When we use the term holistic in the concept of life coaching, we are referring to the entirety of the individual or the whole being: the mind, the body, and the spirit.
Interestingly, the term holistic in terms of life coaching is often misinterpreted as being synonymous with naturopathic. It can be that for sure, but it does not have to be, nor are they necessarily one in the same or interchangeable.
Naturopathy is the practice of using natural remedies for health, such as naturopathic medicine. There is also holistic medicine, and this is very much a similar approach when we think of how to care for an individual, in that the medical practitioner will work with the patient in a mind, body, spirit approach to work towards complete or better health.
What is Holistic Life Coaching?
People often expect the practice of Holistic Life Coaching to be rooted in the metaphysical, which might include the philosophy of the Law of Attraction (you create your own reality) or more Eastern-based healing practices and concepts such as meditation, reiki healing, or the use of crystals. Again, an approach to Holistic Life Coaching may include certain metaphysical concepts but the two terms are not synonymous.
So, while Holistic Life Coaching may include various aspects of naturopathy or various metaphysical principles, first and foremost, Holistic Life Coaching is considering the entire mind, body, and spirit of an individual. This holistic, all-encompassing approach to the human experience recognizes the need for balance for an individual to live his or her best life.
This is where the greatest challenge exists as balance is elusive and if it can be realized, balance is temporary. This is one of the first things we must understand when striving for a balanced life and one of the most difficult things to accept. If balance is elusive and temporary, why then do we strive to achieve it, and why do we fight to maintain it?
The answer to this is at the core of holistic thinking and therefore, holistic healing as well as a holistic approach to life coaching.
When the mind is working without conflict, and the body is functioning at its optimum capability, and an individual is at peace with his or her purpose in terms of the greater collective, it is quite possible that a person will have achieved a moment of balance. Our goal is to make this a very, very long moment. Then when the moment passes, we want to get it back as quickly as possible.
All three of these elements of the human condition must be aligned for an individual to feel that they are at their best.
Working with a Holistic Coach
So, where does this start? Where does work with a Holistic Life Coach begin and why?
Many individuals seek help from a coach, therapist, expert, or professional looking to solve a specific problem. This can include finances, career, relationships, health, etc. The list is almost endless and often quite specific. Therefore, working with a professional with an expertise that focuses on the specific problem to be solved is a wise approach.
Often, however, an individual does not know specifically what he or she is working on. They simply feel “off” or disgruntled, out of balance, anxious or unhappy. This is where the service of a Holistic Life Coach can be of use.
The process begins when an individual becomes aware that a change is desired and wants help with that change. The partnership with a Holistic Life Coach is important and should not be taken lightly. At its best, this is a long-term relationship and like all healthy relationships, trust is paramount.
The Initial Interview
A first step to gaining this trust for a client is to conduct a proper interview with the potential coach. The coach should be asking several questions about the client. This is the client’s opportunity to do the same. It is important to listen beyond the words being spoken. How does this coach make you feel? Do you feel heard? Do you feel understood? Do you feel you are being sold to, being told what you want to hear, or do you feel important and valued?
Beyond trust of character, do you trust that this is an individual with the knowledge and expertise to take you where you want to go in your life? This can be challenging because as we just pointed out, you may not know where you are trying to get to specifically, you just know that you want more. You want to feel happy. You want to feel like you can thrive in your life.
This is often why an individual will seek the services of a Holistic Life Coach. The ambition to thrive. To be happy. To live his or her best life.
This initial interview should not be rushed. While the client is hopefully qualifying the coach, the coach is trying to identify the problem so a solution or course of action can be implemented. This is an important process. We do not want to create problems to solve, we want to be able to identify the correct problems, so the client is empowered to act.
As we work on this as a partnership, holistically speaking, we try to assess together where you are at in these aspects of your life. This can begin with a simple question: Are you happy? Are you living your best life? The answers to these questions are the entryway to the conversation, challenges, and solutions. If you are not happy, if you do not feel that you are living your best life, why? What would it take to get you there?
Identifying the Conflict
Often, when a person is not thriving or not in balance, it is due to a conflict, often internally. What is causing you stress? While it is not necessarily difficult to identify surface issues and recent challenges that are holding you back, it can be a bit more challenging to identify the root cause of those conflicts, particularly when it is cyclical. By this, do you frequently find yourself in the same situation and does that situation cause you undo stress?
For instance, let’s take someone whose weight fluctuates frequently. Or someone who consistently finds themself in troublesome relationships. Or perhaps you wake up in a less than favorable mood more often than not. It is not implausible that all these issues reside within the same person.
The Holistic Life Coach must ask enough questions to understand where the core problem is, and the client must feel safe enough to be able to share important information and feelings for the partnership to be productive.
Let’s assume that all these aforementioned challenges do in fact reside within the same individual. In a mind, body, spirit approach, where do we start?
Is the weight fluctuation causing general unhappiness, therefore leading to relationship challenges and overall grumpiness?
Or are failed relationships triggering an emotional reaction to food and the inability to summon the willpower for healthier living?
Or is this individual struggling with a sense of purpose, triggering all of the above?
Working with a Holistic Life Coach, the client will be able to work with a trusted partner to a better, happier version of his or herself by identifying unhealthy habits and limiting beliefs. This is usually done by identifying conflicts in all three areas (mind, body, spirit) and implementing tools to create new healthy patterns to help you reach your objectives.
A final key component to this relationship is the accountability process established by having a built-in accountability partner. Since the two partners defined and acknowledged the problem together, devised an agreed upon course of action together, they now get to implement the plan together with regular scheduled meetings to help the client stay on track.
If the client does not stick to the agreed upon plan, there is a trusted partner to help motivate and keep that person on track. Furthermore, it is highly likely that new challenges will arise and the two can continue to work together to devise new strategies and action plans.
As with all goals, it is important to have some idea on an initial timeframe on where you want to be, how you want to feel and what you want to accomplish with your life coach. Remember however, that it is quite possible that it took more than a few years to create whatever challenge you might be going through, so accept that it will take some time to work through various issues to gain the desired results. Sometimes, progress can feel slow.
An accountability partner is often in a better position to be able to recognize your progress and success, therefore, keeping you encouraged, focused and on track.
Finally, remember that we are all a work in progress. Once we climb one metaphorical mountain, what do we do next? If we are able to come up with a concept of living a holistically balanced life, then the journey is in fact the joy as much as the destination.
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