The Genesis of the Coach Approach
The one real positive change I could make to manage my lymphedema was to lose weight. I wanted to do that but I didn’t want to diet. I wanted to have a healthy relationship with food. To do that, I discovered, I had to have a healthy mind. I needed to examine the habits and thoughts I had developed. It took time to get to the point I was at and it would take time to change. I wasn’t going to do this alone; I was going to design a team to help.
At this moment I wished for a personal coach. What would that look like, what would a coach do? A coach would seek answers. They would bring that information to life by making goals that were understandable and achievable. They would applaud my successes, they would challenge me to continue and above all else, they would be on my side.
Who could be my coach? Who better than me? If I found answers they would be mine. I could be my best coach or at least the head of the coaching team. That was the genesis of The Coach Approach. As I thought about this, I saw a number of goals that I would pursue.
I sensed my first step would be to gather information about the ways and situations when I overate. I began my self-awareness goal by remembering the overeating that I have done. When, where, what and if I could, points about why.
I was almost overwhelmed by how much disordered eating was in my life. I stepped back from it and tried to be positive. Perhaps this abundance of information was a great place to start. If someone else had come to me with this information, how would I coach them?
“The ability to come up with solutions is within each of us.”
I knew perfectly well what I was doing and now that I decided to pay attention, I could see ways to change. The process of discovery was exciting to me. Also it was discouraging because knowing is not doing. That was okay, I reassured myself. What I am doing right now is getting ready to lose the weight, experimenting with ideas and ‘coaching’ myself.
I gathered tips, but only those that seemed to speak to my situation. I applied my own ideas. I developed antennae for information or inspiration. One attribute I needed was a commitment to change. I wanted my thinking and my habits to be healthy. I listed my objections as well, sensing that those would be part of the solution. I find that once something is on paper, it can be read again. I employed the action plan method.
I knew I had to be accountable and aware and to eliminate denial about my own actions. I hated this. Even though the majority of my disordered eating is in the past, I won’t be sharing. The problem was the problem, but just knowing the details gave me a place to start.
Just a note – this step of defining the problem was very basic and would be repeated often. The same repetition applied to searching for information.
What are the subjects that an information search covered? Any subject that might help me with my efforts. I needed advice on food. I needed new hobbies. I needed stress management. I needed to shift the direction of my thoughts. I needed to act differently. And yet, if I was going to change, I didn’t want it to be all about denial and restrictions.
To put this in a positive form, I thought about what I wanted as my best life. Not my fantasy life where I had no problems and unlimited money but something that could be real. It was good to have a bit of fun about what I could do. It was sobering to realize that many are more limited than I was. As I completed this exercise I had information about my potential goals.
I’ve said that the coach approach involves gathering information and coming up with ideas. My warning is:
Don’t stop at the information gathering step.
Ideas and information can be wonderful but soon comes the time when a choice needs to be acted on. I have been known to falter, assuming that the next piece of information will hold some magical motivational powers. I like ideas and feel I have accomplished something by thinking. False.
There is more to change than finding the insight, or reading the answer. There is the doing part and to make changes I had to do something. Implementing ideas is a skill of its own but like anything new there are little steps to make it happen. Action plans were the key.