Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

Power of Meaning, Pillar of Belonging Part 3: Helping Clients tell their Stories





















Still on the topic of “meaning”, the next important privilege that coaches have is to help a client tell their story - as it relates to their sense of emotional, physical and perhaps spiritual wellness, and this is often affected by what has gone before.  

At some point, we will all endure hardship and tough times. Some more than others. The story that we create around what has happened will greatly influence how we make sense of the world, and ultimately, how we create our lives. Often the toughest events can alter a person in some significant way and put them on a different and perhaps better path. So it’s not what happens to us but how we interpret what happens to us that counts, and we have the power to change this.

People who have endured loss or trauma may choose to avoid thinking about that loss, but to grow we need to come to terms with the way our life has turned out. The wonderful thing about “story-telling” is that even fiction can help us cope with our experiences. By reading we can gain wisdom and inspiration and learn from others’ experiences. By sharing stories, the story-tellers are not just creating meaning for themselves but helping others do so too. In this way, we can reach out and connect with others.

How does this help our coaching practice?
We often hear our clients talk about past events in a certain way, it may be dis-empowering and have a sense of keeping them stuck. By helping them re-frame their story, but looking for a different interpretation, we can help them perhaps create a more helpful meaning around it.

By telling stories of others, or our own (if appropriate), we can connect and inspire our clients. Note that the latter is only done in exceptional circumstances and we have to have a strong sense that this will be helpful to the client!

In summary, there is no such thing as “the truth” as we all remember things in different ways. If we can create a narrative around our life that helps us understand ourselves better, and if that inspires others, then the job of storytelling has been well done. Stories and storytelling shape people’s lives.


REFERENCE

Emily Esfahani Smith, The Power of Meaning


Power of Meaning, Pillar of Belonging Part 2: What creates Meaning in our lives?


Purpose and meaning are often referred to together, however, having a purpose is just part of what can create “meaning” in our lives. So how do we define “purpose”?  What does that mean exactly?  How can we become more “purposeful”?  

Emily Smith (The Power of Meaning) states that having a broad purpose helps us deal with the more “menial aspects of life”.  So although we have to spend a lot of our time just doing the mundane tasks of our daily routine, if we have a sense of what is behind that, we will be driven by a stronger sense of meaning and less likely to feel that life, well, is like a treadmill! If we’re not sure why we are doing what we’re doing – it can easily lead into depression.

Purpose needs to be defined. There are two aspects to it:
1) We are working towards a stable and far-reaching goal;
2) Somehow we are contributing to the world, in other words, we have a more meaningful purpose than just to please ourselves.

In order to fully define our purpose, we need to do a lot of self-reflection and have a great deal of self knowledge - because our purpose needs to fit our identity; our sense of who we are, what we value, what our strengths are and what is important to us.

Now don’t misunderstand this. Self knowledge does not come from spending long hours thinking about ourselves. In fact, Dr. Tasha Eurich, in his book “Insight” states that “ the more time the participants in a study spent in introspection, the less self-knowledge they had”.  He says we should start by noticing more rather than reflecting. Notice our behaviour and the results. Interestingly, he believes that questions that start with “what” can be more useful than with, “why”.  A “What’s going on for me?”, or “What would be a different way of thinking about that?”, might give more productive answers. Self awareness takes time and effort and we never stop learning. We need to avoid assuming that we know everything about ourselves and keep an open mind. 

But there is a time and place for “why” questions as we know in coaching. 

“Why is this important to me?” is an essential place to start when we are working with anyone around behaviour change.  We encourage self reflection and knowledge, particularly around identification of values. This gives a strong sense of purpose around the changes that need to be made to achieve their goals, and setting goals also creates more meaning in our lives!  

Back to purpose.  When we start to get a good sense of identity, we can then find ways of living with purpose. We may not find a “calling” but if we can find a purpose, we are on the right track. Health and wellness coaching help create meaning in peoples’ lives.


REFERENCES
Emily Esfahani Smith, The Power of Meaning
Dr. Tasha Eurich, Insight
Eric Barker, Barking up the Wrong Tree

Boost Business Productivity with Effective Planning








If you’re like most coaches, you find that Monday rolls around and you are busy doing 1000 things to work on your business….along side the ‘other’ things in your life, perhaps another paying job, your kids, and chores.

As the week wears on, you feel scattered and spread thin, unsure of where to spend your energy.
It’s like you’re clutching at straws - doing Instagram here, email there, attending networking meetings and writing blogs. 
Then there’s all the free marketing training and e-books you’re downloading, and the overwhelming load of emails flooding your inbox.
The trouble is, none of it is getting you any traction.

That’s when you find yourself wondering:
How can I get clients to contact me?
How can I reach new people outside the people I know?
How can I make best use of my limited time?

This is where you start.

There are two steps to attracting clients:
1. Plan effectively, and 
2. Be truly productive.

Here’s how it works.

Planning Effectively

What happens when you plan and schedule effectively?
You know exactly how you need to spend your precious work time for most effect.
You have a set marketing schedule to attract a regular stream of clients.
You have set dates that you use to create compelling calls to action for potential new clients e.g., registrations close on X date, join now!
You know when you can schedule enough down time to relax.
You can work in your zone of genius and outsource the stuff you hate.
You can measure your progress by ticking off a master task and priority list

In a busy world, one of the biggest challenges is creating enough space to step back out of ‘doing’ mode, prioritise your work and plan effectively.

But when you do that, you take powerful steps forward and grow your business steadily, purposefully and professionally, attracting new clients and prospects as you go.
As a coach, you know that when you work with clients, it really helps them to zoom out and get perspective on their lives so they can distinguish real priorities from perceived priorities. 
It’s ALSO helpful in your own business.

What gets in the way of this?
Busyness, taking on too much, and lack of priorities.
Here’s how to plan effectively in business.

Using the Eisenhower Principle to Plan

In a 1954 speech, Former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower was onto a clever thing. He said:
“I have two kinds of problems: the urgent, and the important. 
The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent”.
This statement became the Eisenhower principle, and it’s said to be how the former President organised his workload and priorities.
Time management is about spending your time efficiently and effectively. 
It’s about spending your time doing things that achieve outcomes and goals, rather than someone else’s.
The challenge for most people is that we tend to react to what’s urgent, and spend time firefighting and we spend to little time on what’s really important.

Here’s what the Eisenhow Principle looks like in a diagram.


Here’s an interpretation of what these squares mean.
1. Important + Urgent = Crisis mode. 
There is the unforeseen, and the last minute. 
Example: always rescheduling clients because you double book due to poor planning.

2. Not Important + Urgent = Busy. 
These are the fiddly tasks that are better of delegated, rescheduled or deleted – but you prioritize them ahead of tasks that earn you income or deliver service. 
Example: spending hours answering emails, checking Facebook, updating your website.

3. Important + Not Urgent = Productive. 
These are the tasks that achieve tangible outcomes and goals. You need time to do these creatively, properly and without rush. 
Example: Advertising, planning, connecting with past clients, following up with new leads.

4. Not Important + Not Urgent = Time Wasting. 
These are the menial or fun tasks you do first because it feels like you achieved something, or enjoyed your work. But these tasks block your success.
Example: Tidying your desk, designing next year’s workshop flyer, researching best diaries for 2019, calling a colleague to chat about the weekend.

Where are you currently spending most of YOUR business time?

Here’s an interesting 3-step exercise – next week: 
1. Record your working hours in half hour blocks. 
2. Classify every half hour as 1, 2, 3 or 4 according to the table above.
3. Tally up the time spent in each quadrant.
Ideally, you are spending 90% of your business-related time in the Important but Not Urgent quadrant, so you have time and space to do the important work of building your business in a calm, relaxed and creative way.

Planning Effectively – Next Steps

After you’ve worked out how you currently spend your working week, the next step is to work out:
What are the priority tasks each week? 
These are usually planning, marketing, client sessions and invoicing/paying bills.
Which tasks you can delegate, reschedule or delete?
These are usually administration, detail-focussed tasks, reading emails, social media, research and even blog writing!
After that, it’s a matter at looking at your available time, and scheduling in the priority tasks FIRST.

Be Truly Productive – Next Steps

Being productive doesn’t equate to being busy.
Productivity means that for a given amount of time, you are producing a result.
And the time required to complete any task is simply the time that you allocate for it.
To wrap it up, planning effectively is the #1 thing that facilitates productivity.
Next, you must create focus with effective time management. Here are 3 tips.

Identify Priority Tasks

When you know your priority tasks, you can create priority outcome goals, for example:
1 new Facebook ad posted this week
3 past clients contacted on Thursday
Joint venture proposal developed on Tuesday
One potential joint venture partner contacted on Friday

Use Time Management Techniques

Francesco Cirillo’s Pomodoro Technique is a great approach to help you work in a focused way to get tasks finished in a set time. 

Set Boundaries

There are all sorts of apps that can block internet access, track time, or restrict access on your calendar.
Then there is just the good old fashioned “turn off your phone” approach.

Wrapping It UP

All that said and done, what works best for you in terms of being focussed, productive and organised?
Let us know your tips in the comments below.

Why Authenticity and Connection Are Your Best Marketing Strategies


Why Authenticity and Connection Are Your Best Marketing Strategies



About 3 years ago, I coined a phrase – Authenticity is the Best Marketing Strategy.

I was struggling to understand online marketing and I was used to the traditional marketing approach.

In case you’re not sure what traditional marketing is, it looks something like this:


“We deliver exceptional outcomes to exceed your greatest expectations.”

“We give you personalised service to help you achieve your goals.”

“We focus on helping you to achieve your goals in a way that suits your lifestyle.”

You can spot traditional marketing a mile away, It uses big-company statements (we) with logic-brain promises (achieve your goals) and have no hint of you, the business owner in them.


Well, times have changed.

Think of a famous business in your industry and I bet you the business name is somebody’s actual name.

Like Michelle Bridges. Jenny Craig. Tony Robbins. 


Here’s the difference: 

  • Traditional marketing uses logical, objective language. It feels impersonal.
  • Authentic marketing uses emotional, subjective language. It feels personal.
Most of all, when you the business owner can be authentic AND heartfelt, you will create a connection….which builds trust, rapport and a greater chance of getting a new client. 

How to Be Authentic in Online Marketing

If you have spoken with me before, you know that I say all things marketing come from a deep understanding of your ideal client. 

When you understand your ideal client, then you speak their language, and connect with them much easier. This is true in both offline and online markets. 

But in the online world, you are dealing with an audience who may have never met you in person. 

It’s harder and it takes longer to build trust and connection when you’re online. 

That means you need to know your ideal client and tell stories that they totally relate to. 

I’m not talking about knowing their age range, number of kids, and top 3 frustrations. I’m talking about knowing their deeper stuff…the kinds of things that might come out of a really thorough, deep-diving vision session.

Stuff that might surprise or delight them, and which will deepen any existing connection with you really quickly.

A Recent Example

As a solo business owner who lives “in the sticks”, I get inspiration from a few people I have grown to trust, admire and respect in the online space over the past 3 years.

Here's a recent example of how I experienced a deeper connection with someone I've been following because of her authentic approach to marketing. 

Read this story, see how it pans out, and think about how YOU could connect with people like this to get more engagement and new clients. 

How could you apply this formula in your own business?

The Business Magician

I’ve been following Keri Norley, Business Magician for the past 3 years. 

I initially saw her posting in a Facebook business group and started following her because she’s a mindset coach and I loved her powerful, inspirational posts. 

She posts more than just powerful inspirational posts – she also shares parts of her own story. 

That got me curious enough to subscribe to her newsletter.

Pricking Up My Ears

In the past year, Keri’s stories have made me really sit up and listen because I relate to all the things she’s sharing about her personal life.

Keri started a weight loss journey earlier this year and this is a core area in my business, so I was keen to understand how she was navigating this.

More recently, she has started talking about gymnastics and learning how to do handstands and the splits. 

It’s been a secret dream of mine to be able to do both of these things as an adult, so it suddenly feels like all other emails have left my cluttered inbox as I watched her progress with keen interest.

A couple of weeks ago, Keri posted a video of herself doing a handstand, and a photo of her doing the splits.

I was blown away. She did it! 

And....maybe I could, too.

So last week I wrote Keri an email to express my admiration for her persistence and results…and to ask her HOW she did it.

The Connection

Keri has thousands of subscribers on her list, and she’s undoubtedly busy. I didn’t expect a reply, but I wrote this short email to her simply to express my admiration and gratitude for sharing:

Hi Keri
I love this. And funnily enough, wanting to do the splits has been a lifelong dream. My brain says...you can't do that. Did you really do this in such a short time? Amazing. INSPIRING! 

Best wishes
Melanie.

Think about it – would you want a potential client on your list or who likes your FB page to reach out to you?

Would you want to attract people with your authenticity?

I know I would. And Keri does it so well.

So it was no surprise that Keri wrote back, detailing what she’d done to improve her flexibility and how it had happened for her. It was a detailed email that gave me the exact steps she followed to achieve the outcome I wanted.

And this is how her email finished:


I know so much of it is to do with my mind.  :-) 

You got this girl.  Like I said in the post... JUST START. Let it be the metaphor in your life... overcoming that fear... what else can you do, right?

MWAH!
Keri

I felt pretty touched that she'd taken the time to reach out, and there was a real sense of rapport, support and connection.

Would I now recommend Keri to others, or buy a service from her? YES! Because I feel like I know her, and I like her, trust her and now have connected with her. I'm a loyal fan. 

Do you want more of those?

A Powerful Lesson

You can engage people in a heartbeat by being authentic, honest and heart-felt, using emotional language and describing a journey, and by connecting with them.

As a side note, I had a real 'aha' moment when I reflected on this experience.

I thought of Roger Bannister, the first man to run a four-minute mile, on 6 May, 1954 in Oxford, UK.

Until that date, nobody believed it was possible to run a four-minute mile. Nobody had done it.

After he set that record, it was just 46 days until somebody else ran a mile in under 4 minutes. The belief barriers had been broken, and pretty soon, more people were doing it.

So I realised this: in business and in life, the most successful person believes in themselves enough to take a risk and face fears and overcome their obstacles to success. 

Everyone else is waiting for someone else to prove that it can be done.

Don't wait until your marketing is perfect. Quit comparing yourself to others who are more experienced or seem to be doing better than you.

Just speak from the heart, consistently and conscientiously. People will relate to you, they will be curious, and follow you. 

Maybe they'll go on a journey just like I did with Keri Norley.

Have you had an experience like this, where you really connected to someone? Post in the comments below and let us know how it panned out and what you can apply to your own business.

How Mindfulness Can Help Your Clients Kick a Habit



We are aware that most of our work as coaches, focuses on helping adopt new habits and get rid of a few old ones.  Of course there is a bigger conversation that precedes this but eventually, we have to face the fact that certain behaviours have to go!

And it’s not easy.  

But here’s a new approach.  We have always said that we need to replace an old habit with a new one. But what if we could simply “turn the switch off” and knock that old habit on the head.  We can. By revisiting Mindfulness.

Let’s think about those habits.  Most of the time we are indulging the behavior because we’re not feeling so good. We could be tired, stressed, bored, frustrated, anxious or sad.  We reach for the food, the wine, Facebook, the cigarettes…We use the habit as a way of coping.  And this is where mindfulness begins its work.  By noticing what is going on for us, and paying attention to the cycle we have got into, we can start to change things.  But the important point is that we need to pay attention but not judge. 

So here is a step by step approach to using mindfulness as a way of breaking the cycle.

RECOGNISE
Note the craving, recognize the feeling and avoid rationalizing it

ACCEPT
Accept that the craving is there. Don’t do anything about it, just accept it.  Don’t try to ignore it or distract yourself, just accept it.

INVESTIGATE
Get curious and notice how you feel.  Identify your thinking and remember, your thoughts are not you!  

NAME IT
Make a mental note of how you feel – or even better write it down! Use a word or phrase and put a label on it.  When you give a feeling a name, it calms your brain.  

You are now in a better place to “surf the craving” and you may well find you can ride it out and it passes on its own. The trick is to become more aware, mindful about what is going on at the time the behavior is about to kick in. The more we become interested in what is happening in our minds and bodies, turn towards our experience rather than away from it, the sooner we can take control back of our actions, and our life.

REFERENCE:  The Craving Mind, Judson Brewer
Highly recommended:  
Barking up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker.

Coaches: Should You Call Yourself An Expert?


If you’ve been learning about marketing from any of the gurus out there, you've probably been told you should be positioning yourself as an expert.

But as a coach, you know that you are supposed to be the OPPOSITE of an expert. It’s the CLIENT who is the expert in their own lives.

What’s more, this talk of expertise can feel a bit uncomfortable. 

You might be feeling like a fraud...like you don't yet have the years of experience to be an expert.

So, what do you do? 

How do you position yourself in a crowded market full of experts, in a way that has integrity and credibility?

Actually, the answer is pretty simple.

What is "Expertise" All About?

If you think about it, being seen as an expert is really just about portraying your experience, skill and professionalism - so you can build TRUST.

A client who trusts you is more likely to buy from you.

The problem with positioning yourself an 'expert' is that: 

  1. it usually implies years of experience in a specific field...and as a new coach, you may lack this experience, or may not have specific health-related knowledge.
  2. the word expert diminishes self-responsibility in the client.
Both these things can feel mighty uncomfortable~!

The good news is, there ARE ways to generate trust and curiosity in your clients with integrity and authenticity.

Experts vs Specialists

So, you're not an 'expert'? Here are some ways to build trust in your audience in an authentic, comfortable way.

1. Be a Specialist

Calling yourself a specialist achieves exactly the same outcome as calling yourself an expert, but without the pressure or expectations.

Specialists are simply people who focus on a particular area.

As a Health and Wellness coach, your core speciality is behaviour change – helping people change habits in a way that fits with their lifestyle, drawing on their strengths, past experience, values and existing commitments.

And in all likelihood, if you have been on a particular journey yourself, then you have hands-on, real-life experience in the area that your client is struggling with.

Using the word “specialist” has some benefits:

  • You can let go of needing years of experience

  • It helps you to focus on a niche (demographic or problem area)

  • It helps you get specific in your marketing language

  • Specialists generally attract higher fees

  • It removes the pressure of being an ‘expert’

  • It creates clearer expectations in your client 

Let’s face it, the reason people seek a coach is that for a period in their life, they need help to overcome an obstacle and change their behaviour.

That is what you specialist in - that obstacle.

2. Share Your Journey

This one takes a bit more courage, but it is a very authentic way of building trust and communicating thorough experience.

If you have been on a journey yourself - to lose weight, to overcome a massive obstacle, to thrive after burnout, to bloom with self-confidence, to get organised....then you are automatically talking about the end point that your clients want to achieve.

You've been there.

You've done it, successfully, with a few trip ups along the way.

That makes you credible, believable and trustworthy.

Sharing your story and your process of getting the outcome is attractive and will attract clients who were once like you.

3. Show, Don't Tell - Be An Awesome Coach

This sounds left field...but bear with me.

Being an awesome coach means people will share their success with others - particularly, they will tell people how much they enjoyed working with you.

Word of mouth is the most powerful way to build a good reputation.

And when you're not coaching a client, you are STILL having conversations with people in your daily life and on social media.

If you contribute thought-provoking comments or questions - or if you reach out to help people who are struggling - you are demonstrating your skill and experience, compassion, empathy and ability to listen - without having to use the word expert. 

Experts AND Specialists

Some coaches DO have expertise in an area, so it IS possible to be both an expert AND a coach.

For example, you are a personal trainer or nutritionists and you also offer coaching.

You're someone who helps people ACTUALLY MAKE THE CHANGES they need in their exercise, eating etc. while helping them to build motivation and confidence in the process.

In this situation, there are some challenges and understanding gaps for your clients:

  • they might think coaching is something you normally do
  • they are confused when they're used to you telling them what to do 
  • they may not understand the value of coaching.

And with all that going on, you may be unclear on how to integrate coaching, or how to transition to a coaching-only business. 

Clear positioning, education and communication are essential to help you transition seamlessly into a coaching-inclusive or coaching-only business.

How To Introduce Coaching Into Your Existing Business 

A lot of new coaches ask how to distinguish coaching from their existing service, or how to make the transition.

So I've decided to run a Business Training Intensive on this very topic.

It's for coaches who have an existing business and want to transition into a coaching-inclusive or coaching-based business, and it's called:

How to Package and Introduce Coaching Into Your Health Based Business

This training will be delivered via live Webinar on  Wednesday 9 August, 2017. 

Click here for more information.

In Summary

Ok, let's wrap this up into a neat package.

Firstly, you can communicate skill, professionalism and value without using the word expert. 

You can present yourself as specialist, build a business around people going through your own journey, or build your reputation with 'demonstration.' 

Secondly, you CAN be an expert AND a coach.

To do this effectively, you need to be able to communicate what coaching is, how it differs from your service, and explain the value of coaching as a stand-alone service.

I'd love to know your best strategies for positioning coaching. 

What's worked for you? Post in the comments below and let us know.

The Underside of Wellness


The Underside of Wellness

We assume that we work in a field that has appeal to anyone on this planet. Who doesn’t want to improve their health and wellness?  What could possibly be bad about working towards this outcome?

Well, think again.  Wherever there is a strong argument for one approach, there will be someone who argues against it!  (Remember the fitness movement and the articles and books sending the message that “Exercise can kill”?)

Of course, freedom of speech, sharing ideas, playing devil’s advocate etc. are all good things so when I came across the following interview, I listened, (non judgmentally) and attempted to filter out the learning or awareness that came out of what Dr. Spicer had to say.  

Dr Spicer was interviewed on Life Matters radio program and was promoting his book The Wellness Syndrome where sure enough, the main message was “Wellness is simply the latest obsession”. I will sum up Dr Spicer’s comments (and a bit of his rationale) and then counter them with a few of my own.

  • Wellness has become something else to worry and feel guilty about (consider the bloggers whose daily routine is something we can never aspire to).
  • Wellness trends are associated with abstinence and possibly self punishment.
  • Wellness encourages too much self-obsession (think of all the ways we have of monitoring everything we do.
  • Wellness behaviours are time stealers and take up huge amounts of our day.
  • Corporate wellness programs are becoming a way of discriminating against new employees who are not fit and thin.
  • Organisations are taking the view that a successful CEO must be able to run a marathon or climb a mountain and  productivity and wellness are inaccurately linked.  
  • Pressure is being put on employees to train.
  • Wellness is becoming a cult.
Yes you are probably thinking, “wow”! but let’s face it there are some things we recognize as being, if not problems, potential problems and this is what we must be aware of and accept that some of what he says could have merit.

However….

First, all the above points are referring to extremes.  

“Bloggers who have huge followings and expound living the perfect, rigorous healthy life with rules around everything could well make people feel somewhat inadequate.”   
My response – choose who you follow!  We need to take some responsibility over what we expose ourselves to.  What motivates that blogger?  Are they boasting or helping?

“Wellness behaviours are cultish and like religious rituals.” 
My response – anything taken to extremes can be sinister.  If a ritual is a habit, then that sounds like a positive way of incorporating a few new ones into our daily routine.  Becoming aware of what we do automatically is the first step to changing it.

 “Corporate wellness has become a way of discriminating.”
My response – taken to extremes yes, but high energy that comes from being well is definitely associated with productivity.  Anything that our society can do to encourage healthy behaviours as being the “norm” is a good thing.  If an individual does not want to consider their health as important, go and find an organisastion who doesn't care about this aspect of their employees’ lives.

Dr Spicer’s final comments are about the backlash that the wellness movement is having.  “Dude food” is increasing where people can eat as much as they want and eat real, high fat meals.”
My respose - Hey, if that’s your choice, it’s your body.

 “People are looking for meaning rather than happiness.”
My response – Agree (finally) - and we need to be.  If we search for happiness, it will elude us. If we try and find meaning in our lives, the incidence of depression will decrease.

 “The rise of neo-stocism – the belief that gains can only be made through pain and suffering and fight clubs, extreme work outs, tough mudders etc. are now becoming very popular.”
My response – there will always be people who want these things. Let everyone find what works for them.. There are plenty of softer “wellness” options out there!

In conclusion, I respect many of Dr. Spicer’s views but worry about the way people might interpret his message as encouraging a total lack of regard for whether we have healthy lifestyle habits and a continuation of the growth of lifestyle related illnesses.  

At least we’re doing something to try and slow it down.

The recording of Dr Andre Spicer was found at this link 

https://radio.abc.net.au/programitem/pg9G1mr82G?play=true



A New Slant on Goal Setting


We always encourage coaches to work with clients to create positive goals that take them in the direction of what they want!  This fits with the idea of running towards, rather than away from things in life.  

I recently had an interesting conversation with someone who had been at a conference on death and dying, with one of the speakers raising the idea of having a “Reverse Bucket List”. A very strange notion I thought - where does that go?  

The “Reverse Bucket List” consists of things that a person no longer wants to do!! Now that might mean saying “no” to a number of onerous tasks that drain energy and take precious time away from doing what we do want to do.  

It also might encourage our clients to take a good hard look at what they spend their time on - believing that they enjoy it and yet we come to the realisation that we don’t enjoy it any more!  

This type of “bucket list” can actually be very empowering!  Yes, it might be more meaningful to us as we get older and realise the value of the years left to us, but I think it's worth considering and playing around with. It’s really no different from asking, “What do we want more of?”, and “What do we want less of?” Try asking it of yourself and see what comes up! 

Happy culling of unwanted and unrewarding activities!


Motivation is not all equal



Here we go – 2017 is underway and we all love a fresh start. The new year can give us the opportunity to begin new projects, to make changes, to wipe out any of the less uplifting parts of the previous year.  But what do we need to actually make a change?

There’s no getting away from it – that overused term – “Motivation”!  And if you want to know more about it, there is no shortage of material, books, articles, speakers etc. to fill you in. But really what does it mean to be motivated? The essence of motivation is energy.  Energy to drive us forward to make that change.  Yet motivation can also come from many different areas – some more powerful than others.

Let’s keep it simple and look at two sources. Controlled motivation and autonomous motivation.  Both can be helpful but one more than the other.
Controlled motivation comes from outside.  Often from another person, who may well have the best interests in mind for the person they are pushing to make a change. Health professionals have traditionally been the people who provide “controlled motivation.” They provide all the facts, the dangers and the wisdom of their superior knowledge to convince their clients to make a change. When someone is influenced by this type of motivation, they tend to “comply” with someone else’s desires.  You may have heard this referred to as extrinsic motivation, but “controlled” suggests that there is a third party involved.  Frequently there is an element of fear inherent in the urge to change.

Autonomous motivation has quite a different feeling about it.  This is when a person is motivated by interest, desire and choice. They have a sense of control and value over the change they're about to make.  They are energised in a different way and often feel a sense of excitement about the challenge ahead.  Health and wellness coaches work in this space... Their job is to “unleash” their clients’ own motivation to change.

Why is the latter so much more powerful than the former?  As human beings, we have certain drives that are universal and one is the drive to control our own destiny to be “autonomous” and “self-determining”.  Although the support of a coach or other person may be of great help, ultimately we will become more flexible and creative, persistent and successful when we are driven from within.  

How we do tap into this type of motivation?  Simply by reflecting on the importance of the change we wish to make.  Time spent uncovering our real reasons to change is time well spent and an investment in the outcome of our efforts.  All too often, we rush in to do what others have propounded as being the “right” way to live.  Why not stop and ask yourself:
  • What will this change mean to me?
  • What will happen if I continue the way I am living?
  • What else might change if I am successful?
  • What does the change represent to me?
Then we’re armed with what we need to move forward.  But only then!

Two Words


The new year is well and truly on us and before we know it, we are into the swing of things and are now wondering where the holiday went. But most of us take some time, if only a moment or two, to ponder what lies ahead. What do we want for 2017?  Do we have new directions to travel in? New challenges to enjoy?  Notice I have not once said the word “goal”... Not that there is anything wrong with having goals, as long as we don’t get caught up in a mad rush to achieve them.  

What I prefer to do each year is to find two words that I can focus on that mean something significant to me at this point in time.  And I let those words “colour” my  plans and way of living.  So, for example, my two words for this year are, “Balance” and “Freedom”.  I won’t indulge myself by explaining what they mean to me, but I think you’ll get the general idea. 

So why am I sharing this?  Because I think it is just another creative way of working with clients at a time when most of them are busy, they've set new years’ resolutions (that often are broken by now) and planning to make major changes in their lives, which suggests that things are really not going well.  The reality is, we have all spent the last year growing, learning and experiencing a variety of things.  Hopefully, we have ended up with more information about what we want, what we don’t want and are feeling fairly clear after a nice rest and reset that Xmas and New Year can often give us.  Choosing two words keeps it nice and simple, creates a feeling of control and gives us clarity around what we need most. 

What are your two words?  How do they apply to your life?  How can you bring more of those two elements into your world?  Share this with your clients.  Have fun with them as you invite them to do the same. Spend time talking about what those words mean for your clients.  Coaching does not always have to be delving into the dark stuff.  There is always room for laughter and lightness; for fun and anticipation; for a sense of the unknown whilst feeling grounded in who we are and what we stand for. 

Go lightly into the rest of 2017 and make it a wonderful year. 



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