Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

Coach Profile: Narelle King



This month, we’re profiling Narelle King, owner of www.simplyhappy.com.au.

About Narelle

Hi, I’m Narelle I am a mum to two young children, I have a background in education specialising in Physical Education and Social Emotional Learning and I am also a Wellness Coach for Simply Happy.

I help mums prioritise what’s important in their lives so that they can be a more focused, happier mum.

I have a face-to-face program the Mums’ Reboot Program, monthly months Mums Catch-ups and affordable individual one-on-one coaching over the phone at a time that best suits you.

Getting Started in Business

I started my business in January 2017 after finishing level 3 in December 2016.

The first steps were writing a really simple business plan with my vision for my business, stating who my target market was going to be and working out what my unique selling points were.

Social media was my first place to start promoting my business Simply Happy. 

My first version of my website was in May 2017 with a second version launching in September 2017.

I had no experience in marketing at all. I joined various Facebook groups, listened to a lot of business podcasts, read a lot of books, completed a 10-week business/marketing course, digital marketing course, Keeping Video Real course and a FB ads course. 

Finally, I joined a Mastermind for the past 6 months for support, inspiration and motivation.

My Niche

My ideal client is a mum between the ages of 30-45 years with children that are primary school aged.

She has a sense of humour, is respectful, kind maybe just a little too generous with her time and likes to learn new things. She gets overwhelmed by everything she thinks she has to do and finds it hard to prioritise things in her life.

I enjoy working with these women because I was the same as them only a few years ago before I took steps to become a Wellness Coach.

Start-up Challenges 

My challenges this year are tech issues with developing a website, landing pages, FB ads, building an email list and getting engagement on social media through perfecting my copy writing skills.

Being part of a few business groups on Facebook helped with the tech issues.

Enrolling in courses paid and free helped with my knowledge.

How I Stay Focused

The support and encouragement from my Mastermind group has been enormous. They have also encouraged me to set up process now for when my business grows. 

Finally, my husband and my two children have allowed me space and time to grow my business.

There have been long hours spent watching videos on how to do things, scheduling social media content and writing and developing blogs and opt ins for my website. 

How my Business Has Grown

I have a four-week face-to-face group coaching program Mums’ Reboot Program that I have run each term.

I am going to be developing a version of it to put online.

I also have a monthly catch-up with the mums that completed the face-to-face program. I also offer one-on-one coaching for 6 weeks and for a 3 months period.

I also have a physical product a removable decal sticker to help motivate and inspire the mums I work with.

Typical Client Outcomes 

My clients are now prioritising what’s really important to them and have taken steps to improve their life through exercise, nutrition, self-care and career changes.

They are now more focused on how simple life can be, energised, motivated and they prioritise what is really important.

My 3 Biggest Lessons

The 3 biggest lessons I have learned in the past 12 months since starting Simply Happy are:

  1. Just start because the best way to learn anything is by trying.

You don’t need a website to start. I would even just get a really basic two pages to begin. As you grow you will realise what you really need and want. Building an email list is the number 1 thing you need to do otherwise you have no-one to sell to.

  2. Follow your strengths when deciding who to target your business to.

It is so much easier to find content and write copy when you understand what your target market need and want. You don’t need to attract everyone.

 3. The more groups and people you talk to about your business the more opportunities will open up to you. 

This is both online and in your local community.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been following Narelle’s journey over the past 10 months. Here’s what’s really clear to me.

1.         Narelle is determined 
If Narelle is afraid, or lacking in confidence, it doesn’t show on the outside. She gives things a good go, and if they don’t work, she tries something else.

2.         She educates herself, one step at a time, to build her business 
Narelle’s focus on continual learning and reaching out for help have helped her master each step of her business and its growth, including using technology.

She also doesn’t allow fear to keep her stuck – she reaches out for help/support/education from people she respects and trusts.

3.         Narelle learns from experience
One (of the many) things that Narelle does really well is to collect and collate client feedback, and use that to continually tweak her marketing and refine her programs and offers. 

This means she is always speaking her ideal clients’ language and meeting their needs. Simple and effective!

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

Website: www.simplyhappy.com.au        

Email: narelle@simplyhappy.com.au    

Linkedin Profile URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/narelle-king-15024644/

Facebook Page URL: https://www.facebook.com/simplyhappywellnesscoaching

Twitter profile URL: https://twitter.com/simplyhappy_1

Instagram URL: https://www.instagram.com/simplyhappy_1/


 

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.

Building Confidence In Your Coaching Business


Building Confidence In Your Coaching Business 


When you work in an office or team environment, you have people all around you for support and encouragement.

But when you learn a new skill like coaching, and then you start your own business in a new and unfamiliar field, you may at times feel alone and a bit nervous about your future.

The ‘what ifs’ creep in, just like they did at first for Level 3 graduate, Miranda.

I’ve felt this, too.

In 2007, I moved from running a business amongst friends and colleagues in WA, to a small town in NSW where I knew nobody.

I thought I could learn a new skill (coaching) and just start a new business from scratch and make it successful.

Was I kidding myself?

Pretty quickly, I realised I needed two things: 

1. confidence in my coaching skills, and 
2. confidence running this business on my own.

And then later, I discovered an essential third thing….. support

In this blog, we’ll look at how coaching confidence is the essential first step to business success, and how to get confidence and support to grow your business.

Confidence in Coaching

The #1 thing you need to be successful in business is confidence in your coaching skills and delivery.

Fiona is delivering an interactive coach mentoring webinar on 15 November – I highly recommend you jump on this if your aim is to work as a professional coach, either in your own business or for someone else. Click here for more info.

Having some coaching confidence puts you in the best position to grow your business with confidence.

When I was 25, in the early stages of my career as a Biologist, I’d had a few science jobs but I felt unfulfilled, uncertain about the future and like I wasn’t making much of a real difference.

I dreamt of something more meaningful. 

Having some confidence in my technical skills paved the way for me to scratch that nagging itch and start a business with another scientist, that made some tangible differences in the world.

Confidence in Business

These days I run a successful business, as a wellness coach and business mentor.

 But when I started out in Perth, and more recently when I took my successful offline coaching business online, I had to get my head around a whole new skill set:

  • developing your brand image
  • identifying your niche market
  • understanding your ideal client at a deeper level
  • developing and packaging services that met our client’s needs 
  • developing and maintaining regular work, cashflow and profit 
  • writing proposals 
  • networking with peers and potential clients
  • having (and closing) “sales meetings”
  • articulating how you offer better/different value than your competitors
  • joint venturing
  • meeting the client’s desired outcomes and objectives in every block of coaching
  • setting up systems
  • working out budgets
  • guaranteeing client satisfaction. 
Some of these things were intuitive for me, but some of them involved flying by the seat of my pants!

There are a LOT of things you need to do to create a successful business. But you can get the support you need by doing these three things:

1. Set 1 – 3 small goals EVERY WEEK and simply take imperfect action. 

Perfectionist ideals hold so many people up. Try, try again, make mistakes, and learn from them.

2. Find a trusted mentor to support you through the unfamiliar processes and emotions you’re dealing with as a solo business owner. 

Yes, you’re capable and competent in many areas of life. You think you know what to do. It comes as a shock to find that it’s not quite so easy to run a business. Make it easy on yourself – work with someone you respect, who’s been there before.

3. Take specific training courses to learn how to do things properly. 

Save yourself time or money – either pay someone else to do things for you, or take a short course and learn exactly what to do instead of fumbling through things on your own.

Support for Yourself

As a coach, you want to be a role model to your clients.

So why are you doubting yourself, falling in a heap, feeling alone and isolated?

Realistically, you are a solo business owner. You have flexibility and freedom, but the pressure of doing everything in your business on your own.

You can fall into a heap and have nobody to bounce ideas off, brainstorm with, or get emotional support from.

Being alone in NSW, I had to create a new support network and especially in my business. Here are 3 things that have worked for me:

1. Join your local Chamber of Commerce, Women in Business or other Business networking group. 

Meeting like-minded people who share the same goals, values and challenges, is comforting. You often find clients in these places, too!

2. Find a role model or role models that you trust and rely on.

After a few months of reading and learning about online marketing and business, I quickly identified 4 people I would follow regularly.

When I feel stuck, confronted or hopeless, I simply tap into one of those four people and read their latest blog, email newsletter, video or FB live. 

3. Find a like-minded group

I have been in a few online business groups for 3 years now. I find great enjoyment and a sense of connection by being in these groups and I’ve learned LOTS of great business tips.

Need an email program? To host an event? To share a promotional post? These people are there with opinions and ideas.

Recently, I ran the first Passion to Profit course with an online group and realised there was a need for WCA’s entrepreneurial coaches to collaborate on business building.

So I created the Coach to Coach FB group for that purpose. Here’s a link if you’re interested.

Wrapping it up

All in all, solo business is both enjoyable, highly rewarding, and sometimes challenging.

Building confidence in your craft and in building a business is the key to a smooth and successful journey to a successful and profitable business.

Who can support you best in your business? Let us know your ideas in the comments below.

Coach Profile: Miranda Wageman




People often ask how our busy coach graduates achieved success in their coaching business.

Here’s the business journey of Miranda Wageman, owner of Sum of One – Holistic Wellness Coaching for Fitness and Health.

About Miranda

My name is Miranda Wageman and I help people get out of pain and into life. 

I help people be strong, active and mobile, through gaining control of their lifestyle habits and carrying through with their goals. 

I used to be a graphic designer and I have a BA (Hons) in Chinese. These days, I am a Wellness Coach, fitness instructor and Pilates instructor. 

Getting Started in Business

In 2015, I was in the process of starting my own business and wasn't sure what to call myself or what direction to go into - I knew it had to be more than just being a PT or fitness instructor. 

I found WCA, and that was the missing link for me - it gave me an edge over other PTs, and a focus of where I wanted to go with my business. This helped me develop my business materials as well. 

Since then, I've been steadily chipping away at building my business and fine tuning my services.  
 
Initially I started my business just with exercise classes – my niche is seniors as well as Pilates (all age groups). 

I subsequently picked up a few private clients, and then a few coaching clients and secured a number of government grants in my first year. This was a great financial help as it gave me a consistent income and allowed me to set myself up with equipment. 

I engaged Melanie (from WCA) as a business coach for a number of sessions to help get clarity of what I wanted to do and how to go about it. 

My Niche

It was pretty clear from the start that my niche would be seniors. I love working with them as they are honest and are willing to work hard at improving themselves. 

When they decide to do something, they do it, and stick with it - and are willing to pay. 

They are also (sometimes brutally) honest in their feedback, which I see as a good tool to fine tune my services further. 


Having said that, I am getting more younger clients too which is interesting.

Start-up Challenges 

My initial challenges with my business were actually getting started - and believing I'm good enough to work as a coach. 

I had a lot of fears to begin with – all the usual things, like:

“what if I set up classes and no one turns up?”

“what if people don't pay?”

“what if they don't like me?”

Plus, I live in a small rural community, and competition is fierce. People don't always fight fair and it has at times been difficult to be the better person and distance myself from petty squabbling when unjust comments were publicly made. 
 
Running your own business and having to be fully dependent on yourself for the next pay cheque can feel daunting, lonely and isolating. 

How I Stay Focused

Whenever I feel flat or doubt myself, I make an action list to go through (sometimes marketing, sometimes reconnecting with people or posting information, doing research on different classes). 

This gets me out of the blues and reminds me that I must be effective, as my reputation is growing and my classes are well attended. 

I remind myself that people like coming to me, they like my style and they like my classes. 


The consistent feedback on my coaching style is that people see me as a trustworthy friend they can confide in. This is also reflected in how many people stay with me, both private and in class situations. 

Word of mouth seems to be my best friend. And always, always I make sure that I do my own workouts too and maintain my own health so I don't burn out or lose enthusiasm.

How my Business Has Grown

In the past 3 years, I've increased my classes, and also, my number of clients. 

I've been rigorous in cutting out anything that doesn't make enough money - it sounds awful, but I have to make a living out of this. 

I'm getting more enquiries, and I've recently been contracted by a large organisation to work specifically with seniors - initially running strength based programs, but they are interested in exploring my other skills (even extending to their staff) - and they are willing and able to pay. 

Typical Client Outcomes 

Because I still primarily work in the fitness industry, the main feedback I get is about increased strength, ability to continue doing ordinary things, increased energy and confidence, people enjoy my teaching and they come for the social aspect as much as the physical aspect. 

Private clients have a range of issues - post accident rehab, changing food habits. 

Typically, the clients I work with seem inspired to try more, and dare to take more risks. That is, they build self-confidence, self-efficacy and a belief in themselves that was not there before.

They realise there are different ways of looking at things, so if they are stuck, they see new options. 

I think that builds their confidence which of course affects all parts of your life. 

They seem to find their mojo again :) 
 

My 3 Biggest Lessons

The three biggest lessons I’d share with other coaches starting out are:

1. Keep going - one foot in front of the other.

2. Stay positive (you're worth it!!) and focus on all the people who think the sun shines out of your a**e :) There are usually more than you think.

3. Life is full of options and choices - if one thing doesn't work, try another. 

Final Thoughts

Thanks Miranda for providing the material for this profile. 

Having worked with Miranda in 2015/16, I wanted to finish with my perspective on how she is building a successful coaching business.

1. She brings her strengths into the development and growth of her business. 

Her persistence, resourcefulness, positive attitude and creativity have allowed her to come up with some awesome and authentic promotional strategies. 

2. She’s used bought her creativity and resourcefulness into her marketing

After Miranda identified her ideal client and elevator pitch, I noticed something switch inside her. She asked some talented people to help her develop a promotional video (you tube in the links below) and they agreed…but ended up being mostly too busy to help. So Miranda drew on her resourcefulness and created the video herself – her own music, videos and photos – and it works beautifully.

3. Miranda shares her authentic self with her clients

Miranda’s not someone who uses corporate, ‘them and us’ speak. Her authentic zest, enthusiasm and genuine compassion for people really shine through – and those things are her best marketing tools. 

4. She knows that meeting people every week is an essential part of marketing

Early on, Miranda went out and met new people each week using a structured plan. They were potential clients, potential JV’s, other practitioners, hospital staff, you name it she was there. 

When we chatted for this profile recently, it was interesting to map where her current client base came from.

There were those handful of people - clients and professional relationships - who were what I call “your Tupperware ladies”. That is, they’re very well networked, have fingers in lots of pies, and consistently tell EVERYBODY how great Miranda is.

Once you get that sort of momentum, word of mouth referral carries you through. 

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

Coaching and The Brain - Part 2





This is part two of our two part blog on Coaching and the Brain. Click here to read part one. 

There are many qualities that make a good coach and many skills that we learn to improve connection with our clients and help them create effective change.  While considering the role of the brain in the process, let’s take a look at what happens there and put four important aspects of coaching under the spotlight.

TRUST

We cannot support our clients unless we have trust, and building that trust takes time.  Once trust is created, the brain chemical that is released is Oxytocin  - likely in both client and coach! This is the chemical that is associated with empathy and connection. What’s interesting about Oxytocin is that it only creates connection with people you closely associate with – your tribe, if you like – and when we are with people we identify as being “our people”, it has the effect of reducing fear and calming the amygdala – positive things in a coaching conversation.  However, the same chemical can cause rejection of people who are not seen to be in that “tribe”.  Interesting implications? The coach needs to build trust and allow the client to get the full benefit of Oxytocin.

The actual physicality of coaching – either touch or close presence will also increase the release of Oxytocin - under the right circumstances.  What isn’t known as clearly is how this works during phone coaching, although there is no doubt that trust can be created in that situation. Some people have a higher level of inherent trust than others and what’s interesting is that it has to start with the relationship with our own bodies.  If we don't have that, it is unlikely that we will trust others.  This is highly relevant to concept of whole body coaching which fits so well with health and wellness coaching.

LISTENING
There are six types of listening:
  1. Hearing (noise);
  2. Pretending (to listen, often being skilled enough to fake our body language too);
  3. Self-biographic (filtered, self-related);
  4. Selective; 
  5. Active – this can be with your mind;
  6. Empathetic listening – this has to always be with your heart.
So how does the brain work when we listen? What we need to understand is that our brain builds up information on incomplete data.  We make assumptions about things that may not have been said as we try to make sense of what we are hearing. This is very important for us as coaches to realize as we endeavor to fully understand our clients. Our brains want to make “sense” not necessarily find “truth”! So we fill in the blanks to confirm our own hypotheses. So it is essential that we find out what really is there – what the client’s story is all about, not what we think it is about when we listen ineffectively.  We must always strive for the last level of listening.

ASKING QUESTIONS
By asking the right questions, we will help the client share information that is as important to them as to us as coaches. However, if we ask the wrong type of questions, instead of triggering new pathways in the brain that can lead to different outcomes, we can cause the client to become defensive and actually create new barriers.

REFRAMING
Once again, by reframing and showing new perspectives, we open new channels and pathways in the client’s brain which can increase possibilities and solutions!

Knowing how our brains work is important knowledge for any coach. Our work should not be random use of learned skills. We have to be aware of the actual effect that our presence and our choice of words can produce.

Coaching and The Brain - Part 1



We now know that our coaching conversation can actually light up different parts of our clients’ brains and create an “environment” that makes positive change more likely to happen - or at least be considered!  There is a lot about the brain that we still need to understand and the field of neuroscience is rapidly providing this information.


The “split brain theory” refers to the left and right brain which we have known for some time to perform different functions– one being used mainly for linear thinking (left) and the other for creative, holistic thinking (right).  Our left brain organizes information and our right brain senses danger, recognizes patterns and creates imagination (amongst other things).   We could say the left brain sees the trees and the right brain, the forest!  We need both and we are aware of tapping into each side with our work with clients. There are times they need to dream and envisage and times they need to plan and rationalize.  

When we make decisions our brain is involved, yet what we may fail to recognize is the part that other organs play in this crucial process.

We need to revisit how our brain was formed.

The brain evolved by layering – as it became more complex it built on the existing structure and the following stages occurred:

Reptilian brain – our primitive brain served three purposes – sustenance, survival and sex!  All necessary functions to stay alive and prolong the species!

The next stage of development saw the Paleo-mammal brain – this appears still in horses, apes and certain other mammals.

Then came the sophisticated  “hardware”– the Neo Cortex which included the prefrontal cortex responsible for high level learning and thinking that occurs in today’s world.

So that’s three in total.  What people aren’t generally aware of is that we have many neurons (brain cells) in two other organs – our heart and our gut.  There are over a hundred million neurons in our gut alone.  Which makes these additional organs extremely important in decision making.  As often happens, when we look back to how our language developed and the expressions we use, we realize that on some level we have always been aware of the role of these body “centres”. Think of the term “heart felt decisions”, or “gut instinct”.  We learn something “by heart”.  The heart has the most powerful magnetic field in our bodies and many stories are told about heart transplant recipients taking on characteristics and knowledge of the donor.  90% of serotonin, the “feel good’ neurotransmitter is produced in the gut!

We will take a look at what happens in the brain when we coach in our next short article but for now the most important message here is that out of our five “brains”, only one is rationale! We need to use all of them to make decisions but when it comes to the final word, our emotions will win out.  And this involves our entire body.  It has been said that reasons (thinking) leads to conclusions, but emotions lead to action.  A very important awareness for anyone who is trying to help someone with tough changes that may need to be made to improve their health.

This is part one of our two part blog on Coaching and the Brain. Click here to continue to read part two. 

Reference:  Carlos Davidovich, MD.  2016

Health and Wellness Coaching Is NOT just about food




Are we spending too much time talking to our clients about food?

I think it’s time to clear up the misconception that Health Coaching is for people who want to find a new way of eating.  Yes “food” is inevitably a part of health and wellness coaching. Clients frequently set goals around specific nutritional improvements but these goals are only one part of the change process.

Yet we are hearing more and more confusion around the term “Health and Wellness Coaching” (particularly “Health Coaching”) as people believe a health coach’s role is to help their clients find the ultimate state of wellness through food. By sharing their knowledge of what they believe to be the magic formula for health through nutrition, their client will achieve all their wellness goals. This is not health and wellness coaching.  

Our profession is growing. In the U.S. there is now a Medical Board certified exam for health and wellness coaches with rigorous criteria around training and experience. And the international version is not far behind. And guess what? Only 20% of the competencies relate to health and wellness knowledge; the other 80% is to coaching competencies.  And of the 20%, Nutrition is 1 of 16 of the competencies in that category. The exam therefore gives about 1.25% of its focus to healthy eating. Health and wellness is so much more than food.

Now I love food. In fact, on a recent trip I felt frustrated when I kept being served what seemed like platefuls of white food! I didn’t think to myself, “now where’s the B12 or calcium in this meal?” I looked for a variety in colour, taste, shape and texture - the things that appeal to me and give me an appetite (and generally lead to a well-balanced diet). I came back to Australia realising how lucky we are in the availability of so many fresh nutrients.

So what is the role of food in health and wellness? This is the way I see it:
  • Food fuels us
  • Food is a tremendous source of pleasure – it is a way of showing love, of sharing special time with loved ones and forms part of our culture.
  • Insufficient or imbalance in nutrients can cause a host of medical problems
  • Food can heal us – to a degree.  
  • Specific sports performance requires careful examination of daily intake. However, 
  • For many people food now represents the holy grail.  They have discovered a way of eating that has worked for them and they want to share that knowledge. 
  • For others food has become an obsession and is linked to emotional eating for comfort or other less useful reasons.
  • Food is linked to obesity but is only one of several factors
  • Social pressure on being slim has led to an increased obsession with food.
So can obsessing about food be detrimental to our health?  I think so.

Here’s another way of looking at it. Wellness, or let’s say, “barriers” to wellness are many and diverse. Poor eating can sometimes be a symptom rather than a cause of other poor lifestyle habits. Here are some links:

  • People are overloaded with responsibilities – leads to lack of time and poor meal planning or irregular eating patterns.
  • Stress can be caused by many things but the end result is that we don’t believe we have what it takes to do what we have to do – we look for ways of self soothing – poor food and alcohol are frequent choices
  • Poor personal organisation – although linked to the above factors can also create a problem with nutrition
  • Lack of physical fitness – exercise regulates appetite, not exercising is often tied in with poor eating patterns
  • Lack of direction or sense of meaning – food fills the gap
  • Poor sleep patterns – research has shown this is linked to obesity – the more tired we are the more we eat and not necessarily the good stuff
  • Negative thinking and lack of self-belief –food becomes a reward and a punishment
Jim and Janice Prochaska,  in their book, “Changing to Thrive” note that people do better working on multiple behaviors in parallel. For example, establishing regular activity usually increases engagement with healthy eating.  Which is the chicken and which is the egg?

You may not agree with all that’s written above, but what is apparent is that food is not the only answer.  People need support in many areas and my concern is that if we make food the answer, we increase the growing obsession that so many people have with what they put in their mouth. (If 95% of your Facebook posts this year have been pictures of food, then this is about you. Unless you are selling something. But maybe you are.)

Food should be a pleasure, not a source of deprivation or guilt. Our nutrition is only one factor in our health.  

So, if you are a Coach who works purely in the area of FOOD, please consider calling yourself a Food or Nutrition Coach – not a Health and Wellness Coach. Then we start to have clarity. And perhaps there needs to be separate credentialing for this type of work. Dieticians and Nutritionists would no doubt have valuable input. 

Health and Wellness Coaches support people in achieving self-determined goals which involve often changing multiple behaviours and habits. Providing information on food and nutrition if it is requested by the client and if it is within the scope of our background and training. 

If you agree with this article, or any of it, please SHARE so we can reduce confusion around this growing profession. If you disagree, then please comment.  Let’s get some conversation going around this topic and see if we can clarify what Health and Wellness Coaching is and what it isn’t

Can We Really Change How Happy We Are?


I have often pondered the question of whether happiness comes purely from within.  Not that I believe that we can find joy in life by focusing purely on external “things”,  but I have recently been convinced that happiness comes from both within and without – internal and external factors.

We now know that our genes play a part in how happy we are.  We have a genetic predisposition to look at things in a positive light or a negative light, or somewhere in the middle. We have a default level of happiness.  A landmark and often- quoted study found that people who won the lottery and those who became paraplegic within a year, on average, returned most of the way to their baseline levels of happiness. 

The reason for this is the “Adaptation Principle” which states that humans are susceptible to changes in certain life conditions, but not to their absolute levels.  To explain - a person who suddenly has an increase in wealth will be excited by the change, but in time will become used to having a bigger house, more expensive car and other luxuries which have become the new “norm”.  

Now the notion of increased life satisfaction is of course more complex than this.  Gerald Haidt, in his “Happiness Hypothesis” proposes that: 

H = S+C+V.

Happiness (H) is a sum of our genetic set point (S), certain conditions (C) of our life that are relatively stable (ie level of wealth) and those voluntary activities (V) that we choose to do that we know will increase our levels of wellbeing.

But what is interesting is the fact that there are exceptions to the “Adaptation Principle” which again, suggests that we will adjust and become used to certain conditions that are relatively fixed in our lives. For example, living in a cold climate, having physical disability or a level of power, are things that we simply get used to and adapt to.  They do not continue to influence our levels of life satisfaction.

Interestingly though, Haidt states that there are five changes you can make that are not subject to the adaptation principles and may well make you happier in the long term.  These are:

Living with noise – people generally do not adapt to chronic noise – particularly if it is intermittent or variable. 

Commuting – traffic causes stress hormones and they do not reduce with time.

Lack of control – the human drive to be self-determining is extremely powerful and we do not adapt well to having it removed or reduced.

Shame in appearance – a person’s appearance may seem trivial in the happiness stakes, however, it has been shown that plastic surgery or other changes that make a person less self conscious or somehow deficient can lead to increases in self confidence and wellbeing.

Quality of relationships  - we never adapt to interpersonal conflict and it will eat away at our life satisfaction every day.

So it might be worth considering what voluntary activities we do that make us happier and also whether there are certain “conditions” of our lives that might be worth reviewing.  
Voluntary activities are many and varied and include things like exercise, mindfulness, spending time with loved ones, any time that positive emotions are experienced and things that really give us a sense of purpose of meaning.  And of course, the cream of the crop, those that give us a sense of flow.  

So our genetic make up does play a part, however, with study in epigenetics receiving more attention, who knows, perhaps we can also change our genetic make up and find ourselves looking at life with more of a positive frame!

Worth a thought?
  

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.



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