For Jews, the Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a rite of passage to adulthood that often includes a speech from the honoree. Inevitably, in the case of the Bar Mitzvah, the speech includes the words “Today I am a man.”
Today I complete a different rite of passage as a graduate from Duke University Medicine’s Integrative Health Coach Professional Training. This post, is my speech.
Today I am a Health Coach
As a child, I was encouraged to control my impulses and to follow the lead of others.
As a man, I am encouraged to lead. My success is based on how well I direct others. The word “Director” is right there in the middle of my current job title.
As a health coach I do not follow. I do not direct. I guide.
As a child, everything was new. There was no experience on which I could base my decisions. My success came from my curiosity and applied learning.
As a man, there is little time for curiosity. There is little time for learning. I am expected to have experience and expertise. I am expected to use them to drive successful outcomes with efficiency.
As a health coach, I am curious again. I may have expertise in a lot of things but I am not an expert on my clients. Only my clients have that expertise. And it is my job to help them use it.
As a child my toolbox for eliciting change in others was limited to favors, threats, or polite requests.
As a man my toolbox is my authority and my negotiation skills.
As a health coach. I have no authority. I have nothing of value to offer my clients in a negotiation. Threats and polite requests go nowhere. Instead I help my clients find their own motivation for positive change. I assist my clients as they commit to a plan they devise. I am there for my clients as they celebrate their success and learn how to drive further progress.
Health Coaching, part adult equanimity, part childlike wonder.
Today is April 10, 2015. Today I graduate from Duke Integrative Health Coach Professional Training. I help people make positive changes in their lives.
Today I am a Health Coach.
Today, I am your health coach.