Written by Regina Gee IHWC, learn more about her here. 

What is Integrative Health & Wellness Coaching (IHWC)?

Every human being needs to be seen, heard, and valued. Integrative Health & Wellness Coaching (IHWC) is a space meant to harness the transformative power of connection to help individuals and groups actualize meaningful lives. Coaching is a vessel created to hold and support change, connection, care, and hope as you become who you want to be. As an IHWC, it is my goal to connect people to their inner wellspring, their center. I want people to experience resonance in their lives, to have deep, full, and reverberating lives.

“What does it feel like to be with someone who is giving you their full attention, who is emotionally available, and who is responding skillfully to what you’re saying? Those are the interactions that truly meet our need for connection.” Rick Hanson

Integrative Health & Wellness Coaching is a relational approach designed to help people address the health and wellbeing of the whole person through meaningful behavior change.  As a coach, I partner with an individual or group to work towards wholeness through acknowledging the interdependent roles of mind, body, and spirit and respecting the innate healing capacity and wisdom within each person, emphasizing self-care. In this partnership, I help to connect people to their values and empower and support them in envisioning and enacting their goals.

Coaching is a bridge between ideals and practices, a dedicated space to support you as you create the life you want. One reason people come to coaching is to do the work of “achieving ourselves,” the phrase Jimmy Baldwin used to describe the process of understanding who we are and making that possible for each other.

Coaching maps the journey from where you are currently standing and how you are currently living to where you want to be and how you want to live. This change requires a deliberate choice about how you want to be in the world. Meaningful change is a process of aligning your values with your actions.

“Beloved, this is the perseverance place – a devoted pilgrimage taken by the brave & trembling into the deepest channels of the human heart.” Joy Prouty

How the Coaching Process Works

The formula for values-based living is: What’s important in my life is _______. Therefore, my health goals are _______.

IHW Coaching focuses on connecting what is important in your life and why you want your health and wellbeing to the changes you want to make. We explore the things you love in life, your mission and purpose, your dreams and aspirations, your reasons for health, and your self-care practices. We look at the 7 Core Areas of Health: Nutrition, Movement, Sleep, Environment, Spirituality, Relationships, and Resiliency, gauging your current satisfaction in each area and identifying areas you’d like to grow or give more attention to. After understanding where you want to change and why it matters, we explore your outcome goals (what you want to happen), behavioral goals (what you are going to do to achieve your outcome goal), and action steps (what you are going to focus on in the short term to become the person you want to be). We make a map for how you will walk your way to the life you want that aligns with what is important.

Change is a process of walking your way to a new reality through by making a series of different choices. To borrow the words of Theodore Roosevelt, it is about doing what you can, where you are, with what you have. Small stepwise change is how we build sustainable progress. Each session we check in on: what went well, what got in the way, what you learned, and what your next step is. This is the work of being the architect of achieving yourself and being the architect of your life, working towards alignment and wholeness.

Why Coaching Works

The definition of hope resonates deeply with the intentions of coaching and helps to explain why coaching works. Hope is a cognitive process. It is a way of engaging with the world that allows us to harness our longing; it is a process made up of goals, pathways, and agency. Brené Brown writes, Hope is a combination of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them, and believing in our own abilities.” IHWC is all about setting goals aligned with your values, working in partnership to create pathways, cultivating your sense of agency and your belief in yourself. A good coach or teacher is someone who will guide you back to yourself. You are the person with the most insight and awareness of your needs, and you are the expert in your healing and meaning. A coach will help you elicit your insight. I help you access your wisdom and intrinsic motivation to create alignment and wholeness in your life.

According to Brené, the experience of hope happens when:

  1. We have the ability to set realistic goals (I know where I want to go).
  2. We are able to figure out how to achieve those goals, including the ability to stay flexible and develop alternative pathways (I know how to get there, I’m persistent, and I can tolerate disappointment and try new paths again and again).
  3. We have agency – we believe in ourselves (I can do this!).

In coaching, we set realistic goals and get clear about where you want to go. We map how you are going to achieve those goals, and adjust and tailor as needed. And we develop the agency and confidence for you to believe in your ability to create your life.

Brené also writes that hope is learned – we learn hopefulness in relationships that are characterized by boundaries, consistency, and support. Coaching is a relationship with clearly communicated expectations and boundaries. It is consistent in how we work together over a period of 3-6 months, and it is supportive because it is my goal as a coach to see you actualize your goals. Coaching is fertile ground for hope to take root.

Leading You Back to Yourself

Nicole LePera writes, “No one can figure out and know your wants and needs and how to meet them better than you. No one but you can, and will have to, show up each and every day to take care of those ever-changing needs. These are efforts that must come from you, and in the process of harnessing your own power, you will create a deeper, more authentic connection to yourself.”

You are at the center of your healing and wellbeing – it is an inside job, being whole. A coach is someone to walk alongside you and witness your journey and experience as you learn to harness your power and create a deeper authenticity. I am prepared to participate fully in your work of becoming yourself, never shrinking away or judging your becoming.

I work with the whole person – you are seen in your wholeness and we address the complex ways the core areas of health interact and influence your health and wellbeing. You are in charge of your wellbeing; I ask powerful questions and reflect your insight to facilitate the process and maximize your potential for success. Words have power, and we work to identify and articulate your goals, as well as your actions to achieve them. Speaking your aspirations starts to make them real. Engaging in the coaching process results in a personalized, intrinsically motivated, specific plan for becoming the person you want to be. I have a wealth of knowledge in healthy lifestyles and integrative approaches for optimal health and wellbeing while additionally caring deeply about making the world a better place through taking better care of people.

Tending the Garden

My work as a coach is about holding this deep respect and wonder for every person I interact with. It is my job to witness my client’s complexity, wholeness, and beauty and help them see it as well. A quote that has been guiding me lately is from Ivan M. Granger. He writes, “The gardener does not actually make the seeds grow and flower. The gardener just prepares the environment but it is the divine spark of life ‘hidden in the heart of all things’ that nourishes seeds into sprouts, buds into blossoms, and ripening flowers into fruitfulness.’” My work as a coach is to tend to the garden, to create an environment that allows people to go inward and discover their inner wellspring of hope, their center, their hidden heart. Through my care of the coaching vessel and relationship, I create a space for greater life to take root. I don’t make the seeds of change or value grow, I hold the space for the possibility, helping people access the phenomenal force within us all.

“We are all created with this phenomenal force inside of us. And everything that comes our way is coming so that we can grow and evolve. And if we look at it like that, if we’re willing to open our hearts and see where we’ve shut down, where we are trying to resist life, then we have the great opportunity to step into who we always wanted to be.” Debbie Ford