6 Secrets for Successful Coaches
From one coach to another, nutrition consultant and eating psychologist Marc David offers six secrets for success.
After being in practice as a healer, counselor, coach, teacher, mentor, and facilitator for more than 30 years, I’ve made enough mistakes and stumbled upon enough insights to have learned some important lessons. I’d like to share them with you. My hope is that you’ll be the kind of coach who is truly effective, serves others in a brilliant way, and experiences the inner and outer rewards of being gifted at your craft.
Following are six principles of nutritional and eating psychology coaching that I’ve found to be very powerful guidelines in helping practitioners to accelerate their personal growth and professional effectiveness. Please note the word “growth.” As long as we are growing in our personal challenges and professional skill set, we can expect that the universal law, “inner richness reflecting outer richness,” will graciously operate in our lives.
1. You don’t need to know “everything” in order to help people.
Many practitioners have a core belief that they need to know every single bit of arcane and rare nutritional information in order to be qualified to help others. This is a trap, and it’s simply a version of perfectionism. If someone comes to you with a problem you can’t solve, send them on their way or refer them to someone better. Doctors do this all the time. Trust that the wisdom of life has sent you every client for a reason. Stop filling the airwaves with doubt and let your practice teach you as you go along. Yes, knowledge is vitally important. But so is wisdom. Be confident about the things you do know.
2. You don’t need to have the perfect body and perfect health to coach others and make a powerful difference in their lives.
Are you familiar with this one? Far too many coaches are caught in the trap of believing that they need the perfect body, perfect weight, or perfect health as a prerequisite to help clients. Ouch. The point is, none of us are perfect, and perfectionism itself is the dis-ease we are looking to help others heal from. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Do your best to get over it, love what is, embrace what you have, and relax into the fact that we are all a work in progress. Can you be big enough to be kind to yourself in this way?
3. See the beautiful opportunity in our challenges around weight, body image, and health.
Far too many coaches, and an even greater percentage of clients, hold the false belief that our unwanted symptoms, habits, and ailments are “problems.” We see our health challenges or eating issues as the enemy that must be attacked and defeated. This is an insane strategy that seldom works. How can attacking oneself possibly lead to healing? Has war ever led to peace? Has self-hate ever been a useful road to self-love? We cannot fight our health challenges and food issues. It’s about loving them. It’s about seeing them as amazing opportunities for growth, healing, and personal evolution. That’s why those challenges are there in the first place. To help us grow and unfold in ways we could not have imagined.
4. Stop fixing. Start deepening, relating, and listening.
This is a big one. Most coaches believe that it’s their job to “fix” people. You can fix a car, computer, or any widget in the mechanical universe. But you can’t fix people because not one of us is truly “broken.” We are spiritually whole beings who may have food issues, health issues, or life-threatening diseases. But we are still not broken. When people believe they are broken, they become victims—disempowered, helpless, and without their true creative potential ever realized. Don’t fix your clients. Love them, coach them, cheerlead them, educate them, and see them as whole human beings who are learning deeper soul lessons.
5. Stop trying to “get clients” and focus on giving your gift.
So many coaches are concerned and stressed about building their business and “getting” clients. Of course, this makes perfect sense. The problem is, clients are not “things” that one acquires. When we focus our energy on getting clients from a place of lack or fear, our life becomes more uptight and it’s easy to attract clients who simply aren’t a good match for us. Yes, we need to market ourselves and do some great public relations outreach or advertising. But do it from a place where you are looking to give your gift to the world, not from a place of, “I need more clients, I need more money.” As you can tell, when we “need” clients, we often show up as “needy.” And who wants to be the client of a needy coach? Attract your clients from a place of abundance, confidence, humility, and patience. Neediness won’t build your practice.
6. Redefine “success” with clients. Help them with their largest goal, not just their smaller ones.
One of the greatest mistakes coaches make is that they aren’t clear and conscious around how they measure success with their clients. Most health professionals measure success in terms of the client having no more symptoms, no more disease, and no more overeating. This all sounds nice, but it’s seldom the case. Our ailments and unwanted habits are here to teach us. They aren’t merely an enemy that we are trying to get rid of. Redefine success with clients to mean that, ultimately, success is about your client expressing their fullest potential and creativity in life. The more you can help them be who they are truly meant to be in their relationships, career, family, and inner world, the more they can express their greatest gifts.