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Stress management techniques for coaches

People often don’t think clearly when they’re stressed.

That includes customers.

It’s like a bad scientist put a microchip in their brain – one that forces them to do things they swore they’d never do again, like two seasons of Shameless without even a potty break.

Then they show up for a coaching session and look or sound irritated, embarrassed and / or even more stressed. They say things like:

“I do not have time for that!”

Or “I don’t know what’s wrong with me!”

Or “I ate a gallon of ice cream AGAIN! I suck and I will always suck and I will never fail to suck, so why do I bother? “

If the above sounds hauntingly familiar to you, you’ll love the six conversation techniques outlined in this article.

These strategies work like a verbal weighted blanket.

Use it to help customers …

  • Watch your way out of this dark tunnel of stress.
  • Get rid of those pesky old habits at last.
  • Go from “I can’t do this” to “I have this”.

Before we get into these techniques, however, let’s examine why people are so hopelessly entangled in old patterns from the start.

Thank evolution for relentless old habits.

Recognizing potential threats – like the faint cracking of a branch hundreds of meters away – kept the ancient people from being eaten by large creepy creatures with sharp fangs.

Now, hundreds of generations later, that Attention Threat Bias– Concentrating more on dangers than opportunities and benefits – is hard-wired.

While it’s pretty handy on the rare occasions when you stumble upon an angry mother bear in your yard, that threat bias doesn’t work as well in non-life-threatening situations.

Let’s say your dad is joking:

“Honey, the color of your shirt doesn’t do your face justice.”

Now your threat bias is directing all of your thoughts exactly where you are not need her (‘Why did I get stuck with this person as a parent ?!’) and away from where you to do they need (“Hey yourself, don’t forget to buy asparagus for dinner and pack a gym bag for tomorrow”).

And as these relatively minor threats pile up, your brain will revert to rigid, self-protecting, and self-calming behaviors.

Now your autoscript can take over “needs to put the whole bottle of whipped cream straight into your mouth” or “have a toddler tantrum”.

This evolutionary mechanism makes it difficult for you – as well as your stressed customers – to change.

With thoughts and attention consumed by stressors, you don’t have the bandwidth to plan healthy meals, find time for workouts, or even cut vegetables.

Stress management techniques can help.

The ability to self-regulate in difficult moments is like a muscle: you can train and strengthen this ability (and help clients do so, too).

We’ll show you how.

Technique # 1: Take a deep breath.

When your customers feel threatened, anxious, or desperate, their heart rate increases and they breathe more shallowly.

And thanks to the action of the vagus nerve pathways that run between their brain and much of their upper body, they cannot see or hear any reason.

Fortunately as a trainer You can help your customers calm down a little by using your body to send signals that it will mirror.

Take a deep breath or two, if possible, audibly. Slow down your speaking and moving pace. With a little luck, the clients unconsciously catch your calming body signals and imitate them.

What can I say: “Let’s just pause here for a deep breath while we consider different options.”

Technique # 2: make her boss.

Remind your customers that they are responsible for their own changes and growth. They don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do in order for the threat system to shut down.

What can I say: “Remember this is your trip; I’m only here to relieve. I can give you advice and give you my opinion, but in the end it is your decision. You’re the boss of what’s next. “

Method 3: Tell Your Customers They Are Not Alone

Alone scares most people. That is why customers feel calmer when they know that they are supported and guided by someone they trust and have their backs free.

What can I say: “This will mean a lot of changes, but you are not alone. I am here with you as your coach. I want you to be responsible for your own trip, but I will be more than happy to provide any navigation, suggestions, and assistance you may need. I know it’s hard to get through this. Whichever path you take is fine. I am here to support you no matter what. I am open to everything you have to say. “

Technique # 4: Paint a picture of what customers can expect.

To help customers deal with uncertainty, clearly explain the processes in advance and explain what to expect at each step.

What can I say: “First of all, when you try to change X, you may find that Y happens. And maybe you have more questions about it. That is normal. In order for you to know what to expect, we may have to research many practices before we can find one that really suits you. “

Technique # 5: Take loose change off the table.

Paradoxically, if you “allow” your customer not change, it makes them more willing to change.

What can I say: “Do you want a new assignment for next week, or do you just want to stay here and practice for a while? It’s perfectly fine if you don’t feel ready to change Behavior X right now. If it works for you, great! ”

Technique # 6: Determine What Is Under Customers’ Control.

When customers fixate on things beyond their control (like noisy neighbors, age-related sleep changes, or new parents), they’re getting nowhere.

On the other hand, if they focus on small daily acts that they can do (like adjusting their sleeping environment, cutting down on caffeine, or being compassionate for themselves), they make progress.

How it goes: With our Control Spheres Worksheet, work with clients to identify stressors in each category. Talk about an action your customer takes can Control that will help you feel calmer, happier, and more in control of your life.

Control Area: Graphic showing three overlapping circles labeled “Total Control”, “Some Control”, and “No Control”.  People can use the image to focus their attention on what they can control - and thus reduce their stress levels.

Change is really possible.

These coaching techniques (among others that we teach) can help move your client’s attention from threats to solutions.

Because yes, staying up all night playing Candy Crush due to work stress will put you on a red alert, but it’s not exactly the same as being chased by a bear.

As a coach, you have the opportunity to bring calm, cool and collected energy into the lives of your stressed clients.

And it could help them move from a place where “everything sucks” to a place where “I’m actually okay”.

If you are a health and fitness trainer …

Learning how to help clients manage stress, build resilience, and optimize sleep and recovery can be profoundly transformative – for both of you.

It helps clients “loosen up” and makes everything else easier – whether they want to eat better, exercise more, lose weight, or regain their health.

And for coaches: it gives you a rare skill that sets you apart as an elite change maker.

The brand new PN Level 1 sleep, stress management and recovery coaching certification shows you how to do it.

Would you like to know more?

Thank You For Reading!



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