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Wellbeing Coaching

Eudaimonia: Who wants to live ‘the good life’?

Positive Psychology concepts focus upon wellbeing, and living “the good life” (or eudaimonia – a greek word commonly proposed as meaning “human flourishing’).  Living “the good life” encourages reflection about what holds the greatest value in life, and living life in accordance with these values. Coaching models in particular embrace positive psychology by encouraging you to identify what holds meaning in your life, and ensures that the goals you aspire to, and the decisions you make are in accordance with your inner-valuing system.

What is Wellbeing Coaching?

“Health is a state of complete, physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” 

(World Health Organisation, 1948)

Wellbeing coaching embraces the psychological models of wellness and wellbeing, but also  considers the physical, social and often spiritual aspects of existence, thus taking a ‘mind, body & spirit approach. to wellbeing. Alexander (2011, p 34) recommends that ‘Wellness Coaching’ takes account of the following:

  • Physical wellness
  • Spiritual wellness*
  • Psychological wellness
  • Social Wellness,
  • Environmental Wellness
  • Occupational Wellness

* Spiritual wellness does not necessarily relate to religious practice, rather in a philosophical, or ‘feeding of the mind’ sense

An imbalance in any of these areas is likely to lead to the lowering of your overall state of wellbeing; not necessarily immediately leading to physical or psychological ill health, but may have a ‘drip, drip’ cumulative effect, over time.  Wellbeing coaching will commence by helping you to assess all of these areas of your life, and identify the areas that require focus, in order to prioritise your wellbeing goals.  You may already be aware of an area of life where your wellbeing could be improved, and coaching will help you to achieve this.

Well-being, Wellbeing or Wellness are interconnecting and general terms for our overall condition (For clarity, we will continue with the term ‘wellbeing’). Often we consider wellbeing in terms of ill-health, i.e. becoming physically or emotionally unwell leading to a lowering of our well-being. A high level of well-being means that in some sense, our condition is positive, however, wellbeing is determined upon a range of factors, and not just linked to physical and mental health:

 

Research by Naci & Ionnidis (2015) found the following, in relation to well-ness:

Wellness refers to diverse and interconnected dimensions of physical, mental and social well-being that extend beyond the traditional definition of health. It includes choices and activities aimed at achieving physical vitality, mental alacrity, social satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment and personal fulfilment”

Health & Wellbeing Coaching

The medical profession are increasingly interested in approaches to healthcare that encourage the individual to take responsibility for maintaining their own good health.

For instance, obesity is a global epidemic afflicting over 400 million adults (World Health Organisation, 2006).  Obesity  contributes to an increased risk of heart disease, hypertension, osteoarthritis and a range of cancers (Calle & Kakks, 2004). The psychological problems associated with obesity include negative self esteem,  increased anxiety and elevated depression levels (Warschburger, 2005). Negative societal attitudes towards obesity prevail, and it is suggested that adults who are obese internalise these stigmatised societal views, holding negative beliefs about themselves and other obese individuals.

It therefore can be concluded that being obese has an overall detrimental effect on wellbeing. A recent study researched the impact of individual motivational life coaching sessions to a group struggling with obesity. At six month follow up, the participants reported the following changes:

An increase in self confidence, actively seeking social contact, an increased ability to say ‘no’ (not just to food, but to demands placed upon them by others), and an enhanced sense of feeling empowered and in control (of food and other aspects of life).  Aiding participants to shift their attitudes, beliefs and behaviour also led to weight loss.  (Newnham-Kanas, Morrow & Irwin, 2011).

Whilst these studies have focused upon obesity, the learning from this research can be applied to the enhancement of wellbeing though the encouragement of making positive lifestyle choices. To encourage positive health behaviours, other studies have shown that individuals need support to increase their confidence about attaining their goals around making choices around managing their health conditions (Ryan & Deci, 2000).  Further research has shown that ‘life coaching’ approaches have shown good results in helping individuals to manage health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular health and also mental health conditions such as depression (Newnham-Kanas, Gorczynski, Morrow & Irwin, 2009).

What style of wellbeing coaching is used @ Nine Coaching, and how can this lead to positive health behaviour change?

Wellbeing coaching embraces the principles of a multi-faceted approach to well-ness, and a focus upon coaching for better health. The health studies cited above have reported the following recommendations, which have informed the wellbeing ‘coaching charter’ @ Nine Coaching:

  • Each coaching session will be tailored to you, the individual ‘coachee’
  • Your coach will not make assumptions on what you ‘the coachee’ may or may not be ready for
  • The agenda will be set by you ‘the coachee’, who may or may not want to directly focus on weight, or health issues, but other life issues that may be impeding your ability to make more positive choices
  • Your coach will be fearless and transparent with their reflections to you ‘the coachee’
  • Your coach will demonstrate a strong sense of empathy
  • Your coach will be asking you powerful questions, rather than telling you the answers. This is the cornerstone of a coaching model that encourages you ‘the coachee’ to self examine your own choices and behaviours

Wellbeing coaching philosophy @ Nine Coaching

Essentially, wellbeing coaching sessions focus upon the agenda of you as an individual who is looking to make improvements to your wellbeing.  Behaviour change is not an easy process, and your coach will challenge you, by using powerful questions & reflections, to stimulate you into thinking about the choices you are making, and consider other options, whilst all the time remaining empathic and non judgmental. 

Nicola, as the lead coach @ Nine Coaching is also a trained psychotherapist, and therefore can ethically and safely employ psychological approaches, as well as behavioural interventions to help you to break beliefs that may be long held and grounded in earlier life experiences. Wellbeing coaching is not simply a cognitive-behavioural process, your coach will always be alert to the mind-body connection.

Your coach will draw upon the following core models (not an exhaustive list!) :

The GROW Model – a problem-solving, goal orientated approach, that encourages you to take action between each session.

Cognitive Behavioural Coaching Model – Cognitive Behavioural coaching is founded on the premise that feelings and  behaviours are directly affected by the way people think. ‘Faulty’ thinking patterns and deep beliefs are the cause of emotional distress and directly link to the behaviours we choose.  Often this feels like an automatic process (eg “I can’t control my eating, I never have been able to”) leading to overeating. Cognitive Behavioural Coaching will help you to uncover, and even better, challenge these beliefs, thus resulting in planned behaviour change, leading towards more rewarding outcomes.

Yoga-informed principles.  Yoga is a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices; an ancient art based on a harmonising system of development for the body, mind and spirit. Originating from ancient India, the word yoga comes from the Sanskrit root, ‘yuj’, which means “to join’ or “to yoke”. Put simply (& in a westernised manner) yoga embraces the following principles:

  • Yoga, is a disciplined method for achieving a goal
  • Yoga, offers techniques of controlling the body and mind

Utilising the mind-body connection, ancient yoga principles can be incorporated into your coaching programme. This does not necessarily mean undertaking yoga poses (asanas)!  It may be that, in order to further understand & regulate impulsive behaviours, we can incorporate meditation and pranayama breathing techniques, which help to soothe an over-active nervous system. If you are familiar with the physical practice elements of yoga, you will be encouraged to practice certain asanas between sessions. Should you wish to learn more about yoga, we can help you to find a qualified yoga teacher to move you further towards this goal.

If I were to seek wellbeing coaching @ Nine Coaching, what can I expect?

You will be invited to an initial consultation of 1.5 hours, where we will conduct a wellbeing assessment, utilising the ‘wheel of wellbeing’. This process will allow YOU to identify which areas of your own wellbeing requires attention.  From there we will discuss a plan of coaching to help you to work towards your wellbeing goals. 

You and your coach will meet individually, and form a confidential relationship that is based upon an equal partnership.  Your coach will use the skills of listening, questioning, re-framing, clarifying and giving feedback to help you to identify your goals, generate solutions and make positive changes. Your coach’s role is to check and test your commitment to your goals, and they will expect that you are as committed to achieving your goals, as they are in helping you to get there, and so, at times, they will challenge you as appropriate, particularly when agreed actions are not being taken.

You will not be given direct advice, or be told what to do; instead you will be encouraged to explore more fully the changes that you want to make. Once it is clear what you are aiming towards, you will move on to exploring your current reality, in terms of helping you to understand what your barriers are.  Once identified, you will explore what options may be available to help you to overcome these barriers. Coaching is an action oriented process; therefore following each session, you will leave with specific actions to work on to move you towards your agreed outcome. If agreed, your coach will contact you between sessions to see how you are progressing.  Often when we think we have somebody to answer to, we are more likely to take the action we have agreed!

Sometimes when exploring barriers to change, it can become apparent that personal beliefs are limiting you, or self defeating thoughts may be keeping your situation as it is.  If this is identified, your coach will help you to identify these cognitions and beliefs, and then to help you to define strategies to challenge and uproot these beliefs to enable behavioural change and lasting growth to occur. 

It can be difficult at times to discuss personal difficulties, and to tell somebody else how we would like things to be different, particularly if we usually ‘put our best foot forward’ in front of others. Sometimes, we can consider the areas we want to improve as ‘weaknesses’, and may not seek to make changes due to fear or shame. It can be this very perception that is holding you back from achieving your potential! Therefore, a vital element of coaching is the formation of a trusting and accepting relationship; you will not be judged or criticised for thinking, feeling or behaving the way that you do. Instead you will be treated with compassion, whilst simultaneously being challenged to consider how things may be different for you.

Coaching sessions usually take place on a monthly basis, to allow you to test out new behaviours and skills. You may agree that your coach can contact you between coaching sessions, to check on your progress towards your goals.

Why choose Nicola @ Nine Coaching?

Nicola is the lead coach @Nine Coaching, and is an accomplished coach and coaching skills trainer, who offers coaching qualifications that are endorsed by ILM. Her work has featured in the media, (Sky TV & local & BBC Radio).  She has consulted on projects to introduce coaching in medicine, and this work has been written up in the Coaching Today journal. Nicola established her practice in 2005, and is highly experienced. In addition to holding qualifications in coaching, Nicola is also a registered and accredited counsellor/psychotherapist and CBT practitioner. Qualified to Masters Degree level (with distinction), you can rest assured that your coach has completed a thorough training in many psychological approaches, to be able to offer you an optimum package of support.

How much does wellbeing coaching cost?

The initial coaching consultation session (up to 1.5 hours) costs £120, and subsequent coaching sessions are charged at £100 per hour.  This includes between session follow up by email or telephone, to ensure that you are remaining on track with your progress towards your goals.

If it is unclear as to whether you are seeking therapy or coaching, then you will be offered an initial hour long consultation which takes the form of an assessment.  The cost of this consultation is £60.

I want to book a consultation. What do I do?

Contact Nicola to book your wellbeing Consultation

List of References

Alexander, L. (2011). How to Incorporate Wellness Coaching Into Your Therapeutic Practice. Singing Dragon: London.

Calle, E.E., & Kaaks, R. (2004). Overweight, obesity and cancer: Epidemiological evidence and proposed mechanisms. Nature Reviews, 4, 579-591

Naci, H., Ionnidis, P.A. (2015). Evaluation of Wellness Determinants and Interventions by Citizen Scientistis. JAMA, 314, p 121.

Newnham-Kanas, C.E., Gorczyniski, P., Morrow, D., & Irwin, J.D. (2009). Annotated bibliography of life coaching and health research. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 6 (2), 1-12.

Newnham-Kanas, C., Morrow, D., & Irwin, J.D. (2011).  Participants’ perceived utility of motivational interviewing using Co-Active Life Coaching skills on their struggle with obesity. Coaching: An International Journal of THeory, Research & Practice, Vol 4 (2), 104-122.

Ryan, R.M., & Deci, E.L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55 (1), 68-78.

Warschburger, P. (2005). The unhappy obese child. International Journal of Obesity, 29, (127), 2129.