The Coach's Corner

Sometimes you just need a hug

The Coach’s Corner Newsletter #36

As I logged into a peer coaching session this week, our grandson rushed into my office. The only thing he wanted was a hug. He would not be denied.

My gracious peer coach and I launched our conversation and within minutes, he was distracted by pen and paper and rushed back out of the office ready to continue his day.

Thankfully, he doesn’t regularly interrupt meetings. But this day was different.

Full disclosure: I’m a hugger who loves to give them and receive them.

As Sherri Snelling, shares,

Hugs are where both parties benefit in the emotional and physical healthy feelings.

Earlier this week I received news that a dear friend had passed. A heaviness enveloped me and in the morning light I walked downstairs and sat on the couch. Sensing my distress, our dog jumped up next to me and he nuzzled with me. That connection, even for a few minutes, lifted the heaviness. Turns out you get the same benefits from hugging your dog or cat.

In my coaching practice hugging isn’t a regular occurrence for many reasons, not the least of which is that all of our sessions are online.

But I know that it’s possible to offer a sense of connection – even without the physical presence – and encourage my clients to get the support of someone or a loved animal for that essential hug.


Sometimes you just need a hug

Throughout this past year, several coaching clients lost their jobs in layoffs. Some expected to hear about their dismissal on that fateful day, others were taken by surprise. Even with a severance package, the shift from losing connection with colleagues, showing up at a certain time every day and no longer have to be online or in the office takes a bit of getting used to.

In our work together, each crafted actions to lead them to finding new roles. Some have outlined detailed plans, others wrote personal mission statements, one created a vision board. As they learn more about what they want in their next positions, we reflect on where they can find support in this process. Those elements of support are part of the scaffolding that brings them energy.

Jen, who’s looking a new role, tells me she’s gaining more support every day from her dog, her partner and her coach.

I re-arranged my routine. Instead of getting up and checking emails, my dog comes first. She now gets more attention than ever before, and with her consistent companionship I’m finding the motivation to get out, walk, exercise and be energized to face the job market.

Bill is discovering how much his family cares for him and is leaning on that encouragement to motivate him.

When I lost my job, I felt like my role in the house shifted. Now that I wasn’t an equal contributor, I wondered what my kids would think of me. That first week when I dropped my son off to school, he hugged me and whispered, ‘Dad, you got this. Just like you tell me, no matter what, I love you.’

Marti is looking for a new path with a different perspective. That’s because by reconnecting with friends she didn’t have time for, while running her sales team, she realizes there’s much more to life.

Do you know how many friends I have? I’d forgotten! So instead of networking in my business circle, I’m reaching out to the people I basically ignored. Seems like they were hungry to see me too. Over coffee and walks and long talks, I’m so much more confident. I know for certain I’m not alone.

There are so many times I wish I could reach through the video screen and offer a hug. That isn’t possible. But in partnering with these amazing people to consider where they had support, they found their tribe – along with an unlimited supply of hugs.



They’re loaded with health benefits!

Virginia Satir, known as the ‘Mother of Family Therapy,’ has this to say about the power of hugs:

We need 4 hugs a day for survival.

We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance.

We need 12 hugs a day for growth.

In a piece written by Nicole Kear in, she shares the science behind Satir’s words finding that hugs lower your blood pressure, they boost immunity and giving a hug is good for you, too.

So how do you boost your daily hug count?

My takeaway

We live and work in a world with so many demands. When our pace is frenetic, schedules are jammed and homework spills way past dinnertime, it’s hard to be present to anything!

And that’s when the unexpected creeps in, leaving you, or someone in your circle, in need of a hug.

Until now, I’d never thought about the number of hugs I get or give every day. Seeing it through the lens of survival, maintenance or growth puts it in a new light. Hugs improve your mood. They remind you that you are alive. Hugs matter.

Everybody needs a hug. It changes your metabolism.

– Leo Buscaglia

Sending you a hug, wherever you are. And if you accept it, that counts too 🙂


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