stopping progress have buggered off! Progress is a personal thing though – for me, it was all about the mindset changes and these can be difficult to measure. The weight loss came with those changes, but the feeling in my head was hard to describe, yet I KNEW that I was heading in the right direction. Currently, my average number of sessions sits at 8 – so for £685 (the first session is two hours) you can see dramatic and life-changing results…or rather feel them! Given how much I used to spend on junk-food and fad weight loss solutions…this figure is a drop in the ocean as one lady put it.
The process of coaching itself – and dealing with emotions – can be challenging. It is hard to face up to the emotional side of things, and progress can be hard to ‘feel’ at times. One lady that I caught up with again recently just sounded so ‘alive’ compared to when we first began our conversations (and she has had just three hours)…so I may sense the changes and hear the changes, but if you have been in a bad place for a while, it is my job to help you realise that you are making progress as that can be difficult to see in yourself initially. Emotions are there for a reason…they serve a purpose and we will never be able to rid ourselves of them…we can learn how to manage them though so that we don’t feel anxious, or nervous, or binge-eat, or fly off the handle at people.
The mechanics are simple. We can chat over the phone, FaceTime, or via Skype – and if you want to, we can meet up face to face depending on location…but this does incur travel costs – and to be honest, given that FaceTime and Skype is suitable, it adds unnecessary expense. I currently only have one face to face client…and we meet in a local country pub for our chats as she is so close – the rest are over the phone…actually, some people prefer the phone as they can retain some anonymity and talk freely. So you don’t have to live near me to get the benefit of the coaching!
And that’s it for tonight! I could talk all night about coaching. I don’t want this blog to turn into a promotional thing…but it is my life – coaching is my life and I hope to help many, many people realise that they too can have the success that they didn’t think possible. I never thought that I would be able to shift my weight and I am well on the way. The most powerful thing about it all is how my head feels – there is no doubt there. This may sound cocky, but you have seen my food…I never waver – I stay on track regardless. I have so many stressors in life yet I stick with this eating plan. My head is in an amazing place and I have realised that this way of life is getting me the life I want. Hard to put a price on that – whether that be an emotional price (facing up to things), or a literal ‘Queens head’ price!
Today I have had my head buried in books. Yes, coaching books! I am finishing my final assignment and the more I read about compassion and mindfulness, the more powerful I find it. So you might hear me raving about all of that again soon. Oh – and I treated myself to an early birthday present. I signed up to HeadSpace for a year – so I get a year of daily guided meditations which support the mindfulness I am developing. I still have a major cold and feel very sorry for myself, although I was cheered when I tried on some new PJs. They are a size 28/30 and not so long ago I was wearing XXXXXXXXL clothes! So I am off to watch the comedy gala on Channel 4 tonight and relax in my new PJs!
Oh – and if you want to get in touch about coaching, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I always forget to give my bloody contact details!
Breakfast: Banana porridge with almond milk (2 x HEB and 3 syns).
A nice food day today. I fancied a creamy bowl of porridge this morning, so used some almond milk which I think is lovely. Lunch was an omelette – red onion, mushrooms, green pepper – with wilted spinach and cherry tomatoes. And dinner was a Quorn fillet special with roast potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, and some melted LowLow on top.
Exercise: Not much exercised other than my brain today!
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx