Self-care is a necessity for everyone, but it’s especially important for those in helping professions like coaching. As a leadership coach, you understand the importance of self-care for your clients. Without a doubt, self-care is essential for any leader who wants to be at the top of their game and better support their team. But how are you prioritizing supporting your whole-person well-being in your own daily routine?
Leadership coaches often pour so much of themselves into their work and into their clients that they sometimes neglect their own needs, which can erode their mental, emotional, and even physical well-being. With that, let’s begin by digging into why this practice is so important for coaches.
Why Self-Care Is Especially Important for Leadership Coaches
From a neuroscience standpoint, when we experience stress, our brains go into survival mode. This triggers a fight-or-flight response that can lead us to make hasty decisions that we may later regret — enter the Red Zone. On the flip side, when we take care of ourselves, we’re sending a message to our brains that we’re not in danger and that we don’t need to react from a place of fear — enter the Blue Zone. This allows us to think more clearly and make better decisions.
Here are a few more reasons why self-care is so important for leadership coaches:
- It helps prevent burnout. When you take time for yourself, you’re able to show up fully for your clients and give them the best possible coaching experience.
- It keeps you fresh and motivated. By attending to your own needs, you can stay excited about your work and continue to find new ways to support your clients.
- It can help you be a better coach. Taking care of yourself gives you the energy and presence of mind that you need to be an effective leadership coach. Your clients will benefit from your renewed dedication to their development!
When We Take Care of Ourselves, Our Clients Benefit As Well
Being attentive to supporting our mind and body wellness also allows us to show up as our best selves for our clients. When we’re well-rested, nourished, and taking care of our own needs, we’re able to be more present with our clients and offer them the support they need. As rewarding as coaching is, it can also be an incredibly demanding profession — mentally, emotionally, and even physically. As a recent Forbes article notes, “Consider that leadership begins with how you lead your life. Improve how you lead yourself to improve your ability to lead others.” If we want to be there for our clients, we need to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves first.
With that being said, The Academies has four brain-friendly self-care strategies every leadership coach should add to their toolkit. Keep reading to learn more!
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential for restoring energy levels, reducing stress, and maintaining mental clarity. That said, most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Consider going to bed and waking up at the same time each day to help regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm. And if you find yourself having trouble sleeping, avoid using electronics in the hour leading up to bedtime and create a relaxing bedtime routine including winding down for 30 minutes before turning out the lights.
Eat Healthy Meals
What you eat has a direct impact on how you feel — both mentally and physically. Be sure to fuel your body with nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and protein throughout the day. And just like with sleep, try to eat meals at around the same time each day to keep your metabolism humming along smoothly.
When we’re active on a regular basis, whether it’s keeping up with a daily exercise routine, a weekly yoga practice, or even doing some light stretching to start our day, there’s real power and empowerment in movement. Activity and exercise get the heart rate going and trigger the release of endorphins — the “feel good” chemical — which can help reduce stress levels, improve our mood, and improve brain function. And when we feel good physically and mentally, we’re better equipped to handle whatever comes our way — in work and in life!
Take Brain Breaks
When we’re constantly “on,” it’s difficult to recharge our batteries. That’s why it’s important to take breaks throughout the day — even if it’s just 5-10 minutes here and there. During your break, step away from technology and do something calming, like reading or listening to music. Even taking a few minutes to stand up from our desks and take a few deep breaths can give you a boost.
Leadership coaches play an important role in helping leaders achieve their full potential. But in order to successfully help others and make an impact, coaches need to take care of themselves first. By making your own self-care practices a priority, you can thereby model the importance of whole-person health to your clients, who can then incorporate similar practices in their workplace. As a result, you can expand your coaching impact even further, helping people at all levels in the workplace by promoting a culture that prioritizes self-care, mind-body wellness, and whole-person health. When leadership coaches practice this with intention, it can truly be a win-win for everyone!