What is wellness coaching?
If there’s been one topic to come firmly into focus over the last 12 months, it’s been health and wellness. The Coronavirus pandemic has put a lot of things into perspective, helping us truly value our well-being.
Being well isn’t simply the absence of illness, it’s about living life to our true potential. Feeling the best that we can, being in tune with ourselves and looking after body, mind and soul.
To learn more about wellness coaching and how this can support us on our journeys, I sat down for a virtual cup of tea with holistic and transformational life coach Katie Bull.
Katie’s journey to coaching started five years ago when she was struggling with her mental health. At a visit to the GP, she was offered medication and, while this can be a suitable approach for some, Katie didn’t feel it was right for her.
This led her to look elsewhere and see what other options could help support her through holistic wellness. Starting with simple activities like meditating and moving her body more, Katie discovered crystals and chakra healing, “and the transformation was huge – it was amazing,” she tells us.
With a background in design, Katie wondered if she could bring these two worlds together and her brand, Clove and Clay was born. She then trained in coaching and fell in love with it, realising this was what she wanted to do – help people.
What does it mean to take a holistic approach to wellness?
Taking a closer look at the topic of wellness, I was curious about the term ‘holistic’ and what it means in this context.
“It’s really thinking about the mind, the body and the soul,” Katie explains.
“Ayurveda teaches us that whatever happens in the physical body is represented in the mind and also in the spirit, and vice versa. We can always see this playing out in life. Let’s think of an example of somebody who has got a bit of a stomach ache. Their immediate response might be ‘what have I eaten?’ but actually, are you feeling very stressed? Are you feeling very anxious? How is that playing out in the body?”
Understanding that everything is interconnected is key. When it comes to taking a holistic approach within coaching, Katie explains that this means tackling challenges with this interconnectedness in mind. Rather than simply treating the ‘symptoms’ then, holistic wellness coaching encourages us to dig beneath the surface to untangle the roots and identify what’s really going on.
What challenges can be explored in wellness coaching?
In terms of when someone might seek wellness coaching, Katie notes that there are many different things you can come to wellness coaching for. But, it often starts when someone’s feeling a little lost and seeking connection.
“This is a process of mass introspection, it’s a process of reconnecting and turning inward. I see it as quite a soft approach, but there’s power in that softness.”
Discussing the fact that we’re living in quite a masculine dominated time, Katie shares that women may seek coaching because they don’t want to be held in a box anymore.
“There’s a quote by Sahara Rose which is, ‘once you realise you’re a jaguar it’s very hard to stay in the cage’ and I think there’s definitely this idea that women are realising that maybe they don’t want to go along with this structure anymore and they’re really wanting to reclaim their feminine power.
“And this is where I think wellness coaching can be so wonderful, because it really is about reconnecting with yourself.”
Alongside coaching, Katie says people often use this time to experiment with holistic therapies like aromatherapy, massage and acupuncture. Each element supporting one another, this can be a lovely way to approach personal development.
What should I expect from wellness coaching?
For those unclear on what coaching entails, Katie shares that many coaches, herself included, offer a free initial call so you can get to know the coach better and so you can start to understand what you’d like to achieve from coaching.
If following the call, you decide to go ahead with the coach you’re speaking to, you can discuss how long coaching will last. Some coaches will offer a bespoke number of sessions depending on your circumstances, others offer set packages.
“I’ve got a three-month coaching offering and a one-month coaching offering. So you would choose one of those and we would move forward. And then how the sessions usually go is that the client will always come to the table with a challenge.
“So you’ll come with your challenge, then we’ll spend some time unpicking it, untangling it, looking into those ingrained belief systems, looking at your values, really looking at your narrative and how you see the world. Then, I’m here to challenge and question, but also hold you and support you.”
At the end of the session, Katie explains that she summarises what’s been discussed before leaving the session with a positive affirmation. Offering worksheets, Katie also encourages her clients to reflect between sessions.
Throughout the process, it is just incredible what happens – the transformation and the reconnecting. And then slowly you start to be guided by your intuition and really start to trust yourself – and, ultimately, feel really confident.
A note on spirituality
Katie’s work has a spiritual edge to it so I was curious as to how this can play its role in wellness coaching. Describing spirituality as a way to heal and connect, Katie shares that it means different things to different people but, in her approach, it’s largely about energy. From being creative and making space for play to reconnecting with nature, spirituality encompasses it all.
“It’s also thinking about chakras, thinking about meditating, thinking about – as I’m here to guide you during our time together – trying other holistic therapies.”
It’s also helpful to note here that while for some the term spirituality may link with religion, it doesn’t have to involve that side of things. Spirituality is individual and you can explore it in a way that feels good to you.
Small steps to improve your well-being
Before I say goodbye, I ask Katie for any small steps we can take to look after our own well-being.
“I think the simplest things can be the most helpful,” Katie says. “These sound really obvious but checking in with whether or not you’re really doing them is important – how much water are you drinking? Are you hydrating your body? Thinking about the food you’re eating, are you eating healthy and nutritious food? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you moving your body? Are you connecting with nature? Are you connecting with yourself? Are you having that time to realign and connect with your centre? It’s that basic self-care that makes great first steps into wellness.”
Self-care has never been more important than it is right now, so please consider this an invitation to ask yourself what you need and to give yourself the space to honour that need.