Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

Australian Fire Crisis - How can we help as Coaches?


I am sure this is a question that has crossed many of our minds in the last few weeks and particularly since 2020 has begun.  Instead of a joyful new beginning to the year, so many people are facing devastation, loss and trauma from the terrible fires that are raging in our beautiful country. Our natural response is to offer help. Donations are easy to give and will be put to good and essential use, but is there anything else we can do?

Many of us are too far away to provide comfort or support even though we dearly want to, but  there will be numerous wellness coaches who are in close proximity and contact with those who have lost their homes and their security at random.  But what can we do that will help?  How can we use our professional training to do something to relieve the suffering of those traumatised people?  After all, our training is not in trauma counselling? We do have one thing to offer that can help. The ability to listen.

SOMETIMES PEOPLE JUST NEED TO “BE”

Our goal is primarily to help others move forward towards their desired goals. After events such as have occurred recently, the idea of thinking for the future is simply too hard (although it will be become pressing in the near future). The very first thing people need to do is to process what has happened.  Similar to any loss or grief, step one is to accept it.  I cannot imagine what these people have been through and are still experiencing.  I have never faced the horror of bush fire or lost a home, history and a framework of life. But I do  believe that having someone to talk to about any experience that has hurt us is the most necessary first step to healing. And coaches know how to listen.   So,  let’s offer our training wherever we can as a way of contributing in a small way to the terrible events of the last few weeks. Whether it be face to face, by phone, by email let people know you are there to help in any way you can and one of them is to simply listen – without judgment, without giving advice or reassurance – but with empathy and the aim of letting that person process their experience.

MOVING FORWARD WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT

A wellness coaches' toolbox contains many useful approaches that can help when the time is right.  Positive psychology emphasises a focus on possibilities rather than blame and causation.  Strengths based enquiry will be useful when a person is thinking ahead.  Small steps that are within the capability of the individual can be formulated with the coaches support.  At all times, in any conversation with someone who has been through trauma, we can only follow these essential guidelines:

  • Establish trust and safety
  • Show respect and humility at all times
  • Show empathy and avoid falling into a sympathetic stance
  • Know when help managing stress is within our limits but when distress is so high professional counselling may be required
  • Beware compassion fatigue or “survivor guilt”
  • Let them know your time is for free. (Does that sound ok?)

OUR COMMUNITY

In closing, we are sending all our best wishes to anyone who is reading this who may have been affected by the fires. Know that our thoughts are with you and we are here to lend an ear if needed.  We have been deeply concerned this last week as our much loved team member, Melanie White, has been in the thick of things on the south coast. She is safe but is in a precarious location and knowing Mel, she will be staying to provide support to people who have lost everything.  Stay safe Melanie.

Love to all.  

Fiona

Global Wellness Summit and Wellness Coaching Initiative




In October, I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the Global Wellness Summit in Singapore. This was an exciting event for me and also one I went into with some lack of knowledge of what to expect!  I wasn’t disappointed.  

A big influence on my decision to attend was an invitation to Vice Chair the initiative on Wellness Coaching. In case you are wondering what that means, (as was I) The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) supports a variety of industry Initiatives, furthering the international conversation about wellness in its many and varied forms. Each GWI Initiative is led by an Initiative Chair, who is a renowned thought-leader in his or her particular area of focus. I felt honoured and privileged to be approached to Vice Chair this particular project.  For more information on this take a look at their website:

Global Wellness Institute: Wellness Coaching Initiative

I am in very good company.

Over four days I listened to some incredible sessions presented by leaders in their field who covered the latest in research, thinking, science, and anything related to improving global wellness.  Asia featured prominently due to the location of the summit this year which made it very relevant to Australians who attended due to our close proximity. In prior years it has been held in places like New York, Switzerland, Italy, Morocco, Mexico, Australia and in 2020 the venue will be Tel Aviv (Truly global.). There was a great representation of our country with over 40 attendees who filled the stage for Australia’s photo!

It would be impossible to document everything I learnt and suffice to say the following topics were a few touched on during the four day agenda:

  • Mental Wellness 
  • Wellness retail 
  • Rejuvenation and anti aging
  • How people are aging -  baby boomers
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Wellness in the workplace
  • Solutions for jet lag (!)
  • Asia’s growing place in the wellness industry
  • The business of Purpose (corporate and individual)
  • Epigenetics
  • Sustainability
  • Evolution of the spa and retreat industry 
  • Energy medicine
  • Physical activity trends in the world
  • The role of nature in wellness
  • Value of CBD oil
  • Wellness Tourism

Here are a few random facts that piqued my interest in no particular order:

  • $109b is being spend on Fitness, $230b on sports and active recreation, 29b on Mindful movement
  • Baby boomers describe themselves as more optimistic, personally gratified, idealistic, loyal, driven and able to cope with technological change than either Gen X or Millenials describe themselves.
  • A comment on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – surely mental health should be included as a basic need?
  • Energy medicine – our hearts send more signals to our brains than the brain sends to our hearts (multiple neurons are found in the heart and gut – not just the brain).
  • Getting rid of used textiles creates massive amounts of landfill and are a huge problem to the environment (recycle clothes).
  • Drugs and natural substances exist that have been shown to have anti-aging benefits (metaformin, fisetin, nicoltinamide,  hGH were a few that were mentioned).  Spas will become the plae where rejuvetation procedures will be delivered.
  • 69% of all deaths globally each year are a result of preventable diseases
  • Wellness in the workplace is about culture not programs!
  • Poverty will be decreased enormously – by the education of women
  • Digital and face to face wellness programs will sit side by side. One will not replace the other.  Instead they will cater for different things, but both will meet some need.
  • Amplification of community – social accountability ensures a behaviour becomes a habit
  • If you want to help a community, don’t impose from the outside, enrol the people themselves
  • If we underestimated the power of Asia, consider this.  They have 60% of world population, 50% of world’s middle class, 50% of global GDP by 2040!
  • Some very creative solutions to getting the world moving include: Plaza Dancing in China 100 million people (including the elderly) are dancing choreographed dance in plazas
  • Having open streets (traffic free) in America-Caribbean is driving exercise
  • Australia has the highest life expectancy in the world – at 83.
  • A robotic dog called “Albo” is helping improve the quality of life in aged care homes by engaging the resident and improving the communication of preschool kids.

You might wonder what all this fascinating information had to do with my profession and background?! I was lucky enough to host a table on Wellness coaching and enjoyed some interactive discussions with a group of people who chose to attend. Throughout the summit, I recognised multiple opportunities for wellness coaching to support projects and yet also realised that there is still a lot of misinformation about our work (Several times the term was used in conjunction with the word “advice”.)  Yet we are getting the attention that our work deserves. By staying in touch with wonderful organisations such as the GWI, I can only hope that we will gain traction and credibility and people will come to understand exactly what we do. The journey continues!

The Australian attendees at the 2019 Global Wellness Summit

*Photo Credits: The Global Wellness Institute; Global Wellness Summit and Fiona Cosgrove.

Does Health and Wellness Coaching Benefit the Client, the Coach or both?



The aim of our training programs is ultimately to produce coaches who can support others in creating lifestyle behaviour change.  Yet we are finding that the process of learning to coach in health and wellness areas is helping the trainees as individuals to optimise their own health and wellbeing!

How does this happen?

Firstly, people choose to attend our training for many reasons. The main ones are:

  • To add to their existing skillset and become more effective in supporting their clients
  • To explore possibilities of a new career, either as a new business enterprise or as an additional offering to their existing profession
  • To learn more about how to improve their own health and wellness using the coaching model. (Think Coach yourself to Wellness book, by the writer!)

The question that intrigues me is whether a coach needs to go on their own journey before they can become an effective coach for others.  Now we do not mean to imply that coaches need to have their wellbeing in perfect order before supporting others, but to be familiar with the process and model we use and be willing to engage in the self-reflection that is part and parcel of creating meaningful and lasting change. Is this a pre-requisite? We are beginning to think that it is. A quote that has stayed with me was one by Tribole (2015) when referring to dietetic students who she believed ‘can’t take a client any further than they have come themselves because they will subconsciously put up blinders’.  I have a sense that this may also have great relevance to our work.

Margaret Moore writes about “primary capacities for human thriving”. (2018). This follows her view that coaches need to be continually looking for new opportunities to “upgrade their own wellbeing”.   

These capacities include the ability to:

  • Regulate our body’s signals  and maintain “body intelligence”
  • Create a life that is aligned with our own values and driven by the need to live by them
  • Have a sense of higher purpose in and around (and above) what we do
  • Relate to others and enjoy close relationships
  • Feel confident and competent in life generally
  • Seek out new experiences and experience curiousity for our world
  • Unleash our creativity whenever we can
Would we doubt that these are desirable qualities and things to strive for?  I don’t think so.  So, when we think of the value of health and wellness coach training, let’s remember that it has a double benefit and even if you never want to coach another person, the benefits from learning the model for change can be personally significant!

References:  
Tribole. E.  (2015)  Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works
Moore, M. (2018). Coaching Psychology Manual

How do we define success?


















This is not a new question and I am sure not the first time I have written about it, but it is such a significant area to explore that I feel it is worthy of re-visiting and reviewing our responses.  Answering the question will help us get a greater understanding of our client’s goals, aspirations and sense of achievement.  Like so many aspects of health and wellness coaching, as coaches we have to ask the question of ourselves to provide the most meaningful support for our clients.

There are many different factors that influence whether a person feels “successful” in life.
Let’s consider the external factors.  We live in a world where relativity is a fact of life - the inevitable tendency to compare helps us define normal, exceptional and perhaps just plain “odd”.  “We are wired for comparison” according to Mark Manson.  Success and failure are somewhere different concepts but both frequently influenced by what others think.

Common ways of measuring success:

Financial – many people feel that success is only theirs when they hit their financial goals.  Money is extremely important to them and they spend much of their life working towards that notion of “success”.  Whether this healthy or not is irrelevant – it just is what they do and how they feel. It may come from parental values, from a fear of not having enough or any one of a multitude of reasons from their past.  Interestingly, people who value money often report that they never feel financially sound and they are often striving for more to achieve that end.

Status – this is all about how other people see us.  Status cannot exist without there being a hierarcy.. Someone has to be below us to feel successful in this realm.

Accumulation – plain gathering of “more” drives many people and the sheer fact that they own an abundance of things makes them feel successful.  But do they ever stop the need to acquire?  Will there always be an empty void which can only be further acquisition?

The satisfaction that we get from achieving a goal  – or not?

“Society values success and there is a competitive edge to most aspects of our world” writes Chris Skellett when he describes why people can lean too much towards an achievement orientation.

Yet it is really useful to remember something about goals.  The pleasure we get when we succeed at an important goal can be quite short-lived.  We call this “post goal attainment positive affect”.  However, when we are working towards a goal, the steps along the way often provide “pre-goal attainment positive affect.  The reality is most pleasure is felt along the way – hence the term “the progress principle”.

But how does this all fit into our definition of success?

Define success internally, not externally
This phrase had a powerful impact on me.  It reminded me that so very often we define success based on what other people think.  (see all the above examples listed above.) If we can shift our measuring stick to one of internal values, we may well be on to something that can reduce stress, anxiety and the feeling of being continually deficient in our lives.

When we ask ourselves certain questions such as the following, we can get closer to refining the way we look at success in our own lives.
“Would you rather be well off and work in a job you hate, or have a lower income and work in a job you love?’
Would you rather be famous and influential for something that has little importance, or be anonymous and working on something that could make a difference to the world?”

When we truly define what is important to us, only then can we decide whether we are successful or not. Stand back and take a look at your life and decide whether there are days when you feel you are failing and ask whose measuring stick you are using?  Do you see yourself as successful in other ways?  Once we have this self knowledge only then can we support our clients identifying their ways of measuring success.

References:
Jonhathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis
Mark Manson,https://markmanson.net/5-mindsets-that-create-success
Chris Skellett, When Happiness is not enough

Personal and Professional Development for Health and Wellness Coaches


When you work as a coach, it’s important that you walk your talk, stay abreast of industry changes, and maintain your currency professional skills.
Your commitment to ongoing personal and professional development shows your commitment to self-improvement, professionalism and professional integrity.Let’s look at some options for personal and professional development.

Personal Development for Coaches

Four main strategies for personal development include:

1. Hiring your own coach
Hiring your own coach means improving your physical or mental habits to further your own personal growth, to deal with change in a healthy way, and/or to achieve new goals.
It also demonstrates that you believe in what you do enough that you’d also buy it yourself.

2. Self-coaching
Self-coaching could include post-session reflections, using thought models, talking to yourself or journaling as part of a pro-active routine. Being proactive with these habits means we are being role models for our clients.

3. Ongoing learning
Coaches are professional communicators, so it makes sense to learn or polish up personal skills that help us to become better communicators.

4. Mentoring
Conversations with mentors can help you to gain wisdom and perspective by learning from someone who has done or is doing what you seek to achieve.

Professional Development for Coaches

Industry bodies are organisations that aim to advance a specific profession by providing guidelines, standards and recognition of a professional’s education and experience. 
While not a formal requirement, Health and Wellness Coaches may choose to be credentialed by either the National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coaches (NBCHWC) or the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

Whether or not you have membership with an industry body, ongoing education demonstrates your commitment to your profession and your clients.
Coaches who are certified with NBCHWC or ICF must commit to the following professional development requirements; these requirements provide a good guideline around ongoing education needs for non-certified coaches. 

National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coaches
Coaches who have NBCHWC credentialing are required to re-certify every 3 years by completing 36 hours of continuing education related to health and wellness coaching. 

International Coaching Federation (ICF)
Coaches who have ICF credentialing have specific requirements depending on the level of credentialing they hold. 

For the Associate Certified Coach (ACC) (the basic level), the requirements are:
Receiving 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three months
At least 40 hours of Continuing Coach Education (CCE) completed in the three years since the initial award of your credential or since your last credential renewal
Mentoring involves coaching with feedback in a safe and collaborative way, to identify strengths and areas for improvement. It is highly recommended for coaches who have no means of obtaining feedback on their coaching skills and techniques.

Summary

If you work the field of personal development, then it’s essential that you walk your talk. 

Ongoing personal and professional demonstrate your commitment to your craft, your desire to grow as a person and a coach, and a means of maintaining currency and standards in the industry. 
A weekly personal routine is a mainstay for health and wellness coaches. Professionally, 10 - 15 hours of formal training plus additional mentoring (3 – 5 hours) per year is a valuable for increasing a coach’s capacity and skill. 


Hope and Optimism - a question of degrees of possibility


As health and wellness coaches we are trained to work with principles of positive psychology and understand the role of optimism in a happy and fulfilling life. I have recently started reading the second publication by Mark Manson, which has the bye line of A Book About Hope (the main title has a profanity which may offend some)!  Personally, I really enjoy this author’s work. He certainly tells it like it is, or let’s say how he sees it!

This book has already got me thinking about the notion of “hope” and its role in society today, or perhaps the lack of it in many cases. One of the distinguishing characteristics, or precursors to depression is the inability to believe that “things will turn out ok”, whatever those things might be – in other words, life for these people seems “hopeless”.  

In a world where everyone seems to be seeking happiness as a holy grail, we need to accept that the opposite of happiness is hopelessness and that as Manson so aptly puts it “Hopelessness is the root of anxiety, mental illness and depression – the source of all misery and the cause of addiction”. In order to have hope in our lives, we need three things:
  • A sense of control
  • A believe in the value of something, and
  • A community
I think that health and wellness coaching can go a long way to supporting people in these areas. 

I started to reflect on the difference between optimism and hope – what makes them different and I put it down to a case of degrees. If I am optimistic about the future, I believe “things should turn out well”. If I am hopeful, I believe that “things could turn out well”. There is a subtle difference between those statements that centres on confidence.
We have a tendency to push people towards optimism. “You can do it”, “I believe in you” – affirmative declarations of support. However, when someone has no or little hope, this may be too big a step to take.  And this is where our understanding of where a client sits in their belief in a positive future is crucial and our language perhaps modified accordingly. We might want our clients to be able to say… “Things could turn out ok”, which might be a shift for them. If they can believe it could be possible if not necessarily probable, then the existence of hope is ignited. 
Mental health is a complex area and the incidence of people struggling with it is on the rise. Coaches work with behaviours, cognitions, beliefs and values and it is essential that we monitor where our clients sit on the “possibility” scale! Or perhaps we should call it the continuum between hopeless to hopeful. And work with them accordingly. 

Coach Profile: Wendy Trevarthen


One of our coaching graduates who is making real headway is Wendy Trevarthen, from Healthy Options Now.

Wendy is a nurse and has since attained several other qualifications to move into the wellness space and enhance her service offering.
Wendy's qualifications:  Bachelor of Health Science (Nursing), Post Graduate Certificate in Cancer Nursing, Certificate 4 Personal Training, Level 3 Wellness Coaching WCA.


What is your business all about?

I enable MidLifers to find their Mojo by gaining clarity around their mindset, nutrition and movement. 
Having worked in nursing for many years, I saw numerous women who were busy at work and supporting others, then reaching midlife and realising that they needed to make more time for their own health and wellbeing.
A lot of changes happen at this stage in life. We question what we want and we start looking ahead to work out how to deal with the health challenges that may come up.
I love working with people in this area as we really ‘get’ each other and I enjoy helping these people to set and achieve goals that boost their physical and mental health.

Getting Started in Business

I had a pre-existing personal training and group fitness business prior to finishing my level 3 coaching course. I entered the level 2 course as a CPD requirement for my Certificate 4 in Fitness, and found it complemented my nursing career so well that I wanted to go on to do Level 3, mid 2017.
While I was doing my Level 3 Coaching, I also completed the Passion to Profit course (WCA), as I wanted to learn more about expanding my business and setting up systems and processes. 
The course was invaluable and I had to review everything that I had done to date. I am still referring to the work done during this course.
I have also now authored my first book “MidLife Mojo. You are 50, Cut the Crap” and have enlisted other business mentors, and networked widely both face to face and online.
After completing Level 3, I got engagement from my existing clients and offered them a 1:1 package following on from their fitness goals. From there word of mouth referrals came through, and I improved my profile through social media, and stayed connected with my local community groups. 
I also joined with local Networking groups, commenced public speaking last year following the publication of my first book, and have recently been interviewed on radio. 
I know compliment my 1:1 session with an 8-week program, which I am looking to move online this year. 

My Niche

MidLifers particularly busy women, (45-60, or biologically equivalent) who are having challenges with their health, or they perceived that their future health may be compromised with the lifestyle they are leading at present. 
I love working with this group, as I relate well with them, and seem to ‘talk’ their language. 
Having survived many of the issues that they are living, they trust me, and open up more easily about themselves. I get a fantastic sense of pride when they achieve their predetermined goals, and also when they accomplish new ones along the way as a by-product of their work.

Start-up Challenges

The main challenge was facing my own fears around being confident with my coaching skills. 
Even though I had been nursing for over 25 years, I found a vast difference to teaching someone about health conditions and treatment to coaching them towards being self-empowered to take control of their own destiny. 
I am a great believer myself in following someone who knows and lives their talk, and for me I have always found it easy to become distracted with my own health goals. Staying accountable for myself has been one of the stumbling blocks that I have had to work through, in order to maintain trust with my clients. 
Going through this process was hard. I felt vulnerable, and also felt that I had to shift this vulnerability emotion into focussing on the client’s pain points, and helping them achieve their goals, and not my own. 
I get great energy from helping others and seeing their successes.  The energy from this experience is what I aim for, to see the clients’ self-confidence soar, and the expressions on their faces when we reflect on their journey and see how far they have come.  

How my business has grown

My business is currently shifting from 1:1 to a mixture of 1:1 and 1:many with online strategies. 
My clients fed back to me that they wanted a more time efficient way of receiving coaching, and within this online world, they suggested to me to move into this reality. So, this is what I am doing at present. 
Exploring the different ways that this can be done is fun, and expands the funnel where location is no longer a restriction. 
I expect this to take a fair bit of preparation work, and my expectations are that I need to convey a point of difference out there to my unique clients. 
I feel that once that this is done, my time freedom will be a greater, and that once it is set up, that it will be relatively straight forward to review and update. 
My clients often achieve far greater outcomes than what they come into the sessions expecting. It’s the confidence, and side health issues that improve as a result. It affects their lives by having a domino effect on their immediate family and close circle of friends. They report that they have a ripple effect of influence around them. 

My 3 big lessons

In the last 4 years I have learned how listen more, to myself, to my clients and to my business mentors and colleagues. 
What I think my clients need does necessarily equate to what their pain points are, and their best journey forward. 
I picked my business name in the beginning as Healthy Options Now, and this has been so appropriate, as it fosters a sense of making healthier options, today, not tomorrow, not next week, but today. I have not needed to change this as it is still relevant. 

Final Thoughts

Wendy is a determined person and I am enjoying seeing Wendy’s success as a result of her consistent online presence.
Like many of our other graduate coaches, Wendy has some traits that have helped her to succeed:

1. Wendy is persistent
Wendy has simply worked out what to do, and consistently showed up to do the work. That applies to everything she’s done, from study, to learning about business, to developing an online presence, to writing her book. Persistence pays; Wendy is becoming known, liked and trusted.

2. She is honest
If you’ve ever spoken with Wendy, you’ll know that she is honest with others and with herself. Honesty is a great trait for an entrepreneur to have; it conveys authenticity and garners respect.

3. She has been willing to ask for help.
At every step of the way, Wendy has sought help to learn how to do certain things in her business and marketing. This has helped her to walk a straight line from graduation to a growing business, without wasting time and energy along the way.

Wendy is an inspiration and an emerging leader in the health and wellness coaching industry.

To learn more about Wendy or connect with her on social media, visit her:

Coach Profile: Shreen El Masry



Shreen El Masry, from Be You Be Free in Sydney.
Shreen started her business as a personal trainer and has since attained several other qualifications to enhance her service offering.
Qualifications: Graduate Certificate in Wellness, Certified Intuitive Eating Counsellor, Wellness Coaching Level 1, 2 and 3, Cert III and IV in Personal Training, Bootcamp Instructor, Punchfit Trainer Level 1.

What is your business all about?

I believe that all women have the right to feel good about themselves no matter what shape and size they are. Our self-worth should not be based on the way we look, or what we weigh, and we shouldn’t have to feel this way. 
I am so passionate in helping women break free from the dieting cycle so they can spend their time on the things that matter to them the most and live their lives to the fullest. 
The core of my work is to help women build confidence and trust in their eating, make peace with food and their bodies, have fun with exercise and create a realistic and balanced approach to their wellbeing in a supportive and comfortable community.

Getting Started in Business 

My business was already running before completing Level 3 coaching course with Wellness Coaching Australia. 
The skills I learnt from level 3 enabled me to target my niche and develop my coaching skills so I could help people find their own process to create wellness.
I undertook a marketing course and Wellness Coaching Australia business courses with Melanie to narrow down my niche. As a result, I rewrote all my ad copy and my target persona and got really clear on exactly who I was helping, and with what.

My Niche

My target market is women between 25-40. 
They have hit ‘diet rock bottom’ and they struggle with body image and self-esteem. They want to heal their relationship with food and their body. 
I have been through this struggle myself, which made me the person I am today, and now all I want to do is help others and to be a role model to them through my own journey.

Start-up Challenges

There were so many challenges in the beginning! 
One of the main ones was not being specific enough with my target audience and marketing. It took me a while to clear on my messaging and as a result, I ended up taking on clients that didn’t quite fit my values.
Having said that, I see every challenge as an opportunity to grow and learn. My business would not be what it is today without those challenges and for that I grateful. 
What got me through was my determination and passion.

How my business has grown

These days, things are much better and easier. I am very clear on my marketing, messaging and values. 
I am attracting the rights sorts of clients and we connect well. They are getting the meaningful results they want. I love my work!
One important pillar of my business has been creating community – a supportive and comfortable environment where they can share their challenges and wins. 
Their results are extremely gratifying,
After working with me, my clients are able to go out for and enjoy dinner and cocktails with friends without the sense of nagging guilt that they used to have.  
They can look in the mirror and like what they see.
They have a newfound respect for themselves and they feel confident in their body. 
All of these results are possible because they’ve done the work required to heal their relationship with food and exercise and to find realistic ways to manage these areas without judgement or guilt.

My 3 big lessons

The three biggest lessons I have learned about starting my business are:
- Get clear on your marketing and messaging. It is what you need to get right to attract the right clients.
- See every mistake as an opportunity to learn and grow.
- Take a break! Time out and self-care is an important part of renewing your enthusiasm for your business because it allows you to stand back and see the bigger picture.

Final Thoughts

I have really enjoyed working with Shreen through her study with Wellness Coaching Australia and seeing her personal growth and confidence increase as she has gone through this journey.

Like many of our other graduate coaches, Shreen has some traits that have helped her to succeed:

1. Shreen is persistent
She has had the ‘stickability’ to keep going, even when she has felt confused or stuck, and the patience to know that marketing is a longer term game.

2. She has courage
Shreen has had the courage to liaise with her ideal clients to seek their feedback and opinions, thoughts and needs. This means she’s developed a client-centred business. 
She’s also had the courage to try different things and not give up when something didn’t work.

3. She has been willing to ask for help.
Shreen has recognised the importance of investing in business and marketing knowledge and to get help with the areas that would help her to add coaching to her existing business, and pivot slightly in her approach and messaging.

To learn more about Shreen or connect with her on social media, visit:

Her Website: http://beyoubefree.com.au/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beyoubefreecoogee/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beyoubefree.com.au/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/beyoubefreecoogee/

Which is more important - Good Self-esteem or greater self-compassion?




We live in a world where the idea of having good self-esteem has been the focus of many self-development books and indeed a prime component of therapeutic work.  But how important is it really?  And are we perhaps missing some other concept that could be more important?

We do know that poor self-esteem is closely associated with many problems in life – poor mental health, under achievement, failure to reach goals – and as coaches we worry that our clients need more advanced professional help if they present with such low self-esteem that we feel their progress would be impeded.  However, research is also showing that trying to raise self-esteem by artificial means, brings its own set of problems!  A person can develop narcissistic tendencies, antisocial behaviour and be even more reluctant to try activities that may challenge their self-concept further.  (Mueller and Dweck, 1998.)

Perhaps we are barking up the wrong tree?  Perhaps increasing self-compassion is a better approach?

Why focusing on building self-esteem alone may not be the best contributor to a happier, healthier life

One of the most common ways of addressing low self-esteem is to help a client become aware of the language they use, their negative self-talk, and help them replace these ideas with more positive (or realistic) language.

Or we may attempt to help them distract themselves from these thoughts.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) put forward other ideas.

By fighting the thought, it gives weight to its reality. There must be something wrong with the individual who is having it?  The more they fight it, the more power they give it.  (Hayes, 2014).  

We will all feel inadequate and insecure at times.  Events will threaten our self-esteem.  Instead of putting pressure on ourselves to hold ourselves in high esteem – unrealistically at all times – maybe we should be learning to respond to those situations and feelings with self-compassion instead.

What is self-compassion?

Dr. Kirstin Neff defines self-compassion has having three components during the tough times.

  • Treating oneself kindly
  • Recognising ones struggles as part of the shared human experience
  • Holding one’s painful thoughts as feelings in mindful awareness
So, with this view in mind, whether your thoughts are negative or positive isn’t really the issue. It’s how you respond to those thoughts that matters.  

  • First, we notice the thought, without getting attached to it.  (We can do this by being mindful.) 
  • Second, we understand that these thoughts are commons to all people and part of what we share as humans, and
  • Thirdly, treat ourselves with kindness and stop beating ourselves up!
Does it work?  Research suggests it does.  When children with low self-esteem were taught self-compassion, their mental health was less affected than those who were supported in improving self-esteem.  (Marshall 2015.)

ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) puts focus on increasing self-compassion by improving psychological flexibility.  By detaching from our thoughts, while being aware of their existence, and using skills that include self-kindness, we can protect and build our mental health.

As coaches, we don’t have to throw out all the techniques we have learnt about thought stopping and disputing negativity, but perhaps it would be more important to help clients learn the art of self-compassion as a very first step.  Food for thought!

References:

Hayes (2014). Is Self-Compassion more important than Self-Esteem?  www.huffingtonpost.com/id306621789?mt+8

Mueller, C.M., and Dweck, C.S.(1998) Praise for intelligence can undermine children’s motivation and performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.  75(1): 33-52

Marshall, S. et al (2015). Self-compassion protects against the negative effects of low self-esteem:  A longitudinal study in a large adolescent sample.  Personality and Individual Differences.  74:116-121

Working with the National Disability Insurance Scheme framework


Are you a certified Health and Wellness Coach who:

  • Has experience with, OR wants to work with, disabled people?
  • Is willing to network with local allied health professionals?
  • Is happy to work for a set hourly rate?
  • Is fairly good at working in a structured and organised way?
If so, there's a good chance that you can be paid to work as a coach within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) framework.
This blog explains how it works, what the fee pre-requisites are, and how to apply.

Overview of NDIS process

Very simply, the NDIS supports people by way of funding if they have a permanent and significant disability that affects their ability to take part in everyday activities.

They may access NDIS funding if they:
  • have a permanent disability that limits participation in everyday activities 
  • are aged less than 65 when they first access the scheme 
  • Are an Australian citizen, live in Australia and hold a permanent visa or hold a Protected Special Category Visa.
Once an application for funding has been lodged, the NDIS: 
  • considers their existing support and how well it’s working (could include family, friend support);
  • looks at the person’s needs and goals, then identifies any gaps in existing services; 
  • works out if existing support networks (family, friends, other) can fill those gaps; and
  • fund reasonable and necessary supports to help the disabled person achieve their goals.
These ‘supports’ (services) being funded by the NDIS can be broad or specific and may include therapies, equipment, home modifications, mobility equipment, taking part in community activities or assistance with employment. 
Once appropriate services are identified, a tailored plan is created for the individual, considering their needs and goals.

Creating a Plan for Funding

Here is an overview of how it works.

The tailored plan is developed by either:
  • the NDIS governing body (either Uniting, St Vincent De Paul) or 
  • a contracted NDIS planner (an individual contractor or an Agency like the Disability Trust). 

  • The services and service providers are approved and allocated by the planner. 
  • Once funding is allocated, the service providers are formally approached by either the disabled individual or their planning coordinator/consultant; 
  • The plan (delivery of services) is implemented by the person, their family and sometimes a support coordinator, and is reviewed and revised annually.

The overarching aim of these plans is that the disabled individual becomes more capable and competent over time and their needs for services change and/or diminish.
Service providers can be registered with NDIS, or not (more on that later).

NDIS Service Categories

Professional services that are covered by the NDIS fall into one of three broad areas:
  • CORE SUPPORTS – which enable the individual to complete activities of daily living and work towards their goals and objectives. 
  • CAPITAL SUPPORTS – an investment such as technology, equipment and home or vehicle modifications, capital costs (e.g. Specialist Disability Accommodation). 
  • CAPACITY BUILDING – includes support that enables a participant to build their independence and skills. 
Health and Wellness Coaches may be eligible to provide services under the specific categories within the Core and Capacity Building areas:
  • Core Supports: 1.04 Assistance with Social and Community Participation
This could include paying for after school care, vacation care or a training course or camp.
  • Capacity Building: 3.07. Coordination of support
This is more of an administrative role, where the service provider helps to coordinate the booking of and interaction with various service providers outlined in the individual’s plan.  
  • Capacity Building: 3.09 Increased Social and Community Participation
This item covers tuition fees, art classes, sports coaching, camps or groups that build a person’s relationship and other skills and independence.
  • Capacity Building: 3.11 Improved relationships 
This item is more for experienced degree-qualified professionals (e.g. psychologists) who work to reduce or eliminate behaviours of concern. There may be an opportunity for Health and Wellness Coaches to help build individual social skills. 
  • Capacity Building: 3.12 Improved health and wellbeing
This includes all activities to support and maintain wellbeing such as personal training, exercise physiology, exercise, health diets and dietetic. Service providers in this category are typically qualified as a personal trainer, exercise physiologist or dietician. 
  • Capacity Building: 3.14 Improved life choices
There are several areas within this category that may be relevant for Health and Wellness Coaches, within Planning and Plan Management (that is, their own NDIS plan), or Therapy Services.
There are many ‘line items’ within each category and the full list is available on the NDIS website.

As you can see, there is no necessity to have a Health-related qualification for some of these items. For example, if you're not a personal trainer or a nutritionist, you can still work with NDIS clients in areas such as community participation, relationships, planning or plan management support and coordinating support.
 

Fund Management and Service Providers

The NDIS funding for a disabled person is managed in one of three ways. It is either:
  • NDIS managed – the NDIS pays service providers, and they must be approved, NDIS-registered providers
  • Agency managed – An NDIS agency like Workability or the Disability Trust pays service providers, and funding is available to either registered NDIS OR unregistered providers
  • Self-managed – the individual, their carer or their family pays service providers, and funding is available to either registered NDIS OR unregistered providers.
In any of these situations, the person who manages and distributes NDIS funding for a disabled person takes responsibility for the individuals choice of provider, according to which services have been approved in the plan. 

The criteria for choosing a service and service provider are that they must be:
  • Safe
  • Allowed within the NDIS framework
  • A competent person and provider
  • They can't be a member of the individual’s family
They may only want to use NDIS-registered providers, or may only want to use providers with specific qualifications or experience.

Pay rates

The pay rate you receive as a NDIS service provider (registered or unregistered) depends on: 
  • whether the client has low, standard or high intensity needs
  • the service category chosen, and 
  • your qualifications.
Pay rates start at $42.79 per hour, and may range up to $92.53 per hour for different services categories and/or working on weekends or public holidays.
Degree-qualified coaches (e.g. exercise physiologists) may earn up to $143 per hour depending on the service.

How Providers Get Work

While you don’t have to register as a provider, it certainly gives you a better chance of being chosen to provide services, because you: 
  • can advertise yourself as a registered provider
  • are eligible for all levels of funding management (from NDIS-managed to personally managed plans).
  • will be listed on the NDIS website as a registered provider. 
Whether approved or not, service providers may be approached by disabled individuals, the NDIS, or a support coordinator or agency to provide services. 

But at the end of the day, the more people in the industry that you know, the more likely you will be chosen to support someone. 

That means your best chance is to get out there and network! 

Find out who your local disability service providers and agencies are, meet them and introduce yourself. Let them know what you can do and how you could provide support in a positive and empowering way.

Considerations

As you can tell, the NDIS is fairly complicated and there is an application process to go through.
There is another consideration, too.

Mental health issues are often a comorbidity with disability. 
It means you may be dealing with individuals in complex situations and with complex needs. You may need to coordinate with other providers and be available at odd hours. 
You would probably need to be fairly clear on the boundaries of your role, and to communicate those boundaries clearly from the beginning.

Application Process

Are you interested in becoming a registered provider?
Click here to learn more and start the application process!



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