Coaching your Older Clients
As we get older we will all at some point pause to check if we can see any gap between what we thought growing older would be like and how it is now actually starting to feel. Think about checking in with your older clients to ask if they can see a finish line ahead that shows they have nearly accomplished everything they set out to in life, or if they can see the starting line for the rest of their lives?
They may want to work with you to pause and reflect on how they got to be where they are or simply to help them check they are ready for where they would like to head next. But no matter what the reason they want to pause and reflect, it can be an ideal opportunity for them to think about the many things they set out to achieve or accomplish in life and how they now prepare themselves for what still remains to be done.
Coaching can add some real value in this type of situation and making sure your older clients have time for some personal reflection between coaching sessions can be the key to this being really successful. Especially when working with somebody who is trying to reflect on their life and consider what they would like the next chapter to be.
However, because of the range of topics older clients will normally like to discuss in their coaching sessions, it can be better to meet them less frequently but over a longer period of time. This enables your initial focus to be on reviewing any outdated vision they may have of themselves and checking they are being kind to themselves about what is now physically possible or how much control they have over their life ahead. You can also use this opportunity to encourage your older clients to develop a new or updated vision of who they are, what they are still capable of achieving and what this next chapter of their life will feel like.
Frequently discussed themes when coaching older people:
- Planning for major life events like retirement or any future projects
- Continuing to work or starting to volunteer
- Managing their savings and planning for a weekly budget
- Enjoying more free time and making space for a range of social activities
- Getting physical and ageing gracefully
You may also be asked to provide support to:
- Address any uncertainty of the future and manage anxieties related to change
- Maintain a positive outlook on life and work through any major life changes
- Preserve self-confidence and positive self-image
- Challenge any negative beliefs relating to the ageing process
- Build a range of meaningful life projects
But coaching is more than just having a supportive conversation, so one great tool to use when coaching older clients is to listen carefully and then ask a series of strategic questions because strategy is seen as the art of leading and co-ordinating actions to achieve a goal. And as a professional coach we will often use this technique to support our clients to look at or review their life, and then challenge them to look into the future. This can help them understand what help or support they may need to get them from where they are now to where they want to be or just explore where they want to go next.
This approach can help uncover any key goals or life projects that can provide your older clients with some much-needed motivation. So now is the time to review your older clients and see if any of them (without even realizing it) have suddenly got stuck in a routine and find it difficult to break habits or make the progress they want in life.
Offer them your help to explore the future and learn to think differently about the ageing process and start to write the next chapter of their life as they plan towards a successful retirement. And to fully support you in coaching your older clients, we have published a virtual card game you can use in your coaching sessions as a creative life coaching tool:
- Virtual Card Game – Coaching Older People: A creative way for supporting your older clients as they plan towards a successful retirement.
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