Lots of people are finding their way on the journey to health, nutrition, and fitness. Many of them may even know what they need to do to move towards better health, but oftentimes end up just going through the motions.
In practice, the secret to success in your wellness journey could be quite simple: hiring a coach.
You, like many others, might have thought, “I can just do this on my own!” There’s certainly not a scarcity of free information out there, but sometimes you just want someone to show you the way, rather than reading through a bunch of fitness or nutrition books and trying to apply it to your life.
That’s where the help of a coach comes in.
What does a coach bring to the table anyway? What value are they to the people they work with? Here are 6 reasons hiring a coach can help you accelerate your progress.
1) A coach proposes ideas for their clients.
True, people might come up with ideas on their own, but you’d be surprised how ineffective it can be to have a problem and assume you will come up with ALL of the potential solutions, and not have any bias in the process.
One of the unrealistic things that humans do is think we can make objective decisions and come up with unbiased solutions when confronted with a problem in our lives. Often, it helps us when somebody else points out all of the options because they’ll either confirm for us that we really did think of everything, or they’ll point out things we didn’t know about.
So, that brings us to the second reason to hire a coach:
2) A coach can come up with solutions that you haven’t heard of.
Having an outside perspective, especially one with experience in nutrition, fitness, and behavior change can provide ideas for solutions we may not have considered.
When someone’s whole life is spent studying behavior change and how to troubleshoot their client’s problems, they just may have more up their sleeve than you could have come up with on your own.
3) A coach is good at helping evaluate solutions to your problems.
Not only can coaches come up with more solutions, but they also tend to be pretty good at identifying which ones will be the most “bang for your buck” or what habits might be the most beneficial to you right now.
Why is that?
Well, as mentioned above, most coaches are spending all of their days evaluating solutions to their client’s problems, so they have the experience and data needed to help you pick the best one for you right now.
Coaches can also help prevent their clients from making partial evaluations or seeing only the negatives for this option and only the positives for that option. For example, when evaluating giving up coffee, you might think “I don’t want to give up coffee because I just love the caffeine boost and the ritual so much!”
Well, a coach can help you ask questions evaluating the benefits of change, like “How is your sleep when you drink caffeine versus when you don’t?” “How is your energy in the afternoon without that 2 PM crash you told me about?” and so on.
4) A coach provides accountability.
Okay, you had to know this was coming. Often, when working with a coach, there is some type of check-in involved. Some coaches have a formal system of filling out a form asking how the last week went, others have you track how many days you were compliant.
This is another way of having less biased information on how you’re doing and if you’re actually making changes instead of just “well, I’m trying”.
Checking in with someone is not even comparable to just doing it on your own. It’s a completely different dynamic to have somebody else in this with you.
That isn’t to create any kind of dependence on your coach because, in the case of eating skills, the whole idea is that a good coaching experience will help you actually learn through accountability and practice and eventually build up the confidence to execute the newly developed habits on your own.
Coaches guide their clients through accountability so that you eventually don’t need them anymore. (There are, of course, exceptions for people who like keeping that accountability even after they’ve developed skills and that’s totally cool too!)
Most people will need accountability at the first stage of change especially and have some length of time experiencing and seeing how effective they can be when they are accountable to somebody else.
It helps build confidence and fight off self-limiting beliefs!
So when that voice in your head goes off and says “I can’t do this…I could never do this!”, you can look back and see “Well wait one second, I showed up to the call with my nutrition coach every week for the last 6 months…” or “I have logged 150 total sessions with my trainer this last year.” and you realize maybe you can be accountable after all.
5) A coach provides support.
Making change is hard to do! And having a support system is so important. A coach is someone you can reach out to, share your struggles and problem solve with. Even just sending an update to someone can often help change how you see situations. Sometimes just having someone to listen to is all you need to understand the problem and come up with solutions. Other times, just having company and a listening ear in a moment of struggle can be helpful.
Additionally, when you have a structured system with a coach and someone to talk to about it as you are practicing new habits, this can give you the freedom to focus your thinking on other things in your life.
6) A coach helps you stay on one habit/topic/skill long enough for it to be effective.
All of us have a tendency to jump ship or have “squirrel!” moments. Especially with all of the information coming at us, it can be easy to want to try the new latest thing or dabble in something for only a few days before moving on.
Having a coach keep you on task will help you leverage your efforts in the most productive direction instead of spreading yourself too thin (which can lead to burnout, giving up, and the ongoing “diet cycle”).
So, there you have it: hiring a coach really does help us do things that we cannot necessarily do on our own.
Good coaches know how to build your confidence, give you peace of mind and encourage you when you are doing the right things. They remind you that they like you even when you struggle and they aren’t going to think badly of you, nor do you have to be “perfect” to succeed. I strongly believe in working with a coach.
When I first started taking weight lifting seriously, I worked with a coach for about 1.5 years before I felt confident I could work with a templated program. In my nutrition and my business, I am working with a coach in both areas because I believe they will get me to the place I want to be faster than trying to figure it out myself.
Sometimes, the first step is just saying “I think I need help with this new thing I am trying!” If you feel some resistance to asking for help, it might be worth asking yourself why that is…
And, if you have some thoughts you’d like to share with me about it, send me an email!