Beating information overload with coaching strategies
Being overwhelmed by the overload of information is a state of consciousness that many expectant couples struggle with. It disempowers and damages their ability to make mindful decisions and perform well. Beating it requires a shift in our practice rather than providing more information. You can help your birth clients beat this overwhelm by coaching them.
In my practice, I often encounter the overwhelm that my clients
experience being overloaded with information. Seriously, it feels like it enters the room when they do. How often are you being called to resolve this overwhelm as a childbirth educator or a doula? There are conflicting opinions and expectant parents don’t know what advice to take or what to believe while all along trying to do the right thing; they want to find what is best for the mother and the baby. The overload of information creates ‘noise’ that interrupts our internal conversations with ourselves. Feeling overwhelmed is not only disempowering, but it’s also exhausting.
Take Tammy, for example, my recent birth client, who just found out that her baby is in a breech position while being 35 weeks pregnant. When we met, Tammy already had so much information in her possession: She had already learned about acupuncture and moxa, spinning babies activities, chiropractic alignment, the medical procedure of external version, she already had a list of local hospitals and OBGYNs who would deliver a breech baby vaginally, and knew that the most often the medical solution preferred by the medical community is a cesarean.
So what is it that Tammy needed from me? How could I have contributed to her decision-making process when she’s got so much information?
Tammy was overwhelmed with the overload of information she gathered in the last 48 hours, and what she needed from me is a pathway to making a decision that is right for her. My role was to provide leadership that will help her tie together the relevant information with her consciousness, her perspective, her beliefs, and values. I’m about to show you how it’s done, but before that, I’ll share the new version of the BRAIN model we have developed at Birth Coach Method.
The BRAIN model, in which the B stands for Benefits, the R for Risks, the A for Alternatives, the I for Intuition (or sometimes Implications), and the N for Nothing (for doing nothing) , has been used by many childbirth educators and doulas in order to explore the value of medical interventions and procedures. I found myself teaching nurses and talking about the ‘I’ in BRAIN in terms of Individuation Birth Coach Method New BRAIN (1) – the process by which an individual becomes distinct. I integrated this version in my new Coaching for Pregnancy and Birth Certification Course because I found it to be the perfect term for our goal – teaching birth professionals how to coach their clients and lead them throughout the process of sorting the information through their personal perspectives. The coaching techniques help clients to block the external ‘noise’ and make a mindful decision that is aligned with their beliefs and values. I am now going to show you how it is done step-by-step:
- Recognition of Choices: Firstly, lead your client to recognize the fact that she has options; how lucky you are to be able to choose! This change of perspective empowers her to step into the position of a mindful woman practicing her freedom of choice.
- Creating an Emotional Distance: Suggest that your clients look at the situation from an observer’s perspective, and ask:
– How has your perspective shifted?
– What potential solutions come to mind?
- Tie the information together with her beliefs: In this step, you reconnect the client with her perspectives and beliefs and allow her to search within themselves for the solution that is right for them. You may ask:
– Do you have all the information and resources you need in order to make a mindful decision that is right for you?
– Which one of the options we discussed resonates with you the most? Why is it appealing to you?
- Check the client’s alignment by asking her body: Once a decision was made, or in times of struggle to reach one, you may ask your client’s body for help. Our bodies respond to our thoughts and feelings. (Think for 3 minutes about lice and see if you begin scratching your head.) Ask your client to focus inward (You may choose to lead her towards a full body relaxation), read her the options one by one and wait for a noticeable change which will signal ease of mind – her chest and face might open up, or soften, and her breath will become deeper when the option resonates with your client.
- Dealing with resistances: After a decision was made, the most common resistance presents itself in the form of the next question: What if I chose badly? The best way to deal with this self-doubt is by reminding our clients that everyone is trying to do their best with the resources available to them. There is simply no other way to go through life, and they can use this situation as an opportunity to practice parenthood.
If you wonder about Tammy, she decided that she wanted to exhaust all the options and do everything possible to avoid a cesarean, including a trial of vaginal delivery while knowing it can end with an emergency cesarean. This coaching process helped her conclude that her priority is to know that she has absolutely tried everything possible to deliver vaginally.
If an overload of information is something that you find your clients often struggle with, I invite you to join my coaching for pregnancy and birth certification course. You will learn valuable tools that you can implement immediately in your practice.
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