Taking Wellness Coaching Clients Back to the Future

Your wellness coaching clients are looking for ways to enhance their future.  There are obviously many ways in which you can go about doing so, but sometimes the most effective way is to help them to dial into their past.

When it comes to the stock market, the common disclaimer heard in ads, printed on flyers, etc is “Past performance is not an indicator of future returns.”  In other words, just because the market has averaged 8, 10, 12 or 20% returns over the past 1, 3, 5 or 10 years does not mean you can count on it to provide a similar return in the future. However, when it comes to individuals, past performance actually CAN be a very dependable indicator of future “returns.” Sure – people change. As a wellness coach, you’re fortunate to have the opportunity to act as a catalyst for many of those changes and to see first-hand the impact those changes have on the individual, their family, co-workers and others.

Howwwwwever, that doesn’t mean the past should be ruled out in terms of identifying valuable strategies for helping to optimize the individual’s future. For example, let’s imagine you have a client who is focused on athletic pursuits at this point in her life.  She’s preparing for a half marathon and while training is going well, she is consistently 5-10% off on her key workouts (ie, track intervals and tempo runs) compared with a year ago.  “Trying harder” isn’t much of a solution. You and she agree that there aren’t any extenuating circumstances such as illness or injury that is creating the differential. There’s just something that isn’t “right.”

Time to look back and ask…

  • How does total weekly mileage compare to last year?
  • Has bodyweight changed more than a pound or two?
  • Any nutritional adjustments?
  • Has sleep schedule or consistency changed?
  • Are there any anomalies in weather, training setting (ie, altitude), training partners from the previous year?
  • Any changes in complementary training (ie, strength training or core work)?
  • Is the treadmill out of her life?

The first 6 may seem somewhat obvious.  The last one is a historical issue that may – surprisingly – be the culprit. And only a close look back will reveal it.  The reason this last one gets missed is that it doesn’t seem to matter.  In fact, it may have been seen as a negative to that individual (“I have to run on the treadmill”) due to weather or time issues that no longer exist. So they skip right over that when considering why their speed is off a bit. However, while the treadmill may involve extra boredom, it also brings many benefits, including enhancing cadence/turnover and improving form. Maybe that “negative” actually is the missing link?

This simple example obviously extends far beyond athletic pursuits.  As you work with your clients, take the time to drill down – to engage them about their past choices and habits – even those that seem meaningless (or negative) at first glance. When it comes to our wellness coaching clients, past history is an outstanding reflection of future performance.  Don’t miss the opportunity to bring it into focus as you guide your client forward.

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