Do Affirmations Have a Place in Your Coaching Practice?
I recently had a phone call with a colleague and the topic of affirmations came up. It struck me as a coincidence because I was just working on the use of positive affirmations and motivational interviewing in coach training. If you are familiar with my coaching style and its impact on Spencer institute coaching programs, you know how and why we love and appreciate motivational interviewing. It is a standard for dialogue in the early stages of coaching and it’s important to do it right.
Depending on where you are in your coach training journey and experience, you might know this already. Largely through trial and error, previous generations of coaches fine-tuned and tweaked coaching deliverable services without any training related to psychology, where motivational interviewing has its roots. They were winging it. I know this to be a fact, I am guilty of it.
I remember the first time I had formal training as a coach and how I was shocked at how far I had made it in the corporate coaching space without training! But I also knew it was going to change everything.
We have to be honest and acknowledge that there are coaches who have been delivering wellness, health, and fitness services for decades before us. In fact, we learn from them. They become our mentors and they tell us things like “if I knew what I know now, I’d try things differently“.
Decades and generations of training coaches have given rise to a common belief that we can’t coach someone else until we are (fill in the blank – well, fit, etc.) ourselves. If this statement wasn’t so accurate, we might be tempted to call it an assumption.
On one hand, it sounds a bit altruistic that we would say something like well, I’m going to really learn to figure out my own stuff – get things sorted on my own – before I help someone else. This often leads us to look inward, doing a self-assessment of things we feel we may need. A good coach is always looking at ways to improve service to their client experiences; your competitors are – it’s time to acknowledge this, too.
As part of this process, positive affirmations should be a dominant theme within your collection of self-reflection. These can be thoughts, spoken in conversation, or even written down (journaling will always work).
To be our best at coaching, we work to harness our strengths, but we must first uncover what these are. It doesn’t involve expectations or someone else’s idea of what they want or need for themselves, it is your situation and scene to own, create and orchestrate. We rely on positive affirmations to have the confidence to use other coaching skills, like intuition, for example.
What Do Positive Affirmations Sound Like?
It doesn’t have to be a formal construct. It could just be a simple acknowledgment within a conversation, reflected back to the client. A coach is tuned in for those times when we hear the client say something positive. Obviously, this also requires that we have great listening skills.
Your own positive affirmations are easy to list. Think of traits that are unique to the puzzle that you are.
We never need to be perfect. But if we have the confidence needed for our best coaching presence, we can be a Master. Just as an expert delivers messages learned from their work, we teach our clients to do the same. In other words, a trainer, who is not the most perfect, physically fit person in the room; a weight counselor who might be carrying some extra pounds, or a coach, who may have stress-limits levels that exceed what is healthy; all can still be great coaches! But the reality: we are sometimes seen as being able to help others but we don’t always get it right for ourselves.
This might be a byproduct of the very work coaches do, we tend to put ourselves in the backseat or on the back burner and devote our best energy to our client.
But we also need to continue thriving. Positive affirmations force us to look inward and dig for our own actions, behaviors or traits that are positive in nature and help us live well in some way. It might even be a person; we talk about positive emotional attractors (PEAs) in our holistic life coach program. It’s the exact process we might use with a client.
The techniques we use have roots in active listening. We never miss a comment from a client that we can shine a positive light on. For example, a client might say “I went on a diet and lost some weight but did not hit my ultimate goal”. You can see there is an upside to this, we want to acknowledge it. Our acknowledgment has to match the impact of the client’s experience, too. This means we don’t want to do somersaults on the spot but we do want to note it is a positive outcome. We want to celebrate every victory or win that our client has, no matter how small.
So we are always looking for positivity in our clients. Part of our work is to then lift our client up with these positive affirmations. This is needed to boost their confidence and self-esteem often needed for difficult behavior changes.
Starting Your Coaching Career
Every one of your coaching clients wants results. That’s exactly why becoming a Certified Results Coach is a great choice. You will learn very high-level, yet easy-to-follow, strategies and methods for helping your clients achieve the exact results they desire.
If you are passionate about helping people and living a fulfilling life, we can help you achieve your dreams right now. The Life Strategies Coaching Certification Course combines the latest advancements in human potential and neuroscience with proven methods of success used by the world’s most productive people.
There is always something exciting about earning a new training or coaching certification and applying that new knowledge of how you train your clients. This also helps you hit the reset button.
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That’s it for now.