January 4, 2017
By Joel Kreisberg, DC, ACC
The Online Coaching Clinic is a progressive way to watch a master coach working step-by-step with a client in the narrative coaching style. This particular format leads one to deeper understanding of the process, witnessed as first-hand experience.
-Dina Saalisi, current student
We gather every other week for seven sessions in the Online Coaching Clinic (OCC) at Teleosis Institute. We do this to refine our coaching skills, learn from one another and grow as a community. Working live with a client, in the presence of students and other coaches, offers opportunities for insight and skill mastery. Given the lack of clinical experiences available for student and professional coaches alike, it’s no surprise so many are interested in this class. The OCC is part of our full certificate program, in which students have access to both the clinic and direct supervision with a mentor coach. Many trained coaches have had little or no contact with a seasoned professional health coach – during their training, or thereafter. This blog offers brief journey inside the Online Coaching Clinic.
Each session begins with checking in. Essential for all classes at Teleosis, participants ground with one another as we arrive. Everyone tunes in via video conferencing on Zoom, from somewhere on our computers, whether at work, home or cafe, and we each take a minute to share something from our lives. We next sit quietly together for a minute or two. I personally love meditation and feel that taking breaks during work is essential for balancing my internal and external states. Daily meditation is key to preparation for me.
When complete, I review out loud the current coaching program for the client, who is not yet on the call, and then name a topic for discussion to students for today’s session. At once, I am modeling how I prepare for clients in my private practice, while asking the students to consider larger patterns of coaching, such as the difference between the beginning, middle and end of the program, or resistance patterns that are emerging. Students become more familiar with narrative patterns and health coaching structures by working directly with current challenges.
30 minutes into the clinic, our volunteer clients joins the call. Students are muted, while the client and I engage a full coaching session lasting between 30 and 40 minutes. This alone seems to provide ample learning opportunities. I’ve been working as a healer for close to 29 years and narrative health coaching is a verbal healing activity. Our conversation together serves to ignite change. Each session is full of powerful coaching techniques and available 24/7 in Teleosis’ online classroom. Presence is key to coaching dynamics and the students, client and I evolve a healthy comfortable learning environment for everyone. I often re-watch the session on my own later, as do the students.
After the client completes and we break briefly, I introduce several observations I feel strongly about from today’s session. We often reveal finer features of narrative health coaching, and attend to subtler dynamics in the client/coach interchange. This paves the way for a lively discussion among participants as we share observations. Learning is not just teacher-student, but, rather, the dynamic quickly evolves more collaboratively, enriching the learning environment. Often the preparatory comments intertwine with the live encounter and provide students a direction for new learning. Current student Ruth Marlin, MD offers:
“The coaching clinic is an excellent way to view a master coach and client work through a series of sessions to completion. The excellent structure of didactic information sets the stage for each session. There is plenty of time to discuss the process with experienced coaches. The class helped me with my own clients and gave me a look at an ideal coaching experience.”
As the live session comes to a close, students are reminded to follow my coaching assignment online within a day or two. In narrative health coaching session, I give a detailed assignment to the client. I email the coaching assignment directly to the client and post it in our online classroom, along with my session notes, for the students.
“Joel’s posting of the client’s assignments and his rationale were valuable components of the program. Joel did a great job of explaining his background and approach to clients; he was very transparent and that was much appreciated,” comments Barbara Sternitzke, MSN.
We use online learning forums for ongoing integration of concepts. I post a forum question after each session. Students have the opportunity to explore their understanding of the coaching process. Over the next 10 days or so, each student posts a reflective response to the forum question, and reads others’ posts, responding freely. Lisa McCall, of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health writes:
“Joel provided an in depth learning environment with the Online Coaching Clinic. They were excellent at guiding the group through an actual client coaching interaction over many weeks. In that time, I was able to understand the coaching process and also share in a community forum. As a certified Life Coach, I feel this experience has enhanced my coaching practice and I have already applied the principles that were demonstrated to me.”
We complete this learning cycle seven times for a clinical session. It’s a short coaching program and many folks have taken the clinic several times to have a chance to work with different clients. Tanya Renner, a professional homeopath writes:
“There are many effective tools to help a person feel better, but it takes an insightful, experienced practitioner to help a person ‘be better’ and stay better. The Teleosis Institute Coaching program has helped me clearly see the difference and is teaching me how to effectively guide a client towards deep, sustained healing. I loved the dynamic online clinic! Participants are fully involved as they are learning how to use the client’s assets to build success and strengthen weaker ‘muscles.’ I am not a coach by profession, but jumped right in and immediately started applying what I am learning in my practice and own life.”
If joining a community of like-minded health professionals committed to increasing their healing skills and learning together is something that would serve you, I invite you to consider joining the next session of the Online Coaching Clinic, which begins January 18, 2017.