Theoretical Orientation and Wellness Coaching

Why your theoretical orientation for coaching matters

When someone asks you what your theoretical orientation is for coaching, do you know how to answer the question? As you market yourself as a Certified Wellness Coach, it is important to distinguish yourself from others in the industry who simply enjoy talking to people about health and wellness. You want to be more than a good communicator and encourager with a passion for health and wellness and a lot of great ideas. We suggest that you choose a theoretical foundation that best fits with your style of coaching, personality and setting. Once you pick your orientation – start learning! Read, attend conferences, listen to webinars, attend live trainings, review the research, practice with mentor coaches, join a network of local coaches and surround yourself with others of a similar frame of mind.

How would we answer the question about our theoretical orientation for coaching? Our coaching foundation is built on the practice of motivational interviewing (MI). This method of communicating is a person-centered style that focuses on the client’s own motivation and commitment to change. Basically, that means you learn to focus on what is important to the client. This may sound somewhat simplistic. However, once you start learning the foundational concepts and then practice the actual skills and tools, you will be amazed at how well you are able to help a client focus in on what he or she wants to do. From there, the client will be far more effective in developing a plan to move forward with positive behavior change.

You can find out more about MI by visiting www.motivationalinterviewing.org . On that same site you can also search for local trainings. Just be sure to recognize that the MI trainings will not be specific to wellness coaching, but will cover MI in all different areas of practice. If you find that MI fits well with your own communication style, then look for a wellness coach certification program that focuses on this method within the training and is led by a trainer from the MINT organization. Some other orientations that seem to fit nicely with wellness coaching include the following: trans-theoretical model of change, temperament training, appreciative inquiry, coaching oriented to intrinsic motivation, and the WDEP system of reality therapy.

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