There are plenty of coaching programs with all kinds of techniques that come and go. But some coaching techniques are timeless. And one of the most important of these coaching techniques is this: Unconditional Acceptance. When we truly accept another without needing them to be different, magic can happen. It helps people relax and let go, and it allows us to better intuit how we can truly serve our clients, friends, and loved ones. Join Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, as he explores the power of unconditional acceptance. Even if you’re not a coach, you’ll get some great insights from this fascinating IPEtv video.
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Below is a transcript of this week’s video:
Hi, I’m Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.
Today’s Topic: Timeless Coaching Tips – Part 2
And the tip we’re going to talk about today is this:
Now, I’m going to talk about Unconditional Acceptance as a skill in the context of coaching or counseling or in any helping profession. But please know that this skill is certainly applicable for anyone who wants to be a more effective communicator in the world.
Here’s the challenge: our clients often come to us with a problem or a challenge that they would like to get rid of yesterday. Especially when it comes to concerns such as weight, over eating, binge eating, emotional eating, or any unwanted health symptom or unwanted eating habit – our clients essentially don’t like this particular part of the human experience.
They don’t like having this problem.
In fact, to them, their problem is indeed like an enemy.
It’s a part of them that is unacceptable.
After all, who wants to walk around with a bunch of extra weight or an eating issue that we can’t seem to control?
These things can make us feel unlovable, less than, unacceptable, not good enough, and not worthy as a human being.
In other words, our clients often come to us clearly convinced that they can’t love or accept themselves until the problem they’re presenting with is gone.
Chances are, such clients have tried all different ways to attack their problem. They might have done some extreme dieting, intense calorie restriction, a lot of heavy-duty exercise, and they probably have used all the willpower that they can possibly muster. And it hasn’t worked. That’s why they come to see you. And when they come to see you, though clients won’t necessarily look you in the eye and tell you this, their biggest challenge is that they don’t accept themselves for who they are right now, in this moment.
Their internal radio station is ceaselessly playing a constant litany of songs that sing out how unfortunate their situation is, how hopeless it is, how awful they are, how their real life will finally begin once their problem is gone.
Think of it for a moment:
The reason why people want to lose weight, or conquer their unwanted eating issue, or have the body that they want, or the health and the energy that they want – is so that they can be happy. So they could look in the mirror and say something nice to themselves. So they can feel good enough about themselves to actually want to be alive and participating in the game of life.
People want to be able to accept themselves.
But here’s the challenge:
We humans tend to have a fascinating list of conditions that need to be present in order for us to accept self, or even anyone else.
So, the way it often goes, is that our clients are thinking “I will accept myself only when I have the perfect body. I will accept myself only when I eat perfectly and never overeat or emotionally eat. I will accept myself once my problem is gone. I will accept myself when I have reached a certain level of perfection or mastery over food and appetite.”
Whenever we put conditions on our acceptance of self – suffering and pain are predictable.
Whenever we put conditions on our acceptance of self – we immediately drop into a place of self-rejection.
Whenever we put conditions on our acceptance of self – we push the pause button on living our most authentic and inspired life and we go down a rabbit hole that never quite ends.
So here’s the punchline, my friends:
Your job as a practitioner is to unconditionally accept your client no matter who they are, no matter how much they weigh, no matter what they look like, no matter how much they eat, no matter how much they overeat, binge eat, emotionally eat, or hate their own body.
In essence, your client should need to do nothing more in life for you to unconditionally accept them even a drop more.
Think of it for a moment:
Imagine if your doctor said to you, “As soon as you lose the 20 pounds I’ll have a lot more respect for you. I’ll accept you. I’ll look you in the eyes. I’ll probably even do a better job in helping you.”
Life is too short for such nonsense.
Would you say to a small child or your baby that you’ll love them for real as soon as all their baby fat is gone and they have nice toned muscles?
We need to model for our clients exactly what they need for self.
We need to let them know that yes, we want them to be happy, and we want them to get where they need to go.
But taking a road of self-hate to get where they want to go actually inhibits their progress in a huge way.
Your job as a practitioner is to communicate unconditional acceptance to your client.
Do this through your attitude, through your smile, through your words, but most importantly – through the energy that emanates from your entire being that simply says to them, “I accept you for who you are, you don’t need to do anything more to be the most amazing person in the world, and let’s get going and do our best to help you get where you want to go.”
Hint: it’s much easier to unconditionally accept your client for who they are as you learn to do it for yourself. And paradoxically, the more we practice unconditional acceptance of our clients, the easier it is for us to look in the mirror and radiate unconditional acceptance for our own sweet self.
The proof is in the pudding, as Shakespeare said.
Try it out. Do this for at least three months in your professional practice, and see what happens.
Of course, this is one of the many, many strategies that we teach here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating in our premier professional program – our Eating Psychology Coach Certification Training.
So if this whets your appetite, I invite you to learn more by going to psychologyofeating.com.
I hope this was helpful, my friends.
To learn more about the breakthrough body of work we teach here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, please sign up for our free video training series at ipe.tips. You’ll learn about the cutting-edge principles of Dynamic Eating Psychology and Mind Body Nutrition that have helped millions forever transform their relationship with food, body, and health. Lastly, we want to make sure you’re aware of our two premier offerings. Our Eating Psychology Coach Certification Training is an 8 month distance learning program that you can take from anywhere in the world to launch a new career or to augment an already existing health practice. And Transform Your Relationship with Food is our 8 week online program for anyone looking to take a big leap forward with food and body.