In her free time, Beate enjoys brewing her own Kombucha, making her own yogurt, growing sprouts and microgreens, broadening her knowledge and use of mindfulness, and introducing children to meditation by volunteering at local schools.
Clear your mind. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Hold for a few seconds. Release your breath slowly through your mouth. Repeat as needed. You just participated in a mini-mindfulness exercise by breathing with intention, and refocusing your mind to the present.
The practice of mindfulness may be new to some, but Beate Winterstein has been studying and integrating mindful practices into her personal and professional life for years. Before becoming a Certified Health Coach through UNCG, Beate had earned her Masters in psychology while still living in Germany. She became interested in mindfulness as a tool for herself to reduce stress and gain insight into her emotional health. Beate took several courses and trainings to better understand how mindfulness worked, and the proposed benefits of practicing intentionality in all aspects of life. After grasping the basics, Beate gradually began introducing different mindful practices and exercises to her children as a way of validating their feelings, and working through emotions they couldn’t otherwise communicate. It wasn’t until she started learning about mindfulness that she realized it was absent from her work in psychology, and was a missing component in a therapy setting. Upon hearing about health coaching, it seemed as though her educational background and personal interests had been neatly and conveniently packaged into the role of Health Coach.
What attracted Beate most to Health Coaching was the consideration coaches have for the person as a whole, rather than just focusing their attention on a singular topic. As many coaches know, coaching clients often come to their first session expecting to tackle one health concern, ranging from healthy eating, to mental health, and even time management. However, a coach’s ability to listen and reflect, while placing the client in the driver’s seat, allows the client to explore how different aspects of their life intersect and connect to their overall wellbeing. These “ah-ha” moments often result in a significant shift in the client’s goals by the conclusion of the coaching relationship. In consideration of and respect for this process, Beate finds that using the Wellness Wheel, discussed during the UNCG training, is one of the most effective methods of teasing out where the client might want to focus their sessions. Not only does the Wellness Wheel help the coach better understand their clients’ needs, a visual representation of different components of life may provide the client with a new sense of clarity.
When working with clients, Beate has found that the most useful tool available to a health coach is maintaining an authentic presence within the coaching sessions. She credits both the Health Coaching training and the mindfulness courses and training she has completed with her ability to successfully sustain authenticity with her clients. Beate has recognized that health coaching and mindfulness have a natural connection that can be used to help her clients work through their emotions, and recognize that their feelings are valid, by using reflections and open ended questions in combination with mindful breathing exercises. Throughout the coaching relationship, it is crucial to remember that clients should lead the conversation, and decide which topics they would like to address. Above all, Beate recognizes that her role as a health coach is to be an accountability partner for her clients, and if they aren’t ready to tackle a topic during a session, it is important that she is skilled in shifting her attention to focus on what the client needs in that moment.
When it comes to taking on new clients, Beate is open to having a diverse client population, with a variety of backgrounds, sexual orientations, racial and ethnic identities, gender identities, and age groups. She recognizes that all people are deserving of someone who genuinely listens to them, and supports them in reaching their goals. The clients she has taken on arrive at their sessions curious and motivated with a vision for their best life, and it is her job as a Health Coach to create a space where the client is able to explore that vision, and empower them to use the skills and knowledge they already have to achieve their goals. As a Certified Health Coach, Beate believes that:
“Health coaching is a framework for clients to self-discover their vision and values, in order to set goals that are in-line with the latter, and move towards greater wellbeing. It is a journey to discover the knowledge, skills, resources, and support a client already has available in their lives, and apply each of those aspects to help them make personalized, sustainable life changes.”
Beate finds that the most rewarding aspect of her work as a health coach is seeing the beautiful transformations that can take place over the course of just a few sessions with a client.
Mindfulness has played a part in helping Beate understand her role as a Health Coach, particularly as the standards for the field continue to develop. At times, it can be exciting to be a part of a new and upcoming profession, but Beate has realized that a lack of structure can become a challenge when navigating employment and coaching relationships with clients. Beate has found success in taking on private clients, but attests that it has proven challenging to find Health Coach positions available within larger, established organizations. Her background in mindfulness provides a unique twist to the typical health coaching session, and she hopes that she is able to incorporate more of this skill set into her practice moving forward. Beate is hopeful that as the profession becomes more standardized, she will have a better idea of how she can best serve the clients she has, and potentially find more health coaching opportunities with a broader range of clients.
Beate is the perfect example of how every Health Coach brings a unique perspective and a range of skills to their client population. Successful Health Coaches come from all walks of life, with a shared goal of wanting to help people feel empowered, and create sustainable life change. Now, if you take a deep breath in, and clear your mind, can you see yourself as a health and wellness coach?
Written by Alyssa Crawford