People obviously need help. If we didn’t, self-help books and life coaches wouldn’t be as popular as they are today.
While I’m sure their scope is quite broad, the life coaches I know work with their clients to achieve goals, overcome obstacles and make changes in their lives to maximize success, health, happiness, etc. (This is also how the National Coach Academy explains the purpose of a life coach.)
That being said, how can we help someone be healthier and happier if we don’t consider, and have knowledge about, two other very important pieces of the puzzle: nutrition and fitness?
Life coaches—at least to my knowledge—don’t pretend to be nutritionists or fitness coaches, so if their clients are wise enough to dive into improving their nutrition and fitness as well, in addition to their life coach, they might then also hire a nutrition coach and a personal trainer. And before you know it, they’re spending a significant chunk of their salary paying for three experts to help them in what they see as being three segregated areas of life.
What if the client’s life coach is also their nutrition coach, and if their nutrition coach is also their fitness coach? Likely more economical, to say the least.
This is essentially the role of a professional OPEX Coach: Part fitness coach, part nutrition coach, part mentor and life coach (for a quarter the price of what hiring three experts would look like). Get an introduction to the OPEX System of Coaching here.
Even more important than the price, however, is how much more effective it is for the client to have an all-encompassing service and a strong relationship with just one expert at the helm.
I think we can all agree the body doesn’t exist without the mind and the mind doesn’t exist without the body. Yet we often consider them to be two completely different entities.
Some of us focus on our mental health and let our physical selves go, while others become consumed with physical fitness all the while abandoning our emotional selves. Others still become obsessed with our career and nothing else.
It goes without saying that the best life is the one that pays attention to all of the above.
Further, improving in one area doesn’t mean focusing solely on that area. In other words, our physical limitations, or lack of desire or ability to prioritize fitness, for example, isn’t just a physical problem. It’s likely connected to all sorts of emotional and lifestyle issues, as well…
(Coach Resource: Learn how to conduct an initial client lifestyle assessment here.)
Maybe the reason you’re not motivated to work out is because your diet sucks so your energy levels plummet by 4 p.m. in the afternoon. Or maybe your diet sucks because you have three kids and work 12 hours a day and can’t be bothered to prioritize it. Basically, we’re complicated, and fixing one area of our lives usually means looking into other areas of our lives.
This recent study out of the University of Vermont is a great example of how connected our bodies and minds are. (You can check out the study that was published in the journal Global Advances in Health and Medicine.
The study suggests that exercise should be prescribed before pharmaceuticals when it comes to mental health after 95 percent of the mental health patients who participated in the study reported feeling better after exercise, and 63 percent reported feeling happy or very happy as opposed to sad or neutral.
(For the record, the researchers are in no way suggesting pharmaceuticals should never be used, just that exercise has to be included in treatment plans, and often should be the first piece of the puzzle for mental health.)
The inpatient psychiatry unit where the research was conducted is the first treatment center of its kind to actually prescribe fitness as a form of treatment. The author of the study, psychotherapist David Tomasi, hopes this will get us moving in the direction of looking at the physical and mental self not in a vacuum separate from each other, but in a more holistic way that considers them both together.
The point is, if you’re a life coach, how can you be helping the client make career decisions if you don’t know anything about their physical fitness levels, their day-to-day nutrition or how they’re sleeping? And vice versa: How can you provide an appropriate fitness plan if you know nothing about the client’s career stress?
This is exactly the bridge the OPEX Coach seeks to form: The tools OPEX Coaches receive through the extensive OPEX Coaching Certificate Program (CCP), as well as ongoing education, help them work to uncover all factors of their clients’ lives—personally, professionally, physically, emotionally and nutritionally. From there, the OPEX Coach can create individual fitness programs for each client, all the while offering continuing mentorship via monthly lifestyle consults that cover what else is going on in their life.
More often than not, the idea of hiring an expert stems from a feeling of ignorance in a certain area: You lack knowledge or you’re not very good at something. You know you need help, so you reach out to an expert.
In many cases, the relationship then between the life coach (or nutritionist or personal trainer) and client becomes one based on dependency, to the point that it can become crippling for the client because they don’t think they can make a decision without consulting their mentor.
OPEX Coaches, on the other hand, seek to educate their clients so the client can become both independent and accountable to themselves. This doesn’t mean mentorship ends: It just means the client is now empowered, versus being dependent on a coach for all the answers. This also allows for higher-level coaching, as the client’s education level about what he needs and why he needs it is much greater.
I like this analogy: When you earn something, you appreciate it more. When you’re a kid and your parents give you a weekly allowance, you develop zero appreciation for money. But the moment you’re on your own earning your own living, your entire relationship with money changes. You learn to adapt and be responsible, or you’ll sink.
In this sense, OPEX clients receive valuable mentorship that considers all facets of their lives, yet also forces them to EARN their own way through a process of education and hard work on their own, so they become more appreciative of their efforts and free to live their lives, instead of being told by various experts exactly what to do all the time.
No matter what type of coach you are in order to help your clients reach their goals you need to consider all facets of their life. Take the first step to developing well-rounded coaching skills with our free coaching course.