"The strongest human instinct is to impart information. The second strongest is to resist it."
THE COACH APPROACH
The Coach Approach can be directly contrasted with the Expert Approach.
Experts are in a seat of authority and power, and they tell you what to do based on the specialized knowledge they bring to the issue at hand. Think of a doctor, a consultant, or a financial advisor: they're mostly approaching clients as experts in their fields. The Expert Approach is important - it's what our healthcare system has traditionally been modeled upon, - but it's not complete: the Coach Approach emerged in response to what the Expert Approach cannot do.
In contrast, Coaches are in a seat of collaborative partnership, and they’re sitting on the passenger side. Coaches spend more time listening and check any expertise they may hold at the door. Coaches help clients uncover and untangle the information that they already have, and in doing so don’t move people to action by telling, but by eliciting autonomous motivation. The Coach Approach cultivates a relationship that is characterized by non-judgment, empathy, respect for autonomy, accountability, authenticity, and genuine compassion.
The Coach Approach takes the perspective that the client is already whole and capable, and views them as the experts of their own lives. Ultimately, it is the communication practices of the Coach Approach that help people take action effectively and sustainably over the long-term.
CULTIVATING A TOOLKIT
The Coach Approach works because it’s built around the individual; coaches see their clients as dynamic, unique, and holistic human beings.
Through my coaching, I help people develop a toolkit of insights, habits, and strategies that ultimately allow them to coach themselves. The key here is that each client’s toolkit is unique to them. Each kit has been cultivated through a process that is never the same for any two people, and takes into account a person’s unique inner world and external context.
This approach works because it recognizes the “self” part of words like self-development, self-growth, and self-care. Human beings are dynamic, unique, and holistic, so we have to get to know our own specific complexities to effectively develop, grow, or care for ourselves.
If we could each learn how to thrive by following the plethora of self-care tips and goal-achievement “must-dos” out there, there wouldn’t be a need for coaches. But depression rates have skyrocketed, especially in youth populations, and a 2010 well-being assessment conducted in the US showed that 80% of adults were not mentally thriving.
I help people develop their own internal compass so that they can build a toolkit of ideas and habits and strategies that work for them - a toolkit that’s as dynamic, unique, and holistic as they are.
My coaching is grounded in the science of POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY, which is an emerging psychological field interested in the mechanisms behind optimal human functioning.
Pioneers of the field recognized that a person’s lack of mental illness did not mean that they were mentally well, and that while psychologists were figuring out how to “fix” mental illness, they had neglected to help the rest of the population learn how to be mentally healthy.
In essence, positive psychology asks:
What is needed to enable individuals, communities, and organizations to thrive?
This area of research informs both the lens from which I coach and the mission of my work. In combining what the science says about happiness, meaning, and success with effective coaching communication, I help clients create a foundation of mental wellness that supports their self-sufficient ability to thrive, far beyond the time we spend together.