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This is another in a series of posts derived from my book, “Sustainable You,” a workbook that explores the implications of the question, “What good is sustaining the planet if we’re not sustaining ourselves?”

Coaching as a service is in its infancy, compared to where I think it will one day be.

One reason is, many people aren’t quite sure yet what its value is. How is it different from counseling, or going to a doctor?

One difference is that many coaches do not present themselves as experts, as a doctor might. This is partly based on the obvious, that most coaches haven’t done four years in medical school, completed a residency, etc.

But even those few coaches who have that training eschew the expert role. Even when I think I have expertise in an area, I try to walk alongside my clients rather than stationing myself in front, telling them what to do. I help my clients find where they want to go, and then help them get there.

Underlying this approach is the certain belief that each one of us has what we need within us. When I was 365 pounds, I felt pretty well defeated, powerless to effect any worthwhile change in my life. (I would say that that admission of defeat was a powerful sign of being ready to change, but that’s a separate matter.)

I operated under a paradox I was unaware of — I thought I could do whatever I wanted, while also feeling I was broken and unable to fix myself. The truth was that I *was* unable to fix myself — without guidance, without seeking out information, and especially support that could help me move forward.

That’s what coaches do — begin from the certainty that we each have the power to move forward, even (or especially) when we’re convinced otherwise, and then help clients build on what they already have done, and can do.


Author and wellness innovator Michael Prager helps smart companies
make investments in employee wellbeing that pay off in corporate success.
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