Do you feel stuck? What’s in your way? Is it a barrier, obstacle, challenge, or an excuse? Working with a holistic nurse coach to understand why you’re stuck might be the first step in reaching your goal.
Helping a client recognize challenges and barriers to initiating change is essential to the holistic nurse coach role. Why does that matter? Barriers, Obstacles, Challenges, and Excuses get in the way of reaching your goal.
What Are The Differences Between Barriers, Obstacles, Challenges, and Excuses?
A barrier is something that stops you. It makes it impossible. It might even be there with the intent to block an activity from occurring. For example, there could be a law or policy preventing certain behaviors. Significant changes are needed to overcome them. These may require substantial time and effort, for example, learning a new skill or getting a new certification. You may not be able to be overcome by individual effort alone.
An obstacle is something that gets in the way of progress. Obstacles are things that prevent you from being effective. They slow you down. These are usually temporary and respond to a change in strategy. You’ll need to choose what to do next. Examples are things that you spend time working around again and again. The holistic nurse coach recognizes mental obstacles and asks POWERFUL QUESTIONS to help clients identify beliefs that result in fear, procrastination, and freezing in place. You may also experience situational obstacles, like money, time, space, knowledge, and organizational and societal structures.
A challenge is a situation that requires an active response. Challenges can be seen as landmarks or milestones in achieving your goal. Holistic nurse coaches understand that challenges are not intrinsically problems but can be part of the normal developmental process. For example, before starting construction, you may be required to obtain a building permit.
An excuse is a reason you make up to explain why you haven’t started. Holistic nurse coaches recognize excuses when you are too afraid to commit to the project or when you fear failure or the judgment of others. Maybe you are a perfectionist or a habitual procrastinator. Excuses make us feel better about not doing what we say we want to do.
What Holistic Nurse Coaches Do to Help
A holistic nurse coach will help you frame the goal as a measurable outcome, not just that “things will be better.” If the goal seems impossible or unreasonable, your holistic nurse coach might guide you to break it into pieces and consider how to approach it. This will help see if the bar is set too high or too low. Maybe the goal is too big. Perhaps it’s not big enough!
A holistic nurse coach will guide you as you get clear about your goal. The holistic nurse coach will inquire about the ‘why’ question—the who, where, what, and how of the goal will emerge.
A holistic nurse coach may use creative visualization techniques to help you get a rich and detailed image of how you will feel and what you will be able to do when you achieve your goal.
A holistic nurse coach will help you identify your resources, internal and external strengths, and self-defeating assumptions.
A holistic nurse coach might encourage you to make a huge list of all possible obstacles, cross out the ones that aren’t important and then imagine what it would be like if all the obstacles were removed.
A holistic nurse coach may ask POWERFUL QUESTIONS that lead you to consider having a definition of success that allows for multiple outcomes, being aware of opportunities to ‘pivot’ and change your perspective.
When talking with a holistic nurse coach, you may realize that you don’t have to do it alone. You can consider the 4 C’s—consultants, colleagues, community, and coaches.
The holistic nurse coach may serve as your accountability partner or help you identify someone else to serve in that role.
Two last things to consider:
Maybe things aren’t happening because you, someone else, or an organization isn’t ready. Holistic nurse coaches use behavioral change theories to understand readiness for change and base their interactions on that understanding.
You may benefit from further discussion to answer the following questions. What’s important here? Why do you want to do this? What matters to you? How much do you like it? What would you regret if you didn’t do it?
Amy Kenefick Moore started her nursing career with Neonatal Intensive Care nursing and then became a Certified Nurse Midwife, practicing in Boston MA and Providence RI. She was a nurse practitioner in a large long-term care facility in western MA for nearly a decade before she joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing. She also held a joint appointment at the UConn School of Medicine. She has a PhD in Nursing and did a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale’s Center for Excellence in Chronic Illness Care. In addition to being a Certified Nurse Midwife and Family Nurse Practitioner, she is certified as an Advanced Practice Holistic Nurse and a Health and Wellness Nurse Coach. She was in INCA cohort #18. Her nurse coaching training included a focus on the end of life. Her nursing practice has been about quality of life throughout the lifespan. Both her long career in nursing and her personal life have taught her that it’s never too late to make things better than they would have been. What can be made better and how that happens depends on the teamwork between the nurse and the client. A kind of magic happens as the possibilities unfold and the results emerge. Amy has published research and stories about the human experience of health and illness. Her work in nursing theory development focuses on the nurse-client relationship and on practice models based on the concept of the sustaining presence of the nurse. Sometimes the nurse’s client is a student and she has done research and theory work about the use of storytelling in that context. She believes that the nursing faculty role is an ideal situation in which to demonstrate the fine art of nursing practice. Her coaching clients are often people who have had successful professional careers and are now faced with some kind of health-related situation. Sometimes the client is the person who has the condition and sometimes it’s their friend or family member. Sometimes clients are nurses who deal with health situations for a living. Amy’s work is about helping people develop a practical understanding of their situation, identify personal goals and make changes in their lives. A priority is to stop the overwhelm and make it doable. Sometimes this even means figuring out the best thing that could happen and then going one step further. When that happens, it’s magical!