Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

Stretch Goals in Business



Goals are the challenging targets we set for ourselves and strive towards. They are the things we wish to achieve.
What fascinates me is the way we respond to the goals we set. 

Too easy and we get bored. Too hard and we give up. 

In other words, good goals are a little bit like the three bears and their porridge – not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
To make a distinction, stretch goals are a little bit different in two ways:
1. They are usually harder than normal goals, and
2. They involve novelty (creative thinking, or total overhaul).
Stretch goals are for the brave.
They help you challenge yourself to get better at what you do.
And they are a bit like highly concentrated dishwashing liquid - you only need one or two drops to get amazing results.
Some people call them ‘impossible goals’.
I like to think of them as hard, scary but believable goals.
And in business, just as in life, stretch goals are a wonderful tool to help you move through fear, challenges and self-doubt.

What Is A Stretch Goal?

According to Harvard Business Review, a stretch goal is a blend of extreme difficulty and extreme novelty.

Extreme difficulty means going beyond your current capability and performance.
This could mean going all out to lose 15kg, or holding a big marketing event to attract 100 people to your business, or just saving an extra $300 this month.

Extreme novelty means working differently, creatively, following new paths or approaches never tried before.
For you, this could mean trying a totally new exercise approach, or making a complete change in your business model.

Why Set A Stretch Goal?

You’re probably thinking that the whole stretch goal idea sounds a bit hard, a bit crazy and a bit scary. It sounds like a risk. 
And it is ALL those things.
BUT the results you get from a stretch goal are worth it:
courage 
determination 
agility 
the ability to manage risks, and
self-belief.
In summary, a stretch goal is a hard goal that really pushes you outside your comfort zone so you can truly discover what you’re capable of.
It requires you to be creative, resourceful and focused, to be courageous and determined, and well organised.
Top performers know that failure is part of the process so more than anything, stretch goals are an exercise in developing self-belief, acceptance and persistence by achieving bigger things than you thought were possible.

Choosing a Stretch Goal

When choosing an audacious stretch goal, it makes sense to select an area in which you have a good chance of succeeding, right?
Think about an area of your business that you find super challenging, but which is within your reach.
Maybe it’s the courage to speak at a networking group – if live conversation is generally a strength of yours already.
Maybe it’s submitting an article to an online magazine you’d love to be featured in, like Mamma Mia, or Thrive Global.
Maybe it’s running a free 5-day challenge to people in your audience and getting in touch with everyone you know to help you promote it.
Maybe it’s asking for help from a mentor to get some tech set up, or attending a course, so you can finally get your business going.

Alternatives to Stretch Goals

If you’re not quite in the right headspace or resource base for a stretch goal, you can choose something different.
Here are some ideas:
Choose a smaller goal that you KNOW you can win (confidence)
Choose a small-risk goal that might be a loss but that will teach you something (knowledge and growth) 
Create efficiencies in what you’re doing now (improve, enhance)
Create a buffer of time, money or other resources to help you overcome your current obstacles (build a buffer)

Smaller goals can still give you valuable belief-building wins and valuable lessons.
Recently, I challenged myself to do 30 minutes of exercise every day of the month. I managed to exercise every day, but it wasn’t always 30 minutes.
So, I won most days, and lost a few.
But I learned SO much in that process.
Committing to exercise no matter what forced me to be agile when situations changed, so I could still fit in some exercise. 
It made me schedule time each day to fit it in.
It made me think creatively to overcome my barriers to exercise: tiredness, rain, cold weather, a busy schedule.
Most of all, this challenge taught me to anticipate disruptions and plan for them so I could fit in some exercise every day, no matter what.
The result?
Yes, I ‘closed my rings’ on most days (still wearing the Apple watch).
But I also sharpened my agility, and I learned more about how I work and planning, how to get the best out of myself in any situation, how to persist, and I enjoyed more work life balance, a better mood, more focus and a sense of achievement. 
Stretch goals can be something that boost your business to the next level, by helping you muster the courage to propel yourself past, around and over the obstacles.

Promoting Well-Being through the Emerging Specialism of Health and Wellness Coaching




Introduction

The healthcare needs of the population are becoming more complex. The incidence of long-term health conditions is rising (World Health Organization, 2018) and so too is the  number of individuals living with multimorbidity (i.e. more than one medical condition). The evolving health needs of the population raises important questions about how we can respond optimally to the challenges that face us.

This article examines the potential contribution of health and wellness coaching (HWC) to the healthcare needs referred to above. Specifically, it introduces HWC as a  distinct and rapidly emerging intervention, examines the status of its evidence base and offers some reflections on its increasing popularity as a service offering. The article also considers what is currently known about those delivering HWC and some critical next steps if this specialism is to realize its potential as a mainstream offering that can attract funding  from commissioning bodies.

From sickness to health: empowerment and partnership

It has been estimated that only approximately 20% of adults are currently thriving (Keyes, 2002; Kobau et al., 2010). Although this finding relates specifically to the population  of the USA, it would seem reasonable to anticipate a similar pattern in the UK and Australia. An additional challenge is that many individuals struggle to master the type of changes

that would enable improvement (Prochaska & Prochaska, 2016). Whilst a variety of conditions call for health-related behavioural changes, many prove unable to make or  sustain these and it would seem that the traditional methods of information-sharing and professional advice alongside other efforts to modify health-related behaviours have been  of limited effectiveness (Kelly & Barker, 2016). In a context where there is both a growing number of individuals with pressing health needs and significant difficulties in helping many of those individuals engage in appropriate lifestyle changes, there would seem to be a compelling case for alternatives to the ‘expert-led approach’ and for developing innovative  approaches that can assist with building and maintaining health and well-being.

What is health and wellness coaching?

HWC is a relatively new, but rapidly developing, discipline. Originating at the start of the 21st century, coach training programmes began to emerge in North America in 2002 and  grew rapidly so that as of 2016, in excess of 53 academic and private sector programmes had trained over 20,000 health care professionals (Kreisberg & Mara, 2017). However,  many coaches call themselves health and/or wellness coaches without any recognised training.

As with many emerging disciplines, debates concerning definition, scope and differentiation abound as HWC attempts to delineate its terrain at the levels of theory and  practice and claim its place alongside other, more established health care professions. For the purposes of this introductory article, however, we find it conducive to draw from the  definition provided by Wolever et al. (2013) which defines HWC as:  “a patient-centered approach wherein patients at least partially determine their goals, use self-discovery or active learning processes together with content education to work  toward their goals, and self-monitor behaviors to increase accountability, all within the context of an interpersonal relationship with a coach” (p. 52). HWC can be understood, then, as a client-centred, collaborative intervention whose primary aim is sustainable lifestyle change. Whilst coaches bring defined skills and  knowledge to the process, the goals selected are client-determined and relate specifically to health and wellness needs with the coach positioning the client explicitly as the expert on  their own life (National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching, 2020). As such, client accountability is central to the process.  In general terms, HWC seeks to combine the insights from psychological theories concerned with motivation and behaviour change in order to devise coaching interventions that are bespoke for the individual client (Jordan & Livingstone, 2013; Mettler et al., 2014).

Thus, a comprehensive training programme in HWC is likely to draw upon fields as broad and diverse as motivational interviewing; self-determination theory; transtheoretical  models of change; positive psychology; cognitive behavioural principles and methods; social cognition; theories of emotional intelligence; mindfulness and neuroscience (e.g. Dossey et al., 2014; Jordan, 2013; Moore et al., 2015).

The diversity of approaches and perspectives that currently underpin the training and practice of HWC raises important conceptual and technical questions about whether this is a  distinctive form of coaching working towards the development of its own original knowledge-base or an amalgamation of theories and models from other fields that are  being ‘packaged’ in ways that meet the needs of a particular segment of the coaching market. In order to begin to explore questions of this nature, it is necessary to examine  what is known about the effectiveness of HWC and its evidence base in relation to different areas of health need.

The current status of the evidence base for HWC

To date, the most comprehensive summary of the evidence base for HWC is that provided by Sforzo et al. (2017). Their compendium of the literature represents a landmark  study in the field in that it summarises and synthesises the available studies for the purposes of assisting practitioners and advancing scholarly activity1. It comprised of a  dataset of 219 articles with a further 104 peer-reviewed coaching-related articles added in 2019 (Sforzo et al., 2019). Drawing on Wolever et al.’s (2013) definition of health co (see above) together with the similar findings of Olsen (2014) the compendium reviewed the literature in relation to  six clinical categories: weight loss and obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer and cholesterol management. An additional category of ‘wellness’ covered multiple minority conditions.

Overall, the authors of the 2017 Compendium and the 2019 Addendum conclude that there is sufficient evidence to support the claim that HWC is an effective intervention – at  least in certain contexts and in relation to some specific, chronic, lifestyle-related diseases.  Moreover, the pattern of results suggests that HWC is potentially effective for improving numerous aspects of behavioural change associated with increased well-being. Nonetheless,  there is a need for caution. 1 To ensure that readers are provided with the most up to date information in the field, and given its importance to furthering understanding of the existing knowledge-base, we have based our  evaluation of HWC on the compendium rather than reviewing individual studies.


As noted by the authors, interpretation of the findings is confounded by a range of methodological limitations and complexities. Variations exist as follows:
• HWC was often delivered as an adjunctive intervention or as one of multiple
interventions.
• The number of coaching sessions and length of coaching programmes
fluctuated as did the length of each session.
• The nature of the coaching intervention provided is also unclear – what was
delivered by whom?

• Some participants had co-morbid or multimorbid conditions creating  complications in understanding the precise impacts of any coaching intervention on individual clinical conditions.


What can be concluded from this research? The wide scope of the literature reviewed in the compendium makes an important contribution to the knowledge-base underpinning HWC. However, it should be noted that the focus of the majority of studies reviewed was on the reduction of medical risk factors that are prevalent in the population today. The research was conducted predominantly in healthcare settings and would have been influenced by cultural aspects and demographic diversity.  It is clear then, that the evidence base for HWC is still emerging. Nonetheless, both the compendium and addendum offer some cause for optimism that the use of HWC in the medical field has at the very least, the potential to be a valuable adjunctive intervention to more traditional interventions such as information sharing and psychoeducation. Moreover,  HWC can potentially enable other well-being outcomes as outlined above.


The literature reported improvements in the following areas:

• Psychosocial benefits including quality of life, reduced depressive symptoms and perceived stress levels (Clark et al., 2014).

• Increased motivational levels in wellness-related areas including life  satisfaction, energy level, healthy weight, mental/emotional fitness and managing health (Mettler et al., 2014 ).

• Importance, confidence and readiness to change significantly improved in all areas.

These studies support the contention that there is potential for HWC to be used  outside of the medical arena.

Who is delivering HWC? Identifying an emerging workforce

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, a systematic investigation of this emerging workforce is yet to take place and knowledge of those drawn to train as health and wellness coaches is currently sketchy. However, work being undertaken by one professional body – the National Consortium for Credentialing Health and Wellness Coaches (NCCHWC), based in the USA started to create standards around who might legitimately qualify for this title. Following a summit in 2010, it was decided that the industry itself would define how such coaches would work rather than rely on criteria decided by the medical profession (Wolever et al., 2016a).

In 2014, a job task analysis conducted via a validation survey of over 4,000 practicing HWCs identified the core knowledge and skills required to perform the role and in 2015 the training and education standards were published (Jordan et al., 2015). I In 2016 an agreement was signed between the NCCHWC and the Medical Board of Examiners. A further name change of the NCCHWC to the International Consortium for the  credentialing of Health and Wellness coaches (ICHWC) occurred in 2017, in the same year as national certification began. In 2019, applications opened for international training  organisations to apply for approval and to gain eligibility for their graduates to sit for Board Certification. (NB: ICHWC is now known as the National Board for Health and Wellness  Coaching (NBHWC), referred to earlier. At the time of writing, 24 programmes have final approval with another 57 being transitionally approved by the NBHWC.)

However, the question remains as to the background and credentials needed by health and wellness coaches to train and work in the field. For example, is a health and  wellness coach competent to work in this field without having previously completed a healthcare qualification? Wolever et al.’s (2013) definition, cited above, is clear that health  and wellness coaches are healthcare professionals who have previous training in the theory of behaviour change, motivational theories and communication skills that are used to support their clients in achieving sustained change in their health and well-being. Nonetheless, the anecdotal observation by the authors that HWC is gathering momentum as an industry-wide initiative suggests that it may be a choice of career for others for whom working in the health arena is a vocation.


Confusion also exists in relation to the terms ‘health coach’, ‘wellness coach’ and ‘health and wellness coach’, the interchangeability of these terms and who should be  permitted to use which title. This question has been debated by several authors. In an interview with Snyder (2013), the view was expressed that the difference was arbitrary as wellness coaches would end up working with people who have health issues. It has also been suggested that health coaches work with people with chronic health issues, whereas wellness coaches are more focused on prevention and maintaining current health status (Kreisberg, 2015). This view was supported by Huffman (2016) who stated that wellness coaches worked to guide and inspire healthy people who wished to maintain or advance their overall health and that their work was more likely to focus on smoking cessation, fitness, nutrition and body weight management than on managing chronic illness. Where the line is drawn in terms of the needs of clients, or whether a line should be drawn at all remains unclear.

What can be concluded with greater certainty at this stage is that those drawn to training in HWC have varied professional backgrounds. The professions and professional groups represented within the specialism are highly diverse and include nurses, fitness and allied health professionals, health and other practitioner psychologists, coaching practitioners, human resources personnel, counsellors, yoga teachers, chefs, nutritionists, dieticians, exercise physiologists and physicians, amongst others (Snyder, 2013; Wolever et al., 2016b).

Although much of the work in HWC originated in the USA, groups are coming together in other countries to create standards and routes for credentialing and for formally  recognising the contribution of HWC to the health of the population. The UK Health Coaches Association offers coach membership and is currently designing standards and criteria for certification purposes. The Health Coaches Australia and New Zealand Association has recently been formed to represent coaches in that part of the world. The Global Wellness Institute has recently established an initiative on wellness coaching to explore, report and recommend action in relation to HWC activities globally. There is, therefore, a coming together of the community in recognition of the need for a united voice and a shared understanding of HWC and its delivery.

Unanswered questions and next steps for HWC

The introduction to HWC presented in this article reinforces the need for further investigation of this rapidly growing field. The evidence base is growing and overall suggests  that HWC can have favourable outcomes in the field of chronic illness. However, there are still many confounding factors that can create a degree of confusion over the results  reported in the compendium. Additionally, HWC is being offered in a highly diverse range of contexts but most of the research to date has been performed in healthcare settings. There are currently limited studies reporting the impacts of HWC conducted in settings where individuals have goals that do not relate to overcoming chronic health conditions.

It has been noted that those delivering HWC come from varied professional backgrounds (Jordan & Livingstone, 2013) and the question of what they need to know to  work safely and effectively in this field is still to be determined. As coaching is used in diverse settings professionals may need to be trained to focus on targeting specific client needs. For example, a health psychologist may be trained specifically to coach cancer patients. A care worker specialising in elderly care may have in-depth knowledge of dementia and seek coach training to complement their existing knowledge and skill-set. The specialist knowledge base needed to work in HWC still needs to be determined and is a task for the future.

At the time of writing, the impact of behaviour change on health and well-being takes on an additional meaning in the context of COVID-19. HWC could have an important role to play in responding nationally and globally to the challenges posed by pandemics. Coping with state-imposed restrictions such as lock down and social distancing measures, anxiety  related to separation from and the feared loss of loved ones, and financial pressures associated with threats to local, national and global economies, create a climate of considerable uncertainty and stress for everyone. For those additionally managing long term conditions, maintaining health regimes in the context of self-isolation and changes to the accessibility of health care services creates an additional set of challenges. As understanding of COVID develops, HWC may have an important role to play in designing and  delivering interventions tailored to those having to manage complex health issues in the context of exceptional circumstances.


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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


What is Hope and How Do We Get More Of It?



I often read articles and blogs that have direct relevance to our work as health and wellness coaches and I find it a really growth-promoting exercise to make notes on how a different model fits with our work with clients.  


The topic of “Hope” really struck me as highly topical at a time when many people -  if not feeling hopeless - are struggling with the challenges that lie ahead – be they financial, emotional (inability to visit loved ones), or physical (yes, many, many people have been touched by Covid-19)!

We have also seen some shocking scenes of anarchism – looting, rioting and terrible violence and of course this is what will appear on our screens each evening because BAD NEWS gets attention.  What the presenters often fail to show are the numerous acts of kindness and support that are given when times are at their toughest.  I was gratified to read that research actually  shows us that when disaster strikes, altruism is the rule – not selfishness!  High five to the human race!  Apparently kindness and cooperation win out. 

Now there’s a reason for hope!

So, in order to feel more hopeful, what do we have to do?  Well, what we can’t do is sit around and wish for things to be better.  We need to take action. And create a plan.  Sound familiar?  Eric Barker talks about “scientific” hope. 

So first let’s define it.  Here’s one definition. 
“ Hope is the sum of perceived capabilities to produce routes to desired goals, along with the perceived motivation to use those routes.”  (Snyder, 2000)

Goals

People with high hope tend to have a lot of performance-based goals that are moderately difficult to achieve.  Interesting. How does that fit with how we encourage our clients to go about their change journey?  Surely we want them to succeed.  Yes however, with the The research shows that with our goals, we want a 50% chance of success.  Now by goals here, we are not referring to behavioural goals. We are talking about outcome goals.  Human nature responds better to a mix of failure and success.  Hence, BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goals). If we always succeed there is no sense of excitement and achievement; when we fail constantly we become disheartened. A mix is good!


Agency (this is where motivation comes in)

This the sense that we can start and continue along the journey towards the desired outcome.  But make sure that outcome is accurately described – somewhere.  Does this sound familiar?  A bit like creating a vision and having a strong sense of self-efficacy?  It did to me too.  And not surprisingly, using your strengths to work towards meaningful goals is essential. 

Having a Plan

We then need the “resourcefulness” to create plans and recover from setbacks.  Anticipating problems, breaking down the steps into a plan and being able to be flexible enough to come up with a new plan when you need one are all crucial skills.  Also visualisation.  We often talk about that with habit formation, but when we think about the journey we have to go on, it is better to imagine the middle section instead of the end. That’s where it can get tough and that’s where the power of our mind comes in.  The beginning is exciting and the end is a celebration. The middle is the tricky part. 

Also remember - If the plan fails,– it was the plan that was bad – not you.  Then create a new one!

How is HOPE different from OPTIMISM?   I know many of you will have been pondering that question.  There is a difference.  Optimism at times can be directionless.  Hope involves action.  And it involves us coming together to support each other and get through this time.
We will and come out the other side stronger and wiser. 

Stay safe and hopeful.  

Barker, E. (2020) Barking up the Wrong tree
Snyder, C.R. (2000) Handbook of Hope: Theory, Measures, and Applications.
 

Global Wellness Summit and Wellness Coaching Initiative




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

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

Global Wellness Institute: Wellness Coaching Initiative

I am in very good company.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Australian attendees at the 2019 Global Wellness Summit

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

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.



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



A New Slant on Goal Setting


We always encourage coaches to work with clients to create positive goals that take them in the direction of what they want!  This fits with the idea of running towards, rather than away from things in life.  

I recently had an interesting conversation with someone who had been at a conference on death and dying, with one of the speakers raising the idea of having a “Reverse Bucket List”. A very strange notion I thought - where does that go?  

The “Reverse Bucket List” consists of things that a person no longer wants to do!! Now that might mean saying “no” to a number of onerous tasks that drain energy and take precious time away from doing what we do want to do.  

It also might encourage our clients to take a good hard look at what they spend their time on - believing that they enjoy it and yet we come to the realisation that we don’t enjoy it any more!  

This type of “bucket list” can actually be very empowering!  Yes, it might be more meaningful to us as we get older and realise the value of the years left to us, but I think it's worth considering and playing around with. It’s really no different from asking, “What do we want more of?”, and “What do we want less of?” Try asking it of yourself and see what comes up! 

Happy culling of unwanted and unrewarding activities!


Helping our Clients Define Success



Inevitably, our clients want to move forward - in a direction that they may have struggled with in the past. In fact they may even have failed in that area. So their drive is to succeed this time, which is why they have a Wellness Coach.

Our job as a Wellness Coach is to help them define exactly what it is they wish to achieve and of course to help them get there. But first, conversation around this concept of “success” is essential. Closely related to the idea of achievement is the notion of  ”ambition” and an exploration of both terms can reveal interesting insights for both ourselves and our clients. 

Some people describe themselves as ambitious and others may not relate to the term. The word is often associated with competition and succeeding at the expense of others, but if we accept that a better and more accurate definition is “a strong desire to do or achieve something", surely we would like our clients to become more “ambitious” around their goals? Words can do strange things to our interpretation of life. Success and ambition are really very personal constructs and relate purely to what a person truly wishes to obtain in their life. So to be motivated and enthusiastic about working towards goals is a great thing as it can lead to success, but in this sense, “success” is not about “winning”, neither is ambition.

The first question to ask a client is “what makes you fulfilled and happy in life?”  By doing this we can uncover a person’s core values.  So let’s take a look at a few examples. They may identify strongly with any of the following:

  • Imagination and creativity;
  • Kindness and compassion;
  • Lifelong learning;
  • Building relationships and connection with others.
These are all values and also strengths and if we can recognize what really drives us, we can then set goals accordingly and ensure that the steps along the way give us opportunities to incorporate these core values.

The next question is, “How do you measure success?” The answer to this could be anything, and you may hear responses such as:

  • How much fun I have in life;
  • How peaceful and calm I feel;
  • How much I can contribute to the world.
These bigger picture questions and answers can help shift someone’s mindset and help them identify changes they would like to make that may be somewhat different from what they thought they wanted, or at the very least affect the choice of the ways in which they choose to move forward. When we work with clients to help them define the steps they wish to take, we must never forget to explore their bigger world view first.

Why we need a vision for change?



I often refer to the quote by Lily Tomlin – “I always wanted to be someone; I just wish I’d been more precise.”

Many of us would like to change something in our wellness. Whether it be improvements in fitness, eating habits, weight control, stress management or other health behaviours, we know WHAT to do. But we don’t do it. Perhaps we need to focus on WHY we want the change.

In today’s society we are inundated with facts on what is good for us. What we should do, what we shouldn’t do (says who?). Learning how to change our own behaviour is not easy. We know we want to say, lose weight. We know we need to eat less or make better choices, so what do we do? Go on a crash diet, deprive ourselves with an eating plan that leads to low energy, demoralization, rapid weight loss  and equally rapid weight regain. And we fail again, which reinforces our lack of belief in our ability to take control of our weight.  

Rewind back a bit.  In fact a long way. Before we begin any drastic action, it is a great idea to create a vision of where we would like to be if we were at “our best”. First, write down what that would look like. Then ask the deeper question, “Why is that important to me?” You will find that the answer to this question can be quite revealing and it will always be connected with something you value in life. It might be as simple as “good health”, or it could be, “to be a good role model for my kids”, or even “to walk the talk”.


You will find that without knowing the reason why you want to create change, you are on an empty, fruitless mission.  It is our deepest values that will give us the motivation to start and stay on track more than anyone else’s recommendations.


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