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How to Coach Clients Who Seek Perfection_Final

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>> Hi again, in the last lecture, we talked about how it's damaging for you as a coach to let perfectionist tendencies get in the way of your practice. We talked about how your clients are affected by your perspective if you hold them to high expectations. I mentioned that you can take all of the stuff I taught you and apply it to working with your clients to help them overcome their own drives for perfection. But in this lecture, I'm back to take a deeper dive, specifically into how we can best work with, and help our clients who come to us with their own really high expectations and drives for success. So just how the field of coaching attracts professionals who tend to lean towards perfectionism, it also attracts clients with perfectionist tendencies too. Coaching is generally attractive to people who are motivated and interested in self-growth. It's natural for an achievement-oriented service to attract achievement-oriented people, and this is great. Don't you love when you get a client who's totally motivated, someone who consistently and fully shows up every week? These types of clients make our work feel easy, and they make us feel like we're doing a good job at coaching. Generally speaking, we love to coach perfectionist because they are driven for success, are hard workers, have follow-through to reach their desired outcomes. But here's the catch. These clients need our help just as much of our clients who are totally stuck. They might not show it as much but they're struggling too. They show up accountable and they do the work, but they might be totally exhausted and pushing themselves in spite of it. If it were that easy for them to do the work, they probably wouldn't be paying a professional to help them. Clients like these struggle with perfectionism. We can recognize these clients because they're the ones who feel easiest to work with. When we pick up on this, it's tempting to just keep things easy and productive and cheer them on while they keep pushing forward. But it's more beneficial to stop and explore why they feel like they always need to try and be at their best. Because if we're to be of our best service to our clients, we need to help them do what's best for them. For some people, that means recognizing that they push too hard, that they beat themselves up, and that they're spread too thin at trying to be everything to everyone. Clients like these would benefit more from embracing self-care, adopting realistic expectations, and overcoming the inner critic and belief that drive them to try and compensate for something deeper that they feel is missing or inadequate. These clients need inner peace, not an action plan. When you have clients who seem motivated and driven but they struggle with staying accountable, notice if they seem or feel fatigued. Take note of what else they do in their lives, what their schedule is like, and the kinds of demands they put on themselves. Because if you have a client that speaks a lot in shoulds and musts, they might need to reevaluate their goals. As their coach, you might want to consider if they're just trying too hard to take on the world and be a perfect human when they really need to just cut themselves some slack and work on replacing their negative self-talk with some love and acceptance. I'm not saying that we should encourage our clients to not achieve their goals, but if they're having trouble staying accountable, and in some cases, it may just be that they're pushing themselves in a way that's not feasible or sustainable for this person at this time in this place in their life, and that's okay. That doesn't mean failure, but our perfectionist clients might see it this way. And this is why it's so important not to coach through the biased lens of our own perfectionism, otherwise, we might feel let down because they fell short of our expectations, when in fact, they made a remarkable shift. Even if you spend weeks with a client just to help them arrive at the conclusion that their goal is a should and not a must, and they'd be better served letting it go for now, they still get a ton of value out of working with you. If you take a balanced perspective with clients like this and meet them where they're at, you can help them shift gears and seek meaningful progress in an unexpected way by changing the way they think and releasing the oppressive demands they put on themselves. This is huge. But if you and your clients just keep coming back around every week focusing on accountability and follow-through, this opportunity will be missed. So to guide you how to best serve your own clients who overachieve at the expense of their own emotional well-being, I have put together my top six tips for working with clients who are perfectionists. They are, one, make your goals and expectations for coaching explicit. Limit the opportunity to set unrealistic and unnecessary goals from the start. A perfectionist will likely enter coaching with unrealistic expectations, not just about what they think they should achieve for themselves but what you expect from them. Use the onboarding process with every client as an opportunity to get very clear on what you do and don't expect from your clients. This goes beyond things like attendance and scheduling to let clients know that while you expect them to put in their effort when they work with you that you'll never judge them or feel disappointed by anything they do or don't do. You can say things like, "I will challenge you and point out your blind spots throughout our work together. This is to help you raise awareness and encourage you, it should never imply judgment, criticism, or an expectation on my end." Also, don't be afraid to point out to clients what isn't important. For example, if you have a client who you can tell spends way too much time making their homework nice and neat, let them know that you're only interested in the content not the presentation. If they feel like they can't loosen up their own standards and turn in something that doesn't look perfect, you have a red flag that you have a perfectionist on your hands, and can explore what's going on on a deeper level that drives them to have to do the things just right. Two, encourage their process, not just their outcome. Perfectionists tend to get totally caught up in the outcome or end product. Because of this, they devalue the journey along the way. But as coaches, we know that there is so much richness and possibility to be found in the journey and how we achieve our goals can be just as important as why when it comes to emotional well-being and long-term success. Perfectionist clients have a tendency to undermine and overlook anything they do that falls short of excellence. This is unproductive because it erodes motivation, taking note of and valuing progress gives us reason to celebrate and feel like we're on a track to succeed. Waiting until we get it just right or make it to the finish line to celebrate makes the work feel unnecessarily heavy, and we have to run the risk of falling off track. This increases the risk of burnout. Teach your clients who appreciate the journey, apply all efforts and move gracefully to decrease their stress and increase their quality of life while working towards their desired outcomes. Show them how the journey itself can be rewarding too. Three, ask them to paint you a picture of what they're doing. This doesn't mean painting a literal picture, although it can be. But this is really about getting an objective glimpse at your clients as they are work-in-progress. Perfectionists have a very black and white thinking. They're all-or-nothing kind of people and they tend to see things as win or lose, fail or succeed. So they might be describing to you what sounds like a poor outcome when really they're just judging themselves harshly. To understand what your clients are really doing and how they're progressing between sessions, don't just take their word for it, ask them to really describe their experiences and illustrate what they believe to have happened, so you can see if their interpretation of what happened is different from than what actually happened. Like, for example, if you ask your client how they did with their food choices over the weekend and they say, "I did awful. I went out to dinner with friends Saturday night, and just lost control and made bad choices." Well, you'll want to explore what exactly that meal looked like. Maybe your client really overdid it with the calories and had a plate of wings, and a giant burger and fries, and an ice cream sundae for dessert, a meal totally incompatible with their goals. Or maybe they had two wings, a few bites of desserts with their, otherwise healthy meal, but because they have an all-or-nothing attitude, they've internalized that to mean failure, despite staying within their macros. If you ask your clients to keep journals or take pictures or find some other way to objectively log what they do and don't do, you'll be able to help them rationally assess if they're being too hard on themselves, and you can point out their successes. Be their positive cheerleader, that angel on their shoulder who tells their inner critic to pipe down. Four, help them differentiate between persistence and unproductiveness. You know that saying, "Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different outcomes is the definition of insanity." Well, this is the gist of what I'm getting at here. Perfectionist clients are driven to succeed, and they'll keep going at any cost, which sometimes, leads to them just to run into the same wall over and over again. Their intentions and their effort are commendable, but they try, they fail, they pick themselves up, they try again. This is great, right? Typically, this is a good thing. We need to persevere until we get better at something or get it right, but we also need the awareness and humility to realize when something we're doing isn't working and it's time to change gears, instead of stubbornly keeping at it just for our ego's sake of feeling like it's succeeded. What you'll want to do with these kinds of clients is help them figure out when persistence and repeated effort is good, and when it's a forced effort and it's time to change gears and try something else. It seems intuitive, but sometimes, it's easier said than done. Remind your clients that when they force themselves to do things they feel burned out on, the outcome will suffer. Five, encourage mistakes. Another thing that's easier said than done for our perfectionist clients, making mistakes. Perfectionists hate messing up. But as coaches, we know it's a healthy and inevitable part of the change process. Perfectionists tend to lose sight between minor mistakes and major errors leading to what's referred to as catastrophizing cognitive therapy. This is when we freak out about minor things which makes us fearful around taking even minor risks because we think they're going to blow up in our faces. Catastrophizing sounds like, "I can't believe I ate that donut, I'm never going to lose weight." Or "I'm so nervous about having to wear a bathing suit on this day that I feel like I'm going to die." So to help a client overcome that mentality that making mistakes leads to failure, I suggest challenging them to go out on a limb and actually do something "Wrong." By having them make and live through minor mistakes, they can see that their world's not going to end, and that they might even get something out of these errors. I'm not talking about anything with a real or harmful consequence. We would never want to do that. But you can dare your client to be bad and challenge them to eat dessert one night or have that second glass of wine or skip yoga class to sleep in. Having them intentionally do these things and then resume their usual habits the next day will show them that minor setbacks don't matter in the long run if we just let them happen and carry on without losing our cool. Six, ask high-mileage questions about what's really going on. So as I've mentioned, people develop perfectionist tendencies to compensate for some kind of belief or feeling of inadequacy they hold deeply about themselves. If you're working with someone who's a rigid overachiever with an all-or-nothing mentality, it's worth taking the time to explore this with some powerful high-mileage questions. A good one I'd like to ask to tap into this is, "How do you want other people to see you?" You can also ask, "How do you see yourself?" Or, "What expectations do you hold for yourself?" What you ultimately want to do is uncover the fear-based thought that makes your client feel like they have to always do everything perfectly. At the core of the onion is a belief that's holding them back, a belief that they'll need to overcome. Later on in this course, we'll teach you how to do this. So to recap my top six tips for how to work with a perfectionist client are, make your goals and expectations for coaching explicit, encourage the process not just the outcome, ask them to paint you a picture of what they're doing, differentiate between persistence and unproductiveness, encourage mistakes, and ask high-mileage questions to get at what's really going on. Just because we're capable of achieving anything, doesn't mean we have to achieve everything. If you ever have a client that seems to be pushing too hard at the expense of their emotional well-being, take the time to stop and explore what's going on in their life. The actual value of the goal they're working towards, and whether they might be better served investing their efforts in a different direction. If their goal is a must, then guide them to approach it in a way that's purposeful but realistic, gentle, and acknowledging of the small steps along the way. I hope you feel more equipped and knowledgeable for working with clients who struggle with perfectionism. To help you further, check out the worksheet in your learning center called Gentle Goal Setting for the Perfectionist. This is a great tool. You can use directly with your clients and also for yourself. Thank you for watching. That's all for now.

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Duration: 12 minutes and 59 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: integrativenutrition on Jul 6, 2018

How to Coach Clients Who Seek Perfection_Final

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