When I was growing up, my grandmother and I had a deep connection. Undeniably, my deep respect for her was largely due to her ability to be fully present in any conversation we had. As a student in the Health and Wellness Coach Training and Education Program with Pack, I reflect on those conversations with my grandmother and understand why her simple strategies for becoming fully present for our conversations were so effective.
“I’m putting on a pot of coffee.” Choosing a ritual before a coaching session is a simple way to unclutter your mind and create a calming presence for your client. My grandmother had a specific routine when I came to visit. She would start making a pot of coffee. This ritual was significant for both of us. The routine of making coffee enabled her to be clear-minded, calm, and focused on the conversation to come. As the coffee brewed, we gathered the cups and spoons quietly; I relaxed as well. For a Health Coach, a mindful routine before your coaching sessions, such as reciting a mantra, deep breathing, or lighting a candle, can encourage a calming presence.
“Sit at the kitchen table.” Another strategy my grandmother implemented was always having our discussion in the same safe place. After we made our coffee and filled the carafe, we always sat at her round, wooden kitchen table. That table was a safe space as feelings of belonging and acceptance enveloped me as I spoke and she listened. A Health Coach should always strive to have a designated safe place to meet clients, even if it is a telephonic or virtual coaching session. Consistency is key and will eliminate unnecessary distractions and solidify presence.
“The phone is on the wall for a reason.” Lastly, being fully present means no distractions. A hard-and-fast rule in my grandmother’s house was if she had a guest, everything else would wait. That meant no phone calls, television, or finishing her crossword puzzle. She leaned in, looked me square in the eye, and never left her chair at the table! Ideally, a Health Coach needs to turn off all phone and computer notifications and limit note-taking to be present and actively listening to the client in front of you. Being present allows you to be “all in” for your client, which will lead to more opportunity for nonverbal communication, pauses, and reflections.
Having someone fully present and engaged can make a huge difference in a person’s life when they may need it most. I can still picture my grandmother sitting at that oak table, pausing to take a sip of coffee while my words lingered in the air. Every conversation, even the most challenging ones, left me feeling important and encouraged. As an aspiring Health Coach, I want to be fully present for each client and always give them my best.
Post written by: Jody Sorey