Self-care is part of the job description for coaches.
Unfortunately, self-care has become a bit of a cliche: about getting a massage, taking a yoga class, or eating kale. The truth is, self-care is whatever restores and strengthens you and it can take any form that works for you.
It takes discipline to practice self-care consistently. When you do so, you are able to be your best every day regardless what else happens. That means, if you're a coach, you coach more effectively.
That's especially true if you are a Highly Sentive Person (aka HSP or Empath). The wiring of an HSP is perfect for coaching when it is well cared for. You have a super power that needs nurturing. That's what you're doing when you practice self-care and personal development. Otherwise, you may experience meltdowns and could show up like a super villain, instead of a super hero, to those around you.
Self-care is anything but selfish, especially for highly sensitive coaches.
Read on for information on highly sensitive coaches, the traits that make them desirable, tests to see if you are highly sensitive, and a free class on radical self-care for highly sensitive coaches...
HSPs/Empaths tend to have many of the qualities that are most prized in coaching. The following are estimates of percentages of HSPs who share the following qualities. (Source: Esther Bergsma, 2019)*.
- Empathy (85%)
- Strong Intuition (79%)
- Good Listener (78%)
- Open Minded (76%)
- Caring (76%)
- Creative Thinking (70%)
- Able to See the Big Picture (69%)
- Sense of Humor (65%)
If you are strong on most of the above, you may be wired to be a great coach. If you also have the discipline to care for, nurture, and even enhance those abilities, you may be cut out to be a professional coach.
So how do you care for the finely-tuned nervous system of a highly sensitive coach?
Look for your current level of care and ask whether it is enough for you to be at your best, every day. If not, what people, places, or things put you out of balance? You might want to carry a journal and make note whenever something annoys you, stresses you, or wears you out. Then ask yourself 10 ways to change each of those items so they don't sap your energy, anymore. Don't worry, at first, if any of those solutions are possible. If you keep an open mind, a few doable solutions will rise to the top.
Also take a look at your internal environment. As a highly senstive coach, you take in more information than others. That's a brilliant benefit to coaching. It can also overwhelm your system. You also likely have stronger emotions. Emotions are your body/mind's communication system. Yours is more acute and that also benefits your coaching. But strong emotions need management. Otherwise, they create chaos as well as conflict with others. What habits or processes can help you manage your intensity? If you are overhwelmed, how will you work in calming breaks? If your emotions are unruly, how will you develop more emotional literacy?
Another great way to do this is to discover your Needs and learn to get them met. A key to meeting Needs is to apply your Strengths. Certified Positive Psychology Coaches do this with their clients but it is important to do it with ourselves, first. Otherwise, it's impossible to understand. Even coaches need coaches for this type of assistance. Our positive psychology coaching students learn to do this with their clients and you can find a coach who can help you here.
Radical self-care for highly sensitive coaches is like tuning up a fine Italian sports car before taking an epic drive through the Italian Alps. Otherwise, you might end up stuck by the side of the road, or worse. Do take that epic life adventure! But first take time to take care of yourself. You'll enjoy more awe, more thrills, more gratitude, more togetherness, more joy. And so will those around you!
Ready to be your best so you can serve others better? Ready to treat yourself the way your need to be treated? Ready to nurture your super powers so they can be your super strengths and not your weaknesses? Take this upcoming free class and get started on the path of radical self-care:
*This post is informed by Esther Bergsma's The Brains of Highly Sensitive People, published in 2020 in the US. Highly recommended! By the way, this book features the 2007 research on sensitivity by Winnie Dunn, PhD, OTR, FOATA, CPPC. Winnie later attended and graduated from our Certified Positive Psychology Coach Program.