I love being a coach. Sitting here, mid-workout on holiday, this is what I’m thinking about. Fitness and nutrition have changed my life in many ways. It may seem like a grand statement, but it’s the truth. Growing up, I was always very anxious; I remember, for instance, having to breathe into a paper bag during a panic attack in college. When I discovered the anxiety release I got from exercise, I never looked back. To me, it was a big improvement from partying as a mechanism for managing my anxiety and has also improved my life in so many other ways.
As time went on, exercise became so much more than just a way of coping with my anxiety, and I learned that I was capable of more than I had ever dreamt of. I wanted to share this discovery with everyone and thus began my coaching journey, which eventually led me to my current job as a nutrition coach.
When I begin most coaching relationships, I hope to impact and change peoples’ lives in the way that exercise changed mine. Of course, I don’t succeed every time and I take each failure to heart. I know I can’t be the right person for everyone, but I will always continue to learn and seek out ways to improve my coaching. I am a better coach than when I first began my journey and I’d like to believe that I will continue to grow, to improve, to be even better tomorrow and the next day and so on. But coaching is a relationship, and like any relationship, my client needs to put in effort just as much as I do. Which brings me to this question: what if you are not ready to be coached? It happens and I know it has certainly happened to me in the past.
To me, these are the two most obvious signs that you hired a coach for the wrong reasons; or in other words, that you might not be ready yet:
- You’re looking for a cheerleader.
- You expect them to do most of the work for you.
According to Merriam Webster, a coach is “one who instructs or trains”. The word coach implies teaching. The way I see it, it implies me teaching you how to do something so that you’ll eventually not need my help to succeed.
Yes, I am cheering you on in order to help you reach your goals, but I’m not here to make sure you never run out of motivation and to give you daily pep talks. Motivation comes from action, actions that you must take in order to bring on results. It doesn’t come from me sharing my wisdom or posting inspirational quotes. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good quote and I’ll probably share those too! But the more that you do, the more you receive, the stronger your habits will become and the less you will need to rely on motivation from me or from anyone but yourself.
So yes, I will motivate you, but my ultimate goal is to help you develop a lifestyle that will support the goals that you’re working towards.
Which brings me to my next point: change. Change is hard, but in order to get different results, you need to take different actions. This may seem obvious yet it is worth being said. You need to change your habits in order to change your outcome. By taking different actions and learning to make choices that align with your goals, you can expect different results over time. I will guide you to this point, but you will need to act.
It’s become easier through experience for me to notice when someone might truly want the results but is not ready to put in the effort yet. You need to fully take ownership of the process for it to work. I love to help, I believe in what I do, and I go into any new coaching relationship wanting to make a difference in someone’s life; but I can’t tell you exactly what to eat and when to eat it. There’s no real learning in that and it’s lazy, both on my part and on yours. I can’t come to you and cook all of your meals, and more importantly, I can’t be more invested in your success than you are. Very often, our feelings of frustration and being overwhelmed by the process of reaching our goals come from being stuck in our ways. I speak from plenty of experience here.
Maybe that sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. I believe in the art of coaching: with the help of a coach I have been able to achieve great things in my life, but that wasn’t always the case, because I wasn’t always ready and open to being coached.
Are you open to being coached?
Coachability, by definition, is the willingness to accept correction and the willingness to act on that correction in order to improve. It seems simple, so simple that we would all would love to say yes, of course I’m coachable! But the reality is that it’s hard to change your ways and believe in a sometimes unfamiliar concept. But that’s the entire point of getting a coach. People come to a coach because they want a different outcome and they know on some level that what they are currently doing is not working for them. But there’s a big difference between coming to that realization and truly being open to changing your ways.
You might realize that it is just a hell of a lot more work than you thought. You might not have had a strong “why” prior to hiring a coach. Whatever the reason, for a successful coach/client relationship to work, both parties need to go in with the right mindset. Ask yourself these questions:
- Why are you seeking a coach?
- Why are your goals important to you?
- Are you open to change?
- Are you willing to put in the work?
- Do you understand and accept that your results depend on you putting in the work?
People have strong emotional attachments to the way they eat. People are also genuinely confused by the overwhelming, contradictory information being propagated by the diet industry. This makes my job challenging; especially considering that there is no one “right” way to eat, thatI can’t speak in absolutes, and that it may take time to figure out what each individual needs. Nutrition is highly individual, it’s also ever-changing in relation to where you are in life, what your current habits are, and what your goals are. Nutrition is not restricted just to calories, macronutrients, weight loss or performance. There is a lot more to it, it is nuanced, it is tied to our whole being. This, in a nutshell, is what I want my clients to take away from my coaching. If we are both ready to give and take, the relationship can be amazing and together we can achieve great things.
Some food for thought today as I have been doing a lot of reflecting on my holidays about why I love my job.
Talk to you soon,