Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

How to Advertise Coaching and Attract New Clients


A lot of coaches ask me how to get new clients. 

When you start a business, you know that clients are your absolute lifeblood – they are essential to your success.

But when you’re starting out, or if you have an existing business, you aren’t really sure what to say, or how to say it. 

You think you don’t know how to get clients in, without sounding salesy.

Just like coaching, the secret to getting new clients and explaining coaching is less about you, and more about the client. 

Let's explore what this means, and how to get it right.

Put yourself in the client’s shoes for a moment.

Scenario 1

Imagine yourself as a client walking into a fitness centre.

You are there for exercise, but as you walk through the doors, you see a poster advertising “Health and Wellness Coaching”.

You wonder what it is, what that means. 

Then the thought is lost as you walk past and continue the conversation with your friends.

Scenario 2

Imagine yourself walking into your favourite organic food shop, past the notice board.

You see a poster advertising a Health and Wellness Coach (or a Health and Wellness Talk).

You have a vague interest, but it doesn’t really mean much to you. 

Is this like a personal trainer? Is this person going to tell me what to do? What is it?

Your questions aren’t answered by the poster, so you keep walking and it slips your mind.


In both cases the problems are:

  • you have NO IDEA how a coach can help you
  • the outcomes you will from working with a coach are unclear.
The advertising did not communicate what coaching is, how a coach can help, and the outcomes that coaching can deliver.

Let's look at those things.

How a Coach Can Help

It's critically important that you have a short spiel that rolls off the tongue, explaining what you do and who you help.

Here's how to get that statement right.

Fact: people know they need or want to do certain things – like eat better, exercise more regularly, manage stress or boost energy.

But you are not necessarily offering them that specific service showing them WHAT to do – e.g. exercise, diet, meditation.

A coach can help you get over the hump of changing habits in a specific area, by helping working with them on HOW they can adopt and be consistent with healthier habits, in a way that aligns with them, their beliefs and their commitments and lifestyle.

A way to introduce coaching could be as simple as this:


"You know how people know they need to exercise or eat better, but they don’t actually DO IT? That’s where coaching fits in.

Coaches help you to develop your own unique plan to get motivated, organised, create a plan, build confidence and find your own way to develop healthier habits that you can ACTUALLY stick to."


How do you Advertise Coaching?

Unfortunately, marketers have conditioned people to notice outcomes and benefits.

Knowing how to explain coaching is important, but it may not be compelling and 'sexy.'

As a coach, that means you have to be able to create the desired outcome or end point that your stuck client is looking to achieve.

Normally, getting in front of people (live, or on the phone) is the best way to communicate the value of coaching.

To get to THAT point, you often need to advertise a workshop, free session or low cost session to give them a taste.

And to get to THAT point, you need a compelling advertisement.

The BEST way to advertise coaching is to use the exact words that your client uses, to describe the challenge they face, and their biggest desired outcome. 

That demonstrates that you understand them, so they feel connection and rapport, have hope that you can help, and are interested to know more.

Hints and Tips for Advertising

  • Advertising copy and images is best to focus on the desired outcome.
  • Website copy needs to talk about the problem, then the vision of how they’d rather be.
  • Workshops, webinars or seminars should take attendees through a 3 – 5 step process (simple steps) to start moving from the problem to the vision.
  • Advertising always uses the exact words, and communicates the exact feelings, that your client has.
  • Note that different demographics use different language – hence the value of narrowing down to serve a niche
  • The best way to get your wording right is to pretend you are the client and struggling with their issue. What would you be looking for? What search terms would you use?

Examples

Let’s say you help mothers of primary school kids who are always busy and overwhelmed with no time for themselves and guilt about not doing enough for their kids.

You might run a workshop or offer an introductory session to introduce them to the concept of coaching and how you can help them.

Catchy titles for your workshop or session might include:

  • How to be a Calm, Happy and Organised Mum
  • 3 Steps to Creating a Foolproof Schedule for a Peaceful Household
  • From Harrowed to Happy – One Mum’s Success
  • How to Create More Connected Families

You can see that each of these titles talks about a positive outcome.

Using numbers is psychologically attractive to most people, especially women, according to marketing guru Neil Patel.

Notice also that the outcomes may not be immediately obvious.

Your logical mind might think the mother wants to be more calm….but a deeper coaching conversation might reveal the layers below that as being happier, more connected, sleeping better, finding time for herself.

The precise wording for your attractive advertising is best elicited through: 

  • interviews, 
  • ‘sneaky coaching’ with friends, 
  • listening to live conversations, or 
  • through coaching your own clients and listening to their words in vision and regular sessions.

Summing it Up

The value of coaching is communicated through feelings and emotions that your clients recognise in themselves.

People need to understand how coaching can help them in the context of their own specific lives and struggles.

Better still, if you can articulate what their fears, frustrations and desires are, using their own language, people will build trust and rapport, and be more likely to take the first steps toward working with you.

Often, the true value of coaching starts with your ability to communicate that you deeply ‘get’ your  client and what they’re struggling with.

Creating that connection, trust and rapport is the essential first step to attracting loyal, committed clients. 


Need help to connect with the right clients, in the right way, using the right words? 

You may like to attend the next free information session for Passion to Profit; a 6-month business building program for coaches to help you craft a unique, successful and profitable coaching business. 

Click here for more information.



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.

How to Get 30 Clients in 60 Days


This blog post explores the strategy behind getting new clients, and how you need to position yourself to get 30 new clients in 60 days.

Starting a business is exhilarating

It’s such a thrill to start a new business.

But after you’ve worked out the nuts and bolts of what you will do, there comes the daunting proposition of finding clients.

You have all this great stuff to share and lives to change – where are they?

This post explores the 3-step formula to getting new clients and if you get this right, you could gain as many as 30 new clients in 60 days.

Build it and They Will (Not Necessarily) Come

This might be true for baseball fields, but it’s generally not true for businesses – unless you get a massive public boost that puts you into the spotlight and starts a viral trend.

If you have built an amazing program and are wondering how to attract clients….then at least one of these three things is probably happening:

  1. You aren’t doing any or enough promotion
  2. You haven’t hit the hot button
  3. Your promotional methods are a turn-off

These 3 steps make up the magic formula that will help you get new clients regularly and endlessly.

Let’s look at them individually.

3 Steps to Get 30 Clients in 60 Days

Plan and Do Enough Promotion

Of all the tasks you need to do in business, marketing and advertising should take up 10 – 30% of your time.

In other words, if you are working for 20 hours a week on your business, then 2 - 8 of those hours need to be spent engaging with people in order to get new clients.

If you are new to business, then your time spent promoting needs to be at the higher end of that range.

Marketing and advertising needs a structured, scheduled approach to gain new leads and convert sales, especially in the first 6 months of your business.

Hint: Writing blogs and posting on social media isn’t promotion. It’s hiding behind your computer.

If you want to get 30 new clients in 60 days, you need a clear strategy and plan to get it right and enough time spent on promotion.


Hitting the Hot Button

People buy for pleasure or to solve a problem.

Think about what you Google if you were feeling frumpy and unfit. It would be something like:

“how to get fit”

“best fitness exercises”

“how to improve fitness”

I doubt you’d be searching for “Health and Wellness Coach.”

In other words, the best way to attract new clients is to identify and hit their “hot button”

  • To articulate the immense challenge they’re facing and how that feels          
  • To articulate the most desirable outcome they want - more than anything.

This is probably the most important part of the ‘get new clients’ formula.

When it comes to sketching out a blog, ad, or workshop, you probably need to spend

  • 80% of your time getting the headline/title/name right, and
  • 20%of your time sketching out the content and flow.

You have roughly 6 seconds to attract attention and if your words aren’t engaging, nobody will read past the headline or title.

How to Attract Clients

You know all those things you hate - junk mail in your letterbox, promotional posts in your inbox, annoying popups on websites, those pushy BUY NOW ads or those salespeople that make you feel pressured into buying something?

They are all the things your potential clients hate too.

The easiest way to turn clients off is to try to sell a 12 week program on the first phone call.

Why?

It’s too much too soon.

The thing you need to do is lower the risk and commitment so the client feels like they can dip their toe in the water and try you out.

Give them a taste of how you work in a way that offers incredible value to them.

Example:

Let’s say you run a 12-week healthy eating program.

Cold leads (people that don’t know you) might be reluctant to commit so much time and money.

But if you ran a 2-hour healthy cooking demonstration for a fraction of the price, you’ll probably get a huge audience and give those people a chance to work with you.

Some of them will take up your bigger program.

Summing it Up

There is a 3-step formula that will get you 30 new clients in 60 days. And it is this:

1. Make a specific plan of action around a clearly-defined strategy. Spend enough time promoting it.

2. Clearly articulate what the client is going through (challenge) and how they will feel after working with you (deepest desires).

3. Offer a low-risk, attractive, bite-sized experience with you to invite interested people in the door. 

If you follow these steps, you'll be well on your way to attracting new clients and even getting 30 new clients in 60 days.

What are the most effective strategies you've used? 

Let us know in the comments below.



The Underside of Wellness


The Underside of Wellness

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

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

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

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

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

However….

First, all the above points are referring to extremes.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The recording of Dr Andre Spicer was found at this link 

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



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!

Coaching Communication Skills for better Client Outcomes




At Wellness Coaching Australia, we are passionate about helping people establish their careers as a health and wellness coach. We know that professional coaches will fill the gap in the healthcare system, supporting people to improve their health and wellness by creating sustainable change in their lifestyle habits. We also know that a career in this field can reap enormous returns, both personally and professionally to anyone entering it.

However, we forget sometimes, that becoming skilled at using even parts of the coaching model when working in a practice where behavior change is important, can benefit the client AND the practitioner.

If we think of this as “Skills Development” in the area of communication with clients, we start to speak the language that makes more sense to many. They may not want to be coaches, but they do want to be the best health practitioner they can be.

So how can undertaking training in this area help someone? Consider the following:
  • Better connection with clients;
  • Increased engagement by clients;
  • Higher adherence and compliance with any program set;
  • Lowered dropout rate;
  • Improved results in the long term for clients.
Do any of these sound desirable?  
They can all be achieved by learning to communicate with our people in a different way, by putting aside the old traditional expert approach of telling and advising and instead collaborating with our clients to create steps of change that they take responsibility and ownership of. This is exactly what our coaching courses offer.

These skills can be learnt and the immediate difference they will make on any conversation will be apparent. Turning a statement into a question, learning to really listen and reflect back to a client, helping them find their own reasons for change. These things will transform the relationships we create with the people we want to help.  

So if you have been “sitting on the fence” with undertaking studies with us, why not just start with Level 1 – Foundations of Wellness Coaching which will have you walking away being able to communicate with your clients in a much more engaging and outcomes driven way.



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