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Is a Wellness Coach Right for You? (Part II)

Paula Payne of High Point, NC, has spent much of her life pursuing her passion for helping others live well. She now is dedicated to supporting cancer survivors. Read Part I and how Paula first discovered her passion for wellness in Is a Wellness Coach Right for You? (Part I).

What does mindfulness mean?

In addition to prevention, intervention, conventional and complementary approaches to wellness, mindful awareness encompass the following:

Building upon Paula’s education

After Paula completed the Duke program, she sought further training.

“The Duke program was amazing,” she says. “Because I am a super practical person, I also wanted the most up-to-date information on nutrition, exercise, and the immune system.”

She enrolled in the Natural Institute of Whole Health program and became a Patient Advocacy Health Educator. After completing that program, she completed yet another program, one focusing on the spiritual.

Even though she has impressive training and experience, Paula says credentials don’t matter as much as knowledge. “What’s more important is to know what you can offer people to make a difference in their lives.”

Exploring the spiritual component to wellness

Paula wanted to complete her training with one more program that focuses on spirituality. The focus of the program Wisdom of the Whole is about connecting the soul and the physical with the spiritual.

“It honors that everybody is on their own path and needs to find their own way and to respect that,” she says. “As a coach, you have in-depth conversations all the time. But coaching is not about telling people things. It’s about eliciting the person’s own inner knowing. Part of coaching is asking questions to help them find what truly is going on with them and what their path is and what they want to accomplish in life.”

Merging it all together as a holistic health coach

Paula also leads a LiveStrong at the YMCA program in North Carolina. She combines her nursing expertise, her personal experience as a caregiver for her husband, and her wealth of knowledge about wellness to coach cancer patients/survivors or anyone seeking to improve their life.

“It’s all about holistic health coaching, focusing on the spiritual aspects of health and wellness,” she says.

“The wonderful thing about coaching is that it can be done over the phone. In fact, most of my Duke colleagues do it over the phone. They talk to people all over the world. We can use Skype or Zoom, because some people like to be able to see you. Some people prefer to be right with you. Some people like to be anonymous on the phone and they may reveal more about what’s going on with themselves and they feel more comfortable that way. They can be in their PJs or whatever. Other people like to see you, but don’t need to be with you. Skype is good for them. It’s just whatever fits each person.”

Rethinking and relearning health

Learning to be a coach can be challenging, especially for nurses who have the heart of an educator, Paula says.

“Nurses truly are like teachers,” she says. “We’re educators, but coaching requires that you step back. It’s not that the person needs information from you. The person needs you to help them discover what’s going on with them. That’s not something you can read and say, “Oh, I get it and then go do it. You have to rewire your brain to be able to do that.”

Read the conclusion of Paula’s story in Is a Wellness Coach Right for You? Part III.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.