#25: Communication: Relatable Reflections

Coaching Hive with Dr. Moira Hanna
Coaching Hive with Dr. Moira Hanna
#25: Communication: Relatable Reflections

Music and Intro Message

I’m Dr. Moira. I’m a college professor, instructor, coach, and passionate mentor to health coaches around the world. But I haven’t always been that confident and committed to my coaching career. I was hesitant to take the next step and wasn’t sure what the best approach was to success and fulfillment. I decided to step into my passion and purpose of guiding health coaches on their journey from hesitant health coach to committed health coach,

with a unique approach to coach growth, the Coaching Hive Blueprint combines creating a mindful vision with inspiring guidance and progress-driven learning. The coaching hive podcast is your glimpse into the concepts, ideas, and approaches that underscore the coaching hive while giving you the opportunity to implement tools and tips along the way. Are you ready to dive into today’s podcast, then let’s go and remember that this podcast is family friendly.

So go ahead and play it through your speakers.


Welcome to a new episode of the Coaching Hive Podcast. I’m Dr. Moira and your guide on this journey to moving from feeling hesitant about your health coaching career, to shouting that you are committed and confident to help you find your voice with more ease. This month has been all about communication. And more specifically our OARS when thinking about coaching and building a business communication is key.

Communication is key actually to everything we do in life. That is why I love learning about coaching techniques so much. They are almost always applicable to your everyday life outside of coaching and who doesn’t love a good conversation. That’s balanced and thoughtful, a really meaningful conversation do love when you make a request and you are met with someone who’s really listening. Of course.

Okay. So if you have listened to episodes 23 and 24, you know that I am going to talk about motivational interviewing today. We are talking about our oars and we have just two more components to discuss. We had already discussed open-ended questions. We talked about affirmations, and now we are moving on to our reflections. And it’s so important to have a good understanding of OARS because they provide a foundation for creating effective communication.

And so, as we talked about questions, we talked about this idea of really making them open questions. We want to make sure that the client has to think before they respond, because that’s when you get to the heart and soul of what it is they want and what they need out of their wellness journey. And last week, when we talked about, we talked about them as being a way to help fill a client’s bucket, help them to know that they have strengths to get through those difficult times. So we talked about open-ended questions. We talked about affirmations. We are going to talk about the “R”, which is reflections.


What role do reflections, really play? We could certainly spend the entire podcast today talking about all of these different types of reflections that exist all of the definitions, all of the examples, and while that would certainly be worthwhile. And I do encourage you to look over that. It’s not where I want to focus our time for today, but if you’re interested in kind of the nuts and bolts of reflections, there are a lot of great resources out there. I’ll link a few of my favorites in the show notes, but to give you a heads up, of course, the motivational interviewing book that third edition by Rollnick and Miller, that’s a great one, has a lot of good examples. So do the motivational interviewing tips by Molly Kellogg. Those are both at the top of my list, the motivational interviewing tips and the motivational interviewing book by Rollnick and Miller. They give a lot of examples. They give a lot of information. They give definitions, they give you real world ways to use these things. So if you’re new to reflections, those are some great starting points. 

Now, if you are in fact, new to reflections, reflections basically are offered to help the person that you’re speaking with to hear back their ideas. And it is exceptionally affirming to hear that reflection, because then you know, that the person that you’re talking to is actually listening. It’s very difficult to reflect if you’re not actually listening to what the speaker has to say, but you know, we live in a very busy world and you can probably think about a conversation where you’ve had, where you have thought about whether the person is actually listening to you.

Are they nodding and smiling at the right places? Or are they listening-listening? And you haven’t been sure you probably know what I’m talking about. And it’s not the best feeling. It’s not the best experience. No one wants to feel like, well, are they just nodding smiling? No one wants to even question that.  So, reflections serve a lot of different purposes.

And one of them is to build that trust, build a connection with the person you’re speaking with. I think as you reflect the listener gets to know that you’re focused entirely on them. You’re focused on what it is they’re sharing. And when we think about a health coach, client sharing something, it might be something that’s very difficult for them to share.

Maybe they’ve never talked about the fact that they’re insecure about their weight or that they feel frustrated that they don’t have endurance that their friends have when they go out hiking, they may be sharing personal things. And if we’re not listening may feel embarrassing to our clients to be telling these personal facts and feelings and thoughts. But if, as a coach you’re genuinely interested in listening, it takes away some of that hesitancy. So first and foremost reflections, keep the coach in the moment, really listening. And that is going to build a lot of trust with your client. It really lets them know that they’re being listened to. So often we are busy in our everyday life. And as someone’s talking, what do we do? We think about the next thing we think about the next thing.

We’re going to say what we’re going to ask. And it isn’t always focused on what the person just shared and this isn’t done out of meanness. I’m sure you’ve done it. I know I’ve done it. It’s not done out of meanness. It is. It’s just not coming from a place of feeling or being centered in the moment with the client, really being right with them.

You want to be with the person with whom you’re speaking, but that’s difficult. It can be difficult to deny that life is busy. We often run from one thing to the next, whether it’s inside our home or it’s virtually whether it’s outside in the real world or some combination. So if we’re reflecting, what happens is it serves to keep us focused.

It serves to keep us centered as a coach. So yeah, the first benefit of reflecting is that the client knows that they can trust you, that they will be listened to, but here’s the second benefit. The second benefit of reflections is that they are centering you the coach because you have to focus on just the conversation in the moment, not all of those other things that are happening in your world, not all the other things that have happened in your day, or that will happen in your day, that you’re, that are running through your brain. Instead, you are focused in the moment on the moment. So that’s the second benefit of reflections. It serves to help center the coach and keep them engaged in the moment. We always want our clients to be engaged in the conversation, but reflections also help the coach to stay engaged in the conversation. Okay. So benefit one, it lets the client know that they’ve been heard and understood. Second. It keeps us as coaches centered, make sure that we’re really listening in the moment, the third benefit. 

And I kind of just mentioned it a little bit when I was recapping benefit one.  The third benefit of reflections is that they give you a chance to understand the client. Think about that for a moment. Reflections, give us a chance to actually understand the client. Why is that? Well, we all bring our own experiences to the conversation, our own interpretations, our own moods, our own emotions, all of these things can color how we hear and interpret our client’s words and vice versa.

Our clients bring the same conversation. So, reflections offer the client a chance to correct our misconceptions or affirm that yes, we’re on the same page.

Relatable Reflections

But how do we reflect in a relatable, non-robotic way that takes practice? I will never forget the client. We had a great partnership. He was really making a lot of changes, but he told me at one point that he really didn’t like when I reflected.

And I was so grateful for that feedback. I made adjustments to how I communicated with him, but I realized two things pretty quickly. One is that I was offering way too many simple reflections more about that in just a minute. The second is that the client wasn’t used to a conversation slowing down a little bit to allow for these reflections.

So it was kind of a two-part thing. Well, let’s take one each of these one at a time. So the reflections that worked well, the, the reflections that work well and are relatable for our clients have to go beyond a simple mirroring of what we’ve just heard. They need to move the conversation forward so that you aren’t taking over, but you aren’t just being a sidekick without offering any guidance.

This is where going back to those good resources, motivational interviewing by Rollnick and Miller, going to things like motivational interviewing tips by Molly Kellogg and reading, reading, reading, reading, learning about all of those different reflection types. And examples can be very helpful, but honestly it takes practice a lot of practice. But when you start to incorporate more reflections that go beyond the simple mirror, that’s when you see the conversations just catapulting forward and the clients taking action, you see them gaining those a-ha insights, you know, the light bulb moments and they start getting really excited about their progress. The second part of the equation To making reflections more relatable is that you also have to build into them. You kind of have to ease into them a little bit.

If you have a client who is used to going a mile a minute, especially in problem solving kinds of conversations, You may Not be able to offer a lot of reflections, right? From the start. You actually may find it easier to transition to a more balanced conversation by starting with something like one reflection to every two questions and slowly easing into a one-to-one ratio.

Then maybe at some point you get to that, that ratio of two reflections to every question. But the main point here is to let your client be the guide, but also recognizing at the same time, the important role that reflections play. Remember they are going to encourage the client to take the driver’s seat rather than you as the coach taking control of the trajectory of change.

Because when the client is in charge of the change, it’s more likely to be sustained.


Ultimately, the goal of using all our OARS, including reflections is to guide our clients on their journey to sustainable change. We want them to create and live that wellness vision. When a client feels listened to, when they feel like their coach can see through their eyes, this becomes much more of a possibility. And with practice reflections are often even more effective and powerful than questions. And honestly, they’re a little bit easier to craft in the moment than a true, powerful open question that makes sure the client is thinking about all the options before they answer. Reflections, you’re taking a little bit about what the client offered. You’re adding to it and moving forward, you’re not starting fresh. Like you might be with a question.  So, reflections are powerful. They do take practice though. So, in our July series so far on communication, we have talked a lot about open questions. We crafted quite a question, right? The one that makes the client really think. We talked last week about filling buckets with affirmations. We talked about really using them, awakening them. And this week was more about crafting relatable reflections ones that really work in your conversation with your client and with your client’s needs.


Next week, we are going to continue talking about communication, but I am really excited about August. And I want to let you in on a few secrets. So August our podcast series in August is going to be all about passion and purpose.

And I have something very exciting and definitely special for you. We are talking all about passion and purpose because on August 10th, I get to sit down with book author, Amy McLaren, and talk about her brand new book that’s being released on August 10th. It’s called Passion to Purpose. And oh my goodness. I got a pre-release copy because of course, I’m going to be sitting down with Amy to talk about her book and my pre-release copy it’s PDF.

It is already dog-eared. It has sticky notes all over it. It has notes in the margins. It has insight. I love it. And I thought that since we have the opportunity to sit down and hear from Amy McLaren on really honoring our passions and moving into our purpose, that it would be a good time to focus our podcast on that for the entire month.

So I’m going to take her book. We’re going to talk about it. I’ll talk with Amy on the podcast on August 10th and it’s going to be fantastic. I am absolutely looking forward to it. And if you want to be in the know about this book, be sure to grab your copy on Amymclaren.com or on Amazon or your other favorite book providers.

You can go ahead and pre-order that book so that on August 10th, you will be getting your copy. And then later in the month, we will have a book club for passion to purpose. We will talk through Amy’s book and think about how to implement the things that she shares, the steps that she shares on moving from passion to purpose and how to really grow as we move into the last part of 2021.

So be on the lookout for more on our book club so that we can talk about Passion to Purpose, know that you need to mark your calendars for August 10th, with Amy’s interview on Passion to Purpose and check out Amazon or Amymclaren.com to get that pre-order taken care of. Okay, but next week is not August 10th and next week isn’t even August. So, what is coming next week?

As we wrap up our communication series, we’re going to talk about summaries and you may be thinking, great. That sounds fun. Maybe you’re saying, Hmm, that’s really not exciting, but it is. And it is super exciting. Summaries are the S in our OARS. So, we had open-ended questions, affirmations, reflections, and summaries. And I want you to be sure to tune in next week to find out why summaries are really superstars.

So, we are going to talk about our superstar summaries next week. But in the meantime, I cannot wait to hear your thoughts on incorporating reflections as a way to help your clients, your friends, your family members feel heard to feel understood. And I’d love to hear how, if you start incorporating reflections a little bit more, do you feel more focused and centered in the conversation?

That is something that we are always aiming for in our coaching conversations, but just in our everyday conversations. Well, so I look forward to hearing your thoughts, your feedback, how are reflections working for you? Do you have a favorite kind of reflection? And if so, what is it until next week? Enjoy get out there and practice. And pre-order passionate purpose by Amy McLaren.

And I will post her website on our show notes so that you can just click and go grab that. All right, until next week, have a wonderful day.



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