Coach Interview Series: Sara Lasker

by Brandon

Sara Lasker

Life and Wellness Coach

Our main objective here at the National Coach Academy is to enable aspiring coaches to reach their full professional potential. One of the most effective ways to educate students about the world of coaching is by offering them a window into the world of real, practicing coaches and showing them all the different ways coaches make a difference in the lives of their clients.

We hope today’s interview adds another insightful glimpse into the dynamic world of coaching.

Today we are interviewing Sara Lasker. Sara is a life and wellness coach and the owner of Healthy and Hygge®.

NCA: Can you describe your coaching practice and the kinds of clients you typically work with?

Sara: Hygge (pronounced “Hoo-Ga”), is the Danish concept of wellness. Wellness is defined as “an approach to health that focuses on balancing the many aspects or dimensions, of a person’s life through increasing the adoptions of health enhancing conditions and behaviors rather than attempting to minimize conditions of illness”.

Healthy and Hygge® uses the 8 dimensions of wellness (Occupational, Social, Spiritual, Intellectual, Physical, Emotional, Environmental, and Financial) to help people get & stay on track with their health. Working to problem solve health and wellness concerns as well as build interpersonal skills are key.

As a lifestyle brand, Healthy and Hygge®, helps people to discover their authentic self through sessions focused on boosting self-esteem, mindfulness techniques, stress reduction, motivation/energizing, and focusing energy on positive attainable goals. Additionally, they believe that you are the diabetes expert of your diabetes with specific coaching options for people with Type 1 Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes—with a new on-line Pre-Diabetes Program to be available in 2020.

To learn more specifically about what Healthy and Hygge® does checkout their educational video:

NCA: What initially got you interested in this career path and what kind of degree or certifications did you need to complete, if any?

Sara Lasker, owner of Healthy and Hygge® completed her master’s degree in Health Education specifically to become a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE®). Because of changing certification requirements that dream took over ten years to complete (average time after nursing or dietitian degree completion is about 2-3 years).

Now, as one of the first people in the world dually certified as a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES®) and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE®) her educational accomplishments and experience seemed like a perfect marriage to create Healthy and Hygge®: Your Life and Wellness Coach. (As an FYI in 2020 the Certified Diabetes Educator credential will be changing to the Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) credential).

Throughout those ten years she spent time gaining experiences by working in education, government, medical clinics, and non-profits and wore many titles: Daughter, Diabetes Advocate, Counselor, Teacher, Wife, Medical Assistant, Coach, but those did not and do not define her!

One of the key advocacy benefits she shares about including a health educator in a medical practice is that they are a key to helping patients understand the medical terminology because health educators can bring the information to a level that the patient can begin applying.

If you are not familiar with the health education degree and what a Master Certified Health Education Specialist is checkout this video Sara completed which received an Honorable Mention from the National Commission of Health Education Credentialing:

NCA: What is the most rewarding part of your career?

Sara: Helping people to realize that health is more than just a number on the scale or on the glucose meter. By applying Hygge, a person becomes comfortable with themselves and begins to feel overall well-being thus increasing their positivity. By allowing people the chance to share in a safe, open environment, and walk away with clarity to make the hard decisions; it is a true pleasure when a person connects their heart and passion by breaking through the self-doubt. When someone can embrace mindfulness, get active, and enhance the social investment in themselves by exploring their surroundings through a fresh pair of eyes while still feeling relaxed, I feel I have been successful.

Additionally, for clients with diabetes, a key secret to being successful is to first and foremost help them live a normal life! Recognize that the person is more than just their disease. Let them know that a blood glucose number is neutral information, not good or bad it is just information to help the person make the next best choice. Discovering what gives them energy to stay motivated on a regular basis and harnessing that mindset is truly rewarding because, as I always say, you are the diabetes expert of your diabetes and when people start living that, I have succeeded.

NCA: What is the most challenging aspect of the work that you do?

Sara: “Scandinavians on average have stronger social networks and spend 5.7 hours less per week at work”. I share this factoid because I think the biggest challenge for me initially was finding work-life balance.

As a new business it was go-go-go and accepting appointments/meetings at all hours of the day. This was not helping me to practice what I coached. I had to really look into the backbone of Hygge, which are small intimate settings where people can really talk and get to know each other and apply it. So, I have discovered to help bring my authentic self to the game by finding the best time of day I thrive. I have been able to build my business to best reflect my strengths so in return, I can help others be successful in obtaining their work-life balance!

Helping people to realize that health is more than just a number on the scale or on the glucose meter. By applying Hygge, a person becomes comfortable with themselves and begins to feel overall well-being thus increasing their positivity.

NCA: Can you think of one client or mentor who challenged your beliefs or made you rethink the way you approach your clients or your work?

Sara: Many of us grew up with the “Just Say No” slogan for not using drugs. With technology—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, email, etc. we are on information overload and are more stressed than ever. And there is this unwritten expectation that everything is an emergency and must be responded to right away!

I had a client who was go-go-go and stressed to the max because they thought/felt this exact way—and to be honest, I was feeling this unnecessary pressure too. So, when working with them on slowing down to realize that everything is not an emergency and you have a choice I was working on applying these items to myself too.

A few of the pieces I worked on with them that I was able to apply in my own life to help me grow were:

  • Making a list of what is important and a plan to address things that come up that aren’t in the plan.
    When questioning whether or not to say yes to something, doing something, etc. I ask: What’s in it for me? What’s in it for me? What is the benefit to me personally, professionally, etc. to do FILL IN THE BLANK ….Without a solid reason to accept the invitation I just say no, this one takes a lot of work!
  • Be an advocate for yourself. Yes, speaking up can be a challenge, but like anything practice makes perfect. Start small. Create one specific goal and start to include it in daily practice. The more it is practiced the easier it becomes. And yes, relapses happen but that is ok… Just start again and don’t beat yourself up!
  • Nobody is perfect, but the way you talk to yourself during those imperfect moments can make all the difference. You can beat yourself up for an off conversation, or you can learn from it. When you catch yourself thinking negatively, stop, take a deep breath, reflect on what happened, and let it go. If you need to take a longer breathe or step outside for a walk to remove yourself from the situation.
  • You are in charge of yourself. So, when things are not going the way you had hoped, step back, reflect, take a deep breath and say no if you need to.

So, ultimately thanks to the guidance I provided to a client, I apply my own advice when faced with stressful situations.

NCA: Finally, what advice would you give someone looking to get started in the career path that you chose?

Sara: Be patient. Success does not happen overnight but hard work and making long lasting connections does.

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