Connecting with Wellness Coaching Clients in the Age of COVID-19
[Please note – we also produced a video of some key aspects available here: https://youtu.be/ROZlOr4KA74]
It has been a long week to be a wellness coach! So many things have developed and changed in the course of just a few days. Most likely, the coronavirus has dominated your coaching sessions this week – and probably will continue for some time.
As a coach, you are in a unique position to provide support to your clients. You are skilled in how to listen, reflect, and affirm. Many people are needing to voice their concerns about the potential health implications and talk through their worries about financial stresses, logistics of childcare, rapidly changing work environments, cancelled plans and an unknown future. People are scrambling to adjust and unsure how long everything will be different.
The problem, as a coach, is that many of these voiced concerns are your reality as well. You might find yourself having difficulty concentrating on the conversation, wanting to just get through the session, feeling tired, feeling not very motivated to work on anything that requires brain power. You might find your mind drifting during the session to your own situation – things you need to do to make sure your family’s needs are taken care of, people you need to check in with. It also might be that you are so tired of talking about it – already! All of these responses make sense. This is a lot to take in and when you coach one person after another who wants to talk about coronavirus – it is a lot!
A few thoughts to consider:
- Scheduling – If you have the ability to adjust your schedule, you might prefer having a break built into your day after a few sessions. This adjustment might be completely different than your typical “ideal” coaching schedule.
- Get outside – one of the best and easiest ideas is to walk outside. Take a few deep breaths. Notice! Hot/Cold, Wind/Calm, Sounds, Smells, Colors …. If you have time, walk around the block or parking lot.
- Limit the news and social media! Staying up to date on what is happening is necessary. Once you know what is going on – unplug. Stay away from social media during your breaks – it will typically increase any feelings of anxiety and not help you feel more settled.
- Connect! The world is practicing social distancing. Lots of activities and work are switching to online or “from home”. Be purposeful in reaching out to people in your family and neighborhood for a phone call, Facetime, skype.
- Monitor your own wellbeing often. Check in with your own thoughts/feelings. Who do YOU have to reach out to? Make that call – you will feel better after sharing your own struggles.
During coaching sessions:
If your client is wanting to talk about coronavirus:
- Find out what they know already (and where they are getting their information).
- Listen/Reflect and normalize their feelings.
- Point them to some resources with factual information.
- Help them identify what they do have control over.
- Encourage them to reach out to their support systems.
- Explore any positive opportunities in the midst of these changes – ex, work on projects in their homes, read a book, get organized – really anything that will feel productive and positive during this time.
- If anyone is feeling very overwhelmed, having ongoing issues with sleep, feeling a sense of dread on impending doom, or feeling unequipped to cope – discuss the idea of counseling. Many counselors have shifted to online or web-based counseling, so they just need to contact the counselor or EAP service to get an appointment set up.
If your client does not want to talk about coronavirus:
- That is okay too! They might see their coaching session as a nice break from all that is happening and enjoy focusing on something concrete and normal.
- As always, allow space and let the client be your guide in setting the agenda.
Here are some resources you can share with factual information:
- CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Your State’s Department of Public Health and Environment
- Colorado: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery
If you are looking for some words of encouragement, we also started the Monday Morning Catalyst (boost for your week in under 5 min). Here is an advanced preview of the kickoff to this bonus series: https://www.buzzsprout.com/204059/3003565