Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

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.

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



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.

4 Signs You’re Blocked in Business and How To Get Unstuck


Being blocked is a big challenge for the solo business owner. It means you have obstacles that wear down your energy and stop you from getting things done. 

You're so busy scrambling to do a thousand little tasks at home and in your business, trying to remember a kajillion details, and feeling desperate to be productive and tick things off your list at the same time.

And in terms of your business, that means you're potentially stagnant, caught in a cul-de-sac.

Here’s a typical week for the blocked entrepreneur, showing you 4 signs you’re blocked in business.....and a simple exercise to help you get UNstuck.

The 4 Signs You're Blocked In Business

Sign #1 – the week starts great, but declines into treacle.


Working from home, you find that the weekend is relaxing time off. Monday is cheerful, Tuesday gets busy, Wednesday becomes hectic and then it’s suddenly Thursday afternoon and once again, you feel overwhelmed and like most of the week has gone, yet you’ve achieved nothing.

NOTHING!

(Although your washing and vacuuming are done.)

But you had a lot to accomplish at work, and now you’re somehow behind.

It’s like you started the week sprinting freely on the tarmac and now somehow, you’re wading through treacle.

Sign #2 – you’re a zombie

In your state of anguish, your become almost catatonic, unable to work effectively and productively, scrambling around at mindless, unimportant things in a vain attempt to get SOMETHING achieved.

But all you’ve really done is delete and answer some emails.

Sign #3 – you feel a bit ripped off

By the time 6pm rolls around, you turn off your computer PC for another day and lament the fact that it’s dinner next, then bed.

You feel ripped off because you haven’t had any fun, exercise, downtime or a decent break. It feels like you’re just working all the time for no tangible outcome.

Sign #4 – your sleep is suffering


You are in bed by 10pm but you know you will be waking up five hours later, mind racing, coming up with ideas and concepts, solving problems and maybe worrying about one or two things that you had trouble solving that day.

After lying awake doing this for four or five hours, you will eventually give up hope of a restful night and start work early….probably to repeat the pattern all over again the next day.

Are You Blocked?

If at least two of these signs resonate with you, then you’re on the way to being blocked.

What’s happening is this: you are getting bogged down in unimportant stuff, losing focus, and becoming anxious.

You are so wound up in this emotional stuff that you’ve lost touch with reality, simplicity and the tools you know will work to get you on track.

Know Yourself, Know Your Clients

It's no surprise that your clients struggle with this stuff, too. That's why they're coming to you in the first place!

They end up feeling this way too after their busy week of work, kids, friends and chores….who can cook a healthy meal or exercise on TOP of all that running around?

If you can help yourself get unstuck, then maybe you will be better positioned to help your clients.

Here are some questions you can use to coach yourself and get unstuck, so you can become energized and productive again.

All you need to do is set aside 30 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time to work through these without pressure or distraction.

Create that time, schedule it in, and do this work. It WILL be worth it.

Simple Questions To Get Unstuck



  1. What, specifically, is overwhelming me?
  2. What’s different on the days that I’m feeling energized, powerful, calm and productive?
  3. What have I really, truly achieved this week? (make a list)
  4. What was my trigger for feeling overwhelmed, busy or anxious? (if you can’t work it out, start keeping a mood/feelings diary)
  5. What happened two steps before that trigger?
  6. What will I do next time I see that trigger or roadblock coming up?
  7. What is missing in my day, that causes me to choose to lie awake at night ruminating?
  8. What are the things I need to do during the day at work, to ensure I get a good night’s sleep?
  9. What is it about my environment or habits that I can change to help me put my mind at rest and allow me to feel calm?
  10. What are the rituals/time requirements I need to put in place, so I can plan and execute tasks more effectively and feel productive?
  11. When do I need to do those things?
  12. What are the specifically steps I need to do, and how do I create the space for that?
  13. How do I know when my week is at comfortable capacity (in terms of responsibilities/tasks) – what does it feel like?
  14. What is the absolute minimum I will be happy to achieve each day at work?
  15. What mental state do I need to create each day to set me up for success – and how do I create it?


What have you learned?

Hopefully by now, you have some inkling of what’s going on for you.

At some point in the week, your energy and enthusiasm seem to turn to dust. These questions aim to help you work out when, why, and what you can do about it.

Perhaps you are a bit like your client who is overenthusiastic and busting to get results NOW. They are so excited that they want to exercise 7 days per week, drink 3L of water per day and eat 21 perfect meals with absolutely no alcohol. 

Check in with yourself and see what's driving you, and what's blocking you.

Your emotional states of enthusiasm and love of your business help to propel you forward.

Your logical reality is what will hold you on a steady, sustainable, productive and fulfilling course.

Both of these need to be nurtured. The trick for you is to work out the structures that will help you combine these two in absolute harmony.

Need help with managing your productivity and energy at work?

Contact me for a 15-minute chat and let’s see if I can help.



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