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What Does Coaching The Whole Person Mean?

What does it mean to coach "the whole person," and why is it fundamental when providing effective and impactful coaching? As coaches, our work with clients goes beyond simply solving problems; at its core coaching is about facilitating transformational change. In this article, we'll explore the concept of coaching the whole person, we’ll address how it's done, what it might look like, and why it works. We'll also address why this is important with a lens of understanding neuroscience, values, and beliefs to shed light on the power of this approach.

Coaching the Whole Person: Going Beyond the Surface:

Coaching is often seen as a problem-solving process. Clients come with specific issues, and coaches work to find solutions. While this is undoubtedly a valuable aspect of coaching and why a lot of people chose to work with a coach, focusing solely on the problem can limit the depth of change and transformation that's possible for our clients.

When we coach the whole person, we shift our perspective. We recognise that clients are not just a collection of problems; they are complex human beings with intricate belief systems, values, emotions, and neurobiological wiring which all impact the way they navigate the world around them. Coaching the whole person means acknowledging and embracing this complexity.

The Neuroscience of Coaching the Whole Person:

Neuroscience tells us that the brain is intricately connected to our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. When we focus on coaching the whole person, we tap into the brain's remarkable capacity for change and growth, known as neuroplasticity.

By addressing things such as a client's beliefs, values, needs, context and emotions, we have the opportunity to create new neural pathways and rewire old ones. This can be done through evoking awareness into new ways of thinking, feeling or behaving along with many other ways to approach change that we explore in coaching. By doing this we open the door to profound and lasting transformation. It's not just about finding a solution to a problem; it's about reprogramming the brain for positive change.

Exploring Values and Beliefs:

Values and beliefs form part of the foundation of our decision-making and the actions we take. When we coach the whole person, we delve into these underlying drivers. We are able to help clients identify their core values and examine their beliefs, which may be supporting or holding back their progress.

By raising our clients' awareness to the impact of values and beliefs and by supporting them to align their actions with their values and reshaping limiting beliefs, we empower them to make choices that are in harmony with their true selves. This alignment fuels motivation, clarity, and purpose, which can lead to more profound and sustainable change.

What Coaching the Whole Person Might Look Like:

  • Deep Listening (we call this level 3 listening): Coaching the whole person involves active, empathetic listening. It's about hearing not just the words but also the emotions and values beneath them. It’s about responding to what is said but also unsaid. 
  • Powerful Person-centric Questions: Coaches ask questions that invite clients to explore their values, beliefs, and emotions. These questions guide clients toward deeper self-discovery and insight.
  • Holistic Approach: We consider all aspects of a client's life, from career to relationships, health, and personal development. This holistic approach enables clients to address root causes, not just symptoms.
  • Long-term Impact: Coaching the whole person leads to lasting and enduring change. Clients don't just solve one problem; they can experience true transformation in their thoughts, behaviours or actions.

Why Coaching the Whole Person Works:

When we coach the whole person, we create real opportunities for transformational change. By addressing beliefs, values, and emotions, we tap into the brain's potential for growth. Clients find clarity, purpose, and alignment, leading to lasting, meaningful change.

Coaching the whole person isn't just a coaching philosophy; it's a science-backed approach that harnesses the power of neuroscience, needs, values, beliefs and more. Both aspiring and experienced coaches can benefit from adopting this holistic perspective. When we coach the whole person, we unlock the potential for profound, long-lasting, and life-changing transformations for our clients.

We're running a taster session around this theme on the 10th January at 7pm: you can sign up here https://www.optimuscoachacademy.com/coaching-the-whole-person