It’s clear to most of us that coaching is pivotal for achieving ambitious athletic and physical goals, but coaching can also help with so much more. As an avid triathlete and a business strategist committed to bringing better mental health to the world through Modern Health, I’m especially interested in coaching at the intersection of physical performance and mental well-being. To explore the idea, I sat down with Lauren Krasny, a longtime Modern Health coach who specializes in both executive coaching and health and wellness, including disease prevention, stress reduction, and promoting healthy lifestyles.
(But first, a fun fact. If you’re based in the San Francisco Bay Area, you might recognize Lauren’s last name; she’s the daughter of Michael Krasny, longtime host on San Francisco public radio channel KQED.)
Tell us about your personal journey to coaching.
After studying psychology at the University of Michigan, I started working in business and held various roles in marketing and sales. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled, however, and unfortunately it took an eye-opening experience for me to prompt a career change. When my best friend was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, I was reminded of the ephemeral nature of life and it made me take stock in what I really value. I signed up for the Co-Active Training Institute and when I completed the program a number of doors opened to me in business and health coaching. I was always intrigued by the search and discovery of my purpose, which is interesting because it’s sometimes a reason people turn to coaching for help.
What do you focus on in your business coaching?
I love working with executives on collaboration, leadership, conflict management, and innovation, but I'm happy working with anyone who's open to growth and change. In 2015 I started coaching at Stanford’s LEAD online business program, which offers an educational path for executives and business leaders who opt not to pursue an MBA. I coach courses on persuasion tools, communication frameworks, negotiating tactics, strategy, and design thinking.
And what about health coaching?
I love business coaching but I’m also really committed to helping people achieve positive outcomes in physical health, and I’m fascinated by how the mind and body work in tandem. Sometimes, I’ll work with someone on achieving physical goals like losing weight or maintaining a healthy exercise routine, but they’re surprised they still feel unhappy even after achieving what they thought they wanted.
For many people, there are underlying emotional issues causing them to rely on physical coping mechanisms like poor eating habits, sedentary behavior, substance abuse, etc., in order to self-medicate and numb out from feeling emotions. So sometimes addressing physical problems does not necessarily impact the underlying problem, which is more often than not a psychological one. That’s why I’m so happy to be able to be a constant resource to my clients as they progress and build new habits, because many times physical health coaching requires mental health insights in order to succeed.
What is one thing you’re known for among your clients?
I’m always reminding my clients in both business and physical health to find opportunities to practice what we talk about in real-world environments, whether that’s at work or at home. I even sometimes facilitate role plays to help people refine their new skills. It’s important to me that the skills I teach are transferable and actionable, and as a coach I can help own the growth process and hold my clients accountable for their own progress.
Holly Burwick is business operations lead at Modern Health.