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The Role Of A Coach Vs. A Medical Expert – Exclusive Interview With Tamara Beydoun

As the founder of Tamara Bey Coaching, I offer somatic trauma informed coaching – a holistic and integrative approach that addresses the mind, body, and spirit of my clients. I am certified by the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy, the UK International Health Coaching Association, the International Coach Federation, and the Continued Professional Development. I am also trained in "Trauma Informed Positive Psychology Coaching Method™ and Non-Violent Communication. As a result of my own journey of war, displacement, and childhood sexual abuse and an adult relationship of emotional & psychological abuse, I fully appreciate the impact of how our traumas & epigenetics can have on all aspects of our current health.


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Tamara Beydoun (Tawil), Trauma Informed Functional Medicine Health Coach


First of all, as a coach, how do you define the scope of your responsibilities?


As a coach, it’s crucial for me to respect the ethical boundaries of my profession. I’m not a nutritionist or a therapist; I’m a certified coach with all the ICF certifications and CPD accreditation. However, this does not make me a licensed expert, and I highly value the expertise of licensed professionals. We collaborate extensively, recognizing our different approaches. Sometimes, an expert is necessary, and a coach can provide support in a unique way.


What distinguishes your coaching approach from that of an expert?


One key distinction is that in coaching, we operate on the belief that the client knows what’s best for them. We empower our clients, referring to them as clients rather than patients. In contrast, experts treat patients and often provide education based on their diagnoses. Our focus is on client self-awareness and insights, heavily utilising motivational interviewing and active listening. This means we listen to what’s not being said, paying attention to changes in tone and underlying emotions, whereas experts often focus on physical symptoms and factual data.


Can you elaborate on the active listening mindset in coaching?


Active listening in coaching involves digging deeper into the issues clients present. For instance, if a client mentions feeling bloated, we explore potential emotional connections, old patterns, or lifestyle factors like sleep. We ask the right questions to help clients gain awareness and find their own answers. This individualised approach contrasts with the more standardised protocols experts might follow. I may refer them to a functional medicine practitioner for further testing or a nutritionist if needed.


How does the collaboration between coaches and experts typically work?


Coaches and experts complement each other well. Coaches focus on positive psychology, self-compassion, and motivational interviewing. We ask questions that help clients relive positive experiences to inspire future goals. For example, we might ask a client to recall a time when they successfully integrated a desired change into their life and explore what was happening then. This approach fosters intrinsic motivation, essential for sustaining long-term changes. We work a lot with positive psychology, values and vision.


Could you give an example of how you use motivational interviewing in your sessions?


Certainly. Take smoking cessation, for instance. While an expert might emphasise the health risks of smoking, I would help the client discover their intrinsic motivation to quit. We might discuss the last time they smoked, how they felt, and what positive changes they noticed when they weren’t smoking. This helps them reconnect with their own reasons for wanting to quit, making the goal more personally meaningful and sustainable.


How do you handle brainstorming and problem-solving with your clients?


In coaching, brainstorming is a collaborative process. I ask for the client’s permission before offering ideas and encourage a back-and-forth exchange. We might each suggest five ideas, creating a pool of potential solutions from which the client chooses what resonates most with them. This method ensures that solutions are client-driven, promoting ownership and commitment to the chosen path. I would then invite the client to choose which one or two ideas resonate the most and we set a SMART goal towards it.


What role do vision and goals play in your coaching sessions? Vision and goals are central to every coaching session. We revisit the client’s vision, purpose, and meaning, setting SMART goals that they choose. Even small steps, like researching the closest gym, are celebrated as significant achievements. This approach fosters a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue progressing.


Can you explain the use of character strengths in your coaching?


We utilise the VIA Survey to identify the client’s top character strengths, such as kindness, integrity, and curiosity. There are 24 character strengths that are globally recognised. By integrating these strengths into their daily lives, clients experience greater joy and fulfilment. Throughout the coaching process, we continually reference these top signature strengths, helping clients leverage them to achieve their goals. This focus on strengths and values reinforces their vision and provides a sense of purpose and meaning.


How do you see your role as a coach in the client's journey?


I see myself as a cheerleader for my clients. We celebrate even the smallest achievements because they signify progress. Coaches typically have more frequent interactions with clients, offering continuous support and motivation. This ongoing relationship contrasts with the more episodic nature of expert consultations, making coaching a valuable complement to expert care. Together, coaches and experts provide a comprehensive support system for clients.


Follow me on Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Read more from Tamara Beydoun (Tawil)

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