William Cook, cynical about coaching

William Cook, cynical about coaching

When I met journalist William Cook, he was very kind and very apprehensive. As part of an assignment for The Guardian he was willing to ‘undergo’ a series of coaching sessions to find out how it works, and if it would benefit him.As he did not have any major issues, he was sceptical about change but open to the experience.

For me, as his coach, it was a great challenge. Usually clients come with the focus that they want (or need) to change. Often it is not clear what exactly, but the intention for change gives motivation to work. This case was different.

However, very soon into the first session William made some realisations.

As always my first question to him was, as I ask all my clients: ‘What do you want from our sessions? ’William couldn’t answer this question, as most people can’t. Coming from a place where you know it can be better, but can’t put your finger on what is wrong. William recognised that he was getting stressed about the smallest things and called himself ‘a glass-half-empty kind of guy’.

Talking about different things, hopping from one thing to another, we start to discuss his relationship with food, which he calls ‘lousy’. Always thinking of food, planning when and what to eat, keen on junk food and presenting an anxiety and nervousness around it. He came to realise not only that he uses food when he is under emotional pressure, but also that he is fearful to gain weight. This started since he lost weight, years ago, when he was too heavy; food is still the enemy that needs to be controlled.

Through some very simple awareness exercises William discovered that he feels really bad about all the sweet and fatty snacks he eats, and the way to pretend he never ate it is to clear his plate as soon as he could. Isn’t it great how we try to ‘fool’ ourselves?

‘Mariette has taught me to enjoy my food for what it is, rather than using it as a substitute for other things I might be missing.’


To read the full article as it appeared in The Guardian, click here.

Over time, working with a range of clients, I have noticed the interesting phenomenon of ‘the way you do ANY thing, is the way you do EVERY thing’. Of course, it isn’t that simple and clear, but very often creating a change in one area promotes change in other areas. As with William, one of his ‘bad habits’ (his words, not mine) is to check emails every few minutes. He was snacking on emails. Since he stopped snacking on food, he also stopped his neurotic email checks. Isn’t that interesting?

How do you treat food? Is it something you apply to other areas of your life? What does it show you? Do you want to change? It doesn’t need to take long. Are you heading for an eating disorder?

Check out my other articles on diets, food and eating stress, eating disorders:

How to be a successful dieter,

The stress of scales,

7 tips to stick to your diet,

Three attitudes for a positive diet,

Are you bordering on an eating disorder?