A JOURNEY OF GROWTH
by Tatiana Abend and Wellcoaches, Co.
In these challenging times, when the complex health care system is tough to navigate, the demands of everyday life have never been greater. We face a bewildering array of health and wellness guidelines, products and services, making it difficult to create a personal formula. Change is challenged by obstacles such as resistance and ambivalence. Many of us have histories of repeated failure. Most of us do not believe that we can master our health and well-being. Becoming the boss of one’s own health is a complex matter!
Mastering health and well-being is a journey of personal growth, rather than the typical model of getting patients to comply with expert advice. Carl Rogers, a leader in humanistic psychology, taught us that human beings are innately designed to grow and develop. But there are certain preconditions. People are most successful at growth when they have a passion for the outcomes of change and they are free to choose it. In addition, these studies show that people grow best through relationships – growth promoting relationships that energize and inspire, while preserving autonomy and choice.
Today, patient interactions in the medical world primarily focus on numbers and deficits – blood pressure, LDL, alc, etc. – with little time spent building a relational dynamic that promotes personal growth. In other words, instead of selling the benefits of healthy behaviors, it is better to fish for the patients’ perspectives on the benefits to them. People are better persuaded with their own words and thoughts and, in almost all cases, resist being changed by others.
The coaching relationship is the growth promoting relationship critical for the future success of individual health and sustainable change. The emerging industry of professional coaching has, in the past 5 years, included health care as a field of specialty to optimize health and well-being, founded upon evidence based theories and fields. The health coach/client relationship includes: personal responsibility, self-awareness, self-efficacy, peak performance, personal growth and lasting change. Coaches dig out positive emotions, happiness, appreciation, and strengths from the noise and clutter in our lives.
How does this translate into a program for the client? While clients define and decide where they want to go and what they want to work on, their coaches direct the process to get there. The reason we want to get to the ‘top of the mountain’ is because something we care about in our lives is not going to be at its best, or not going to work, if we don’t have optimal health and wellness. Creating a Personal Health Vision, connecting to it on a deep level, and keeping the inspirational fire burning lead the client to the ‘best self’ at the top of this mountain, regardless of how the client has defined his ‘best self’. Coaches help people to be their best self!