Posted on

E#219 Becoming a Confident Coach

This episode is about becoming a confident coach

Despite extensive training, a lot of professionals talk about having impostor syndrome and fear of not being good enough. But what do you do about that? How do you flip that on its’ head and tackle impostor syndrome so that you can become a confident coach?  

Why you need to be enough 


Impostor syndrome is rife in many professions – I know, because I’ve been through it, and I’ve spoken to a lot of people who struggle with it. 

Today I want to talk to you about WHY you need to be enough and stop impostor syndroming yourself.  

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Why you need to be enough
* What a digital legacy strategy is
* Four steps to creating your Digital Legacy Strategy

I think the key reason that you need to feel that you are enough, good enough, worthy, and competent, is that then you can switch your focus off your own shortcomings and onto your clients. 

Let’s face it, if you’re worried about your own performance, then you’re not giving all of your attention to the people you are purporting to help and support.  

I think this is SO critical. This was a realisation I had when I started coaching. I was so busy worrying about what to do, whether my questions were good enough, whether they got something out of the session, whether they were engaged and so on, that it was taking up a LOT of real estate in my head.  

I was feeling anxious and would be nervous going into each session. 

THEN one day I reflected on how my feelings and energy would be seen and felt by the people I was coaching. What would they say? 

By worrying about my performance, I was creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. I was creating tension where there wasn’t really any. 

But most importantly, I realised this behaviour was about me spending too much time thinking about ME and my shortcomings, rather than my client. 

This aha moment flicked the switch for me and allowed me to totally change the way I showed up, coached and the impact of my coaching. It was amazing. 

Here are some benefits and outcomes of dealing with your impostor syndrome. 

Giving your best to clients 

Firstly, when you invest in overcoming your impostor syndrome you become more confident as a person and as a coach. You feel good about what you do and your ability to give value. That means that you invest more time thinking about the people that you’re helping, rather than your own shortcomings. It means that you are flipping the switch from a focus on you into a focus on your clients.  

Imagine how that changes their experience of working with you. Imagine how that changes their relationship with you in a coaching sense. And imagine how that therefore impact their results that they get from the coaching relationship. 

Secondly, if you deal with impostor syndrome and start believing that you can do this, that you are good enough, you be willing to invest enough in your own personal and professional development – because you know that it is worth it for your clients, and that you are worth it. The ripple effect is more advanced skills that will make you a better coach, giving your clients better outcomes. 

I think it’s really important when you’re starting any new career to know that you are not going to get it right all the time – ever. It’s important to manage your own expectations and to know that you will do things wrong and get things messed up along the way. And that’s totally okay. 

What’s more important is your commitment to investing in your own self-belief, personal development and professional development so that you can deal with those mistakes more easily, with grace and candour. 

So how do you get there? How do you beat it and become the best coach you can be, so that you can help people create their desired outcomes and impact the lives of more people? 

How do you beat impostor syndrome? 

Personal Development 

Start by working with your own coach. That way, you will improve your own thoughts habits, well-being and sense of purpose, so that you can be a role model for your clients. Being a strong role model promotes self-confidence. 

A reflective practice is also a must for all graduate coaches. After each coaching session, reflect on what went well, how you used your strengths, the verbal and nonverbal feedback from clients, and any areas for work. Write it down. Then, set specific goals to polish up any areas. One thing I like to do is focus on a particular coaching skill for all clients within a given month, so I can build and hone my craft. 

Ask for feedback and testimonials from your clients. Their feedback is really valuable as it tells you what they liked and didn’t like. Make sure to ask how things have changed for them – not just an assessment of your skills (remember, it’s about them, not you). 

Start hanging around more experienced coaches and having conversations and unpacking challenges so that you can more easily develop the habits and language of a masterful coach. 

Professional Development 

You can also do deep-dive training courses into specialty areas and practice those with your clients to become a better coach. For example, mental health first aid training if you are working with clients who have stress, anxiety and so on. 

There is a caveat on that. A lot of people see education as a tick box thing and they get really interested and they do more and more and more courses but without actually applying the learnings. And I think impostor syndrome comes from this too.  

I know some incredibly smart people who have numerous qualifications, who are full of self-doubt because they haven’t actually used their knowledge and practised with clients and seen the sorts of results that can be gained. 

If you complete a lot of educational courses but you never apply it, then you become potentially a very good teacher but maybe not good at the practice that you have studied.  

I recommend that you invest in practising new skills with clients. Ask permission to try new methods if you know them well, or find practice clients to test new skills and education with.  

Always, always, do market research – keep asking your clients what they need and want – keep learning about other people and their lives and how you can help them – that’s where you can overcome your own self-limiting beliefs, shift the value to what your clients want, and find ways to give it to them. 

Summary

Today we talked about why you need to beat impostor syndrome and start stepping up to be a more masterful coach.  

In short – if you’re focussing on yourself, you can’t focus properly or be present for your clients. 

Flip the switch by investing time, energy and money as needed into personal development and professional development. 

When you do this, you’ll feel more confident, and be able to truly serve your clients in a more authentic, impactful way – because your work will truly be about them. 

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#218 Benefits of Niching Down

This episode is about benefits of niching down

A lot of trainee coaches I meet are terrified of niching down and just want to help everyone, being afraid that they will have fewer potential clients. Today, I’ll help you understand what it means to ‘niche down’, six benefits of choosing a niche and what coaching a niche involves. 

When you’re starting out as a health and wellness coach, the experience you get with practice clients and your first paid clients will help you develop a niche that you can focus on, and market to directly. 

Starting more broadly is ok, but please know that it can be hard to find clients who want to coach with you if your marketing is not specific. 

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What it means to niche down
* Six benefits of choosing a niche
* What coaching a niche involves

Why? 

Because, unless you can clearly explain the benefits of coaching (see the previous episode of this podcast) then they won’t understand the benefits and value of coaching. 

That’s why I recommend starting to niche down as soon as you have some clarity. Let’s talk about what that means, and how it works. 

What it means to niche down 

Let’s start with the definition of a niche market. A niche market is a subset of a target market. It is a specific group of people that are desperate to solve a specific problem. 

When you hear the phrase “niching down”, it simply means getting more specific and targeting a certain segment of the group of people you want to work with. 

Why do this? 

Because people are VERY specific when they’re searching for an answer to their problem. They will be ultra-specific about the detail of their problem. And if they find someone who can help them with that specific thing, they’ll be much more interested than finding someone who does ‘all areas of health and wellness.’  

For example, I recently Googled ‘night sweats and insomnia in menopause’ – which is super specific. If I was looking to work with a coach, I’d be choosing someone who works with women in menopause, either listing those specific types of symptoms, or at the very least, indicating she works with business owners. I wouldn’t look for a ‘general’ health and wellness coach, because they wouldn’t necessarily understand what I’m going through!  

Let’s just be clear – you won’t necessarily be able to choose a niche right away, if you are just starting out. You will need to practice with people and work out who your people are and what challenges they’re facing. 

In other words, niching down is a journey. I recommend that you start out by picking what’s called a target market – which is a broader category of either person or type of problem that the market is spending money on. 

Spending is the key – if they’re not spending money to solve the problem, it’ll be hard for you to engage with them for coaching (they may not be ready, willing and able to buy – or the problem may not be big enough). 

Here are some examples of target markets: 

  • Weight loss for women 30 – 40 
  • Weight loss for women in menopause 
  • Stress management for men in white collar roles 

Do these sound specific to you? Actually, they are pretty general! 

As you coach people in a target market like this, you quickly understand that not all people in that group are created equal. There are subgroups! And they are very different. 

For example, the target market may differ in terms of their demographic, take-home income, family situation, and circumstances that are causing the problem. 

But that’s ok – start broadly and then you can get more specific as you get to know the people you are attracting. 

For example, more specific niches in weight loss for women in menopause could be things like: 

  • Female corporate leadership roles who are tired and listless, struggling with sleep 
  • Primary school teachers who are struggling to lose weight due to stress 
  • Women in the beauty industry who want to lose weight because looks are important, but they’re going to lots of lunches and drinks 
  • Women who are emotional eaters. 

ANY of these could be viable and more specific menopause niches. 

If you can’t pick an area of health and well-being, start with the type of person that you want to engage such as introverted women in corporate jobs, or mothers with two young kids, and find out what their problems are. 

Six benefits of choosing a niche and niching down 

Thinking about the more specific menopause niches I mentioned earlier – let’s say you are running group coaching and you put that bunch of women into a group together. 

They’d all think and behave in slightly different ways. For example, you’d have the teachers who are overweight in part due to stress, corporate leaders are overweight in part as they are tired and struggling to sleep, and emotional eaters. 

They might have some common ground, but they’ll potentially all be interested in different things.  

And while that doesn’t matter too much in a 1:1 scenario when you are starting out, any groups you run will be WAY more cohesive and MUCH better equipped to create a community if they can relate to each other on a personal level.  That’s benefit #1 of niching down. 

Number 2i s that you’ll find it much easier to coach even in a 1:1 setting because you’ll be dealing with similar types of people or problems, rather than being stretched in lots of different directions. 

No wonder new coaches think they don’t know enough! Having to face a barrage of different people and issues can make that worse. 

Benefit #3 – imagine you have picked a niche and narrowed it down so it’s more specific. What does this mean for your business? Suddenly you are seen as a one-of-a-kind, unique business. It’s SO much easier to speak specifically to your audience, stand out from the pack and to become a trusted go-to source of support.  

Benefit #4 – you’ll become a proficient and confident coach much more quickly and easily. As you really get to know your audience, you’ll realise that you have really started to master the key areas that matter to them, the main coaching approaches that work, and the interactions with those clients. 

Benefit #5 of niching down – you’ll be working less and achieving more. That’s because you won’t be customising your marketing content for different types of clients or needing to source tons of different resources – you’ll be diving deep into one area and using the same sorts of content and resources for all your clients, saving you LOTS of time. You’ll be marketing in one or two places where your niche hangs out, rather than all over the place, hoping someone will respond. 

Benefit #6 is that you will have a bigger number of clients and more loyal, committed clients because you know them so intimately and deeply. In fact, your sales call conversion rates will be much higher because the more specific niche trusts that you know a lot about them and really understand what their problem is. 

These are six great reasons why niching down is beneficial and valuable.  

But start walking before you run – choose a target market at first, and with practice clients, start to really listen and learn more about them.   

Now, let’s look at what coaching a niche involves. It’s actually not what you think! 

What coaching a niche involves 

Coaching a niche isn’t really much different from coaching different types of people more generally, or in different niches. 

That’s because no problem exists in isolation. 

Let me say that again – no problem exists in isolation. 

No matter who you are coaching, and what their key problem and goal is, there are a lot of other areas of health and that they will need to be coached around.  

For example, weight problems are influenced by sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress and mental health/mindset. Or some combination of these. What changes is the order of priority! 

Or, for example, stress/anxiety problems are influenced by sleep, nutrition, mental health/mindset, and exercise. Same thing – it’s a particular combination, and order of priority. 

Not all areas will be relevant for every person. 

But what the CLIENT is thinking about is the bit that matters to them. Speak to that in your marketing, honour that in your coaching, and know that you will invariably be working around the other areas to some degree, anyway. 

In addition, the likelihood is that the reason behind their perceived problem is a general skills gap. 

For example, someone who is stressed and overwhelmed is likely not very good at setting boundaries, being kind to themselves, and/or making enough time for themselves.  

Those three skills are also relevant to many other areas like eating, exercise, sleep etc. 

So when you work with a niche, you are actually helping a client fill specific skills gaps (they develop the skills through experimentation) that will help them to solve many different problems they’re facing – all because of the same reasons. 

As the saying goes, “the way you do one thing is the way you do everything”.  

Summary

Today we covered what niching down means, and six of the benefits of niching down (there are others!) 

Those benefits are: 

  • More cohesive and connected clients when coaching groups  
  • It’s easier to start with similar types of problems/people rather than being stretched 
  • You’re seen as unique, one of a kind, standing out from all the other coaches 
  • You’ll become proficient and confident more quickly 
  • You’ll be working less and achieving more as you’ll save a LOT of time not customising marketing content and resources 
  • You’ll have more loyal clients and higher sales conversion rates. 

Finally, I discussed the fact that no problem exists in isolation. So while your niche thinks they have a specific problem (which is an area they want to focus on and which you might market to), you will end up coaching them around other areas. In other words, you will actually be helping people to develop skills in one area that are transferrable to many areas of health and wellness. All that changes is the priority!

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#217 How to Describe the Benefits of Coaching

This episode is about how to describe the benefits of coaching

How good are you at describing the value and impact of coaching to potential clients? In this episode, I am going to help you to unpack the benefits of coaching in a way that gets prospective clients interested in learning more and working with you. 

Recently, I was having a conversation about coaching in a workplace context, in terms of mental health, seeking support and duty of care for your own wellbeing.  

As I was describing how coaching works with an employer, his eyes lit up as he totally ‘got’ the way coaching could support his workforce. It got me thinking about how we often describe coaching, why that falls flat, and then what to do instead. 

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* How do you describe what “coaching” is? (what not to do)
* What drives people
* How to describe the value of coaching

How do you describe what “coaching” is? (what not to do) 

A lot of coaches struggle to sell their services because they find it hard to describe what they do and how it works.  

I’ve done several previous episodes about this, such as episode 116 Explaining Your Coaching Services with Fiona Cosgrove and more recently, episode 205 How to Create a Magnetic Value Proposition. 

And the problem is exactly what I’ve just said – we try to describe COACHING – not the value or benefits of coaching. 

What I mean is this – we get caught up trying to explain what we do as a profession or HOW coaching works, so we end up talking about US and our modality or methodology, rather than THEM – the value, benefits and results that THEY want to achieve.  

If we focus on how we do the method, then people are, therefore ‘informed’ about us and our method, but they have no idea what’s in it for them. So that’s what NOT to do. 

The way to communicate value is to answer the question – ‘what’s in it for me?’ – and this is what I want to talk about today. 

Back to that conversation, I had recently with an employer about coaching in a workplace context, the conversation was about mental health, seeking support and duty of care for your own well-being.  

We were discussing psychosocial risks, and how they impact worker safety. I positioned coaching as part of the solution, by explaining that the two key goals of coaching are to raise self-awareness and to help people generate self-responsibility. By coaching around these two aspects, we could empower workers to be more aware and proactively seek help or take action themselves, therefore improving the individual’s duty of care and as a consequence, reducing mental health risks and incidents at work. 

He really got the importance of coaching to HIS organisation. I used language that the employer was familiar with, and that tied into the ‘industry vernacular’ that he was familiar with – and showed how coaching can help him achieve the benefits and outcomes he wants. That said, he really understood the value of coaching and his eyes lit up.  

The way you describe ‘value’ is probably different for different market segments, but the point is that you need to use the clients’ language and talk about what’s meaningful to them, to the results and benefits they are after so that the value of your services is really obvious. 

It’s time to think differently about how you communicate value.  

In the example I’ve just described, I thought about the fact that mental health problems are initially hard to see, so it makes sense that self-awareness is valuable. 

Currently, workplaces are focussing on identifying mental health risks and priorities, so it makes sense that helping people self-identify is half the battle won.  I didn’t waste time trying to explain coaching – I described coaching in terms of the benefits and impacts it can create. 

See how unpicking the market’s problem helps you talk about the value? 

What drives people to change (and buy) 


In what I’ve just explained, it’s clear that the value of coaching needs to be positioned around what drives people to change and to pay to get your help. 

Have you ever wondered what those drivers are, and how to know when someone will pay? 

Here are four conditions for change and for buying. 

As you learn in coaching, the first condition of change is ‘a sense that something isn’t right’- in other words, self-awareness is the first step, because if you know or are self-aware that you have a problem you will more likely do something about it or seek help. 

A lot of the general marketing a business does is to make people ‘problem aware’ – and some of the ways we do this are with quizzes, case studies, stories and questionnaires, and by inviting reflection. 

Knowing you have a problem is one thing but doing something about it and paying to get help is another. 

So the second point is, in my experience, that the problem the person has identified needs to be big enough that it is disrupting their daily lives – they can’t ignore it (and they describe the impact on families, relationships, work, and their own wellbeing). Most people are reactive, so they tend to wait until things get really bad until they seek help. 

Thirdly, they feel they can’t tackle this on their own (and they use feeling words around this like frustrated, helpless, irritated, guilty etc). They have obstacles that are situational, behavioural, cognitive or emotional and often talk about what’s hard, or what’s getting in the way. 

Fourth, feel ready, willing and able to get help to make the change (and there are positive feelings they want to have right now). 

These are the four general things that drive people to buy and to pay to get help. 

When you have spoken to people in your niche and truly understand these four elements from the niche perspective, using their ‘feeling words’, then you can use the information to formulate a statement of value that aligns with them. 

How we need to start describing the value of coaching 

To sum it up, we need to start describing the value of coaching by talking in more specifics about the things that matter to the niche client and how that feels, rather than talking about us and our tools or methods.  

For example, when I used to coach in weight loss, a lot of clients talked about not being able to commit to themselves or be consistent and loathing themselves for that. 

If I was speaking to one of those types of people, I’d be talking about how coaching helps you to make a solid commitment to yourself and then learn how to honour that commitment so that you can be consistent, authentic and living with integrity, feeling aligned with who they truly are, and feeling proud and confident.  

Can you see how that very different explanation could be very valuable for someone who really wants to commit to themselves and be consistent and stop beating themselves up? 

There’s no description of visions and goals or what coaching is – just a clear, feelings-based description of what coaching can help the person to achieve, using their language. 

What I’m saying is this – think about the outcome that people want, because it’s a key part of the value of what you do – in your niche client’s eyes. 

A final word 

To really get into the client’s shoes – get coached yourself. This is essential for a few reasons – so that you can be a role model for change – but also experience what it’s like to make and honour a commitment to yourself. 

Then you can authentically talk about the value of coaching from your own experience.  

When people want to know HOW coaching works, you can speak honestly about what it’s like to make a commitment to yourself, how it feels, and how you develop certain skills (e.g. self-regulation, self-discipline, consistency, scheduling, self-accountability) that can transfer to other areas of life. 
 
When people want to know WHAT the RESULTS are, you can speak emotionally about the feelings and changes you experience. For example, you will finally stop quitting on yourself and feeling guilty. You’ll be aligned with your values and dreams. Having some wins in one or two areas builds your confidence to do more and build on those wins. And how, when you are living in line with your values, it is living with integrity which gives you a sense of self-respect and self-worth. 

In other words, we are communicating how forming a few simple habits can give important skills and insights that can be applied to other areas, so they don’t have to doubt themselves anymore or rely on experts anymore. 

Now, how would you feel if someone describe coaching like that to you? 

Summary

Today we talked about how we often get caught up describing “coaching” when we should be describing the VALUE of coaching. 

To do that, you need to know what drives people in your niche, and even better, get coached yourself so that you have the lived experience. 

Then you can more easily craft a statement that describes the value of coaching with such richness that people are excited to join you on the journey.  

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#214 Six ways to boost your professional credibility

This episode is about six ways to boost your professional credibility

Are you finding it difficult to gain credibility with other health professionals? Are they confused about what you do, or facing lots of questions about your qualifications? Today I’ll outline six ways you can boost your professional credibility so that people understand what you do and have trust and confidence in your qualification, training, skill set and capabilities.

I wanted to create this episode today because I’ve had two conversations recently that really got me fired up.

In one conversation, a recent graduate who is out marketing her services said she’d been constantly questioned by professionals about her qualifications – not by potential clients – but by health professionals.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What professional credibility mean
* Why people question your qualifications
* Six ways to boost your professional credibility

In the other conversation, a seasoned coach is starting a degree, following what I would call professionally bullying – being told by a health professional that she isn’t qualified enough to have enough expertise in wellness, and needs to do higher education.

After I got up from pounding my fists on the floor, I decided to develop this episode to help you to understand why these sorts of things happen, and what you can do about it.

What professional credibility means

To set the scene, let’s define professional credibility.

It can be simply defined as your education, experience, performance and demonstrated professional development in a particular field.

This definition gives some clues about what it takes to be a credible professional that is trusted and respected. Let’s dig a bit deeper.

Why people question your qualifications and professional credibility

According to an article in the Organisational Behaviour in Health Care book series, “…professional credibility is a source of legitimacy.” The chapter says that when professional credibility is combined with leadership, you can create respect and trust by peers, and engagement with followers.

So, when people question your qualifications or professionalism, they are looking for evidence that you’re trustworthy, capable, and skilled.

In a healthcare setting, it’s understandable that people might question anyone’s professional credibility because you may be dealing with people in health critical or l

complex medical or psychological conditions, and other professionals with significant experience in patient care and medical systems.

Somebody showing up with a coaching qualification may not fit into their paradigm.

In Australia, Health and Wellness Coaching is a relatively young profession and people don’t understand what it is or how it fits with existing medical frameworks, or within health professions.

Part of the challenge is the range of untrained and unexperienced people giving themselves coaching-related titles and offering services that are clearly not coaching related.

Another part of the challenge is the diversity of coaching professions around – you can be a life coach, a wellness coach, a health and wellness coach, a health coach, an executive coach….and so on. What’s the difference? Which is the appropriate setting for each one?

I’ll address these three issues in a moment.

But to finish up this section of today’s topic, I wanted to say that there is something of a turf war going on in Australia. I have heard of this first-hand from a psychologist a few years ago, who told me that psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors are fighting about who is credentialled enough for what.

Let me ease your mind a bit by saying that professional skills are important, our profession definitely needs some good promotion and PR, our scope of practice needs to be clear, but please also know that human ego and professional bullying exists and is potentially always going to be there, no matter how well known, recognised and accepted our profession is.

In fact, the reason I left my previous career as a biological scientist is that I was sick of all the egotism, barrow-pushing and bullying that was going on in my industry back then. I wasn’t personally affected but I was disheartened by the behaviour, generally.

That said, there are things going on and that you can do to move past the questions and to gain the credibility and respect you deserve.

Six ways to boost your professional credibility

Let’s look at 6 ways you can start boosting your professional credibility.

HCANZA – Look for the Logo

If you’re a regular listener of this podcast, you might remember an episode I did in May 2022 called how to boost your professional credibility. This episode was about showcasing the health coaching profession at the inaugural conference of our industry association, Health Coaches Australia and New Zealand association (HCANZA), and how attending could give you ideas on how to communicate what health coaches do, and what our profession is achieving.

As a current board member of HCANZA, I can say that HCANZA is working hard in the advocacy of our profession at the highest levels of government, insurance and medical sector in Australia and New Zealand. HCANZA serves multiple purposes, including building the knowledge, understanding and reputation of health coaching in Australia and New Zealand. We are running a Look for the Logo campaign that educates the public and health professionals on how to choose an appropriately qualified health and wellness coach.

If you are a member of HCANZA, then you have access to resources to help you also advocate for our profession, and to promote yourself in a professional way. Hot off the press, HCANZA members now have access to a 25 page booklet called The Doctors Guide to Health Coaching, authored by Sandra Sheinbaum from the Institute of Functional Medicine and provided to HCANZA members for the purpose of awareness-building, advocacy and promotion of our profession.

If you’re a current member, this would have been sent to you by email and it’s available in the member toolkit. The document has been sent to 2,000 doctors in this past week.

Professional branding

Whether we like it or not, first impressions count.

That means that any imagery, documents, flyers, email footers, social media pages, websites etc that you have need to look professional.

Professional branding can cost as little as $200 or up to $15,000 but before you leap in, you need to work out your target market and ideal customer and get to know them intimately.

Why? Because your branding colours and styles need to appeal to your specific demographic, psychographic and desired feelings.

Before tackling branding formally, when you are getting started, at least develop a professional looking email signature and a formal LinkedIn profile with a professional headshot and a well written bio on it.

Mentioning your qualifications, training and HCANZA membership is valuable for your professional standing and to raise awareness of our industry association.

Your main goal initially is to have consistent visuals and messaging across any promotional material. If you start with LinkedIn and an email footer, and any other online presence, they should all look similar, use the same fonts, and have the same feel about them.

If you are a HCANZA Professional member, log into your account and look inside your member toolkit for tips on creating a professional bio, getting noticed on LinkedIn, where to use your HCANZA logo, and crafting an elevator pitch (who you work with and the general area – e.g. I help professional women in their 40’s who are struggling with menopause). We also have a HCANZA-badged brochure that talks about the benefits of working with a HCANZA-accredited coach.

A clear value proposition

When you can clearly and confidently describe who you work with (elevator pitch) and how you help your niche (value proposition), it lends credibility and professionalism – and legitimacy.

A value proposition describes the tangible results someone will get from using your products or services. I did an episode unpacking how to do this recently using a tool called a Brand Ladder, which you can listen to, here.

A value proposition might be longer than an elevator pitch and speak more specifically to the tangible results. For example, comparing to the elevator pitch I just mentioned, a related value proposition might be something like:

“I use an evidence-based methodology help menopausal women to become aware of what impacts their menopausal symptoms, and to develop health-giving routines to help them reduce their symptoms naturally and feel healthy, productive, energized and calm”.

When you can clearly explain how you help people, they see the value in working with you.

It’s clear that you know what you’re talking about, and that you are confident in what you do and how it helps people.

Endorsement

Personal or professional endorsements are great ways to build credibility. If someone else likes and trusts you, and if you have proven success, this builds your legitimacy as a coach.

Endorsement can take on various forms, such as:

· Being a HCANZA Professional member and listed on their website

· Client testimonials (on your website or social media platform – or a widget like TrustPilot)

· Client case studies

· Professional recommendations (LinkedIn is a great example)

· Media references

· Employer references

· Corporate or business client case studies

Even as a new coach, you can cover at least some of these.

Professional networking

While networking itself isn’t necessarily credibility building, the act of consistently showing up in professional networking spaces creates visibility and recognition and helps you to build relationships with like-minded people who can become your allies and advocates.

For example, when I started my weight loss coaching business, I made an effort to send introductory letters to prominent health professionals in my area and meet several of them for coffee afterwards.

I also attended various events and presentations in my local area such as Medicare presentations, health expos and health practitioner lunches, where I could leverage those initial contacts and become known in the area.

Also, I started my business by running a pilot program that involved my clients seeing their doctors or health professionals for a health clearance before starting. This gave those professionals firsthand experience in the success of my coaching program, and therefore professional endorsement and recognition.

In the end, GP’s and podiatrists, chiropractors and diabetes educators were referring people to me for weight loss, having seen improvement in my clients weight, BMI, blood pressure, insulin, etc.

You can do this in your local area (four or five surrounding suburbs) or nearest health hub.

Publishing and speaking

Finally, being published in online articles, interviewed on the radio or podcasts, published in print newspapers or magazines, all give you visibility and credibility.

After all, nobody will publish you or interview you if you’re not credible.

While this is a marketing activity, it also gives you a chance to be seen, heard and known by different audiences, so they can validly assess (in their own minds) how professional you are.

Summary

Today we talked about the challenges we face in being recognised as credible professionals. The truth is, no matter how experienced and qualified you are, someone will always take a shot at you or doubt your credentials.

That aside, there are six things you can do to boost your professional credibility right now:

· Being a HCANZA member

· ensure you have professional branding

· develop a clear value proposition

· gain endorsements

· professional networking

· publishing and speaking

Passion to Profit

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#212 What’s the Difference Between ICF & NBHWC

This episode is about what’s the difference between ICF & NBHWC  

Are you a qualified coach who is wondering how to gain professional credibility and endorsement? You might have been looking at ICF and NBHWC accreditation but aren’t sure which way to go. By the end of this episode, you’ll be clear on the difference between ICF and NBHWC as professional associations, what the process is for getting accredited by either, and perhaps some clarity on which option is better for you.

If you’re a qualified coach of any type, then being a member of a respected industry association gives you professional credibility, visibility and a measure of competence as a coach. There are various professional coaching associations around, and the two most talked-about in health and wellness coaching are ICF – the International Coaching Federation – and the NBHWC – the National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coaching association. Let’s compare the two. 

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What is the difference between ICF and NBHWC?
* What is the process for getting accredited by either?
* Which option is better for you?

What is the difference between ICF and NBHWC? 

Let’s start with the International Coaching Federation.  

ICF is a global organisation for coaches and coaching, which has been around since 1995 and has over 50,000 members. ICF aims to advance the coaching profession by defining and upholding coaching ethics, standards, core competencies and professional conduct.  ICF also provides independent certification and a worldwide network of trained coaching professionals. 

ICF members are typically life coaches, executive coaches, leadership coaches and similar.  

Having been around a long time, ICF is well known in Australia and in corporate settings, having at least a PCC qualification helps you get in the door as a coach at executive level.  ICF promotes itself as “the most globally recognised, independent credentialling program for coach practitioners.” 

Now let’s compare the National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coaches association.  

NBHWC is an American-based association that has collaborated with the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) in the US, to provide a robust board certification exam that assesses competencies in trained health and wellness coaches. NBHWC defines and upholds health and wellness coaching standards and core competencies at an international level, allowing the profession to advance in all aspects of healthcare and wellness.  NBHWC was developed and endorsed by some of the major players in health and wellness coaching. 

NBHWC been around since 2016 and is linked to the medical and Medicare system in the US – but not elsewhere.  Still, NBHWC is considered by many to be the gold standard of credentialling for health and wellness coaches specifically, and at an international level.  

NBHWC is not as well known in Australia as ICF at the time of writing but is becoming better known as more coach training organisations register as recognised providers with NBHWC and promote this status of their program. 

Aside from advocacy and maintaining standards of training and coaching competency, both associations play key roles in advocating for our professions, creating a community for coaches, and for approving training courses that qualify coaches to sit the respective exams.

What is the process for getting accredited by either? 

ICF Accreditation process 

ICF has recently (early 2022) updated their credentialling exam, process and levels. What I am about to describe covers this new process. 

The ICF accreditation process involves submitting a portfolio of evidence first and an application fee. ICF assesses your application and then decides whether you are eligible to sit a three-hour multiple choice exam which they call a Coach Knowledge Assessment.  

The portfolio of evidence varies according to the level of qualification you are pursuing, but all levels include certain types of information: 

  • Proof that you have successfully completed an ICF-approved course of a certain number of live (real-time) hours and evidence of successful completion*, 
  • A coaching log with certain number of hours depending on the level you are applying for,  
    • At least 75% of hours must be paid hours 
    • At least 25% of hours must have been completed in the 18 months prior to your application 
  • Completion of at least 10 hours of mentoring with an approved ICF mentor, and  
  • Submitting 1 recording of a coaching session and a transcript, which demonstrate you have met the ICF core competencies (this is a different session structure to HWC).  This only applies to PCC or MCC level applications. 

As you go higher up the qualification levels, you need more hours of everything before you can sit the exam. 

The bottom level is Associate Certified Coach or ACC, where you need to show evidence of completing 60 hours of coach-specific education and 100 hours of client coaching experience (e.g. coaching log). 

The middle level is Professional Certified Coach or PCC, where you need to show evidence of completing 125 hours of coach-specific education and 500 hours of client coaching experience. 

The top level is Master Certified Coach or MCC, where you need to show evidence of completing 200 hours of coach-specific education and 2,500 hours of client coaching experience. 

*Note that If you have not completed ICF-approved education, you may choose the portfolio pathway for any of these three levels. This requires you to provide specific details of all the courses you have completed, including continuing education courses and the number of hours related to each core competency. 

For example, I completed the PCC application process. I had completed one ICF-approved course, but to make up the 125 hours of coach specific training, I also provided evidence of four other courses I completed, each showing the curriculum, number of hours on each competency, and learning outcomes. It was a BIG job to do this, but I got through. 

If your application is accepted, you will be notified and invited to sit the exam which can be done online from your home computer. The range of possible scores is 200 – 600, and a passing score is 460 or more. 

I’d recommend about 4 weeks of study for the exam, given that your 10 mentoring sessions and private client coaching should have prepared you adequately, and there are no health metrics that need to be studied and learned. 

Your application and the exam are all entirely accessed by a secure online portal in the ICF website. 

NBHWC Accreditation process 

The NBHWC accreditation process is similar to ICF’s.  

You are required to submit a portfolio of evidence first and an application fee. Then, NBHWC assesses your application and decides whether you are eligible to sit a 4.5 hour multiple choice exam. 

NBHWC lists a calendar that shows exam application periods each year. They have 3 intakes per year at the time of writing. 

Once you have applied you have a window of time to submit a portfolio of evidence and then, if that is accepted, to book in and sit your exam and pay the associated fee. 

The portfolio of evidence includes certain types of information: 

  • Proof that you have successfully completed an NBHWC-approved course of a certain number of live (real-time) hours (e.g. Wellness Coaching Australia’s Professional Certificate course), 
  • A coaching log showing 50 hours of health and wellness coaching sessions  
    • at least 20 minutes long,  
    • at least 75% of the session being coaching and not education,  
    • not including sessions with friends, family or classmates, and 
    • must have been completed AFTER completing your recognised training course. 
  • Submitting evidence of a health-related Bachelor’s degree, or alternatively, that you have completed 4,000 hours of work experience in any field.   

The NBHWC website includes plenty of great resources including a sample coaching log. 

>> Here is a link to the exam study materials and information 

If your application is accepted you will be notified and invited to sit the exam, and will need to find a secure test centre location near you. 

I’d recommend allowing about 12 weeks of study, 2 – 3 hours per week, covering their core competencies and learning the American medical metrics (these are tested). 

Once your exam is completed, you will receive your score about 8 weeks after the closing of the testing window. 

In both cases, the multiple-choice exam asks you to answer questions about specific situations.  

For example, in the NBHWC exam, you might be asked what you would do if your client in their 10th session came in and was lacking motivation to continue. There are also specific questions about US medical metrics. 

In the ICF exam, you might be asked what the best possible or worst possible action might be as a coach if your client presented with low motivation and reluctance to discuss specifics. 

In other words, knowing the theory of coaching isn’t enough – the exams are testing your knowledge of how to implement the skills you’ve learned in real life situations, and related to the stage of change, size of obstacle, scope of practice and ethical considerations. 

This is an overview of the two assessment processes – visit their websites to gain more specific detail of what is involved. 

Which option is better for you? 

The best option depends on your situation. 

For some health and wellness coaches, NBHWC is more relevant as it is more specific to health and wellness coaching and is often desirable or essential for international coaching companies who employ health and wellness coaches (e.g. Noom – though they have an internal training program for this, possibly BetterUp). 

While the general public in Australia don’t recognise NBHWC at this point in time, the credential is becoming better known. Plus, it is more specific to health and wellness coaching and the assessment considers a more specific model around habit change. 

For some health and wellness coaches, ICF is a better fit. This is probably relevant if you want to break into corporate coaching, where ICF is recognised, and PCC is often the minimum standard.  

ICF is more broadly recognised, although the credentialling system does not specifically assess knowledge of health and wellbeing metrics or development of habits. 

Either way, being credentialled by ICF or NBHWC is good for your credibility but possibly involves a whole new suite of qualification courses, time and cost.  

For many coaches starting out, it is better to work with clients and get proof that you can help people to build credibility and trust, before considering a formal credentialling process. 

A Third Option 

There is a third option – joining HCANZA; Health Coaches Australia and New Zealand Association. 

This industry association is not a credentialling body, but it performs many of the same functions and ICF and NBHWC and upholds the standards of ethics and education of those two associations.  

HCANZA provides community and connection in our local area, as well as advocacy for health and wellness coaching professionals and creating visibility and employment in our field.  

HCANZA does not have a lengthy, costly examination process, just a requirement to show successful completion of:  

  • an NBHWC-recognised training program, or  
  • an ICF-recognised training program plus appropriate health and/or lifestyle education.  

Other levels of membership are available if you: 

  • Are an allied health professional with an advanced degree and coaching experience and training 
  • Are a current or prospective student of a health and wellness coaching course, or 
  • Have completed a coaching program with health and lifestyle training meeting the criteria set by NBHWC. 

There are three levels of membership: 

  • Professional membership 
  • Associate membership, and 
  • Student membership. 

To apply for HCANZA membership, you need to provide evidence of training as mentioned above, professional indemnity insurance (or cover note), code of conduct and scope of practice documents, and an online application form and fee. 

Summary

It’s clear that you can bolster your professional standing, credibility and visibility by being credentialed by an industry body such as ICF or NBHWC, or by being a member of an industry association such as HCANZA. 

Any path you take requires you to have completed a certain standard of training by a training provider who teaches and assesses core coaching competencies.  

In the case of NBHWC and HCANZA, evidence of health and lifestyle training is also required. 

For ICF and NBHWC, allow around 4 – 12 weeks of study and evidence preparation. 

If you are new to the industry and not sure where to start, your best option may be to simply join HCANZA, get some practice and experience as a coach, then decide on your future direction before committing to a credentialling process that costs time, energy and money. 

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#211 How to Succeed by Showing Up

This episode is about how to succeed by showing up

Are you struggling to find enough clients, do a good enough job, or achieve your goals, and wondering how to make it happen? Let’s look at why showing up is the key to your success.

What is showing up?

Showing up refers to your ability to do things consistently and to be accountable to yourself for that. It’s a simple as that, but it’s also essential for achieving any outcome goals you have.

Losing weight.

Launching a successful business.

Attracting clients.

Completing a qualification.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What is showing up?
* What does showing up create?
* How do you commit to showing up?

It doesn’t matter what you are trying to achieve – it’s the same principle. Showing up is required for success, and it means that you are committed, disciplined, and consistent with your efforts no matter what, which makes the results possible.

A lot of people I meet come to me for coaching because they are getting half baked results or no results. A lot of the time it’s about not showing up for yourself consistently.

A lot of things happen if you don’t show up.

For example, in marketing one of the keys to becoming visible and known is that you show up regularly and keep your promises to yourself and your audience. It might take 6 to 12 months before somebody even knows that you exist, so you need to be putting yourself out there consistently and regularly in the same places over a long enough period of time that people can start to see you and get to know you, let alone want to buy something from you.

A lot of coaches I meet try something here and there for a month and then give up saying that nobody is interested. Not long enough! And likely, not consistent enough.

The same goes for eating and exercise for example. If you want to be athletic, to lose 5 kg of body fat, to gain 3 kg of muscle, to run a marathon or to consistently follow a Mediterranean diet, then you need to show up for yourself and exercise, eat well or train several times per week and every week consistently for a period of time – usually at least 3 months.

It’s great to start with planning to do something, but that is the easy bit. You feel excited at the prospect of achieving the result. You feel satisfied that you’ve mapped out all of the steps appropriately. You feel like you are ready to go.

But the reality is, as you start to implement your plan life is going to throw you curveballs. That’s a definite – and showing up requires you to figure out how to keep showing up for yourself, or for others, or both.

I know for myself for example, at least two or three nights a week I sleep poorly at the moment. And while it might be tempting for me to take a day off the next day, I have responsibilities and things that are important for me to do so I dig deep, and I show up. I make myself get up on time, shower, get dressed in colourful clothing, eat something nutritious, and prepare myself mentally for the meetings and tasks ahead. Obviously there are exceptions, like if I am really sick, but otherwise I just get over the mind games and move forward.

ALL of us have obstacles in life that prevent us from showing up and that is why working with a coach to be so helpful because it’s about learning how to navigate, troubleshoot, and problem solve those obstacles so that you can be consistent and get the results you want.

Why is it sometimes hard to show up? Simply, because our brains work against us. Our brains are wired to seek pleasure, avoid pain and expend as little effort as possible. This is why we tell ourselves all the lies and excuses that stop us from taking action!

But if we work with our brains, we develop better habits that help us to show up and create results.

What does showing up create?

So, what happens if you do manage your brain better and show up consistently?

Well let’s look at some real life examples.

I have been running this podcast every week for over two years. I have committed to consistently publishing episodes every week no matter what. For example, my father just passed away a couple of weeks ago, and knowing that he was unwell I recorded a couple of episodes in advance so that I could keep showing up.

Some days I don’t feel like recording a podcast but I do it anyway because I am committed to this activity.

People ask, where do I get the motivation? Well, I have learned to embrace this process because it builds my audience over time with more and more people listening to this podcast. I don’t want to let them down by not showing up. If I don’t do an episode or two, or if I’m late, people will get the impression that I’m unreliable and untrustworthy – definitely not helpful! Therefore, I have strategies in place to make sure that I show up every week no matter what.

Actually, weight loss is a really good example of what’s required for showing up. In my experience of coaching people around weight loss, it often takes several weeks before they start to see the impact of habit they have changed. In the meantime, they may get sick, lose motivation, feel overwhelmed with stressors or feel tired as their body changes. But by committing to themselves they can overcome those challenges and still show up for themselves in order to achieve the result that they want.

The interesting thing is that it’s actually not so much about the result because that is a one-off thing. Showing up is actually about embracing the process and developing the habits that will make you a success.

Those habits become who you are, your new identity, and a new way of living.

In the weight loss example, people talk about losing weight and then gaining it again. It just means that they stop showing up for themselves and go back into their old habits which no longer serve them.

In another example, I think about myself as a business owner running my signature weight loss program in my local area for 3 1/2 years.

It didn’t matter how tired I was, or down, or what the weather was like, I showed up consistently for those groups of clients and got myself into a positive mindset to foster an exceptional experience for those clients and hold the space for them so that they could achieve their goals.

Sometimes I definitely didn’t feel like running those group sessions, but I had strategies in place to make sure that my clients got incredible value from those sessions and from working with me. After all, it was the results they got and the way they felt in those sessions that created multiple referrals and sold-out programs every time.

What do you think would’ve happened if I cancelled sessions because I didn’t feel like going, or if I showed up half hearted and listless?

Showing up – or not – creates your results.

How do you commit to showing up?

So how do you commit to showing up for yourself and for other people?

It’s really all about managing your mindset, your energy, your motivation, and maintaining your level of commitment to yourself and or other people.

If you want to show up for yourself or others consistently, the first thing you must do is to define a really good reason why you want to do a particular thing. In my example of podcasting, this is tied in with my ability to have an impact on the lives of other people and to help people to bring their greatness to the world. This is a huge part of my purpose, so if I don’t do this podcast consistently, I might lose my audience, and that might mean that I don’t get to fulfil my purpose.

The nutshell is that having a big why or lots of whys is really important for committing to something.

The second thing is that you have to be doing something that is truly meaningful and important to you. If you are trying to do something that you think you should be doing but don’t really want to do and then it’s going to be hard to stick to. This ties into your why, but is slightly different.

For example, reaching my audience is important to me, but my actions for getting there must be meaningful and aligned. When I tried to run a Facebook group over about a 14-month period, I struggled because I absolutely hated being on Facebook and so I wasn’t able to make myself be consistent and show up for that and I learnt a really important lesson by failing at that. I realise that I was doing something that I thought I should be doing but didn’t really suit me or feel right and it didn’t suit my audience either.

So, choosing activities and goals with importance and meaning is an essential part of showing up.

The third thing is that if you want to be able to show up for yourself or others consistently, choose habits or activities that play to your strengths, or find ways to use your strengths to complete those activities. It’s much easier to be consistent when you are doing something that you are good at or have the potential to develop skills in.

The fourth thing, and this is probably a really important one, is that you just have to stop overthinking things. It’s really easy if you’re tired or stressed to want to give up on yourself and to tell yourself stories about why you can’t do something. That’s just your brain trying not to make the effort.

If you think about it, it’s actually the discomfort of doing something under adversity that helps you to come out stronger and with a greater sense of self belief. If you give in every time and don’t be consistent, then you are just proving to yourself that you can’t. If you grit your teeth and get

through something challenging, you gain a sense of pride, efficacy and a glimmer of hope that you can do it again. This gives your untrusting brain the proof it needs to believe you can succeed.

It’s way better to find some strategies and cues and just make yourself do something and get across the line to prove to yourself that you can because that will create momentum and an upward spiral.

My best strategy to overcome mental hurdles is talking myself into doing the activity and outlining all the reasons it’s important.

The fifth thing is that planning is really important in terms of being able to show up for yourself. Imagine if I was trying to record a podcast every week but didn’t have any sort of activity put into my calendar. I’d probably forget will be trying to squeeze it in around other appointments or double booking myself and then it wouldn’t get done. Planning means you are intentionally making space – a dedicated time slot every week – to recording an episode, doing the gym workout, or posting on LinkedIn – whatever it is you want to commit to.

Planning offers you more than just the ability to complete the task. By making space for what matters to you, it prompts you to clear out the low return tasks so that you don’t waste time and become more efficient and productive. When your schedule is based around important but not urgent tasks and not too many of them, then it’s much easier to show up for yourself.

The sixth thing I want to talk about today in terms of showing up is that sometimes you’re going to need support from another person or some sort of system to help you show up. It could be a coach. It could be an alarm. It could be a ritual or process you used to get yourself into the right headspace. But whatever it is, if you find it hard to be self motivated and self disciplined at times, think about the things you can do to help you show up for yourself.

Using this podcast as an example once again, if I’m not in the mood or am lacking inspiration, I have a few uplifting podcasts that I listen to that help me to come up with a more positive mindset and create some of my own ideas for content. I also have content that I’ve created in the past and I can always go back to that and re-purpose it for a podcast episode if I need to. I have a system of dictating into my iPad or phone so if I get an idea while I’m on the run I can capture it in a document using the microphone function and that means I am constantly adding to the content when the ideas strike me. These are three of my personal strategies for making sure I show up and do this podcast every week no matter what.

The seventh and final thing that will help you to show up is the 7-minute rule. In the practice of yoga, there is a saying that if you just do 7 minutes then you will likely keep going. I apply the same principle to anything else that I need to show up for. Just seven minutes writing some notes for a podcast. Or just seven minutes getting my mind in order so I can still see my clients today and not cancel any appointments. You get the idea. Doing a tiny amount of something means that you get over the initial hurdle of starting, and that you are more likely to keep going

Summary

Today we talked about what showing up is and why it is important.

I also talked about seven ways to help you show up for yourself:

1. Define a specific why, or many whys

2. Focus on activities that are meaningful and important to you (linked to the why)

3. Choose activities that play to your strengths, or find ways to use strengths to complete them

4. Stop overthinking things and just do them with the help of strategies and cues.

5. Planning specific activities for specific time slots

6. Get the support you need from others, systems or tools

7. Commit to just 7 minutes so you get over the hurdle of starting.

Showing up for yourself means that you can do meaningful things in your own life and succeed at those things and feel like you are living a purposeful and intentional life.

It is about learning to embrace the process and become good at that, rather than just focussing on the result. This not only helps you achieve the result, it also helps you to become committed to the regular actions that create your results!

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#209 How Long Does It Take to Form a Habit?

This episode is about how long does it take to form a habit?

Are you thinking about making change but lacking in motivation, and wondering how long it will take to form a new habit that happens automatically and effortlessly?

By knowing how long it takes to form a habit, it can help you to manage your expectations, decide if you are ready to start, and hang in there long enough to be successful.

I’m sure you know what it’s like. At some point in your life, you have wanted to lose weight, or tone up, or establish a better sleep routine, but it can be hard to get started when you’re not clear on how long it will take, and whether you have enough time and energy to even start.

If you search the internet for “how long does it take to form a habit”, you will find a range of answers. Today I want to share the most recent research to answer this question, with caveats included!

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* The Architecture
* What Type of Habit Do You Want to Change?
* What Type of Person Are You?
* What is Your Situation? What is Your Mindset?
* What Does the Research Say?

The Architecture of Habits

To set the scene, let’s look at the architecture of habits. I have done a deep dive on this in previous episodes, so for now let’s recap.

Firstly, any habit has a cue or trigger – something that causes it to happen.

Then there is a routine or process that you go through.

Then, there is a reward you receive by going through the process.

The craving for this reward can motivate you to keep coming back.

What this means for you is that if you want to change a bad habit or form a new habit, you need to work the elements of this ‘habit loop’ to help you get there faster.

Let’s look at how to do that, with some examples.

What Type of Habit Do You Want to Change?

Firstly, consider that the type and complexity of habit that you want to change. Let me give you two examples from my own life so you can see the difference.

If it’s a simple habit you want to form like flossing your teeth once per day, then you can bet that it will happen a lot sooner and become automatic more easily compared to a more complex habit.

A few years ago, a friend of mine told me he had started flossing his teeth each night. This is something I’ve wanted to do for teeth hygiene reasons, but never quite found the motivation and

momentum to be consistent. This is probably because I found it to be a rather fiddly and sometimes painful task, and I had told myself that I hated flossing my teeth, or that I couldn’t be bothered.

But as soon as my friend mentioned he was doing this, I decided that I’d have a go too. I didn’t tell him or anyone else – I just decided one day that I would have a competition with myself to do it every night for 12 weeks, as an experiment to see whether I could turn this into an automatic and effortless habit.

The trigger part of the habit was easy – I would floss before brushing my teeth each night. This is called habit stacking, or as I like to call it, piggybacking. I simply put a package of floss next to my toothbrush and voila, I remembered to even think about doing it each night!

I got off to a good start and in the first few weeks, I realised a few things.

Firstly, I realised that each night I was approaching this habit in the wrong way.

When I got ready to floss, I noticed that I was thinking about how annoying this was, or how I didn’t feel like doing it, or how yukky and gross it was – unhelpful thinking! Instead, I decided to come up with more neutral or positive thoughts as I was flossing. I started thinking things like “I did another night! Yay!” or “This is good for my teeth!”

Secondly, I realised that if I was going to be consistent with this, I would have to be clear on the process. I had recently been to a new dentist, and they’d provided some written instructions on how to brush and floss your teeth. To make it more interesting, I decided to geek it up and deep dive into technique, trying to bring some fresh energy and interest into the process.

I learned about flossing on angles and how long it should take.

Those two things kept me going in the beginning.

Then I started thinking about the reward in earnest, rather than just having that sense of achievement. Sure, that was a reward, but I also ran my tongue over my teeth and made a smug ‘ah’ sound, really celebrating the clean teeth and how I was maintaining the dentist’s good cleaning work.

Something funny happened about 11 or 12 weeks into the routine. I had had a late night and a few drinks and was getting ready for bed. And even being so tired, I realised that I simply couldn’t go to bed without flossing my teeth before brushing.

It was a huge win! I could celebrate more than just the fact that it had become automatic and effortless – I also wanted to floss my teeth because I had created an attachment to the rewards of achievement and cleaner teeth (as opposed to the old rewards of getting out of a boring task).

Now compare that with something like giving up smoking. Smoking is something you do multiple times per day, and your desire to smoke might be triggered by multiple different things.

I smoked socially in my late teens, and in earnest when I was 21 years old after a stressful series of events. It had become a coping mechanism and a way of fitting in socially (these were the rewards).

After a year, I decided it was ridiculous to smoke and I wanted to give up but it was difficult! This wasn’t just one habit loop – it was many habit loops happening in tandem.

For example, there were various cues or triggers for smoking.

After breakfast. While driving. After lunch. When stressed. While hanging out with certain friends. While drinking alcohol. At a pub or nightclub (a common hangout when I was this age). At the end of the day as a pleasant wind-down ritual on the balcony of my unit. Looking cool in front of boys (or so I thought).

Coupled with the perceived rewards of coping better and looking cool (yes, I am groaning about these), I also had a serious nicotine addiction by now so had chemical drivers.

This habit was a lot more complex than teeth flossing!

In the end, I dismantled my smoking habit one piece at a time.

Firstly, I switched from menthol cigarettes (tasted better) to plain cigarettes and the worst-tasting ones – in other words, I made the habit more unpleasant.

Next, I substituted those cigarettes to ones that tasted bad AND had the lowest nicotine.

Then, I started delaying my first cigarette. So instead of around 9am, I would wait until 10am, then 11am, then after lunch.

By now I was smoking fewer per day, so I started buying smaller packets.

I started hanging out with different friends – friends who didn’t smoke. This was a game changer for this habit because it removed temptation and also helped me frame a healthier identity – by hanging around people who placed a higher value on health.

I was going to nightclubs to dance instead of smoke. I was going to the beach in the daytime instead of pubs to play pool.

By the end of about 6 months, I was down to one cigarette per day – the one on the balcony late afternoon. This was the hardest one to give up because I had a positive ritual and feeling of me time. However, I made the decision to stop and do something else at this time.

Voila, the habit was gone.

I had cravings for a while, but it was easier to ride them out once I got this far.

As you can see, more complex habits take longer to break or form and are more involved.

Some people go for substitution for gum or other things, but for me, I wanted to break the habit and rewire all the different areas of my life rather than swap one vice or habit for another.

What Type of Person Are You?

Complexity aside, I think a lot comes down to the type of person you are.

If you are motivated, focused, achievement oriented and proactive, it’s probably easier for you to form a new habit or break a bad habit.

Some people have more addictive personalities – and I am one of these (as revealed in a genetic test I had done a few years ago to look at disease risk factors).

Some people like putting others first and even at their own expense, which can get in the way of forming new habits.

These are all factors that affect your ability to form new habits and the time that it takes.

What is Your Life Situation?

Your life situation impacts your ability to form a habit and the rate at which it happens.

Why? Because making change is hard. It requires a lot of focus and energy from your brain, and brains like taking the easy, low-cost, low-effort route.

That means if your life situation is busy, overwhelming, stressful, painful, difficult, or involving major shifts or even crises, forming a new habit is going to be pretty difficult. Not just in terms of starting but in persisting.

The best time to form a new habit is when there’s little stress in your life, when things are on an even keel, and when there aren’t many other pressures in life.

This is not always possible, but at least you can clear the decks to make time and energy to focus on doing something new, or something different.

The less stress you have, I believe the faster and easier change will be.

This is where working with a coach can be so helpful, because they help you make the time and create the focus, and clear the decks, so that you have enough brain power for forming a habit.

And not too many at once!

What is Your Mindset?

Finally, your mindset is a critical piece of the puzzle.

You heard me say earlier in the teeth flossing and quit smoking examples, that I had decided to do it. And after 13 years of coaching, I can say that the majority of my clients use similar words.

They say that they have decided, or they are in the right headspace, or they are really ready. There is determination in those words.

And to be successful and persist for long enough so that you can form and automate a habit, you need to have a good enough reason which is meaningful to you, because this is your motivator to keep going.

What Does the Research Say About Time Required to Form Habits?

I’ve just given you a lot of backstory about habit formation that sets the scene for discussing the research.

A 2009 paper by Phillippa Lalley et. al. was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

The study involved 96 volunteers over 12 weeks. Those volunteers chose an eating, drinking or activity behaviour to carry out daily in the same context (e.g. after breakfast).

The time it took to form the habit and for it to become largely automatic was 18 – 254 days, with an average of 66 days (9.5 weeks). A huge range!

It is known that behaviour is likely to become habitual when it is frequently and consistently performed in the same context, this study found that a habit could be formed and become automatic even if it was missed a few times.

More recently, a longitudinal field study considered how self-control capacity affected the development of habits over a period of 90 days.

Contrary to expectations, self-control capacity did not seem to affect the habit formation process and opened the opportunity for future research.

The recent research reveals a few keys to easier and potentially faster habit formation and habit automaticity:

· Habit strength increases steeply at first then levels off

· The more often the behaviour is completed, the quicker the habit forms

· The more inherently rewarding the behaviour, the easier it is to form a habit

· If the environment is comfortable (no threats/obstacles), habit formation is easier

To me, these findings back up my experience with my own habits and with clients.

The recipe for success seems to lie in the goal-setting process and the situation, as described earlier.

If you clear your decks to make time, set specific goals around behaviours that are rewarding, and you commit to doing them frequently, you will more likely succeed.

Having the support of a coach will probably help you get there faster!

Summary

Today we talked about how long it takes to form a habit and covered some of the factors that influence the timing and ease of habit formation.

There is a lot of scope for future research in this area, with the most recent studies having shown that your capacity for self-control is not critical to the process!

Rather, the intrinsic reward, frequency of behaviour, commitment, environment and in my experience, situation, mindset and personality, might all play a role in the timing.

 

References

Lally, P., van Jaarsveld, C.H.M., Potts, H.W.W. and Wardle, J. (2010), How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 40: 998-1009. https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.674

van der Weiden Anouk, Benjamins Jeroen, Gillebaart Marleen, Ybema Jan Fekke, de Ridder Denise. (2020). How to Form Good Habits? A Longitudinal Field Study on the Role of Self-Control in Habit Formation. Frontiers in Psychology 11. URL=https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00560

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#208 How to Interpret Sleep Data

How to Interpret Sleep Data

Are you trying to get better quality sleep and want to know what your sleep data means? In this episode, I’m going to explain sleep hypnograms and how to use them to understand your sleep and help you sleep better.

Sleep is becoming recognised as a national health priority because it affects so many areas of life. More specifically, sleep quality and quantity are strongly linked to mental health, cognitive function, and physical injury. Sleep is regulated by multiple systems in the body including your circadian control as influenced by light and dark exposure (see previous episode).

So if you want a good night’s sleep, where do you start? Let’s consider sleep data and how you can use it to make positive changes for a better night’s sleep.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What is sleep data?
* What is a sleep hypnogram?
* What does your sleep data mean?
* How can sleep data and hypnograms help improve sleep?

What is sleep data?

Sleep data includes any information collected about sleep.

It can range from information that you manually collect or write down, to data you can collect from a wearable device to data that is collected by experienced practitioners in a sleep lab.

Manual sleep data could include a sleep diary, where you write down information such as:

– the time you went to bed,

– the time you woke up,

– a subjective rating of how well you think you slept, and

– any factors that might have influenced your sleep (e.g. caffeine intake, alcohol intake, medications, use of devices, or any worries or anxiety).

The data is relatively subjective compared to other methods.

A wearable device can be used to capture physiological data while you are asleep. The data captured may include:

– the time you fell asleep,

– total duration of sleep

– sleep phases and how long you spent in each phase,

– sleep quality,

– movement during the night,

– heart rate during sleep,

– oxygen saturation during sleep,

– the time you work up.

These data may be available on a wearable itself, or in an app that syncs wearable data. Commonly, these data are combined using artificial intelligence (AI) to provide an overall sleep score that is visible on the device and/or on a related app. Examples include Whoop, Oura Ring, and Apple watch.

Other ways to capture sleep data can include nearables (non-wearable trackers that are placed near the bed which measures motion, temperature, respiratory rate, and other data), or mobile sleep apps (that detect motion in the night and/or may wake the person at the right time in their sleep cycle).

The data collected by devices like the ones mentioned may be more accurate than self-reported data but are likely to be 50 – 60% as accurate as data collected in a formal sleep lab using purpose-built equipment, according to some studies.

Many consumer wearable devices and apps use AI that is built purely from subjective data such as questionnaires, which may be biased and affect accuracy.

There is an emerging interest in wearable devices and apps such as PhiliaHealth, whose algorithms are based in actual physiological studies in a lab, and who report other unique and more actionable data. In comparison to wearables, clinical sleep studies monitor aspects such as:

– limb movement

– respiratory flow

– electrocardiograms (heart signals)

– electroencephalograms (brain activity and eye movements)

– electromyograms (muscle movements).

For most people, it is that manually-collected data or data from a wearable that is most relevant and accessible, empowering you to take action to improve your sleep.

What is a sleep hypnogram?

There are a few different ways to look at sleep data, and a sleep hypnogram is one of them.

A hypnogram is a graphical representation of your sleep cycle. It is a graph of polysomnography (PSG) data that is collected during the hours that you sleep.

The data is captured by a wearable as an activity, about every 30 seconds while you sleep. While not very precise, it allows you to capture data for different stages of sleep and graph them. These stages and the time spent in each are:

· Times you are awake and moving

· Non-REM 1 sleep (lightest sleep) (10% of sleep time)

· Non-REM 2 sleep (slightly deeper sleep) (50% of sleep time)

· Non-REM 3 sleep (also called deep sleep or slow wave sleep) (20% of sleep time)

· REM sleep (rapid eye movement, dream state, increased brain activity) (20% of sleep time

We cycle through these stages of sleep around every 90 minutes (plus or minus 20 minutes), and each person typically has 4 – 6 of these cycles each night.

Overall, 20% of sleep is spent in the REM, dreaming phase, and about 80% is spent in non-REM (also known as N-REM).

The hypnogram plot of your sleep cycle data looks something like this:

In a normal hypnogram, we might see more N-REM (Stages 1 -3) or deep sleep in the first half of the night (early sleep). Our hormonal balance is such that stimulation effects are lower at this time. 

Then, in the later part of sleep, we might notice more REM sleep in the hypnogram. During this time, the hormone acetylcholine increases to help you to process information and memories without disrupting sleep.  

People who have disruptive sleep show variations from the normal graph. They might have multiple awakenings, shorter or irregular sleep cycles, less deep sleep, and/or absent sleep stages. These changes can indicate psychiatric disorders, narcolepsy, sleep disorders, or medication effects (for example). 

Where can I find my sleep data? 

If you are using the PhiliaHealth app, your hypnogram can be found by clicking on the sleep icon on the daily dashboard, then scrolling down and click on your sleep session. 

The sleep icon shows an overall score, with total sleep time and your resting heart rate during sleep. 

Below that, the score is explained in terms of: 

  • contributing factors to good sleep (time spent in each stage and efficiency) which are colour coded in a traffic light system to show good, ok and not so good, and 
  • penalties that lower the score (restlessness, elevated heart rate and number of awakenings). 

Scroll down to see your hypnogram including the % time spent in each stage. Remember that 20% of time spent in deep sleep is ‘normal’. 

Below that, the other biometric data collected during sleep, and data on your sleep disturbances (based on arm movement). 

The traffic light colour system used in the sleep score section and the biometric data section make it easy to differentiate the positives (green) from the negatives (red). 

What does my sleep data mean? How can hypnograms help improve sleep? 

Sleep data can empower you with information that can help you make better choices to improve your sleep. According to Villanova University, sleep data can be used to: 

  • Improve knowledge and treatment of sleep conditions 
  • Identify root causes of sleep disorders 
  • Link behaviours to sleep quality 
  • Improve mattress design, and 
  • Personalise recommendations for better sleep. 

Even without going into the detail of the hypnogram and without the accuracy of laboratory-based methods, you can work out whether there are issues with your sleep and when they occur. 

  • Using your hypnogram, biometric data, sleep scores and disturbance data, you can figure out whether you’re getting enough deep sleep, and when there are potential sleep issues. 
  • You might notice that your sleep score, hypnogram and biometrics are abnormal on days that you do certain things like work late, drink alcohol, experience anxiety, use devices before bed or have noise or light nearby.  
  • Your hypnogram can show at a glance whether your sleep cycles are normal or not. 

With this information, you may be able to experiment with modifying your daytime or evening behaviours or situations to improve sleep. The data might reflect positive changes in response to behaviour change. 

By looking at trends over time and whether behaviour changes cause improvements, you can work out whether you are on track or need to get professional help from a doctor or specialist. 

Summary

This episode was a deep dive into what sleep data is, what hypnograms are, what the data means, and how you can use it to improve your sleep or identify a need to get help. 

References 

  1. Lavery, Michael & Stull, Carolyn & Kinney, Michael & Yosipovitch, Gil. (2016). Nocturnal Pruritus: The Battle for a Peaceful Night’s Sleep. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 17. 425. 10.3390/ijms17030425.
  2. How to Use Sleep Data to Effectively Improve Rest. Master’s in Data Science.org website https://www.mastersindatascience.org/resources/sleep-data-to-improve-rest/ accessed 23/8/22.
  3. Neubauer, David N. MD. (1999) Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center, Baltimore, MD in American Family Physician, 59(9):2551-2558, May 1, 1999.
  4. 4. Schellenberger Costa, Michael & Born, Jan & Claussen, Jens Christian & Martinetz, Thomas. (2016). Modeling the effect of sleep regulation on a neural mass model. Journal of Computational Neuroscience. 41. 10.1007/s10827-016-0602-z.
  5. 5. Wahaj Anwar A. Khan, Russell Conduit, Gerard A. Kennedy, Melinda L. Jackson, 2020. The relationship between shift-work, sleep, and mental health among paramedics in Australia. Sleep Health, Volume 6, Issue 3, 2020, Pages 330-337, ISSN 2352-7218, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2019.12.002.

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#206 Understanding Sleep Chronotypes

Understanding sleep chronotypes

Are you intrigued by the concept of chronotypes and want to know how it can help you (or your clients) to optimise sleep, performance, health and wellbeing?

Your sleep chronotype indicates whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, and helps you optimise your sleep patterns for better focus, performance and productivity.

As someone in menopause, I want to get rid of night sweats, insomnia and brain fog as well as anxiety and low mood. For me, the research indicates that aligning with my sleep and other chronotypes will help me to reduce or eliminate these pesky symptoms.

I am trained in assessing and understanding chronotypes, so stick around to the end or check the show notes to find out how about a specific test I can help you with, to determine your chronotypes for sleep but also other areas of life like eating, exercise, focused work and so on.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What Sleep Chronotypes Are
* Are you a night owl or an early bird?
* Benefits of knowing your sleep chronotype
* Aligning to your sleep chronotype

What Are Sleep Chronotypes?

Feeling tired all the time has a massive impact on your mood, work performance, motivation to exercise, and willingness to get out and socialise.

We hear a lot about sleep hygiene and pre-bed routines to work out how to sleep better, but nobody is talking about chronotypes.

Chronotypes are what make us unique. Specifically, your chronotype is the behavioural manifestation of your circadian rhythm (also known as your ‘body clock’), such as when you prefer to sleep and when you are most alert and energetic.

Your natural rhythm also affects the timing of other events in your body like hormone release, meal timing, exercise timing and bowel movements.

In the dawning era of personalised healthcare, we are realising that the old, general rules like “you must get 8 hours of sleep per night” or “we should go to bed by 9pm” are not true.

The truth is – sleep is personal. You are unique in terms of your sleep needs. Emerging evidence suggests that there is a strong genetic component to sleep chronotypes, and that variations in chronotypes might have evolved in hunter gatherers who took turns sleeping so there was always someone to keep watch.

And once you know your needs, certain elements of your lifestyle affect your sleep and should be considered as part of the solution.

Are you a night owl or an early bird?

While there are several quizzes available that can indicate your sleep chronotype, your own personal experience is the key.

It can be challenging to identify your chronotype if your body is ‘out of whack’ for example if you are a shift worker, if you are carrying a sleep debt, or if you are going through menopause or acute stress that is affecting your sleep.

A simple way to work it out is to keep a diary over a week or two, perhaps when you’re on holiday, without work stress, deadlines, over exposure to devices or stressful travel to and from work.

During this holiday time, notice when you naturally feel sleepy and record the time.

Complete your usual pre-bed routine and let yourself fall asleep naturally.

Then in the morning, notice what time you naturally wake up, and record the time.

Over a period of days, without the normal external pressures and influences, you will start to see consistent sleep and wake times, and your natural sleep chronotype will be revealed.

Although we often hear the term night owl or early bird, there are four recognised chronotypes in a quiz by Dr Michael Breus, which are:

1. Lion – the early bird who likes to wake up early and be productive in the morning

2. Bear – accounting for about 55% of the population, their sleep and wake times tend to follow the sun

3. Wolf – the night owl, thought to make up 15% of the population

4. Dolphin – tend to be insomniacs

This is just one chronotype classification systems.

Benefits of knowing your sleep chronotype

If you know your sleep chronotype, you’ll be better able to manage your daily schedule and be alert, productive and focused at the right time.

Imagine of you knew how to structure your day so that you could get things done, get enough rest, feel motivated to exercise, and feel energized and at peace – and then have a good night’s sleep? That’s the power of knowing your sleep chronotype.

Sleep has a huge impact on your appetite, exercise and core temperature, so it also affects your ability to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Various studies show that your chronotype is also associated with some of the ‘Big 5’ personality traits. Lions or early birds (‘morningness’) tend to be associated with conscientiousness and agreeableness, while neuroticism and openness, impulsivity, anger, anxiety and using substances tend to be more common in Wolves or night owls (‘eveningness’). The same studies show that morning people tend to do better in school, and evening people might be better at creative thinking and musicality.

Evening people also tend to be less physically active and sleep less during the week, and more on weekends which can lead to a higher stress response, elevated cortisol levels and a higher resting HR which are risk factors for a variety of sleep, metabolic and mental health concerns.

These are trends, not set in stone, because each person is subject to various external influences that might affect their sleep patterns and overall wellbeing.

Having said that, by aligning your schedule with your chronotype, you will more easily reduce adverse outcomes and be more productive, energized and calm.

Aligning your schedule to your sleep chronotype

Once you know your sleep chronotype, how do you align your schedule so that you can optimise focus, sleep, performance, productivity and recuperation?

While I’ll cover some specific hacks and tips in the next episode, these are some general guidelines to start implementing.

A good starting point is to experiment with going to bed at the time that suits you best, for example, 10pm every night.

Once you establish this time, work backwards and start experimenting with pre-bed routines that will help you have a good night’s sleep and allow you to actually get into bed by this time.

When you have a handle on those two things, your wake-up time should naturally set itself, and you’ll start waking up at a set time every day.

From there, you can work with your energy during the day to adjust your schedule if you can.

For example, early risers might have more energy first thing in the morning and so might do better with exercise, detailed thinking work and any sort of focused action-taking early in the day and could try scheduling those things in the morning if possible. You might also find it better to socialise in the daytime or late afternoon rather than at night as you’ll be winding down.

In contrast, night owls who go to bed later e.g. 11pm might have more energy late in the day, and so could need a more relaxed morning, where you ease into the day slowly, leaving exercise, socialising and intense work for the afternoon and early evening.

If you’re an in-betweener, you may find your energy peak is closer to the middle of the day and could prioritise focused work and exercise from late morning to mid-to-late afternoon.

It may be possible to rearrange your work duties to fit with these frameworks.

A key takeaway is that we are all unique, so experimenting is key as is a need to remove the overlay of stressors, overwork and responsibility that often get in the way of us living our best lives.

Summary

Sleep chronotypes are about more than just optimal bedtime, sleep quality and quantity. By understanding and aligning with your sleep chronotype, you can unlock your full potential in terms of productivity, focus, mental health, motivation to exercise, getting your eating right, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Contact me for support with determining your personal chronotype.

References

David A. Kalmbach, PhD, Logan D. Schneider, MD, Joseph Cheung, MD MS, Sarah J. Bertrand, PhD, Thiruchelvam Kariharan, PhD, Allan I. Pack, MBChB PhD, Philip R. Gehrman, PhD, Genetic Basis of Chronotype in Humans: Insights From Three Landmark GWAS, Sleep, Volume 40, Issue 2, 1 February 2017, zsw048, https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsw048

Gjermunds, N., Brechan, I., Johnsen, S.Å.K. and Watten, R.G., 2019. Musicians: Larks, Owls or Hummingbirds?. Journal of Circadian Rhythms, 17(1), p.4. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jcr.173

Tristan Enright & Roberto Refinetti (2017) Chronotype, class times, and academic achievement of university students, Chronobiology International, 34:4, 445-450, DOI: 10.1080/07420528.2017.1281287

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#205 How to Develop a Magnetic Value Proposition

This episode is about how to develop a magnetic value proposition

A lot of coaches find it hard to really communicate the value of what they do in their marketing and craft a viable value proposition. Today, I want to unpack the ‘brand ladder’ with you – a helpful marketing tool that helps you define what motivates people to buy and craft a compelling value proposition that is guaranteed to attract new clients.

Before you develop any marketing strategies to get out there and start becoming known, liked and trusted to attract clients, you have to know what to say and how to describe the value of what you do. A solid brand ladder will make all the difference. It’s what will rocket fuel your opportunities.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What is a Brand Ladder and Why Do You Need One?
* The Five Step Brand Ladder Process
* Crafting Your Value Proposition

What is a Brand Ladder and Why do You Need One?

In all marketing and advertising, we want to write, speak or engage with emotion and values that are aligned with what the clients want to feel and be, because this is appealing and attractive to them.

If you listened to my last episode, you might have heard me mention that 90% of a buying decision is based in emotion, and only 10% is based in logic.

So, how do you create that emotively based value proposition?

Brand laddering is one exercise to help you uncover the right language to develop your value proposition. This tool helps you to unpack the mental and emotional process your potential client goes through as they are becoming engaged to buy, and it leverages coaching concepts including positive psychology, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and unpacking the “why behind the why”.

They start from outlining your service’s most important feature, then it’s benefits, the emotional value to the person, and how those benefits and values might change someone’s life.

The Five-Step Brand Ladder Process

Let’s walk through the five-step brand ladder process, so you can use this to create compelling copy and a rock-solid value proposition that is irresistible to potential clients.

Bottom Rung – Features

Features are the factual statements about your service, about what it can do or what it includes, and why it’s the best choice.

This rung answers the question – “so what is this program, and who is it for?”

If your service is a coaching program, then factual statements might include:

· Weight loss program tailored to women in their 40’s

· 8-week, evidence-based program to help you reduce stress at work

You can hear the points of difference here – firstly both are specific to a problem, the weight loss program is tailored to a specific group, or the 8-week program is evidence-based.

These types of statements speak about the strengths or differences of your service and therefore why it is a better choice.

You will notice that the wording is specific, not general. That way there’s no room for misinterpretation or misunderstanding. This is important for all rungs of the ladder.

Second Rung – Functional Benefits

Next are the functional benefits that these features provide. These are the end results of what the service can accomplish for your client.

This rung answers the question – “so what do I get?” or “what’s in it for me?”

Functional benefits are things that help people to:

– Stay connected – e.g. friends, family, socially

– Save money – e.g. reduce time, add value, track success, reduce costs

– Make you smarter – e.g. build skills, support, information, step-by-step process

– Help you be healthier – e.g. prevent, restore, mental health, lose weight, exercise

– Work better for you – e.g. faster, safer, evidence based

– Help you take action – e.g. awareness, motivation, confidence

– Simplify your life – e.g. efficient, easier, time-saving, streamlined, organised.

For a coaching program, these could be things like:

· Making simple changes to your eating habits to help you achieve a healthy weight

· Learning how to better manage your schedule and leave work on time, so you can switch off more easily and have the energy for friends, family and fitness after work.

Notice once again that the language is specific to the client and what their daily life experience might involve. Market research and conversations with your client can help you get there.

Third Rung – Emotional Benefits

Next are the emotional benefits that these functional benefits provide.

This rung answers the question – “how will this make me feel?”

It’s a bit like peeling off another layer of the why in a first coaching session, asking “so if you were to achieve that vision, how would you feel?”

Emotional benefits are commonly things like:

  • Curiosity for knowledge – e.g. competent, smarter, aware
  • Sense of optimism – e.g. motivated, successful, inspired, special
  • Feeling comfortable – e.g. relaxed, nurtured, compassionate
  • Feeling free – e.g. alive, excited, exhilarated
  • Getting noticed – e.g. playful, popular, sexy
  • Feeling liked or self-assured – e.g. friendly, happy, fulfilled, confident, empowered
  • Staying in control – e.g. respect, safe, trust, reliable
  • Feeling myself/my values – e.g. honest, standards, purpose, family, authentic
  • Feeling revitalised – e.g. active, more energized, youthful, getting the old me back
  • Having a sense of pride – e.g. leadership, overcoming, accomplishment

For a coaching program, these could be things like:

· This program is designed to help you feel more confident, comfortable in your own skin and aligned with your values

· By mastering your work schedule, you’ll feel more in control of your time, gain a sense of achievement and have a more relaxed time with the ones you love.

Notice how we are tapping into the client’s aspirations here. We are not promising that the program does this – we are saying how they might feel if they can get on top of their obstacles.

Working with your niche clients to help them create a vision can help you to work out these ‘feeling words’ more specifically.

Fourth Rung – Transformational Benefits

Next are the transformational benefits that are possible when a client can make lasting change.

This rung answers the question – “how will this change my life?”

This is like peeling off yet another layer of the why in a first coaching session, asking “Why is this vision so meaningful for you?”

For a coaching program, these could be things like:

· I’ll be a better, healthier role model for my kids and know that I am doing the best for my health

· I’ll have better, more meaningful relationships with my family, have more fun in life, and perform better at work.

Notice how we are tapping into the client’s deeper values and motivators here. Reflect on how you feel even just listening to these transformational benefits!

(Sometimes) Fifth Rung – Social Impact

Some brand ladders have another layer – related to social impact of the company or even of the person using the company’s services.

This rung answers the question – “how does this change society?”

In a coaching context, this might only really apply to specific niches, but it could also speak to the values of your business and it’s greater mission in the world.

For example:

· XYZ Coaching is on a mission to put an end to diabetes and other avoidable lifestyle diseases. This is your chance to be part of the change and inspire your friends and family with healthier choices for a healthy weight.

· Burnout is a global problem. For every program purchased, we will donate $10 to Beyond Blue, an organisation that supports and advocates for better mental health.

By now, your potential client will feel on a high and be excited to work with you!

Crafting Your Value Proposition

So, how do you use this information to craft a value proposition?

It’s about pulling together the key elements of the ladder into something that speaks to the value of what you do.

Using the weight loss example:

If you’re a woman in your 40’s who is struggling to lose weight, XYZ coaching will take you through a step-by-step process to make weight loss easier. You’ll finally start to feel more comfortable in your own skin and be the role model you want to be for your family.

Using the stress management example:

If you’re sick of feeling overwhelmed by workplace stress, this evidence-based program will help you to manage your time better and feel more energized so you can switch off more easily and have more quality time with the people and things you love.

Summary

The brand ladder exercise is a great tool to help you unpack a statement that truly conveys the value of what you do – your value proposition – and taps into your prospective client’s emotional drivers.

You can build a brand ladder using the words your clients use in their initial vision sessions, by peeling off the layers of the why.

Assuming that you have the best intentions for your client and will do your best as a coach, this is an authentic way to get excited about what you do and the difference you can make in the world.

It helps you to stand out and be emotionally engaging to the right people.

And if you get this right, you’ll easily have more clients heading your way.

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#204 How to Better Explain What You Do So You Can Attract More Paying Clients

This episode is about how to better explain what you do so you can attract more paying clients

A lot of coaches have trouble explaining what they do, what health coaching is and how it works. And that’s why I want to get a bit ranty today. We’ll talk about the #1 reason why you may NOT be getting the leads you want, and how best to explain what you do so that you can confidently speak to people and attract more paying clients.

Advocacy vs Niche Marketing

I want to start this episode by talking about advocacy versus niche marketing. The problem I see is that a lot of coaches are so stuck on telling people what health and wellness coaching is BUT they’re not really communicating the value of health and wellness coaching. Let me explain

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Advocacy vs Niche Marketing
* Appealing to Emotions
* Brand Laddering
* How to Attract Paying Clients

For starters, people buy things that they believe will get them a result.

But if you are trying to explain your services in terms of how your profession works, then you’re not really talking about how you help the individual or the results they will get.

For example, imagine a doctor explaining how doctors work. He might say something like:

“Well, patients come to see me when they’re not feeling well. They come in and make an appointment and then we sit down and go through the health history, and I work out what’s going on with them now and I may prescribe medication or treatment that will help them to get better. They might come and see me again in a couple of weeks to make sure everything’s been resolved and that’s how being a doctor works.”

Now, I know that’s a really obvious example, but it illustrates what some coaches are trying to do when they’re explaining Health and Wellness coaching to people.

When you talk about helping clients to set visions and create goals and make lifestyle change, then you’re talking much more about how professionals in our industry work within a session with a client.

For the sake of clarity, let’s call this type of explanation “advocacy”.

The term fits pretty well with the dictionary definition of advocacy, which is “the act of pleading for, supporting, or recommending; active espousal.”

How do you know if you’re going down the road of ‘advocacy’ in your marketing?

Well, your copy would include words that focus more on our profession. The language you use would be broader and perhaps more about you as a coach. If you are using more thinking, factual or logical words to describe what you do. He might be also talking about qualifications and standards, professional affiliations, or the science behind what you do.

Let’s be clear – There is a role for advocacy in your marketing particularly if you are talking to other health professionals for the sake of building relationships to gain referrals. But you are not likely to get clients this way directly, because you were not speaking to them emotively in their language.

This is why I’d like to talk about niche marketing now.

Niche marketing is very different to advocacy. In niche marketing, your language focuses more on person, not the profession. You’re using more feeling words and specifically, the words that your clients used to describe their pain points and desired feeling-based solutions. You’re talking about their unmet needs, their perceived problem, how that plays out in their daily life, their desired solution and your value proposition. As a refresher, a value proposition is defined as a basic statement that communicates the benefit you promise to deliver to your customers post purchase.

This is how the hypothetical doctor might discuss his value proposition to a prospective client.

“I’m a Doctor who specialises in helping people who have just been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes or diabetes. I understand that being diagnosed with this might be a shock and leave you feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you are confused about your treatment options, mediation and their side effects, or which areas of your health require attention.

I understand how worrying this can be, especially with your work and family responsibilities at this time of your life. As someone who has treated metabolic conditions for 10 years, I am here to help you to navigate your condition, understand what’s going on in your body and take action to prevent the progression of this condition by taking action to lower your cholesterol, reduce your waist circumference, normalise your liver function and improve your physical and mental health.”

Can you hear the difference in the language? Of course, doctors don’t usually describe their work like that or use emotive language.

But if you had a metabolic condition and you heard those two descriptions, one based in more advocacy language and one about the challenges that someone with metabolic syndrome faces, which one would be more appealing?

Which one of those doctors would you trust more?

Appealing to Emotions

As I mentioned earlier, if you want to explain what you do really clearly and in a way that grabs attention then it’s important that you appeal to their emotions. And to appeal to someone’s emotions, talk with emotional words about things that they are emotionally engaged with.

You want to tell a story, but not just any story – you want to tell the niche client’s personal story.

You want to use descriptive and emotive words, and real examples of what the person might be thinking, living, experiencing and feeling. This portrays your understanding of them as a person and not just as a prospective client. This naturally brings a flavour of empathy, compassion, understanding and relatability to your words and messages.

Imagine how confident you’d feel knowing you had something that engaged people at their very heart and soul!

Brand Laddering

So how do you work out how to describe what you do in a more emotive way?

Brand laddering is one exercise you can do to bring more emotive language into your marketing copy, and to make it more about the person than about your profession. I will talk about that in the next episode, but the premise is that it helps you peel of the why’s behind the service.

It helps you to unpack the mental and emotional process your potential client goes through as they are becoming engaged to buy.

It works just like our very own coaching process of exploring the whys. As coaches, we explore a client’s challenge and desired solution with them by asking several why-type questions to uncover their values, motivators and drivers.

More in the next episode! But first, let’s back up a step and talk about a four step process to help you improve the way you describe your services to potential clients.

How to Better-Attract Paying Clients

If you want to get better at attracting paying clients, you will need to switch out of advocacy marketing and into niche marketing.

Here are four steps to better-explain how you work, and more easily engage paying clients.

1. Conduct LIVE market research interviews with your niche to hear what they are emotional about, and to hear the words they use to describe their problem, desired results and bigger why outcomes.

2. Create a brand ladder that captures the key words from these interviews, moving beyond the ‘features’ of what you do and into the emotional and transformational benefits.

3. Use this to craft a value proposition that clearly explains the tangible emotional benefits that your niche client wants.

4. Ask some of your niche clients for feedback on the value proposition. Why do they like it or why not? What does it mean to them? What would be more appealing, if anything?

Engaging people in your niche for feedback is ALWAYS, 100%, the best way to get your marketing copy, your explanation of what you do, and any descriptions of your services, spot on.

If in doubt – contact a business or marketing coach for support!

Summary

Today we talked about what coaches typically do wrong when describing what they do as a profession, and why it doesn’t work.

We compared the more factual, profession-based ‘advocacy’ approach to marketing, versus the more emotive, client-focused niche marketing approach.

Your ability to attract clients is all about appealing to their emotions. If you want to attract more paying clients, try following my four step process:

1. Conduct market research interviews with your niche

2. Create a brand ladder to draw out the more emotional, why-based words

3. Develop a value proposition using more emotive, client-focused words

4. Practice it on your niche before sharing your insights in your marketing

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#203 The Ultimate Guide to Health Coaching Prices

This episode is about the ultimate guide to health coaching prices

If you are a health coach and want to know how much to charge as a health and well-being coach, you’re in the right place. By the end of this episode, you’ll be clear on how to set health coaching prices that you’re comfortable to charge, and that are good value to your clients.

You know what it’s like when you start working as a health and wellness coach. You’re about to launch your business, and you have no idea of what to charge.

You look at all the other coaches out there and see coaches charging wildly different amounts – where do you even start with working out coaching pricing?

Let’s dive into this very important topic and help you get your pricing right so you can launch your business with confidence and certainty that you’ll find clients who are willing to pay you for your coaching programs and packages.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Health Coaching Pricing 101
* Perceived Value
* The Goldilocks Method
* Getting Your Pricing Right

Health Coaching Pricing 101

There are a few things to consider when it comes to pricing your health coaching services.

Which market are you targeting?

For any service or product, there are pricing ‘norms’ for different markets. In coaching, we could broadly consider four markets:

  1. Corporate
  2. Private niche clients
  3. Healthcare/Integrative Medicine, and
  4. Medical

I have listed them in this order on purpose – businesses or people with higher disposable income tend to pay more for health coaching services, or buy in bigger volume, or both.

In this list, I’ve put corporate clients at the top of the pricing tree as organisations will likely pay more and/or buy more to keep their employees healthy.

Next are private niche clients – those that are not covered under the corporate banner, they tend to have a specific health problem they want to solve and would rather seek support from an independent specialist rather than go to a doctor. Remember, a niche is defined as a group of people with a big problem they will pay to solve, and they generally pay more per session or package compared to people who have fewer big drivers for change.

Next are healthcare/integrative medicine clients. They typically have a big health problem to solve and are seeing multiple professionals to get support, to get to the bottom of things. They’re motivated to pay for a solution that will help them manage their condition but they might also be spreading their available spend across multiple health practitioners.

Finally, there is coaching in a medical setting. People who go to doctors and are referred are more likely to be lower income earners, possibly less motivated to make lifestyle change, and/or looking to get Medicare or Private Health rebates (not willing to pay as much as other cohorts).

If we take these four broad markets as a starting point, it’s pretty clear that there are different levels of motivation to buy, size of problem, and abilities to pay.

Their Demographic and Personality

As a layer over the target market, there is also the type of person you’re dealing with.

Certain demographics have higher disposable income, and they’re the types of personality who are already spending on other health services like massage, PT, supplements, food delivery services etc. This combination of demographics and personality will more likely spend money on coaching with fewer objections – if they can see the value.

Other people have very little disposable income and may be reluctant or simply unable to pay very much for coaching services. They’d more likely pursue the medical/Medicare route.

And regardless of income, some people are penny pinchers, some people have a victim mentality, and some people value health above all else and will do anything to improve it.

There are a lot of demographic and personality factors that affect someone’s willingness to pay for coaching services, no matter what the price.

Perceived Value and Pricing Psychology

Perceived value is a very important factor in setting pricing for health coaching packages and programs. A potential client’s mindset is that something must be ‘worth the money’ – meaning it must ‘give me the result I want’ and it also ‘must be proven to work’.

People are suspicious of anything that’s too cheap compared to the market rate. Cheap generally means ineffective, inexperienced or unqualified – or that a person doesn’t value or back themselves.

Think about how that affects trust, rapport and relationship!

There’s a saying that goes, ‘nobody wants free kittens’ which is really saying that there must be something wrong with it if it’s free or very low cost.

People are also wary of anything that’s too expensive. Part of this mindset is that the person thinks about what they stand to lose if they don’t succeed! This is a double-edged sword, because while a higher price implies greater skill, knowledge and specialisation, people who buy health coaching services usually lack confidence in themselves because they’ve failed before – and what if this doesn’t work for them?

What does this mean for you?

It means that as a coach, you need to be very clear on your value proposition – who your program or package is for (the niche), what problem it helps them to solve, how much they might save as a result of doing this program, what they will avoid, and what they will gain.

The value proposition outlines why your program or package is worth the money. Your VP includes:

– a list of benefits of what they get (not the features)

– your level of specialisation (niche clarity, lived experience and/or specificity) which conveys “perceived expertise”

– words that your niche clients commonly use, including ‘feeling words’,

– clear explanation of your process or system

– an outline of results (that they want, and including testimonials to back you up)

– a way of making it easier for them (process, money-back guarantee etc).

The Goldilocks Method of Pricing

I have done a whole episode on the Goldilocks method of pricing and I teach this in Passion to Profit.

It’s basically this:

– price too low and you’ll feel resentful and half-hearted about servicing your clients, and they won’t take you seriously

– price too high and you’ll feel scared to ask for the money, and your potential clients might have too many objections

– price just right, and you and your clients will both think your services are great value for money – and you will both ‘buy in’ wholeheartedly.

So, what do you charge for health coaching? Here’s a pricing guide for health coaches.

Getting Your Pricing Right

The common ways that coaches price their services are as follows. These pricing structures are relevant for both 1:1 coaching and group coaching:

– hourly or per session rate (fixed period of time or ongoing)

– price per program (fixed period of time)

– price per package (fixed period of time)

– monthly price with fixed number of sessions (e.g. membership style)

I’ll just distinguish between these options so you know what they are.

Single sessions, charged per session or hour, are typically either for an introductory needs assessment (as a one-off) or as ad-hoc sessions. Ad-hoc sessions can be offered after a program or package has finished, or as an up-sell within a membership.

A program is a set number of consecutive sessions, e.g. 8-week program, 12-week program, 6 month program with either weekly, fortnightly or monthly sessions or some combination of these.

A lot of people use the word program and package interchangeably.

I prefer to define a package as a program of some kind for a fixed period, but with other value-adds bundled in, for a higher price. For example, you package up a coaching program with 4 PT session, or a wellbeing journal and water bottle, or some other combination of services, products, ebooks etc. A package might have a more flexible time period within which it can be used.

A monthly membership implies a set monthly fee on an ongoing basis, with a certain number of group coaching sessions, and usually along with some educational or other content housed in an online social media platform, learning platform or shared folder (e.g. Google Drive).

Basically, the more you include, the higher the price.

So, how much does a health coach charge per hour?

A lot of new coaches think about pricing ‘by the hour’ or session, because we get used to the idea of ‘hourly rates’ as employees and customers.

A better way to go is value-based pricing, where you sell several sessions of coaching for one price, not based on hourly rates, but based on the value of the outcome to the client.

These are general guidelines, but you must work out your pricing in terms of:

1. your income goals,

2. how niched or specialised you are,

3. how experienced you are,

4. what you are comfortable to charge, and

5. how much proof of success you have.

After all, people are buying results, and the better coach you are and the more proof you have of success, the more likely people will pay you for your coaching services.

The best question to ask yourself is this – ‘If I were a prospective client coming to my own business, would I pay that amount of money for this program to get those types of results?’

Summary

There’s a lot of factors to consider when working out coaching pricing, and it comes down to a few key areas.

If you want to build a viable business, select a market that will pay enough money for and value the services you want to offer.

Next, decide on what type of service you want to offer.

Finally, make sure you create a compelling value proposition for your services so that both you and your prospective clients feel good about the exchange of value – that is, your services for their money.

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#200 How to Coach Around Nutrition and Eating Habits

This episode is about how to coach around nutrition and eating habits

I was recently asked, ‘how do you coach around nutrition and eating habits without being an expert’? Today I’ll illustrate a few ways to do this with some examples.

When Clients Ask You What They Should Eat

Let’s say a client comes to you and wants to be told what to eat, and whether she should follow a diet plan.

A good starting point is to ask what the client already knows and acknowledge why that matters to them – what is behind this change in eating and how will that impact their life? Their answers may reveal some important values that will help them to create a compelling vision.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* When Clients Ask You What They Should Eat
* How to Discuss Portion Sizes
* Coaching for Weight Loss

Next, you would explore what they know already about healthy eating. Most clients have a reasonable amount of knowledge – just not how to fit it into their busy lives. But if your client doesn’t know much, you might point them to relevant guidelines, or refer them to a professional who is qualified to help.

The most important thing is that you are not here to educate clients or tell them what to do. Instead, your role is to draw out what your client knows and help them make sense of it, identify any knowledge gaps that require referral, and otherwise help them to create safe and effective goals to achieve their vision.

How to Discuss Portion Sizes

Let’s say your client isn’t clear about portion sizes or serving sizes but sees this as an important part of eating well. How do you tackle that?

Firstly, there are published guidelines on these aspects that you can share with a client. The way to introduce them is to ask permission – would you be interested in looking at the guidelines on portion sizes and serving sizes?

In sharing the information, you can ask the client questions that will raise their self awareness. These might include questions like:

How much of this did you already know?

What surprised you?

What have you learned?

How might you use this information?

What would you like to experiment with?

There is much to be learnt about healthy eating and there is also a lot of mis-information out there. Your job is to support your clients as they consider changes they may to make, provide well documented information when required and step in if they are planning to set goals that are unsafe in any way.

Coaching For Weight Loss

People might want to change their eating habits and diets for many reasons including to reduce arthritis or other inflammatory conditions, to lower blood pressure, or address a chronic illness like type 2 diabetes or an autoimmune condition, or to boost their energy.

But a lot of clients who want to change their eating habits are concerned about weight loss, either as a stand-alone concern, or coupled with one of the other aspects.

So how do you have conversations about plateaus, popular diet trends and supplements?

The starting point is always about finding out what the client knows already, and what their perception is about this area.

What do they know about this diet trend or supplement, it’s safety and efficacy?

Or in the case of a plateau, what do they know about energy balance?

What is attractive about the solution they’ve found?

And what’s behind that?

Often clients are drawn toward things that seem to offer a quick solution to their challenges. Unpacking conversations can reveal underlying fears, concerns or motivators, and awareness of these can lead a client to reasonably assess whether their thought processes are helpful.

If there are any remaining concerns or desires to try certain approaches, you can easily refer a client to a doctor or dietician for more specific advice.

But often, you get the chance to turn the conversation back toward the longer term goals, the sustainable habits they are doing, how they feel about the habits, and also, basic principles about mindful eating and tuning into natural hunger and satiety signals.

You may invite a client to watch their thoughts and/or track their responses to food, any ‘rules’ they set around eating, how they feel in social eating settings, what thoughts they are having about other people’s results etc. In doing this self-reflection, the client can learn the valuable skill of critical thinking to help them work out for themselves if they have legitimate concerns or not.

A little information and some self-reflection can be used to help your clients develop the skill of understanding what their bodies are telling them, so that they can self-regulate their behaviour more easily.

Two key drivers of unhealthy eating habits and weight concerns are stress, and faulty thinking patterns that lead to unhelpful feelings and beliefs. In that sense, while the initial work in weight loss

coaching is around more superficial topics like what to eat and how to get organised, the deeper work for lasting change is around the individual’s ability to set boundaries, manage their lives and their emotions.

Summary

Today I shared three examples of how to coach around nutrition. We covered:

1. What to do if a client wants to be told what to eat

2. How to coach around portion sizes, and

3. Coaching for weight loss including popular diets, supplements and other people’s success.

We’ve only just skimmed the surface of weight loss coaching, but these are three common questions that I have been asked by coaches who want to coach clients around nutrition and eating habits.

I hope this episode was useful. Please subscribe to my podcast on iTunes and I’d appreciate your rating and feedback if you are enjoying this!

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#196 Andy Hampson – Launching her Breast Cancer Coaching Business

This episode is about Andy Hampson – launching her breast cancer coaching business

Andy Hampson of the Inspire Network is on a mission to change lives. Andy has just launched her coaching business with a pilot program to bring out the best in breast cancer patients. Andy is leveraging her skills as a Practice Manager and her professional network to help patients she has previously supported, in a different and more inspiring way.

Connect with Andy https://www.linkedin.com/in/andy-hampson-the-inspire-network/ 

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Starting her business and the journey
* Her business traction point
* What her aspirations are

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#195 Danielle Dobson – Breaking the Gender Code

This episode is about Danielle Dobson – breaking the gender code

Danielle Dobson is hot property right now. As Author of the Gender Code, Professional speaker and executive coach, Danielle is making an impact in the corporate and small business worlds by helping women unlock their potential in leadership and life. In this episode, Danielle talks about her own career progression and Gender Code limitations, and how she broke through to create a successful business that is breaking ground and having an impact.

Connect with Danielle

https://www.linkedin.com/in/danielledobsondna/ https://www.codeconversations.com.au/ 

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What she’s doing now in her business
* Starting her business and the journey
* Her business traction point
* Challenges she overcame to succeed

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#194 Kristine Gardner Having an Impact With Metabolic Balance

This episode is about Kristine Gardner having an impact with metabolic balance

Kristine Gardener of Melbourne Wellness Coaching is a wellness coach, naturopath and Metabolic Balance Coach who is running a successful weight loss coaching business. But in the beginning, she wasn’t sure how to get traction and where to start. This interview uncovers her journey to success, and what it took to get there.

Connect with Kristine

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kristine-gardener-consulting-coaching/ https://melbournewellnesscoaching.com.au/

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What she’s doing now in her business
* Starting her business and the journey
* Her business traction point
* Challenges she overcame to succeed

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#193 Ruth Morgan: Creating Healthy Careers

This episode is about Ruth Morgan: creating healthy careers

Ruth Morgan of Creating Healthy Careers shares her insights and lessons in developing as a coach and creating a viable, inspiring business. Ruth is a coach, author and speaker who knows what it takes to create a more meaningful and purposeful career – and how to remove the blocks that get in the way.

In this interview, Ruth tells the story of how her business came to be, and how her own journey inspired her business.

Connect with Ruth https://www.linkedin.com/in/ruth-morgan-creatinghealthycareers/ https://creatinghealthycareers.com/

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What she’s doing now in her business
* Starting her business and the journey
* Her business traction point
* Challenges she overcame to succeed

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#190 Fear Vs Faith-Based Business

This episode is about fear vs faith-based business

Today I want to talk to you about running your business from a position of fear versus a position of faith. This is such an important conversation to have. If you’re operating from a place of fear, it can really hurt your business. But if you can switch that and operate from a position of faith that you’ll succeed, of optimism, and hope, then it’s a totally different ball game.

If you’re a new coach, if you have just graduated with your qualification, and you are getting ready to start your coaching business or practice, it’s a really exciting time. You have so much opportunity ahead of you!

You have so much enthusiasm about making a difference in the world!

But for a lot people starting out as a coach in business, there is this challenge around self-confidence self-worth and self-value.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What a fear-based business looks like
* HFlipping the Switch
* What a faith-based business looks like

Impostor syndrome is incredibly common.

And that’s why today I want to talk about the impact of starting your coaching business from a position of fear, verses starting your coaching business from a position of faith.

I want to give you some practical tips and tools to help you come from a better place, so that you can build your coaching business easily more quickly and to be more successful.

What a Fear-Based Business Looks Like

I want to start here so that you can see the impact of having this fear-based mindset on both your ability as a coach, and on your business.

From a business perspective, a fear-based approach reduces your ability to make money, attract clients, and get ahead.

A fear-based mentality is a little bit like a circular reference. It might start with impostor syndrome – who am I to coach? I’ve never run a business before – how will I ever succeed?

You might be comparing yourself to others who have spent 10 years of blood, sweat and tears to build their business.

And as a result, you feel like you won’t get things right, or you’ll fail or you won’t be able to find enough clients, or you won’t be good enough.

That puts you into this repeating cycle of not taking action and worrying about the action that you do take – giving your brain the proof it needs that you’re not good enough.

There is a confounding factor in this cycle that I want to alert you to.

Here is a pro tip – If you start working with practice or paid clients who are ready, willing and able to change – even desperate to change – chances are they will love coaching with you and get great results.

A lot of coaches starting out with this fear-based mentality want to find anyone with a pulse!!

But, if the client is not ready, willing and able, they’ll probably be resistant, disinterested, unfocused and uncommitted.

The kicker is that YOU will feel like the failure, but it’s actually probably not you!

See how this fear-based ‘I need any clients I can get!’ mentality is hurting your self-value and self-efficacy – and your business?

The fear-based approach sets you up to start looking for – and finding – evidence of failure. In other words, if focus on your fear of failing, then all you will see is the evidence that this is true.

How does this kind of mindset affect your ability to start marketing your business?

What happens to your ability to proactively go out to meet new people, talk about what you do with confidence, or become a specialist in a particular niche area if your head is full of this negative stuff?

I know that when I started my own coaching business, even though I had been incredibly successful in other businesses, I had that same mindset.

I kept asking myself questions like, where will I find clients, and what if they don’t get very good results, and what if I can’t make a living out of this, and what if I’m no good at this, how would I ever know?

What happened is that I started to get more and more agitated and wound up about not succeeding, and I started to doubt myself, and feel threatened and judged by everybody around me who knew what I was trying to do.

I felt disheartened. For the most part what was going on for me was that I didn’t have a specific enough niche, so people didn’t understand my messaging, and I wasn’t going to the right places therefore to find the people who I wanted to work with.

If this sounds like you, then stick with me because now I’m going to talk about flipping the switch and having a more faith in yourself, and having a more positive attitude to your business so that you can start attracting clients more easily and becoming a better coach more quickly, and make more money.

Flipping the Switch

A turning point for me was doing some research to find out that there was a need and I want in my community. Identifying a need isn’t enough. After all, lots of people need help, but not many are

ready, willing, and able to seek and pay for help. So I had to find those people who were motivated to change and were willing to pay to get my help.

As soon as I did this, everything changed. And it’s a story I have seen time and time again with other coaches who have been successful.

As soon as they committed to one thing that they knew people were willing to pay for, everything changed.

If you do that, you create an upward spiral of thinking and acting positively – and this is how that can play out for you.

My second pro-tip for this episode is to create a little roadmap of how to beat the imposter and get started. Here’s how.

First of all, find some practice clients to work with who REALLY want to change and are ready to do so.

Then, invite interest to be part of a pilot program, which is a safe, confidential environment for you to be imperfect, for them not to expect the world, and to get their honest feedback without too many expectations upfront.

Be vulnerable and let them know it is a test for both of you, and that their opinion and feedback will really help you to help others in exactly the right way.

If you get that combination right – the right people and a test environment – then invariably those first pilot clients will stick with your program and finish it, and then, they will more likely to succeed.

And THEN, they will refer others to you!

Imagine how you would feel having coached a handful of people who really wanted to change, and then were able to succeed and feel and look amazing?

What would your mind be telling you in that situation?

Would it be telling you that you were a failure or that you weren’t any good or that your results weren’t worth the money or anything like that?

Of course not. And that’s the whole point.

Once you start working with the right people and getting some initial results and focusing on them rather than your fears and inadequacies – a totally different region of your brain lights up.

It’s the region associated with positive emotions, optimism, and hope.

What a Faith-based Business Looks Like

For me when I started my coaching business, as soon as I got those clients that were successful initially, I started wondering where can I find more of those people, and how can I share those wonderful results, and how can I help those people to continue to succeed?

The initial results that my first successful clients got totally shifted the language in my head. And instead of focusing on me and my supposed shortcomings, I started to focus on the possibilities of change in my business.

And pretty soon, most of my language was very different.

Instead of asking why can’t I? I started asking how can I?

I had the confidence that what I was doing was working. And I started to look for more opportunities. Everything just unfolded as it was meant to because I was moving forward in my mind.

I was believing in what was possible based on some initial results. And I was totally focused on pursuing opportunities knowing that I had something of value to offer, rather than being frightened of speaking to anybody in case I couldn’t figure out the words to describe what I was doing or in case I couldn’t prove my results.

This is such an important episode. It takes courage and a bit of confidence to take those first steps into your profession, once you get those couple of important wins on the board it gives you the confidence to gain momentum to keep going and getting traction and continue taking action in the right direction.

Your brain will switch from how will I ever do it, into where do I go next?

Of course you will probably need support to face and work on your fears, and probably your own personal and/or business coach.

But please know this – as Henry Ford said – If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.

Summary

Today I covered the difference between a fear-based versus a faith-based coaching business.

One involves getting bogged down in everything you can’t possibly do or succeed in, and keeps you stuck there. And unless things change, you’ll probably fail in your business and as a coach.

But, if you commit to a more faith-based approach, where you develop faith in your method and in your ability to succeed, and you put your clients first and find the right people, it will flick the switch in your brain and reveal a positive path of traction, momentum and success.

Today, I walked you through a simple plan to develop a faith-based coaching business.

What are you waiting for? Go out and get started.

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#189 How to boost your professional credibility

This episode is about how to boost your professional credibility

When you start a new profession, one of the most important parts of marketing is developing professional credibility and a good reputation. Today I’d like to share a golden opportunity for you as a professional health and wellness coach, to do just that in June 2022.

Starting out in your health and wellness coaching business is exciting and challenging. And initially, you need to put in a lot of work to become seen, known, liked and trusted.

Further to that, you want to be more than just known – you want to be seen as a reputable professional who is properly qualified and who is confident in what they’re doing.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* 7 Reasons Why the Conference is a Must Attend Event
* How This Event Can Rocket Fuel Your Coaching Business
* Why We All Have a Role in Putting Health and Wellness Coaching on the Map

How do you do that?

Well, there are many ways, and I want to talk about one specific golden opportunity for you to boost your professional credibility if you are a health and wellness coach in Australia or New Zealand.

This opportunity is the HCANZA conference, being held on the Gold Coast on 2 – 3 June 2022. The conference is called Health and Wellness Coaching Conference – Breaking Through – Health and Wellness Coaching in a Post-Pandemic World.

Before we unpack this, I’d like to say that any professional conference attendance gives you similar opportunities, but this particular conference gives you a one-time-only opportunity to be seen, heard and recognised as a professional.

7 Reasons Why the HCANZA 2022 Conference is a Must-Attend Event

There are several reasons why this is such an important event and such a significant opportunity for you as an individual health and wellness coach.

Not in the least, is the fact that the world we know, our workforce, what’s important to us, the awareness of health and the willingness to change have been irrevoc

Now more than ever, coaching is a viable career option, and it’s a golden opportunity to put Health and Wellness Coaching on the map as an important part of navigating health and wellbeing into the future.

1. Showcasing Health and Wellness Coaching as a Reputable Industry

This inaugural conference provides the opportunity for our industry association and its members to showcase the skills and the breadth in-depth of knowledge and experience that health and wellness coaches have and share those with the world.

We have global experts Zooming in or attending live to speak at this event. Some of them are founders of the industry and have played a significant role in building our profession from the ground up over the past 20-odd years.

With global key opinion leaders together in the room, it gives a huge weight of credibility and reputation that we can promote and advertise to medical professionals, allied health professionals and the general public to promote ourselves as an evidence-based, high calibre profession.

This alone puts health and wellness coaching squarely on the map.

2. Showing the Value of Health and Wellness Coaching, and Where it Fits

This conference is our chance to explain our scope of practice and highlight how we complement other health professionals so that their clients and patients can achieve better health outcomes more easily and in a shorter time.

We show our value with case studies, storytelling and real-life examples of business and client success.

We’ll share how coaches and coaching organisations have changed lives by working in a complementary way with other health professionals, giving everyone who attends a clear understanding of exactly how and where coaching adds value to existing health professionals and treatment frameworks, and independent businesses.

Remember, this is the first time in Australia and New Zealand that such a conference has been held, and it’s our opportunity to share these facts and success stories for huge media coverage and collective recognition.

3. Clearly Explaining How We Work

Have you ever had trouble describing what you do and how you work?

The stories, case studies and expert presentations at this conference will equip you, the attendee, with clear insights and anecdotes to share with prospective clients, partners and advocates in your own practice when you get home to explain clearly how you work with people and what sorts of results and outcomes are possible.

You will learn how to describe your profession and skill set in a more succinct way.

You will develop a confident spiel about the important conditions for change such as self-awareness as an essential first step, and how health and Wallace coaching empowers self-responsibility, which saves the health system and the individual billions of dollars each year.

4. Improve Networking Skills and Confidence

Another great reason to attend this conference is that it gives you skills, experience and confidence in networking.

Networking with other health professionals pretty much an essential part of fast-tracking your marketing and gaining success in your business.

By attending this conference, you will get to polish up your skills of breaking the ice, having friendly conversations, making your contacts, and starting conversations that lead somewhere, with like-minded people.

How will you feel, having brushed up your networking skills in a safe environment with trusted colleagues?

How much easier will the next conference or networking event be?

What impact will that have on your business or coaching practice?

5. Build Important, Business Building Alliances

I’ve just touched on the skills of networking, but have you considered what they might lead to?

If you think about it, conferences are networking events that offer business-building opportunities.

The #1 challenge coaches tell me they have is running their business in isolation, feeling alone, with nobody to bounce ideas off.

Attending this conference in person gives you a more personal connection with other coaches that you’ve only ever met online. That live meeting will cement your relationships and help them grow.

Through those conversations, you might even find some opportunities and leads to help you in your business.

Think of how you’re going to feel after walking out of a conference with a handful of really great contacts that you can stay in touch with and possibly even collaborate with or get help from to grow your practice?

Or finding someone who is doing complementary work and you find an opportunity to help each other?

Or simply being inspired by one of the speakers and discovering strategies that you can apply right away to your own business?

One way or another, you have the chance to learn some important skills and develop some strong support networks and alliances.

6. Increased Confidence, Belief and Action-taking

How are you feeling so far, having thought about all these benefits?

I bet you are feeling pretty pumped up. And that leads me to my next point – this conference is essential to your business development, your confidence, and your personal and professional growth.

You might hear that and think, “well that’s a pretty big claim to make”.

Yes, it is – but it’s 100% true.

Think back to the last time you attended a conference or event – how did you feel?

If you have ever been to any sort of sizeable event, you probably remember the huge buzz, sense of enthusiasm, inspiration, energy, confidence, optimism and hope that you felt.

You probably left that session on a high, with so much belief and a readiness to take action based on what you learned or discovered.

There is a saying that we are the average of the five people closest to us. In a professional context, it’s important that you are rubbing shoulders with people who have more experience, more knowledge, and a greater sense of conviction about what is possible with your modality, so that you can continue to hope, believe, and create success that you wish for in your profession.

Listening to professional coaches speaking gives you the sense of what’s possible for you. It makes your discipline in your profession relatable and within your reach. And it gives you the opportunity for some personal growth and to identify what you need to focus on in order to keep moving forward and growing as a coach and as a person.

Remember that we are in the relationship building industry, and your ability to be self-confident is critical to your success. You can learn how other people have built their own self-confidence and their skill as a coach so that you create a roadmap to get there yourself.

That leads me to my last point on why attending this conference is so important.

7. The Ripple Effect

The final benefit of this conference that I want to talk about is the ripple effect.

For this inaugural conference to really help to put our profession on the map, we need to sell all the tickets and speak to everyone we know about it.

If it’s down to the HCANZA board and few members to do this, we’re not going to get very much media coverage or excitement or visibility.

But if the conference is a sell out and we’re all sharing the word and the success stories, it is a totally different ball game.

It shows that there is a strong collective of coaches who are qualified and who uphold a standard of practice, and who stand together as a united voice to speak about the benefits and opportunities that health and wellness coaching provides.

And at a larger scale, the success of our industry depends on the commitment of every person who is certified and working in the capacity of a health and wellness coach, to find their voice and speak up about the profession, this event, and every one that follows.

It’s not something that a few people can do on their own. For this to work we need to have everybody putting their hand up turning up and being part of something that is bigger than the individual, and which has the potential to create a significant impact on our health systems, longevity and quality of life.

Yes, the number of people attending the conference and telling everyone about it, is important for our profession.

But it’s also important at the other end of the conference long after it’s finished. Because you’re going to walk away feeling inspired and enthusiastic and excited, and you’re going to have a head full of new knowledge, ideas and cutting edge information.

And what’s going to happen to that information?

You’re going to be excited to share it with everybody you know.

You’re going to be equipped with information and words that will help you to network with other health professionals, reach potential clients, find collaborative partners, and find cross referral opportunities.

The more people that attend and promote this conference at the same time, the bigger the visibility and impact we can have.

This really is a critical time and event in the development of our industry.

Summary

Today, I got pretty ranty about boosting your professional credibility, and more specifically, using the inaugural Health and Wellness Coaching Conference – Breaking Through – Health and Wellness Coaching in a Post-Pandemic World – as a vehicle to really showcase our profession.

I outlined just seven of the many benefits of attending.

In summary there are so many opportunities for personal and professional growth at this conference. So much rich content, information and relationships to be found in this conference. All you need to do is attend. https://www.conference.hcanza.org/?_ga=2.5600117.73171265.1650423249-552347760.1650423249

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

Posted on

E#186 Three Proven Marketing Roadmaps for Coaches

This episode is about three proven marketing roadmaps for coaches

If you’ve finished your coaching qualification and are ready to launch a business, it can be daunting to realize that you have no idea of how or where to find clients and to create a consistent income. On top of that, the word marketing might conjure up a sense of dread and that you need to do all these things that the experts say you should do.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Forget the Facebook ads or webinar skills training courses – in this episode, I’ll discuss three marketing roadmaps for coaches that play to your natural communication strengths and help you start promoting with authenticity, integrity and confidence.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Playing to your communication strengths
* The Writing Roadmap
* The Speaking Roadmap
* The Networking Roadmap

Playing to your communication strengths

When I started my coaching business, I was convinced I needed a Facebook page and Facebook group. All the gurus told me it was the only way to ‘get clients’ – and to set up some ads.

The trouble is, I feel incredible anxiety when I go onto Facebook. But I persisted as I thought I had to be on that platform and that it was the only way to succeed.

So, what happened?

I felt anxious every day. I had to force myself to open the app and create posts.

I spent hours debating over the words, trying to get them right, and picking images. I cringed at the lack of engagement, and I stressed over the future of my business.

For a good six months, I did Facebook training courses, paid for mentoring and joined support groups. I felt miserable and hopeless.

Then I reflected on my communication skills and strengths and worked out that this was not how I should be doing marketing. I needed to do it MY way, so that I could feel energized, motivated and excited about connecting with my audience.

From there, I went on a journey to explore how best to market my business.

I realised that I feel most comfortable and authentic when I’m talking to people, networking and to a lesser degree, writing. My main skills are active listening and relationship building, so these options make sense to me. I get to express my opinions, listen and reflect, and draw on my extensive technical writing skills and experience.

Fast forward to today, and these are the ways I do my marketing.

As part of my ‘visibility’ marketing, I write an article each week and turn it into a podcast, where I speak about things that my audience wants to know about. These build trust and relationship.

I’m pretty busy with contract work and as a board member of HCANZA, our industry association to do much more than this. But If I wanted to go really big online, I’d be looking to be a guest blogger on a nationally-recognised online magazine, or guest on a podcast that is nationally-recognised, or on the radio.

As it is, I share links to articles and podcasts on LinkedIn and Instagram. These are my best promotional platforms because I feel comfortable and more connected with my audience – it’s where ‘my people’ are.

But actually, my preferred way of marketing is networking, so I do a lot of connections with others so I can meet and learn more about what people do, where there are synergies, and work collaboratively via cross-referral and cross-promotion.

As you can see, I have a mix of marketing channels that leverage my communication skills and help me build visibility, and the ability to scale if and as needed.

It’s taken me a while to get to this point, but when you’re starting out, it’s better to start more simply. Let’s talk about three rough marketing roadmaps for coaches that leverage your communication skills and can help you get visibility, new clients and traction more easily.

Please note that it’s highly likely that your ideal clients within your niche have the same communication strengths and skills as you. By playing to your strengths, you’ll more likely attract your people.

Here are three roadmaps that I think are the most effective for building coaching businesses. There are other marketing strategies out there, but these three are more effective because you get the chance to connect more personally and emotively with potential clients or referrers.

As per my previous episodes – it’s the emotional connection between you and your clients that builds the trust and rapport that clients need before they commit to buying from you.

Now, let’s explore the three roadmaps!

The Writing Roadmap

If you’re a great writer and you love writing, chances are your audience is the same.

You’re probably someone who:

  • journals a lot
  • likes writing lengthy passages/stories
  • is creative with the written language
  • writes emotively and descriptively
  • If this is you, then it’s entirely possible for you to engage your audience in this way.

As a skilled writer, it’s relatively easy to gain visibility by guest blogging on highly visible online publications like MammaMia, Forbes, Thrive Global or other platforms.

You could also write case studies, stories and articles for your own blog and build a following, or longform posts on social media platforms where your audience hangs out. Mine is on LinkedIn, yours might be elsewhere.

You can write for your local industry association and/or industry publications to gain visibility.

Of course, any writing you do needs to be publicised via sharing through emails (to your network), and on social media and your client email list.

If most of your audience are readers, then your website can offer a well-written lead magnet (e.g. a how-to guide) that they can download, and join your list.

As you become more comfortable with writing and build a presence, you can start to offer live webinars or 1:1 calls to connect with you.

Writing as a stand-alone marketing tool can take more time than speaking or networking, so if you are starting here, you would aim to build in another marketing strategy later such as networking or speaking, events or PR, to speed up the process of becoming known, liked and trusted.

The Speaking Roadmap

If you’re a great speaker and you love talking, chances are your audience is the same.

You’re probably someone who:

  • enjoys socialising and in-depth conversation
  • likes speaking at length, teaching and/or telling stories
  • has a good vocabulary
  • speaks confidently and articulately and likes public speaking.

If this is you, then it’s entirely possible for you to engage your audience in this way.

As a skilled speaker, it’s relatively easy to gain visibility by being a guest on a highly visible podcast or getting interviewed on the radio or scoring a regular community radio spot.

You could also develop your own podcast or YouTube channel, where you build a following by posting audio files or video files and inviting comments.

You can deliver a signature talk to local groups, allied health professionals or clients. You could engage your local public library to help you promote and deliver a workshop and present your signature talk (promotional) in their space.

You can present at conferences, expos or other events.

Of course, any speaking you do needs to be publicised via sharing through emails (to your network), on social media and your client email list, or the list of the event organiser.

If most of your audience is speakers and listeners, then your website can offer a well-scripted video or audio that they can watch that invites them to join your email list or meetup group.

As you become more comfortable with public speaking you can offer live webinars or workshops that promote your service offering.

Speaking is a fabulous marketing tool that requires confidence and practice. It’s easiest to start small and with people, you know, and build up to larger audiences and/or more complicated means of delivery (e.g. in-person vs online).

One thing is for sure – public speaking is one of the fastest ways to become known, liked and trusted because there is an authentic connection in real-time, and you can build trust and authority easily if you know your subject matter.

The Networking Roadmap

If you love interacting and meeting people to share ideas, chances are your audience is the same.

You’re probably someone who:

  • likes meeting people, breaking the ice and having in-depth conversations
  • likes speaking but is also curious about other points of view
  • enjoys collaborating and brainstorming to build on ideas
  • is comfortable with sharing opinions and exploring differences.
  • If this is you, then it’s entirely possible for you to engage your audience in this way.

As a skilled networker, it’s relatively easy to gain visibility by attending events that are hosted by business, social or online groups, or joining networking groups or social media groups.

You could also develop your own group (e.g. a Facebook group), WhatsApp messenger chat, or live MeetUp group if you don’t like social media that much (MeetUp is a platform to facilitate groups that meet.

You can offer interactive workshops, breakout rooms or discussion/opinion topics with allied health professionals, complementary businesses or potential clients. You can co-host workshops with other professionals to share knowledge and gain insights.

You could also host events like movie nights, book clubs, meditation sessions or other such events that bring people together to meet, connect and share insights and ideas.

This is a lot like the ‘speaking’ roadmap, with a key difference being that you are more interactive and collaborative, with the focus on sharing ideas and listening more.

Of course, any networking you do needs to be publicised via sharing through emails (to your network), on social media and your client email list, or via the event platform.

If most of your audience is interactive too, then your website can offer a live session with you (could be virtual) as a 1:1 on a meeting platform, VR, or to attend an introductory group event.

If you are attending networking events hosted by other people, it’s important to define a goal for the event and complete that goal so it advances your marketing effort. For example, I make a point of finding one or two people at each event that I like connecting with, and to email them afterwards and set up a coffee date. This could be a potential client or a potential referrer.

As you become more comfortable with networking, you can start your own group or simply schedule connections with like-minded people that you’ve built connections with. An allied health professional near me does this well – he emails me every quarter to set up a coffee date.

Networking is a fabulous marketing tool that requires confidence and organisational skills. It’s easiest to start with small local groups and build up to attending larger groups or even creating your own group (which requires learning a bit of tech in some cases).

Networking is one of the fastest ways to become known, liked and trusted because there is an authentic connection in real-time, using both auditory and visual cues to gauge and develop rapport.

My opinion is that while speaking can build a sense of authority, networking can build connection and engagement.

Summary

Today we talked about three marketing roadmaps for coaches.

To create your roadmap, it helps to play to your communication strengths and style to build confidence and to be truly authentic.

Depending on your personal skills and strengths, I outlined three roadmaps:

  1. The writing roadmap
  2. The speaking roadmap
  3. The networking roadmap

There are other marketing strategies, but these are known to be more effective because you get the chance to connect more personally and emotively with potential clients or referrers. If you need help to develop your proven marketing roadmap, book a good fit call to see if I can help you. My books are closed to personal clients until July 2022, but I have space in my June Passion to Profit program if you need help to build the foundations of your business. Click the link to learn more about the program.

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

Understanding who you are and what you need will allow your business to thrive! If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here: