Let’s play a game. See I you can guess who I am (I promise you…everyone will know this person)
- I have been told I have IBD, IBS, Crohns, UC or other digestive disease
- I have dark circles under my eyes
- I am overweight or carrying extra fat around my middle
- My family is wondering why I am so irritable
- My spouse wants to know why I have no libido
- My energy levels are bottomed out and I was diagnosed with something called “Adrenal Fatigue”
- I was told my thyroid is slow and I may have an autoimmune disease
- I have pain in my joints
- I struggle with brain fog
- A walk around the block makes me feel exhausted
- I have been to multiple doctors
- I have had blood, saliva and urine tests
- I am financially stressed from these issues
- I haven’t slept a full night in years
- I have imbalanced hormones
Any ideas? This is your current or future client. Unfortunately, in the health coaching business this is more often than not going to be your client at some point. The person who feels hopeless, helpless and alone. The person who wonders if they will ever get their life or their body back. So what is your role as a health coach in this situation? Investigate, refer and support. Your job is to stay within your scope of profession and offer your client some hope while utilizing your expert resources without overwhelming your client and creating more stress. Let’s break it down a bit.
Investigate: Help them find the cause, the source and the reason for their ill health. This doesn’t mean diagnose them. This means help them think outside the box of what they have been told or what they believe and give them reliable resources to take to their practitioner for exploration. There’s one caveat to this approach. Don’t overwhelm them. This only adds to the stress they are under. Just remember when you “tell someone to go on an elimination diet” you are potentially playing practitioner and you are stepping outside those boundaries of health coaching. You can share information but “telling” someone what to eat, supplements to take, etc. is not our job as coaches and it can more often than not create more anxiety and stress which is counterproductive to what we are trying to help them accomplish.
Refer: Yes, refer out. If you have a client with serious medical issues and they are NOT working with a doctor encourage them to find a practitioner. Send them a link for functional doctors like this one or this one. If they need mental health help or anything else that requires lab testing referring out is the responsible thing to do (unless you are a trained practitioner for labs).
Support: This is simple. What would you need or want if you were the client? Have you ever been the client and can you tap into that feeling of needing someone to just BE there for you and help you navigate the overwhelming amount of health information online? Offer empathy and be an active listener. Watch this video on Empathy by Brene Brown for tips on the difference between empathy and sympathy.
We are becoming more and more mainstream and if you feel like I do we have a mission to stop the hopeless feelings and the overwhelm for people. The only way to do this is to practice responsible coaching. I hope 2017 has you moving toward a safer and lower risk practice and one that creates a sense of empowerment for your clients instead of a feeling of defeat. Don’t forget to join my online community in my free Facebook group which you can find here.
In health and Success,