Somatic Coaching – 9 Facts Checklist (2021)

7 min read

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about somatic coaching.

As an experienced life coach, I am excited to share my knowledge of this holistic alternative to traditional life coaching. 

You’ll learn how somatic coaching works, who it can help and why it’s used to mould fantastic leaders! 

Let’s dive into it:

1. What Is Somatic Coaching?

The word ‘Somatics’ originates from the Greek word ‘Soma’, which means ‘the living body in its wholeness’.

Let’s explore that definition further… 

Perhaps you’re wondering what ‘wholeness’ means in this instance? 

Well…somatic therapy is based on the belief that the mind, spirit and emotions affects the body – and vice versa. 

So, ‘the living body in its wholeness’ refers not only to the physical body, but also the mind, spirit and emotions that affect it. 

2. What Does A Somatic Coach Do?

The main role of a coach in this field is to: 

  • make you aware of how the mind affects the body, and vice versa;
  • show you exercises you can do with one to improve the other. 

It’s not a quick and simple process – but that’s why a coach is so integral into helping you achieve these two goals. Ultimately, working towards these goals with an experienced coach will help you develop a healthier mind, body and spirit.   

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3. Somatic Coaching Exercises

In this section, we explore some popular exercises that could be recommended when you work with a somatic coach. 

Somatic Awareness Exercises

The first job of a coach is to help clients recognise the link between their body and mind. Without somatic awareness, the other exercises listed here won’t be as effective. 

To help you gain somatic awareness, your coach may instruct you to undergo certain breathing exercises, adopt specific poses or body movements, then take note of the effect these have on your emotional state.

They might help you to locate tension in your body, recommend specific movements to remove it, then ask if you notice the difference. 

Another common exercise is to have you recall various emotional moments in your life – perhaps calming or scary situations – then take note of how this affects your body. 

Somatic Coaching
source: unsplash.com (Yannic Läderach)

Creating A Somatic Opening 

A ‘somatic opening’ is the erasing of old behaviours in order to create room for a new self. 

These behaviours might be nervous ticks, tensing certain muscles or a strange habit we have developed to help cope with negative emotions. 

Without taking active steps to remove these behaviours, it becomes almost impossible to remove the old self (Remember, the body affects the mind and vice versa).

The exercises used to create a somatic opening are specific to the patient’s behaviours. They could take the form of talking therapy, body work or breathing exercises or something completely different.

Once a somatic opening has been created, your coach can begin to create lasting change using the following exercises. 

Conscious Breathing 

A breathing technique that helps you get more oxygen into your brain and body. You will be able to use the full extent of your brain power more easily. What’s more, it helps you feel more energetic, less stressed, more relaxed, more attentive and less prone to emotional outbursts. 

Somatic Resonance

This is the process of learning to resonate with our body in order to better understand our emotions. You may also learn how to resonate with another person’s body in order to better understand how they are truly feeling. 

Mindful Movement

This is the process of discovering and learning movements that fill us with positive emotions, such as joy, love, serenity, peace and gratitude. During this process, we may also be taught how to associate certain movements with specific emotions. 

Attuned Touch 

In this process, the coach will guide the client to discover, recognise, heal and improve their emotions through touching specific parts of their body. 

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4. Benefits Of Somatic Coaching

Somatic therapy allows you to heal past trauma. It helps you to release tension, anger and frustration from your life. It allows you to feel more comfortable in your own body – and better manage the various emotions that pass through your mind hundreds of times a day.  

It is a tool that will have you feeling more present and engaged with life.

Whether you suffer with stress, anxiety, depression, grief, addiction or feelings of not being enough, it’s highly recommended. 

As an added bonus, you may well find that the chronic aches and pains caused by stress disappear into the wind! Yes, somatic coaching can change you to the point where you feel like a new person!

5. Somatic Coaching Vs Somatic Therapy

The healing benefits listed above come as a result of somatic therapy.

Somatic coaching, however, uses the same techniques to help people retain knowledge and more effective and specific tasks. 

This coaching style is based on the idea that people do not necessarily change just because they have gained knowledge. They change because they engage in new behaviours. People learn better through experience, rather than just memorising facts and figures. That’s why it’s so effective to embody what you learn in a physical manner. 

The Strozzi Institute – an organisation that offers somatic coaching programmes – surveyed previous students and 96% reported improvements in the way they manage their moods and/or how they perform at work.

6. A Somatic Business Coach Can Help You Become A Better Leader  

The benefits of somatic therapy –  such as increased joy, mindfulness, intelligence and productivity – will do a lot to help business leaders perform better in their jobs. However, with somatic coaching, these improvements can be built upon even further.   

An expert in somatics will be able to help business leaders master the art of persuasive or motivational speaking. 

It is commonly agreed that some 93% of communication is non-verbal. As such, being able to improve on aspects of their presentation, such as breath control, posture and body language, would do them the world of good.

A mastery of these skills would make the world of difference, even if they are only utilised in one-on-one meetings or negotiations. In fact, somatic leadership coaching could well be used by anyone within their daily conversations, whether this is at work or in their daily lives.   

Leaders would also be able to become much more adept at managing the stress and anxiety often associated with high-pressure corporate positions. When leaders at the top of the corporate ladder begin to show signs of anxiety or unassuredness in their communications, this can trickle down throughout the whole company.

It’s not just leaders who can benefit from somatic coaching in the business world. It is often used to help employees of all types identify more efficient physical and emotional ways of working. 

On top of that, somatic coaching has been used to improve employee performance in law enforcement, politics, healthcare and athletics among others. 

7. Best Somatic Coaches

There are plenty of great coaches with successful practices out there. It would be impossible to give a shout out to all of them for their great work. 

Still, it’s useful to highlight the individuals who have helped hundreds of people within their somatic coaching practices. If you want to learn more about the practice of somatic coaching, I would urge you to consume content created by these individuals. 

  • Richard Strozzi-Heckler. Richard Strozzi-Heckler is the founder of the Strozzi Institute. This is widely-known as the most reputable somatic coaching training organisation. It has helped hundreds of people to start their own somatic coaching practices. His videos on the Strozzi Institute YouTube channel give a fantastic insight into the benefits of somatic coaching. 
  • Dr Peter A. Levine. Peter developed a system called Somatic Experiencing, which focuses on overcoming trauma through somatic therapy. He has penned several books explaining the subject in great depth. In 2010, he received the Lifetime Achievement award from the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP). 
  • Clare Myatt. Clare was one of the first coaches to be certified by the Strozzi Institute back in 2000. She has several other certifications and has helped hundreds of clients improve their life through the process of somatics. 
Somatic Coach
source: unsplash.com (Leilani Angel)

8. How To Become A Somatic Coach

Technically, in any field of life coaching, you can set up a website and start charging people today.

Realistically though, you will need to be certified in order to offer an effective and satisfying somatic coaching experience. 

Coaching somatic exercises is not simple. A self-taught coach wouldn’t be worth paying for, and most prospective clients are intelligent enough not to work with one. 

I would recommend taking somatic coach training and gaining a certification with the Strozzi Institute or Somatic Experiencing. These are both highly reputable training companies.

You’ll find it much easier to attract a steady flow of new coaching clients from around the world once you have gained this certification. After all, it serves as proof that you can make lasting change in the lives of your clients. 

Life Coach Certifications

Somatic coaching training programs are likely to include elements of generic life coach training within them. 

Still, to stand out from other somatic coaching practices, you might want to also seek a standalone life coaching certification from the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

The ICF is the most prestigious and reputable life coach training company. For more information, check out my list of six highly-recommended ICF-accredited life coach certification programs.

9. How Much Does A Somatic Coach Earn? 

There are many studies estimating how much money that people make from running their somatic coaching practices. It’s difficult to give an accurate average.  

Coaches with their own practice are free to charge as much as they like for their services. Those with more experience and qualifications are likely to be able to charge more and still be very busy. 

With that said, it’s widely estimated that coaches can expect to make anywhere between $40-$100 per hour by coaching somatic techniques. This can equate to a salary between $70,000 and $100,000.  

Do You Have Any More Questions About The Somatic Coaching Experience? 

I hope you enjoyed this introduction to the world of somatic coaching.

If you have any further questions about the somatic coaching experience, how the body affects the mind or how to launch your own coaching practice, please do leave them in the comments. 

It would be great to hear what you think about this relatively new form of healing therapy.

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