Six foundational elements of coaching (part 3)

Six foundational elements of coaching (part 3)

The 3rd foundational element of coaching is to help our clients design an optimal environment. This includes both physical environments and the people in their lives.

This blog post is all about helping our clients change their physical environment. Changing the physical environment is one of the easiest things our clients can do to achieve the results they want.

I’ve been wanting to learn digital scrapbooking for quite some time. Several months ago, I purchased an online course from CreativeLive and went through part of it. And then I stopped and didn’t do anything with it for months.

Last week, I took it up again and finished the course.

So what changed? Why did I take it back up again and finish it?

Was it willpower?



I changed my digital “environment.” I created a separate desktop on my iMac for just the digital course. On the left side of my screen the course is open in my browser to the exact video that I’m currently working through. On the other side I have Photoshop open with the file I’m using to create my project.

Everything is ready to go.

It’s amazing how prepping my environment has made such a difference to the progress I’ve made on this one goal. Somehow signing into the website, navigating to the video I needed, and then opening up Photoshop hindered me from making any progress.

Every goal can benefit from changing up the environment. 

Environment can play a role in helping your clients achieve transformation in three ways...

  1. 1
    Removing items to design an optimal environment
  2. 2
    Adding items to design an optimal environment
  3. 3
    Adding new environments to their life

Removing items to design an optimal environment

It’s important to start with removing anything from the environment that’s going to get in the way of your client achieving the results they want.

The environment should help the client focus on their goal.

And anything in the environment that leads to distraction should be removed completely, if possible. Or at the very least put out of sight.

For example, there are many health programs that will tell people to cut all the junk food from their homes.

And for good reason.

Research has shown that willpower is not infinite. If we use up our willpower earlier in the day, it’s pretty much nonexistent by the evening.

And if junk food is in the house, it begins to speak to us. From my personal experience, chocolate is LOUD! And has an unexplainable magnetic pull.

It’s better not to be tempted at all.

As you know, I coach other coaches. And with my clients, I often suggest they use timers whenever they have to check email or go on social media for their businesses. Because checking email and social media can be as addictive as junk food. 

When I'm not coaching clients, I work in what I call modified pomodoros. I work for 40-minutes, check email and Slack for 5 minutes, and then take a 15 minute break. Timers can be our best friends when it comes to limiting the "junk food" in our businesses.

I also recommend to many clients to clear out any clutter from their homes.

I’m a firm believer that our outside environment reflects our inner environment — how we’re feeling inside. If our external environment is cluttered, we’re not feeling at peace with ourselves internally.

The great news is that this can be reversed. If we declutter our outside environment, we feel calmer internally.

It’s crazy how that works, but it is a real gift.

Adding items to design an optimal environment

Once items and distractions have been removed, we can then look at what needs to be added to design an optimal environment. In the example I used in the beginning of this article, I added Photoshop and the CreativeLive course to my computer.

One of my clients focuses on helping working moms find balance and joy in the craziness that is their lives. She has them download an app called Insight Timer onto their phone. This app has over 1500 free meditation audios that range from 1 minute to hours. To start, she has them find one minute in their day to listen to an audio. Then they find more minutes throughout the day to take a 1-2 minute break.


Relax for a moment.

Then move on.

What items, tools, filing systems, apps, clothes, gadgets, etc. does your client need to make the transformation?

Is it better workout gear?

Is it little reminders around their house of the transformation they want to make?

Along with items in their current environment, what environments do they need to add?

Adding new environments to their life

It’s not enough to add things to create an optimal environment. Often, our clients need to change environments altogether.

At least some of the time.

That could mean getting a gym membership. It might be going outside for a walk, hike, or bike ride. 

One of my clients is a relationship coach for couples. She has her clients set up date nights every week. They have to go somewhere new that neither of them has been to before. It can be a restaurant. A walk. Something crazy fun like roller skating. It doesn’t matter what it is. The only criteria is that they do it together and it has to be new so they don’t get in a rut. 

Another client works with overworked young moms. She encourages her clients to find environments where the kids can play without constant supervision. Thus, allowing the moms to be there for their kids but still be able to take a break. 

In my clients’ cases, it might mean going to a coffee shop to write. Getting out to a networking event if that’s the marketing approach they’ve chosen. It could mean going to the library to study their craft. 

Most of us coaches work from home. So it can be incredibly productive to change things up and get out of the house for a while.

So, to help your client make the changes necessary…

  1. 1
    What can your clients remove from their current environment to make it easier?
  2. 2
    What can they add to their current environment?
  3. 3
    What new environments can they add?

In the next blog post, we'll talk about the other half of designing an optimal environment -- the people in our clients' lives.

Miss the first two posts in the series? View part 1 here

With love & joy,


P.S. Is there someone in your life who could benefit from reading this post? Why not share this with them?

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