coaching health and wellness

Coaching Wellness in a #MeToo World

Mar 26, 2024

On #internationalwomensday I stopped for a latte and breakfast sandwich at an espresso stand I hadn't seen before even though I have passed it at least 5 or 6 times. The barista “V” opened the window in 3.9 degrees C her black glitter bikini,  lacy body stocking and tattoos to take my order. She smiled when she saw me. I could see the relief in her face. The people who stop for coffee are normally guys and are vocal in their observations of her body. She said there wasn’t much traffic at this spot, she gets paid minimum wage, and tips are “lousy,”(some bikini baristas report they earn tips of up to $800 per day),  but she needs the work and for this she commutes 30 minutes each way daily. Her dream is for her mother to recover from addiction so her mom could lighten the family’s load financially and take better care of her siblings, so hopefully she can go do college one day. What we know is objectification can become violent quickly, and 8 percent of rapes happen while the victim is at work. But being fully dressed and at college doesn’t make “V” safer since the statistic that one in five women who go to college will be rape victims is still true, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

In her 2018 TEDWomen TED Talk, Tarana Burke, the founder of JustBeInc. and the original “metoo movement” founder said, “As survivors, we often have to hold the truth of what we’ve experience, but now we’re all holding something, whether we want to or not.” As of 2022 21% of adults surveyed had not heard of the #metoo movement, according to the Pew Research Center and 51% of those who have heard of the #metoo movement say they’re either neutral or strongly oppose it.

Fast forward six years and guess what? We’re still holding onto something. While there are wins, the world still is desperately sick with stories of gender-based discrimination and violence. For example, though banned by the United Nations in 2012, FGM (female genital mutilation) was still practiced in 2018 in 92 countries across all continents, while 51 of them at least had laws that criminalized FGM, according to a report by End FGM European Network. The New York Times recently reported that lawmakers in Gambia have voted to repeal a 2015 ban of FGM, and if it passes the final round of voting, Gambia will be the first country to roll back protections against the practice. 

Wherever you live, there’s gender-based discrimination, objectification, and violence that result in human suffering or a lack of wellbeing (I call it #OldNormal.). As a coach, you have both the opportunity and responsibility to coach clients through to a #NewNormal which increases possibilities to thrive for all people.  So as a wellness coach, how do you prepare yourself to coach for the wellbeing of your clients in a #MeToo world? 

Here are three ways you can more effectively coach clients given the reality of #OldNormal:

First, be committed to doing good, not just avoiding bad. As a coach, work on self-awareness around your stories and embodied responses to coaching dialogues on these issues. Health and wellness includes safety and emotional wellbeing. Avoiding conversations about gender-based discrimination because they’re not comfortable is not effective coaching and can be a disservice to clients who may make an offhand comment that opens the topic. Books like Life Beyond #MeToo: Creating a Safer World for Our Mothers, Daughters, Sisters & Friends can help with growing your self-awareness. Your willingness to coach on topics that impact client wellness is a professional plus. Coaching is helping clients be aware of what is, identify what they want for the future, and helping them create the path to their best future.

Second, understand and respect the line between coaching and therapy, and maintain your professional integrity by referring coaching clients to therapy when needed. There’s not time to go into this in detail in this post, but coaches do not treat mental illness including depression that may arise as a result of a #metoo experience. Keep your coaching future focused.

Third, model fairness and equality. The International Coaching Federation’s Code of Ethics requires coaches to “Avoid discrimination by maintaining fairness and equality in all activities and operations, while respecting local rules and cultural practices. This includes, but is not limited to, discrimination on the basis of age, race, gender expression, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, or military status.” Avoiding discrimination can look like coaching genders equally, removing objectification from coaching, and definitely keeping firm boundaries. Good coaches are to be aware of your impact on the client, and your own and your clients’ impact on society.

If you’re ready to level up on safety as a part of wellness coaching, I encourage you to join the Life Beyond #MeToo reading challenge, check out the Life Beyond #MeToo community on Facebook, and visit for more information on the book, which is useful for coaches, leaders, and individuals from all walks of life, to help us create safe conversations leading to a #NewNormal.


About the Author

Christine Rose is an award-winning business coach, internationally best-selling author, Professional Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation, Certified Psychological Safety Coach, Certified Core Values Coach, Certified Value Builder Advisor.


Join the Life Beyond #MeToo Reading Challenge

Join the Center for Health and Wellness Coaches' upcoming 8-week guided reading challenge, featuring two live discussions with the author, Christine Rose. Approved for 2 CCEs by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching and 3 CCEs by the International Coaching Federation.

Dates: May 6-June 30, 2024

Click here to learn more.

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