Lately, we’ve talked about bringing value to others. Helping others achieve more of whatever’s important to them is the fundamental purpose of any productive business.
Coaches may focus more on this purpose than almost any other business person. It’s their central purpose in life.For a coach, playing at the top of your game mentally and physically is key to providing the best help possible to others.
Introduction About the Health of Any Coach or Service Provider
The physical, mental and psychological health of a coach is among the essential factors in the quality of service they deliver to their clients. That statement applies to other service providers as well.
Assuming you're in the business of providing service to your clients in direct face-to-face (including live conversations on the phone or by video conferencing) contact, I have some questions for you.
- Do you regularly sleep 7-9 hours each night? Some people need a little more or less than the traditional 8 hours. Anyone who claims to function on less than 7 hours is almost surely kidding themselves
- Do you have regular morning and evening routines, including to-bed and rising times, meditation (and/or prayer), and a consistent time for exercise, professional work (including quitting time), and recovery?
- Speaking of recovery, do you have times at least several times a week to disengage from work completely and devote yourself to relaxation and supporting other important life enhancements, such as family, friends, recreation, faith, etc.?
- How is your mental, physical and psychological health? Are your weight, diet, and exercise patterns healthy? Do you work with a coach to help you see your blind spots? When hiring a coach, which I’ve done consistently for the last 20 years, I consider only those working with their own healthy coach.
What is Coaching?
Coaching is working with people to help them see ways of improving the results in their lives and businesses.
Everyone has “blind spots” or concepts that elude them because they are unaware of them.
A coach I work with described a time when his 2-year-old, just beginning to learn language, was in their yard at night. He had seen a picture of the moon and understood the word “moon.” He saw the moon and joyfully spoke the word “moon.” Then he moved toward the house, and the roof blocked his view of the moon. He was crestfallen because he thought the moon was gone.
His father moved him out where he could again see the moon, and he was happy. After a few iterations of moving back and forth, he understood that the moon was still there even when he couldn't see it.
This is a simple example of what coaching does for people. It helps them see and recognize concepts that have been hidden from them and realize their existence even when they're out of view.
What Does a Coach do?
A coach's work is simply helping people see things they've been unaware of. Sometimes they may have been aware of an idea and see it in a particular light. The coach might help them see that idea in a new way
An idea or someone else's behavior might be offensive to them, or it might scare them.
A coach can help them see the idea in a different light so that it’s beneficial in a way they hadn't considered before. If the idea or behavior isn't useful, the coach may help them see new ways to change someone else’s behavior or reframe the idea, so it becomes beneficial.
The pie chart above represents all the knowledge in the world.
- The blue wedge represents what we know we know, such as our own name, how to walk, etc.
- The green wedge represents what we know we don’t know, such as how to do brain surgery or build a spaceship (for most of us.)
- The yellow wedge represents what we don’t know we don’t know. Those are our blind spots and take up most of the chart. An alert coach helps us see our blindspots, just as the little boy discovered the moon.
Reasons Why Coaches Should Prioritize Their Own Health
A healthy coach must be constantly alert to what their clients are thinking and what they're not thinking. A keen awareness helps them “read between the lines” and hear what is not being said.
A healthy coach must be well-rested and physically and mentally comfortable to do this work well. Perhaps the most critical skill a coach must have is listening deeply and hearing what their clients say and don't say. What they don't say is often the key to helping them open their eyes to new concepts.
A coach who is tired, distracted by excessive weight, or suffering from other physical or mental discomfort can't pay this kind of deep attention to their clients. Therefore they are handicapped in the service they can offer.
How Coaches can Stay Healthy: Simple Ways
The rules for staying healthy are, of course, the same for coaches as they are for anyone.
Sleep is the most crucial therapy for maintaining a coach’s or anyone else’s health. The alertness that results from adequate sleep directly benefits their ability to listen and interpret what they hear.
That alertness also enables them to pay attention to the other disciplines that result in complete mental and physical health.
Those who believe they can “pull an all-nighter” or deprive themselves of quality rest and “make it up” on the weekend are fooling themselves. Lost sleep is lost.
Very few people can function well with less than 7 hours of sleep. For most, 8 hours is a good guideline. During one period in my life, I thought I needed only 5 hours. After a few falling asleep accidents and other expensive lessons, I realized the folly of this behavior.
We are what we put in our bodies. A well-balanced diet is key to a healthy weight and to general health. Those who pay attention to their diets rarely have significant issues with organ health or other major illness. Monitoring blood pressure and chemistry is also important in health maintenance.
A regular exercise routine helps maintain all this health.
How to Improve Their Mental Health?
The factors affecting mental and psychological health are, in many ways, parallel with those affecting physical health.
Physical health and mental health go hand in hand. A healthy body helps maintain a healthy mind, and a happy, well-balanced mind rarely exists in an overweight or otherwise unhealthy body.
Other mental and psychological health factors are relationships, routines and deep internal work.
Family relationships are, for most people, at the center of their relationship world. Mutually supportive relationships with a spouse, parents, children and other family members lead to great peace of mind.
Social relationships, including a few best friends, also bring great joy and balance.
Working to nurture all these relationships is an investment you can't afford not to make. Making new friends adds spice to life, and that's healthy too.
Maintaining a regular daily and weekly schedule includes
- Meditation and/or prayer
- Recreation and social activities
- Solo time
Coaches are not immune to the blind spot syndrome I described earlier. Any coach who wants to provide the highest quality service to their clients is constantly working to improve their own perceptive skills.
Reading and listening to good self-improvement material is helpful, but working with their own coaches is critical to expanding their Insights and understanding of their clients' issues and helping them improve.
Positive Impact of Having a Healthy Body and Mind
As we saw earlier, a healthy body-mind combination is key to personal happiness and satisfaction. It's also the most significant factor in helping your coaching clients succeed and improve their performance.
Whether your work is primarily in life coaching, business coaching or a more specific aspect of life such as a sport or exercise, you are working with personalities. Though the issues your clients deal with will likely be different in life coaching and business coaching, at the end of the day, you’re still working with people. The attitudes and ways of being that work in life also work in business, and vice versa.
Your clients must be in sound mental, psychological and physical health to perform at the top of their game. Being in your best health is key to helping your clients with theirs.
If you offer to help your clients with financial issues and your financial house is a wreck, you can’t be authentic with the help you offer. Likewise, if you offer to help people improve their physical health, you must be in good shape yourself. You don’t have to be a body-builder; just be in good, sound health.
Even if your work is online and your clients never see more than your head and shoulders, you must be internally at peace with yourself to offer the most authentic help to your clients.
How to Maintain Your Best Physical and Mental Health
To recap, there are several things you can do to attain maximum mental and physical health and then keep it.
Here are some factors in your personal maintenance that will help you stay in your best condition.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Nurture relationships.
- Maintain a comfortable life rhythm.
- Employ one or more coaches to see your blind spots.
By maintaining good mental, psychological and physical health, anyone can enjoy the benefits of mobility and mental agility. For coaches and many others, there’s a double benefit – their clients also benefit from their focused attention.
Note: Archived issues of The Unity Community are available here. Search that page for keywords representing your particular interest. Most articles offer suggestions for ways of improving business and personal relationships. Keep in mind that business is done by…people. Every business concern is essentially an interpersonal concern.
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