The personal experience that your members will enjoy over the course of the Challenge will be determined in large part on the experience at the local level—that is, by the tone set by your gym, office, or organization. The more engaged with the Challenge your group is in your members’ day-to-day lives, the better the game will go—and the longer lasting the practices will be. This is a social game, and the more the team comes together, the more powerful and unique its benefits will be.
There are two main aspects to coaching: Coaching for engagement and coaching for mindset.
Coaching Your Players for Engagement
If you have a large team, we suggest breaking them into groups and assigning different coaches to each group. The coach should then use the team engagement stats on your admin page to see how the players are doing. Check the team engagements stats a few times each week to keep your pulse on how the individuals on the team are doing. And reach out to your team members by email, text, or phone to offer assistance in guiding them through the Challenge.
Remember that a big part of engagement is mindset, so be sure to talk about mindset as well.
Coaching Your Players for Mindset
The Whole Life Challenge is different from other challenges: It is not designed to force players to reach levels of perfection. Rather, it is designed to create awareness, to increase consciousness, and to teach people to make daily choices that support long-term health, fitness, and well-being. Although it has clear-cut rules, the Whole Life Challenge isn’t as much about the particulars of the rules as it is about being accountable each day and making choices that support both short-term happiness and long-term health.
Points serve this purpose well. They provide instantaneous feedback for daily choices, the impact of which otherwise might not be seen or felt for weeks, months, or even years down the road. Points also give people an immediate context for the decisions they make. On one day, a player might score 32 or 33 points, and on another, he might make choices that result in a score of only 20 or 25 points.
Is there a difference in the way these different choices feel? Well, it depends on the context of the choices. Losing points because you failed to plan feels lousy. Losing points consciously—because it’s worth it, because you are eating a piece of cake at your sister’s wedding—does not feel lousy.
These are the types of choices the Whole Life Challenge trains people to make in real life. The WLC teaches players to accept each day’s points as a reflection of choices, to reflect upon these choices in ways that allow for understanding and growth, and to move forward, not allowing low-point days to affect the upcoming days. Creating this context (rather than encouraging perfection from your team members) is part of your responsibility as a coach.
This mindset shift will take a while to sink into the brains of your team members, but it will make the results that they gain much more lasting.
Remember this: Players are supposed to lose points! We created the point system specifically so that players can experience making choices that result in lost points. Sometimes making choices and losing points is “worth it” (like eating cake at your sister’s wedding). Sometimes, players regret losing points (like when they scarfed down those donuts in the office kitchen).
Regardless of whether it is “worth it,” making those choices isn’t easy. If it were, there would be no reason to participate in the Challenge! In fact, we’ve found that earning a “perfect score” isn’t usually as life-altering as making happiness and lifestyle choices along the way that result in losing points, then learning how to bounce back.
Your more competitive players will likely visit the Leaderboard daily to see how they are doing relative to the other players on your team. This is fine, and even something you can encourage. But always remember—and remind your team members—that competition, although fun and engaging, isn’t the purpose of the WLC, and neither is perfection. The purpose of the Whole Life Challenge is to learn how to make small-scale changes in your daily life that lead to sustainable, long-term improvements in your health and well-being.