Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

Follow Your Flow


Flow state, this unique state of peak performance and life engagement, is an area of great interest to everyone from elite athletes, to high performing executives, to artists and academics. As we know, being in ‘the zone” of flow state is not just about maximising performance, or efficiency, but it’s the state where you feel your best, where your full absorption in the moment leaves no space for self-criticism, as we obtain a sense of one-ness with the task in the present moment.

But there are a lot of misperceptions about flow as well, including the perception that flow is Binary (i.e. you are either IN flow, or NOT in flow). However the research of Dr. Herbert Benson, a Harvard Cardiologist, has been used to identify what’s now called The Flow Cycle, which has 4 stages. So it can be tremendously helpful to understand where you are in the cycle, as there are things you can do to move yourself through into flow, and help yourself find your way back in more smoothly the next time

As 2020 evolved into an incredibly challenging year of instability and uncertainty, I was hearing phrases like “at my edge”, “stretched beyond my means”, “lost my ground” and even the word “struggle” from my clients. I began to develop the framework of a group coaching course on Resilience as something to offer as a resource for this time. Through this research I interested in “flow hacking”, or identifying the gateways into the flow state and how to most efficiently facilitate a way in for myself as well as for my clients.

For someone who is currently feeling in “struggle” it can be hard to stomach the idea that you're on the verge on an optimal state of consciousness.

It would be helpful to learn then, that the first stage of Flow is called "Struggle". It's the time that you're at your edge, your brain is being stretched to the verge of what it knows and it feels like overload. Again, it is so important to know where you are in the flow cycle, because it’s essential not to give up completely at this stage, as tempting as it might be.

It is then time to move into the second stage of flow is called “Release”. It's where you let go of focusing on the problem, and allow your brain to shift elsewhere. You remove your attention from the tension of a “problem” into relaxation, restoring, ease and instead distract yourself by going for a walk, listening to music, etc. Flow lives on the cusp in between the flight/flight activated response and the relaxation response.

Once you’ve created space for the positive hormones it’s possible to return to the activity that was generating the challenge and this time slip straight into that sweet spot of Flow, where you’re now flying with that creative engagement, unrestricted by the limiting beliefs that your dear old rational brain overlays on all of your creative ideas.

This kind of unrestricted creative potential in the flow state results in a 500% increase in productivity. It results in a 700% increase in creativity. AND perhaps more important to our work as wellness coaches, is that we know that people in Flow state are happier and more intrinsically motivated.
Finally, just as we need to know how to get ourselves INTO Flow state, it’s equally important to know what to do to get ourselves OUT. The final stage of Flow is called “Recovery”. This is by far the easiest part of the Flow Cycle to overlook, given our culture’s general tendency to overlook rest and spaces of integration.

It’s essential to take this time to pause, to restore and recharge, given that Flow state is actually an incredibly taxing process on the brain and body, In doing so we are presenting the possibility of future burn out, and helping ensure that we are fully prepared to dive back into the stage of “Struggle” again when it arises.

2020 is irrefutably a masters course in challenge and struggle. Want to meet it as an opportunity to find your way into a deeper sense of engagement and motivation? Find out more about how to follow your Flow!


Written by Lucine Eusani, Mphil, MA Conflict Resolution & Wellness Coach, RYT

WCA Coach Trainer & Mentor


Feeling Connected and Creating Clients in Business



When you work in an office as part of a team, you get a sense of connection each day as you interact with others and share ideas, jokes or brainstorm work problems.


When you start your own business, things can be a little bit different. 

Some people run their business from within another business such as a wellness clinic or studio, and so they experience that much-needed peer interaction. 

But what happens when you are flying solo, and operating from home?

We need a way to feel connected and supported in business so that we can find the motivation, energy, confidence and enthusiasm to persist.
On top of that, building professional and personal networks is a wonderful way to meet potential clients and referral partners who can send qualified referrals your way.

Let’s look at the various ways that solo business owners can build networks.

Joining a Health Professional Network

Allied Health professionals often have either formal or informal meetings, social events and/or online groups for the purpose of networking, referring and collaborating.
Their meetings are typically monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.

By reaching out to the Allied Health professionals in your area and catching up for a cup of coffee or brief Zoom introduction, you can quickly find out which ones are ‘your kind of person’ and find out where and how these professionals network in your local area.

If you are a member of the Coaching Success Accelerator, you can find a downloadable, step-by-step process for reaching out to Allied Health Professionals. 

  • Action step: make a list of 10 practitioners in your local area, relevant to your niche or specialty area of coaching, and phone or email to book a time to chat.

Joining a Local Business Network

Your local Chamber of Commerce is an active business hub where you can meet and rub shoulders with decision makers in your community.

Their meetings are typically monthly.
Depending on where you live, your local Chamber may be quite active or not so much. 

In any case, it’s worth exploring the network to see who is involved, and to ask to attend a first meeting as a guest to see if it could be mutually beneficial.

Often, Chambers of Commerce have an active role in community projects, Council grants or industry-level initiatives that may be relevant to you (e.g. health related). 

  • Action step: Google search your local Chamber to enquire about meeting dates, opportunities to attend and what is typically discussed.

Joining a Professional Industry Association

Every reputable profession has an industry association that acts as a voice for its members.
Their meetings are typically monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.

Being a member of a professional association can provide opportunities to vote on important issues, but also, it lets your clients know that you work in a serious, credible profession that has a formal self-regulation process and quality standards.

Being featured on the home page of an industry association is another way for people to find you online, positioned in a professional environment.

In Australia and New Zealand, the premiere industry body is Health Coaches of Australia and New Zealand Association.

  • Action step: Contact HCANZA to enquire about membership.

Joining a Social Networking Group 

LinkedIn is a globally-recognised platform for networking with other businesses and potential clients.

It has an advantage of being “more professional” than other social media channels, so may lend credibility and good business positioning.

You may make valuable connections for referral, collaboration or potential clients here.

There are industry-specific groups where you can network with peers in specific areas of health and wellbeing.

This is a great place to go if your niche group is a professional, entrepreneur and/or manager.

Facebook also offers support in the form of industry-specific groups, like the Students of Wellness Coaching Australia group.

Start Your Own Group 

An easy way to build professional alliances is to start your own group. 
This is a good tactic for you if you are outgoing, love people and enjoy networking (otherwise it may feel like too much work – and you’re better off joining someone else’s network/group).

In a professional sense, this could be a mastermind, a specific collaboration project, or simply a peer support group.

Or even better – you can start your own Facebook or LinkedIn group to attract potential clients.  This is a bigger job than the others, but if you are ready to build a tribe of like minded people and have the energy to show up every day, this is a good option.

There are a variety of training courses that can help you do it right.

  • Action step: Consider whether you’re ready to start your own group and find a training course to help you do it right. Or, if you are not ready, join a big group where your clients might be, and observe how it’s done.

Summary

It’s easy to feel isolated when you transition from a workplace to your own solo business.

However, I’ve listed FIVE options that you could start exploring to build professional and client networks for the purpose of feeling supported, brainstorming ideas and creating clients.
To get started, choose the one that feels like the best fit and make plans to join and explore what it’s like to be a member.

If that works well, schedule in the number of meetings or days you would like to attend (keep it small and simple!) and start getting into the hang of participating, contributing and collaborating.

When that’s working well, you may like to explore another option.

Now, it’s over to you.

What is your easiest and most obvious starting point?

What does Group Health and Wellness Coaching have to offer?


The growing amount of research on health and wellness coaching, delivered in a person to person setting suggests that coaching can be an effective intervention for many lifestyle related diseases. (Sforzo et al, 2017, 2019). But can health and wellness coaching delivered in a group offer a valuable contribution to the field and if so, what are its strengths and what are the challenges facilitators might face?

The literature on this method of delivery is much less advanced although several papers articulate a similarly positive effect and, in some ways, a format that can potentially benefit the participants in quite unique ways to the one on one conversation most commonly held.

In 2013, Armstrong et al reported on seven programs that used a group coaching approach throughout the United States – either by telephone or in person and using both professional and peer coaches. Results showed a wide range of positive outcomes including a sense of satisfaction and increased self-efficacy, some change in lifestyle behaviours, reduced pain and in one program, gains in facilitator’s listening and goal-setting skills.

In 2019, Yocum and Lawson reported on a workplace group health coaching initiative that involved 8 employees in leadership roles over a five-session program. Outcomes showed “positive change and growth” with reductions in stress, increased self-awareness of self-identity, values and desired goals. Again, facilitators reported similar personal gains.  

A case study followed an integrative group health coaching experience with four participants over four sessions and found that even in this short time period, group members experienced an improved sense of well-being.  (Schultz and Lawson, 2020.)

The above suggests that group health coaching can provide an alternative, lower cost option for client engagement with potentially additional benefits. Out of the reports cited the following strengths were noted for group interventions:

  • Participants experienced a sense of community and great sense of responsibility to follow through on commitments
  • Less isolation
  • Learning from others’ experiences
  • Enhanced creativity  and courage to try something new
  • Authentic communication and support
  • The opportunity to provide streamlined education or information which may be harder to deliver in a one on one setting
  • The use of tools such as mindfulness and other stress reduction strategies delivered in a group setting
  • Personal growth and understanding of facilitators
  • Sense of cohesion
Of course, strengths are also tempered by challenges and some of these included:

  • Logistics of bringing people together and managing their availability
  • Whether the group should be a closed group or open for people to “drop in” (which would work against any cohesion they might have experienced meeting with the same people each session).
  • The need for group guidelines, ideally created by the group members
  • Recognition that group work is not for everyone – some may not feel comfortable sharing and others may be disruptive. The facilitator has to be skilled in managing group dynamics.
What was of interest was that all members joined the program with the aim of improving “well-being” which can sometimes seem an elusive or vague outcome for many.
One program broke down the dimensions into health relationships, security, purpose, community and environment (Schultz and Lawson, 2020.)

In the work-based group, participants developed themes which were improving life/work balance, developing stress management strategies, increasing self-care, focus on healthy living, desire for accountability and lasting change and learning tools to pass on to other staff.

Information on the even group programs showed that the health issues that were targeted included general health and well-being, survivors of stroke, chronic pain, stress, and other chronic medical conditions. (Armstrong et al, 2019.)

Although there is a great need for further research into many various aspects of group coaching programs, these articles suggest that it is definitely a promising way of using the principles of coaching to support positive change.


Armstrong, C., Wolever, R. Q., Manning, L., Elam, R., Moore, M., Frates, E. P., Duskey, H., Anderson, C., Curtis, R. L., Masemer, S., & Lawson, K. (2013). Group Health Coaching: Strengths, Challenges, and Next Steps. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 2(3), 95-102. https://doi.org/10.7453/gahmj.2013.019

Schultz, C. S., Stuckey, C. M., & Lawson, K. (2019). Group health coaching for the underserved: a case report. Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 13(1), 3-7. https://doi.org/10.1080/17521882.2019.1656658

Sforzo, G. A., Kaye, M. P., Todorova, I., Harenberg, S., Costello, K., Cobus-Kuo, L., Faber, A., Frates, E., & Moore, M. (2017). Compendium of the Health and Wellness Coaching Literature. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 12(6), 436-447. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827617708562

Sforzo, G. A., Kaye, M. P., Harenberg, S., Costello, K., Cobus-Kuo, L., Rauff, E., Edman, J. S., Frates, E., & Moore, M. (2019). Compendium of Health and Wellness Coaching: 2019 Addendum. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 155982761985048. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827619850489

Yocum, S., & Lawson, K. (2019). Health Coaching Case Report: Optimizing Employee Health and Wellbeing in Organizations. Journal of Values-Based Leadership. https://doi.org/10.22543/0733.122.1266


How do we define success?


















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

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

Common ways of measuring success:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





















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

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

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

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

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

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


REFERENCE

Emily Esfahani Smith, The Power of Meaning


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Boost Business Productivity with Effective Planning








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

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

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

This is where you start.

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

Here’s how it works.

Planning Effectively

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

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

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

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

Using the Eisenhower Principle to Plan

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

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


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

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

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

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

Where are you currently spending most of YOUR business time?

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

Planning Effectively – Next Steps

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

Be Truly Productive – Next Steps

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

Identify Priority Tasks

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

Use Time Management Techniques

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

Set Boundaries

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

Wrapping It UP

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

Why Authenticity and Connection Are Your Best Marketing Strategies


Why Authenticity and Connection Are Your Best Marketing Strategies



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

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

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


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

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

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

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


Well, times have changed.

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

Like Michelle Bridges. Jenny Craig. Tony Robbins. 


Here’s the difference: 

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

How to Be Authentic in Online Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Recent Example

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

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

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

How could you apply this formula in your own business?

The Business Magician

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

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

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

That got me curious enough to subscribe to her newsletter.

Pricking Up My Ears

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

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

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

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

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

I was blown away. She did it! 

And....maybe I could, too.

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

The Connection

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

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

Best wishes
Melanie.

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

Would you want to attract people with your authenticity?

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

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

And this is how her email finished:


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

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

MWAH!
Keri

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

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

Do you want more of those?

A Powerful Lesson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Mindfulness Can Help Your Clients Kick a Habit



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

And it’s not easy.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coaches: Should You Call Yourself An Expert?


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

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

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

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

So, what do you do? 

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

Actually, the answer is pretty simple.

What is "Expertise" All About?

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

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

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

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

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

Experts vs Specialists

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

1. Be a Specialist

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

Specialists are simply people who focus on a particular area.

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

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

Using the word “specialist” has some benefits:

  • You can let go of needing years of experience

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

  • It helps you get specific in your marketing language

  • Specialists generally attract higher fees

  • It removes the pressure of being an ‘expert’

  • It creates clearer expectations in your client 

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

That is what you specialist in - that obstacle.

2. Share Your Journey

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

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

You've been there.

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

That makes you credible, believable and trustworthy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Experts AND Specialists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Introduce Coaching Into Your Existing Business 

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

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

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

How to Package and Introduce Coaching Into Your Health Based Business

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

Click here for more information.

In Summary

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

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

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

Secondly, you CAN be an expert AND a coach.

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

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

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



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