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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

Posted on

E#185 How to Write a Magnetic ‘About Me’ Story

This episode is about how to write a magnetic ‘About Me’ story

Do you want to attract more clients to your business – and the RIGHT kind of clients?

As part of my Passion to Profit course, I ask my students to write an About Me story as a critical part of their marketing. In this episode, I’ll explain how to write it in a way that attracts the right kinds of clients more easily, and with fewer objections.

What An About Me Story Is – and Why It Matters

Statistics show that your About Me story is one of the most-read pieces of content on your website.

So, what is an about me story?

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What an About Me Story Is – and Why it Matters
* Four Things Your About Me Story Must Cover
* How Your About Me Story Attracts the Right Clients
* Four Steps to a Magnetic About Me Story

It’s the story that describes your journey from tragedy to triumph, to arrive at where you are today.

It is an emotive story that captures four important things:

  1. Who you are as a person (your personality)
  2. How do you relate to your niche (your story)
  3. Your values
  4. The position and value of your business

In his 2015 book called Dotcom Secrets, founder of Clickfunnels Russell Brunson describes this as an Attractive Character Avatar – a public persona that people immediately relate to and connect with.

Why does the about me story matter?

Well, because first impressions count, and your About Me page is often the first thing people look for on your website. A well-written story builds connection, rapport and trust with the reader.

Four Things Your About Me Story Must Cover

Remember that people buy you, not your service. There are four things that your About Me story must cover in order to build trust and rapport in the reader. It must show the reader:

1. What they have in common with you – in terms of age, stage of life, problem, values, journey and personality

2. How deeply you understand their day-to-day struggles with the problem

3. That you are a role model for success, giving them hope and a sense of what is possible and achievable for them

4. That you have more than just professional expertise, but personal lived experience with an issue – and how best to overcome it.

Think about how much trust that generates!

How Your About Me Story Attracts the Right Clients

Think about any more generic About Me story that you’ve read on a website or one that is full of qualifications.

How did you feel when you read it?

A dry, boring, linear account of your academic history can cause readers to skim at best, and switch off at worst.

Yes, qualifications matter, but it’s personal engagement that actually sells.

By telling a heartfelt, emotive story of tragedy to triumph, the reader will see themselves in your words.

They’ll know that you ‘get’ how they are feeling.

They’ll get to know you a bit more personally, and to understand your personality, values and approach.

By the end of your relatable story, the reader should be clear about how aligned they are with you, and whether you are the right person to help them or not.

In other words, a well-written story can either attract or repel the reader – so you end up with enquiries from people who are pre-sold that you might be a good personality fit for them – and very few mismatches or tyre kickers!

How To Write a Magnetic About Me Story

Start by doing some exercises to prepare to write your story.

If you haven’t had a journey yourself, you might have had experience with many clients in a niche, or friends and family around you with a certain problem.

Your About Me story can convey your story OR your experience with others.

You might like to think about and write some notes about:

  1. Your best and most likeable personal traits
  2. A clear journey that matches the niche you work with (your story, or someone else’s)
  3. Your strengths and values
  4. What matters to you most or your vision
  5. Your struggles (or your client/friend’s struggle) to get there
  6. What the turning point was (for you or your client/friend)
  7. How it felt to make the decision, and what the decision was
  8. The success and how it felt

Once you have done this, you probably have all the elements to write a great story about a journey that you or others have had.

It needs to be real, emotive and compelling.

Here are some tips for getting it right.

1. Start with a defining event

You can draw the reader in with a specific event that triggered a chain reaction.

For example:

“The year I turned 35, I was living my best life. I was travelling extensively for work, partying hard, and playing golf and tennis. Then I married my best friend and we knew we wanted to have kids right away. It would be the icing on the cake of a perfect life.

But after 6 months of trying, we were unable to get pregnant, and it was then that I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Suddenly my world collapsed, and we were faced with some hard decisions about what to do. We were facing expensive treatment, a hormonal rollercoaster, and no guarantee of success.”

Notice in that example, I outlined how good life was, and how this one specific event was so big that it stopped the person in their tracks.

It covered specific events in a timeline and described all the emotions that were felt along the way. Remember, this could be your story or the story of a client that came to you for help and succeeded (written in the third person).

This part helps the reader connect with you as a person on a similar journey, or who has helped people like them. It is where resonance and trust start.

Are you someone that they could relate to and work with?

2. Define the emotional turmoil

Next, you want to talk about the pain of this – the cost of the struggle. This highlights the personal reasons why getting help and seeking a solution are so important. In doing this, you get to share your values and motivators, which might be the same as your client.

For example:

“We were told by the specialist that if I went ahead with treatment, life would change dramatically. I would need time off work and our income would drop.

I would have to deal with uncomfortable side effects of the treatment. It would make me more emotional, and it would change my body.

My husband and I talked about the consequences. He would have to be the main income earner, and on top of that I would be relying on him for more emotional support.

We would have to decide whether we really wanted kids badly enough to go through with these massive changes and this uncertainty.”

Notice in this example, I am talking about that initial stage of diagnosis and talking about things that the reader with this problem might be going through. The reader who relates to this would be thinking – YES – this person gets it!

This part helps the reader connect with their version of the problem, and to weigh up how big of a problem something is for them right now.

Is the reader going through this too, and are they ready to make a decision?

3. Describing the turning point

Whenever there is a problem that someone is facing, they weigh up the pros and cons of change before deciding what to do, as we heard in that last point.

Humans are driven to avoid pain, so when there are more benefits to change than not, it creates the motivation to act and seek help.

Describing the decision-making and action in detail – what you realised, what was decided, how it felt and what the next steps were – helps your reader to make their own decision, and get some ideas on what getting started might look like.

It also gives them ‘permission’ to ask for help. After all, if a competent role model like you sought help – then the reader might be able to do it too!

On the other hand, what happens if you were to write about how you did it all yourself? It might be off-putting for the reader. They might feel that it’s too hard, or they’re not good enough to do it themselves!

If you manage to weave in the importance and value of getting support, it could help the reader to find the courage to reach out to you. This is important from a marketing perspective (not so much the resonance of the story itself).

For example:

“Being undecided was an excruciating place to be. We needed to make a decision one way or the other, and we both felt so much pressure to choose the right option – but we had no idea what it was! We had so many unanswered questions.

How would we pay for the expensive treatment?

Were we up for this, financially and emotionally?

Could our marriage handle it?

Or could we face a life without kids?

What would that look like?

As our next specialist appointment drew nearer, we decided to go for it. But it would be hard on our own, and between specialist visits. I would need to make sure I was doing everything possible to make my body healthy and better equipped to handle potential pregnancy.

My specialist recommended a health coach who specialised in optimising health for women trying to fall pregnant.

She was amazing – not just in helping me be consistent with positive habits like eating well and exercising safely, but also with the emotional support I needed. She helped me to set boundaries at work so I could finish earlier, get more rest, and also accept that I needed to slow down!

I have achieved so much in so many areas of my life, but without the support of my coach and the community she offered, I would have truly struggled with so many things.

Notice in this example, I am talking about the fear and questions, the process for getting support, and how the support benefitted the person.

This part helps the reader to understand that help is available, and how it helps them get through this situation. It helps to generate hope and optimism, relief and other positive emotions.

4. Amplifying the outcome

Change is hard, and it is often a struggle. It requires focus, dedication and persistence, and to set time aside.

A person will only go through that if there is a reward at the end – and if it’s the reward they want.

Your ability to articulate that clearly, at the end of your About Me story, is essential for helping someone feel ready, willing and able to change – and that you are the right person to help them.

If your reasons and benefits are the same as theirs, they will likely reach out to you for help.

For example:

“Fast forward two years, and we have an amazing little girl who is healthy and happy. We managed to fall pregnant on the second round of treatment, and my coach was invaluable for helping me keep my physical and mental health in check.

 

I went on to study Health and Wellness Coaching, because I wanted to help women like me who were taking that leap of faith, to do so with their best foot forward.

And even though I’m a qualified coach now with a Professional Certificate of Health and Wellness Coaching, I still check in with my coach every 2 – 3 months. I am healthier than I’ve ever been, thanks to her ongoing support.

Right now, she is that objective, non-judgemental person who helps me to navigate the challenges and the joys of raising a baby while running my business. She helps me make better decisions and to be consistent with the habits that keep me healthy and happy.

I have been working with my own clients for 12 months now and am so excited to be doing this important work.

I am so excited and relieved that things worked out. Finally, we get the family we wanted, and we are even talking about baby number 2! For us, making this decision was the best thing we’ve ever done.

If you are reading this story and going through this right now – please take your time to think about all the angles of your decision.

And if you have taken that deep breath and decided to go for it – please know that there are people who can support you and help you through it, regardless of the outcome.”

This part fast forwards to the joy and reinforces the benefits and importance of getting help. It speaks to what’s possible, helps them to connect with the desired outcome, whether you are the right person, and once again, to work out if they are ready, willing and able to do the work.

Summary

Today we discussed what an About Me story is, why it matters, and four things it must cover.

If you get it right, you will build trust and attract the right clients to your business, and they will be ‘pre-sold’ that you are the right person to help them.

There are four parts of a magnetic About Me story:

1. A defining event

2. Defining the emotional turmoil

3. Describing the turning point

4. Amplifying the outcome If you need help to write an About Me story, 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:

Posted on

E#184 How to Beat Overwhelm and Achieve Simplicity in Business

This episode is about how to beat overwhelm and achieve simplicity in business

Are you a coach who is setting themselves up for your first clients and feeling overwhelmed about all the things you have to do, manage and create? Let’s take a step back and slow down and get clear on some simple things you can do to start meeting and creating more clients.

Why Simplicity?

In our fast-paced, always-on world we have so much stuff and so many things going on in our minds and lives.

Did you know that at any one time, your brain contains around 60,000 thoughts?

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Why Simplicity Matters
* How to Do Business Simply
* Five Simple Things For A Successful Business

When we are always on, going fast and being ‘busy’, we tend to act without thinking, accumulate things that we don’t really need, and get talked into things that we don’t really want.

We can become overworked and reactive, and then we lie awake at night with our huge to-do lists.

The unwanted emotions kick in at 3 o’clock in the morning and we create mountains out of molehills.

It’s hard to run a business effectively if you are caught up in the drama of all the things.

The principle of simplicity can help you stay afloat and to thrive.

Here’s how to achieve simplicity in business so that you can be freed up to build relationships – which is really the heart of what you’re doing.

How to do Business Simply

One of the easiest ways to be simple is to define what you need RIGHT NOW and the easiest way to meet those needs.

In life, your needs include basics like water, exercise, good food, rest and time to reflect.

If you think about your business in the same way, it boils down to five simple things:

– maintaining relationships,

– scheduling,

– delivering services,

– storing information, and

– invoicing.

As a coach, you know all about that first list of things. Now let’s talk about the second list – those five simple points – that can help you run a business with simplicity.

Maintaining Relationships

What does maintaining relationships involve?

This is the essence of marketing. I think it’s about deciding who you will meet, and how often you need to meet them.

For example, maintaining relationships could be as simple as meeting 5 people in your network each week, or showing up to a Facebook group you run each day, or making 5 phone calls per week.

That’s it.

SIMPLE!

That’s all it takes to introduce yourself, build relationships and keep them warm. And when the time is right, these are the people that might buy from you or help you spread the word.

Scheduling

What does scheduling involve?

There are two parts to this. Firstly, there is how you organise your time.

You already know that you need to maintain relationships, so that would go into your schedule each week as a regular, set activity.

You also need a way for clients to schedule enquiries or coaching sessions with you.

How do you do that?

Well, at a basic level they can phone or email you.

At a more sophisticated and automated level, they can access you via an online booking platform like AcuityScheduling or Calendly.

The beauty of these platforms is that they include reminders and even payment gateways so it’s easy to do two or three things at once.

Delivering Services

What does delivering services involve?

As a coach, you either need a room, a phone or an online meeting service.

Simple!

A room could be a by-the-hour hired space in your local area, for example, a room you hire ad-hoc in a wellbeing clinic.

The phone is easy – you can definitely coach by phone if you want to.

Alternatively, you can use an online system like Google Meet (free), Zoom (low cost and better quality) or Microsoft Teams (higher end). These are all simple and easy to set up.

Storing Information

What does storing information involve?

Well, you have client notes, procedures, policies, tools and resources that you might want to store.

The old-fashioned way is a filing cabinet with printed documents. This is totally fine!

Otherwise, you might want to have a folder structure set up on your computer where you store different types of documents.

For example, you have one folder for client files (one folder within that for each client).

You might have one folder for policies and procedures.

You might have one folder with resources in it – a vault of information – that you can share with clients, via a link.

That’s it. Simple.

Invoicing

What does invoicing involve?

The in-person way involves a Word document template and a receipt book.

If you want to get a bit fancier, Wave App is a free software that gives you basic invoicing functionality.

Fancier than that is Xero or Quickbooks on a monthly subscription, with more bookkeeping features.

Simple. You really don’t need much more than that.

What about an online presence?

I know, I know, you are thinking now – don’t I need a website or a Facebook page?

NOPE.

For free, you can set up a LinkedIn profile (professional) and you can also set up Google My Business for free.

Both of these are great ways to build an online presence and get testimonials. Why get a website when you can do this?

It’s the reviews that really count in the beginning.

Summary

Today, I discussed the concept of simplicity and how it can help you run a business free of overwhelm, and full of time, calmness and clarity on what you are doing each day.

Your business is all about relationships, and the key things you need to focus on are

– how many people you speak to each week,

– scheduling your time and booking in clients,

– a method for delivering your services,

– a simple way to store information, and

– a way to invoice and track payments.

People are going to tell you that you need fancy systems and software. I’m here to say, No You Don’t.

Keep your business simple and it will be WAY more enjoyable. If you need help to prepare for market research interviews and analyse your results, book a good fit call to see if I can help you. My books are closed to personal clients until July, but I have space in my June Passion to Profit program if you need help to build the foundations of your business.

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:

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E#183 How to Invite People to Market Research Interviews

This episode is about how to invite people to market research interviews

Are you struggling to work out what your niche is, refine your messaging or get clarity on your offer? Market research interviews with your niche are the key to getting these things right. But it can be tricky to find people who are willing to talk to you, and you may feel uncomfortable about asking.

Let’s talk about some easy, non-threatening ways to ask people to do market research interviews with you, that they find hard to resist!

Market research is a critical part of creating a client-centric business. It is a process that allows you to understand your client and their specific problem in great depth.

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Why Market Research Matters
* A Simple Written Formula
* Two Other Methods That Work

You will get a sense of what they want and need, why that matters, their triggers for seeking help, the results they want, what they’ve tried before, and what stands in their way.

When you know these things, you will be able to build a business that people love, where they felt heard and understood, and that truly serves them.

As you can see, finding out what people want, why and how, is an absolutely essential part of your success.

Market research can involve searching online to understand buying habits and main trends but speaking to people in person gives you much more information.

You get to hear the emotion in their voice, see it in their body language, and truly understand what matters to them. Plus, you build rapport and trust in live interviews that might be lacking in a written message or survey.

Once you have done those interviews, you can look for common trends, common words used, and which parts of the conversation created heightened emotion or a more in depth response from the client. These are the more important parts that matter to the interviewee. They give you clues as to where to focus your programs, marketing content and support.

This episode came about because a student in my current Passion to Profit course asked how to approach people to take part in market research interviews, and it was such a great question I decided to podcast on it.

A Simple Written Formula

In response to that student, I created a ‘template’ – a simple written formula that could be used in an email, private message or post to invite people to do market research.

You can adapt this to suit your niche and needs. Here it goes.

Do you want to (stop/start doing something/solve problem), but aren’t sure where to start or are finding it hard to stick to?

I would love to have your help. I am a student Health and Wellness Coach with a passion for YOUR PASSION (which relates to the problem).

As part of the course, I have an assignment to speak with 5 people about their opinions, needs and challenges in these areas so I can more easily help people with these struggles to achieve (result).

If you are available for a private 20-minute phone conversation with me (no strings attached), please contact me before (date).

This is really short and sweet, and it contains elements that get people interested in helping you.

These elements are:

1. Starting with a question engages interest.

This question qualifies the person who is not just struggling but is ALSO ready, willing and able to get help. This screens out tyre kickers and time wasters, or people who are ambivalent. You want people in the preparation stage of change, so your question should speak to them specifically.

2. People love helping and giving opinions. This is a key hook in this formula.

3. Mentioning the results that they want gets them more interested.

4. If it’s a short, private conversation, they might be more willing.

5. Be clear that there are no strings attached and no pressure to buy anything. It’s just an assignment.

6. The due date compels them to take action.

When you get this right, you get people engaged and ready, willing and able to help.

Two other methods that work

Beyond sending out an email, message or broadcast, there are other methods you can use to engage people in market research interviews.

1. Make it a competition, with a prize

People love competitions, so if you offer a $20 gift voucher or similar, it might appeal to the right person.

To make sure they’re not just in it for the prize, you might want to be more specific about who the offer is targeting, and who it’s not for. In this case, it’s totally ok to list a few more criteria about the person you want to interview.

2. Offer a freebie in exchange for their time

Some people might be attracted by a free coaching session or a tool or resource that will help them with the specific problem you are interviewing about.

Summary

Today we talked about how market research interviews give you so much valuable information and can help you to clarify, understand and market to your niche more effectively.

But it can be hard to engage people to help.

There are a few things that motivate people to do interviews like these – the idea that they are helping you, getting the chance to be heard by giving an opinion, or that they receive something of value in exchange for their time and insights.

I covered these things in a simple written formula that you can use to invite people to speak with you on various forums.

We also covered two other methods that involve an exchange of value:

1. Creating a competition, and

2. Offering something of value in exchange for the session.

In any case, your success in securing interviewees depends on you going out and speaking to people to proactively invite them to do you a favour.

Some people will say no, but some will say yes. Ultimately it is a numbers game.

Rather than focusing on the potential rejection, I encourage you to focus on the number of invitations you make, knowing that is actually your secret to success. If you need help to prepare for market research interviews and analyse your results, book a good fit call to see if I can help you. My books are closed to personal clients until July, but I have space in my June Passion to Profit program if you need help to build the foundations of your business.

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:

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E#182 Three Ways to Find New Customers Even If You’re Just Starting Out

This episode is about three ways to find new customers even if you’re just starting out

Have you been watching other coaches online and wondering how they’re attracting all these clients, while you’ve just got crickets?

Today, I’d like to share three super easy ways to find new customers even if you’re just starting out in business. Your core coaching skills are a key ingredient!

When you’re starting out in business, it feels like you have all these things to do and yet you don’t have any clients. It’s a strange kind of limbo. You’re probably posting all sorts of things in an effort to stand out, yet nobody’s liking, commenting or watching

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* The Evolution of a Niche
* Leading With Your Why
* Why Listening is Critical
* Niche Content Marketing – Getting It Right

What do you do?

If you’re like most people, you think you need to do another course or learn how to do social media marketing. But like most things, the problem is waaaay upstream of these things.

Let me explain.

Meredith Hill said, “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”

What this means is that if you are speaking broadly and generally, using generic content that covers a lot of topics or problems, then it’s hard for the audience to understand who you are and who you help. People might glance at your content and scroll right past it because it doesn’t speak to them.

Consider the analogy of fishing. Your broad, general content is much like someone standing on the beach with a hook and a pilchard, hoping to catch a fish, but catching nothing.

Next to you, there’s a person who is smashing it online. They’re like the fisher who knows what they can catch at that particular beach, and they have the right hook and bait to catch that fish. If they’re catching tailor, it’s probably a gang hook with a pilchard. But if they’re trying to catch a mulloway, fresh or even live bait like yellowtail is better.

Hopefully, you’re getting the picture – the more you know about who you want as a customer or client, the easier it is to be visible and connect with them in your marketing.

This is what ‘finding your niche’ is all about, where your niche is a problem that exists, that certain types of people are desperate to solve, and will pay money to get help with.

Just like the fisherperson using a specific rig and bait to catch a certain fish, knowing your niche means you can go online and speak about specific topics to attract specific types of people who have specific problems – and in doing this, you stand out like a beacon to them, making it easy to be seen, trusted and purchased from.

So, how do you get started?

The Evolution of a Niche

If you’re in the process of career change, have just completed a training course in a totally new area and you’re starting a business, with no prior experience – please take a moment to acknowledge that that’s a pretty steep learning curve!

And just like you can’t go out beach fishing for the first time and expect to know everything about tides, weather, gutters, rigs, and which bait to use, please know that you can’t expect to know or perfect your niche and connect with them easily when you’re first starting out!

Your niche WILL evolve over time. The way to even start defining your niche is by actively speaking to people, using your coaching skills in daily life, and working with practice or paid clients.

Your clients are your teachers. You can start to notice common trends in the conversation, which people you have the best rapport with and how they describe their problems.

This is the evolution of a niche.

As you get more and more experience in using your coaching skills, you will get more and more clarity about your niche.

In my experience, there are three levels of niche clarity:

1. You are totally clear on your niche.

This is usually because you have been engaging in your own or other groups about this problem, have a lot of experience with clients who have a specific problem, or have been on your own journey as part of a group.

2. You have some level of clarity on your niche.

This is usually based on a passion you have or experience with a specific problem area that is meaningful to you. In either case, you can do market research to further your understanding of your niche person and problem, and work out what they want your help with, so you can find the common ground.

3. You have a great idea but have no clue on who would need or want it.

If you’re really stuck wondering how to attract customers, you’ll need to get started with something. Beyond working with practice clients there are three ways you can start to work out your niche and attract new clients online, beyond just doing practice coaching.

1. Start with your why

When posting online – any kind of post – focus on your why, values and passion area.

One thing’s for sure – when you get ranty and fired up about something, some injustice or area of need, that sense of conviction will be appealing and attractive to the right people. It’s the values and beliefs that we have in common with others, that create attraction between us.

In other words, people form relationships because of shared values. When you lead with your why you put your values on display. This gives people an insight into who you are, and they can work out if you are someone they would like to know more about.

By zooming in on your why, you can find some things to talk about and start to create ideas on specific topics of interest.

The key word here is specific. Having a why of ‘wanting to help people’ is pretty vague. Be more specific at least about an area of health and wellbeing, like weight loss, or exercise, or mental health.

Assuming you are on a social media platform where people can search for content topics easily, you can experiment with why-driven posts to see which ones get the most engagement.

2. Start listening and reflecting

Once you have identified a few topics, do a little live and online research to gain opinions and insights, and to see how engaged other people are with those topics.

For example, if you’re getting ranty about impostor syndrome, or weight gain after 40, or anxiety in menopause, what are other people saying and thinking about those things?

Take your coaching skills out into the world and ask people for their opinions. Notice how fired up they are too – or not. See the problem from their point of view.

How big of an issue is that thing for them? Why or why not?

What is their magic wand solution?

What possibilities might open up, if they could solve that problem?

As you do this work, notice the physical shifts you experience. Notice which topics or particular conversations excite you, grab you by the heart, or make you irritated.

And most importantly, notice how your sense of clarity and confidence develops as you talk to people about what matters to them.

3. Explore niche content marketing

The third way is to explore what’s in the news and social commentary about niche content that’s already out there. This is a slower, longer-term game compared with live conversations.

Think about whether online research is an initial project to help you understand your niche, or whether you will continue building information and content over time as part of your marketing. If you have skills and strengths in research, detail and writing, then this might be a good strategy.

Here are some questions you could ask yourself while exploring niche content online:

  • What are the most popular angles being talked about?
  • Where is the gap?
  • Do you agree, or disagree? Why?
  • Which posts or episodes make you irritated or frustrated? Why?

Write down all the things you like, agree with and disagree with.

Then, look for qualified facts to back up your views, for example, from Google Scholar, or recognised institutions.

Check in with yourself to work out which topics are most meaningful and interesting to you. These are the ones that will create a natural energy that is attractive to your audience.

Based on the topic or related topics you have identified, develop some blogs, live videos or podcasts that map out the problem, and outline 2 – 3 things that back your position.

Then, you’re ready to promote these topics to your audience – but not all at once!

For example, let’s say that you are really into natural methods of managing and avoiding stress, and you are super interested in managing the nervous system.

You’d talk about one or two related topics per month over a series of months.

Start your first month talking about one topic in-depth online and offline – in this example, let’s say you focus on comparing different breathing techniques to manage stress. You could find research papers and share the findings, and also your own experience.

Note which conversations or posts get the most interest.

In the second week, start refining the conversations to focus on the specific parts of the topic that are most popular. For example, you might find that people have been talking about the 4-7-8 technique because it’s been in the news and was developed by a Harvard-trained medical doctor, Dr Weill, so you could ask for people to comment on their experiences or insights about the technique. This will get engagement and organic reach.

If you wanted, you could collate all your insights from the month and do a live presentation or in-depth blog at the end of the month. Invite people to attend, invite comments and/or sharing through your networks. The next month, you might start talking about something that goes a bit deeper, like polyvagal theory, which is related to and goes deeper into the topic of the first month.

The first thing that happens here is that by posting on specific topics, you will either attract “your people” – the people who like and trust you based on your messaging and promotion – or you will attract people who are curious and interested in your topics.

You will also be ignored by people who aren’t interested – but that’s a good thing!

This process takes you closer to understanding and clarifying who has the problem that you can help to solve, and what the problem means to them in their lives.

Over the series of months and topics, you will find out which topics are most interesting to your audience, what types of people like each topic, what their main challenges are, and you will be closer to defining your niche.

Over a longer period, you can refine your content and topics to meet the audience, and you can also go back and update older content you created so it is more up-to-date and polished.

Summary

When you’re new to the business, it can be easy to compare yourself to others and wonder why they seem to be so successful, when you’re just getting crickets.

If this is you, remember that your clients are your teachers. By using your coaching skills in daily life, and by working with practice clients, you will start to get a deeper understanding of the people you want to work with, and what sorts of common problems they have that you can help with.

At the same time, you can do three things online to fast-track your understanding.

You can:

1. Develop posts and content built around your why (be specific)

2. Start listening to what people say (live and online conversations) and reflect on the trends, and which topics and people light you up.

3. Explore niche content marketing, by assessing what is in the news, what is a hot topic right now, and which posts irritate or inspire you. Then, start developing content around specific topics that are relevant and meaningful to you and your potential audience and start getting a sense of their reactions.

Live conversations take the least amount of time, whereas online research is more time-consuming and takes longer to engage your niche. Reflect on your skills and strengths to help you decide which way to go.

Welcome to the evolution of your niche! If you need help to understand, define and connect with your niche, book a good fit call to see if I can help you. My books are closed to personal clients until July, but I have space in my June Passion to Profit program if you need help to build the foundations of your business.

References

Balogh, A. Polyvagal Theory: A Simplified Explanation. Swan Counselling website accessed 28.2.22. https://www.swancounselling.com.au/polyvagal-theory-a-simplified-explanation/

Cuncic, A. October 2021. What is 4-7-8 breathing? Very Well Mind website accessed 28.2.22 https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-4-7-8-breathing-5204438

Shatto, R. May 2019. Here’s Why Shared Values Are so Important in Couples, Experts Say. Elite Daily website accessed 28.2.22. https://www.elitedaily.com/p/why-are-shared-values-important-in-relationships-experts-weigh-in-on-this-common-thought-17917975

Passion to Profit Program: Wellness Coaching Australia Website https://www.wellnesscoachingaustralia.com.au/business-resources/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:

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E#177 Tragic Optimism

This episode is about tragic optimism 

Are you sick of the relentless stream of drama and bad news and just wish you could find something positive to read and share? 

Then you might be interested in tragic optimism and the opportunities it might bring you to feel more positive and purposeful in these challenging times.

What is Tragic Optimism? 

If you’ve read the book Man’s Search for Meaning by Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, you will know that he discusses this concept through the lens of life in a concentration camp.  

He talks about making suffering meaningful, seeing guilt as a chance to improve ourselves, and interpreting life’s fragility and unpredictability as motivation to find meaning.  

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What Tragic Optimism means, and the research behind it
* Avoiding the ‘happiness trap’

He found a way to transcend suffering through his own inner decision-making. 

Frankl defined ‘tragic optimism’ as a state of optimism in the face of tragedy and in view of the human potential which, at its best, always allows for: 

  1. turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment 
  2. out of guilt, defining the opportunity to change oneself for the better, and 
  3. out of life’s transitoriness, defining an incentive to take responsible action. 

He doesn’t claim that we must suffer to discover meaning, but rather, that meaning can be found despite or because of suffering. 

Where does real happiness come from? 

Frankl says it comes from finding meaning in our lives because this is what provides our reason to be happy.  

More recently with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, research by Anna Gotlib (1) backs Viktor Frankl’s concept of tragic optimism.  

Her study indicates that people who cope better in crisis can do so because they can acknowledge suffering without being pulled under by it.  

Gotlib says it’s not about finding happiness or even distraction from sadness. It is about repairing our narratives and our lives – about learning to let go of the stories around isolation, defeat, loss of control and worthlessness – and to create new narratives and recast a more meaningful future where hope exists. 

I would consider myself to be a tragic optimist in many ways. I believe that the negative stories we tell ourselves are instructions on how to act. It is only when we define new stories that we provide clear instructions to our bodies and brains on how to step into our future selves and flourish. 

Let’s be clear – this is not a ‘don’t’ worry, be happy’ concept. 

It is about honouring uncertainty and encouraging hopefulness. It is about recognising that we can turn inwards to find new words, ideas and valuations, and then share them outwardly and begin again. 

So, how do we do this?

Avoiding The Happiness Trap 

Well, for starters, we can avoid the Happiness Trap. 

What is that? Well, it’s a concept offered by Dr Russ Harris (2).  

In his book of the same name, Russ describes an empirically supported model known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), an effective model that can help you to address suffering and find meaning. 

And sure, there are many ways and disciplines that can help you to tackle suffering and find meaning, such as self-compassion, mindfulness and cognitive behaviour therapy. 

ACT includes aspects of all of these and more.  

Rather than focussing on striving for happiness, it teaches you to undermine struggle, avoidance and loss using mindfulness, acceptance, cognitive defusion and a focus on values-based living. 

ACT has over 35 years of evidence in treating conditions from anxiety and chronic pain to weight loss and performance enhancement, and over 300 randomised controlled trials that support the efficacy of ACT in alleviating suffering and promoting human flourishing.

Isn’t it amazing to think that by changing your relationship with your thoughts and feelings, you can transcend both physical and emotional pain? 

In my opinion, if you want to find meaning and become a tragic optimist whose life is based on meaning and fulfilment, I think Russ is the best person to help. 

He teaches you how to blow your own mind, so to speak, by naming your stories and becoming a better storyteller, by separating yourself from unhelpful thoughts, and by learning simple tricks and techniques to defusing those thoughts and find true acceptance. 

By doing this, you can stop chasing happiness (which is the trap he describes) and transform your relationship with painful thoughts and feelings to lessen their impact and influence over your life. 

In turn, you create space for a rich and meaningful life, a sense of vitality and fulfilment that is satisfying and long lasting.   

Now I know that some people might rail at the thought of having to ‘accept’ things.  

But have you considered the true definition of acceptance? 

It’s not tolerating or putting up with things – it literally means taking what is offered. It is opening yourself up to what is happening right now.   

And it is your first firm foothold to stop suffering and to start taking action toward more of what you want in life. 

Summary

In these uncertain times, it can be hard to feel positive or find hope in the difficult circumstances that are affecting us all. 

But there are pioneers and researchers such as Viktor Frankl, Anna Gotlib and Russell Harris who have done great work to prove that we can rise above the painful thoughts and feelings we have, to become tragic optimists – people who are able to transcend the unhelpful thought loops and re-craft stories that give us more meaning, purpose and ultimately, freedom. 

References 

  1. Gotlib A. Letting Go of Familiar Narratives as Tragic Optimism in the Era of COVID-19. J Med Humanit. 2021;42(1):81-101. doi:10.1007/s10912-021-09680-8 
  1. Harris, Russell. The Science. The Happiness Trap Website accessed 26.1.22. https://thehappinesstrap.com/the-science/ 

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:

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E#174 Your Foolproof 2022 Business Plan

This episode is about your foolproof 2022 business plan

The start of the year is a great time to make plans. But how do you make a plan that is realistic and will guarantee results?

Today, I cover the three ingredients of a successful business plan that will ensure your success.

Ingredient 1: Start with Strategy

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘plan’? The internet defines a plan as:

  1. An orderly or step-by-step conception or proposal for accomplishing an objective.
  2. A proposed or intended course of action.
  3. A systematic arrangement of elements or important parts; a configuration or outline.
In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* Why starting with a strategy is so important
* How to create a structured, SMART plan
* Reviewing and course correcting

What do you notice about these definitions?

I see that they are all about taking action. And taking action is great, and important….but in the words of organisational theorist Kenichi Ohmae:

“Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.”

In other words, planning your actions is important, but there is a step BEFORE that.

The step is creating a strategy.

A strategy is the overall aim, objective or goal that you want to achieve.

When it comes to your 2022 business plan, you would define your primary aim for the year BEFORE you start the planning process.

I believe the best aims or outcomes are inspirational, realistic, aspirational and measurable. Here is an example.

“By 31 December 2022, I want to have helped 50 women reverse diabetes.”

If you think about this as an outcome, it meets all those criteria.

For the right person, this is:

· inspiring (ties in with a passion),

· something that can realistically be achieved with the right support, systems and effort (the timing and number and content has been done before by others),

· something to aspire to (reversing diabetes), and

· measurable (it has an end date, and a number of people).

So my question to you is – what is the overarching strategic goal you have for this year?

All of your plans will be borne out of that.

Ingredient 2: Create a Structured SMART Plan

This one is essential and it’s where a lot of people go wrong with a lack of detail, specificity and not seeking help. If you’re new at business and/or planning, you will need help with this!

Like the strategy, a structured plan has very specific actions, dates, milestones and metrics so that you can schedule tasks and check that you are on track.

Using the example I just mentioned, we can start teasing out elements of the plan.

“By 31 December 2022, I want to have helped 50 women reverse diabetes.”

In this example we can see that we need two things: a way to solve the problem, and a way to engage the clients.

Firstly, you will need to have a program and/or method for helping people reverse diabetes.

1. What is program or method you will use?

2. Has it been created yet?

3. Do you need to test it/get social proof?

4. Who else might need to be involved to help you?

By answering those questions, you can work out the actions that need to be taken, in which order, who will help you – and you can schedule those into a timeline.

Secondly, you will need to have a channel to find those 50 women with diabetes.

1. What does your market research indicate?

2. Where will you find them / where do they hang out?

3. What is your best marketing strategy that plays to your strengths – e.g. writing, speaking, PR etc?

4. Who can connect you with them?

5. What opportunities are there in your existing networks?

6. What will your marketing plan look like?

By answering those questions, you can work out the actions that need to be taken, in which order, who will help you – and you can schedule those into a timeline.

Ingredient 3: Review and Course Correction

A plan is great, but things invariably change as you progress, so you need to schedule time at least once per month to review your progress, and course correct so you can achieve your goal, or change the goal as needed.

We all find this bit hard because nobody likes changing the goals or goalposts!

Change requires a shift away from what we know and feel safe with, into the unknown.

BUT, as we know through coaching clients, the process of experimenting invariably changes the journey.

Making time to reflect, review, let go of what doesn’t work and change gears, is the absolute key to success.

In the example above, let’s assume that you did all your actions in January to find prospective clients through your networks…..but you drew a blank.

Or perhaps you thought you’d have your program finished by now and ready to pilot, but you haven’t gotten there yet and can’t find any pilot clients.

Eeek! Now what?

Well, simply go back to your plan and review it.

What didn’t work?

What did work?

What other opportunities are there to find pilot or real clients?

Who can help you get clarity on these things, so you can progress your plan?

As you can see, it’s one thing to come up with a strategy and plan, but life and business don’t go according to plan.

Your ability to problem-solve, troubleshoot, brainstorm, seek help or even pivot are what will help you succeed.

Please know this – there is no magical solution to any of these or any other problems. They require focus, attention, and work.

This is the reality of running a business, and you will gain valuable experience not just for yourself, but also empathy for your clients who are going through exactly the same process!

Summary

Today I mentioned that planning is essential for a successful business, but many plans go awry or fail.

The three ingredients for success are:

1. Start with a big-picture strategy

2. Turn the strategy into a structured, SMART plan

3. Review and Course Correct with help in order to stay on track for success.

If you need help with business planning, I have three spots available in January. Click here to book.

Otherwise, you can waitlist for my June Passion to Profit Course where we go through the foundational work behind the plan that is essential for success.

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:

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E#171 Pull Marketing – Attract Clients with Confidence

This episode is about pull marketing – attract clients with confidence

I was asked recently for tips on how to ask clients to work with you, or engage people in a sales process. This episode covers what I call a coaching approach to attracting clients with confidence and creating clients with ease. 

What is Pull Marketing?

I use the concept of ‘pull’ marketing. It means creating demand for your services or products, rather than pushing them onto people.

If you are a coach, you are perfectly equipped with the coaching skills that can help you do this easily. All you need to do is to flip your thinking and redefine the words that currently seem icky and uncomfortable, like “marketing” and “sales”. 

In this episode, I’ll talk about 
* What is Pull Marketing?
* The 4 Step “Pull Marketing” Process
* How to get it right?

The essence of pull marketing, from a coaching perspective, is to speak with conviction about your why, to be aspirational and inspirational, and to build or tap into a community around that. Then to match your values and services with the people who need them, and offer to support them through a journey if and when they are ready to take it.

Here is a rough 4-step process that I use, that others have used, and that really works.

4 Step “Pull Marketing” Process

Step 1 – Start with the Why

Pull marketing starts with clearly communicating your big why and your bigger mission and really unpacking it.

The why naturally speaks to a huge problem that people want to solve – confidence, fear, isolation, self-doubt – or whatever it is. 

It paints an aspirational picture of what’s possible (and what we can achieve together). People see themselves in that and create a shared vision.

Speaking to the why regularly ignites the fire in people who are thinking about change but are afraid (it’s not you, it’s them!) – they move through the stages of change to become ready. 

They sit up and take notice. Your inspirational and aspirational approach gives them a sense of hope, of potential, and that you are the leader who can help them.

Step 2 – Give a Vehicle for Engagement

By communicating your why in your content, people are attracted and engage with you as they become readier and readier to change (and therefore buy).

They want to stay connected because it feels good to be around you.

They may not be ready to buy yet.

So, create a vehicle for engagement. Give them a place to go to stay in touch – a meetup group, a LinkedIn group, or some other ‘container’ for like-minded people.

They will want to be part of that community and they will have ownership if they can co-create it with you (and this is the coaching way). 

In that container, you can speak more to the journey they are on and help them solve day-to-day problems that they’re facing, and to get peer support.

Be authentic, and speak to both obstacles and wins. Keep the positive momentum going.

The community will become very problem aware, and solution aware, and are equipped to evaluate how important it is to change at this time.

Step 3 – Add More Value

With the help of your content in steps 1 and 2, some of the people in your audience will become more ready to change and will start to prepare for change.

You can add more value in an event of some kind – a workshop, webinar, etc.

In that session you would unpacking your why (related to their problem), and then introduce how you help people solve that problem. What has worked for you, and/or your clients?

What you are selling is support to walk people through a 4-step process or formula for helping them go from point A (problem) to point B (solution).

Engage the audience and make them part of it. Make the content specific and relevant to them. And right up front, let them know that at the end you’ll let people know how to work with you if they want to.

Step 4 – Make a SMART Offer 

There is an offer at the end of this event (and you can make this offer once a month at least, for your general audience). The offer is your vehicle to actually help those people to find the confidence and support they need on such a big journey.

The offer is essentially formulated like a SMART goal (I am patenting this idea) 

It talks about the:

  1. Specific problem you are helping with and type of people who have that problem 
  2. Two Measurable elements – how long it is (e.g. 8-week program) and how many people you have capacity to work with (e.g. 5 clients)
  3. Actions that 
    1. people need to take e.g. must be committed to attending weekly sessions, and, 
    2. the actions that you will take to help them overcome their obstacles and objections
  4. Realistic results that people will get if they take the actions – and the outcomes that those actions will generate e.g. have a bigger impact, be a role model for their kids
  5. Timing of the offer – e.g. contact you by a specific date, starting on a specific date

Then, you must have the next steps mapped out clearly to enquire or take up the offer.

I like to have a good fit call to see if the person is truly ready to change, and if they are a fit for working with me.

If they aren’t interested, it might not be the right offer or the right time.

If they aren’t a fit, you can refer them to someone or something else.

In either case, you can STILL offer them value through ongoing connection with you on (LinkedIn, email, community etc) and you can invite them to share the message with others who need the courage and confidence to navigate the journey.

Getting it Right

This method works for me, and others. 

Your courage to do it is borne from your bigger why, the thing that you MUST do no matter what – which is the kryptonite for your fears.

If you can engage people in your why and share the dream with them, and co-create a vision, you will both be able to put the fear of marketing and sales aside and focus on making a change, and a difference. 

Summary

Attracting clients and selling programs is a big challenge for a lot of coaches. There are mental and emotional hurdles and often limiting beliefs in the way.

Your courage to make offers is borne from your bigger why, the thing that you MUST do no matter what.

Pull marketing is a strategy that leverages coaching skills and strengths.

The four-step process I shared today includes:

  1. Starting with the why (as the focus for all your content) 
  2. Creating a vehicle for engagement where you dive into the what 
  3. Adding more value by offering events that truly help the people who are becoming ready to change
  4. Making a SMART offer that helps people connect with you so they can benefit from your skills, abilities and support.

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: