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Episode 100: Client Centric Business with Bridget Healy

Today’s interview with Bridget Healy is a great example of how you can create a global brand using a client centric approach to business.

Visit Bridget and buy quality, values-led products online!

https://www.noopii.co.nz/

Ready to up-size your business?

Everything is possible with the right tools. 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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Episode 99: Money Values

Today we’re going to talk about how your money values affect the quality of clients you attract and how to hack your own brain to improve both!

Today‘s episode is a short one, but a powerful one.

There is a pile of research that shows the old adage – that ‘like attracts like’ – is true.

An article in the Huff Post, written by PhD Margaret Paul, provides a great summary of how and why this occurs in relationships.

This is very relevant to today’s episode, because let’s face it – your life and your business are FULL of relationships, including relationships that are based around money.

I want to read you a direct quote from the article:

“While no one deliberately seeks out someone who is closed, negative and needy, if this is you, this is what you will attract into your life. If you want a loving relationship, then you need to do the work of learning how to take emotional responsibility.” 

Dr Paul’s antidote for attracting the wrong kind of people into your life is to take stock of the way you treat yourself, and to work on your own mind, thoughts, feelings and actions.

Who Are You Attracting?

Start by looking at the types of clients you typically attract.

Are they penny pinchers? 

Are they fearful of spending money? 

Do they find it hard to say no?

Do they see spending on themselves as wasteful, or a risk?

Let’s first acknowledge that this is NOT a sustainable business model.

But further, if your clients behave like this then it is a pretty good indication that your money values are similar and you’ll continue to attract people like this.

What you say to yourself repeatedly is both an instruction to your body on how to act, but also, it creates or reinforces your beliefs.

If you don’t value yourself, if you find it hard to ask for money, or if you just want to help people who have nothing, then you’ll remain stuck in this space and it will be difficult to build a business, let alone a viable one.

So, what’s the answer?

It’s that you’ll need to work on your thoughts so you can change your own beliefs.

What you say to yourself repeatedly is both an instruction to your body on how to act, but also, it creates or reinforces your beliefs.

The first question I’d invite you to ask yourself is – is business really for me?  I recommend thinking long and hard about whether you are willing to do the mindset work required to run a successful business.

This means actively working on your self-talk and your self-worth, so that you can start to change your money values over a period of time – perhaps a few months.

If you feel that this is definitely what you want – not to work for someone else but to truly run your own business, then let’s talk about what you can do in the meantime to start shifting your money values.

Becoming Buyable

Even if your money values need a bit of work, there are some things you can do right now to help you communicate value to your clients – and yourself – more easily.

1. Describe services as affordable and set prices that feel good to you, right now.

The word affordable has a positive ring to it and creates openness around pricing for both you and your client.

Now, to get your pricing right, I developed something I call the goldilocks pricing method, and it works like this.

If your fees are too high in your own mind, you’ll feel scared to ask for the money and it will block you from selling. Your clients will sense the doubt in you and it will transfer to them!

If your fees are too low in your mind, you’ll feel resentful about being paid too little and it will show up as negative energy around your product.

Remember that this pricing is relevant right now, and that you can revise and increase it whenever you like.

2. Communicate value, not price

When we focus on talking about price, we draw attention to the price, and it becomes the main event and the main factor affecting someone’s decision to buy or not.

It’s WAY better to prove the value of what you offer.

To do this, you can talk to potential clients about the value of what you’re doing in terms of:

what it will save them e.g. they’re no longer going to spend $100 per week on wine

  • what they might be able to let go of e.g. no more toxic relationships, or may be able to come of medications with doctors help
  • the value of tangible elements e.g. physical resources that are included such as a welcome pack, a journal etc
  • what it’s worth e.g. testimonials, where clients gush about the value of working with you and how it’s changed their lives
  • what they will gain e.g. typical results from other clients, outcomes they wish to realise that are valuable to them.

3. Make charity a longer term goal

I have seen people start businesses with the sole aim of helping those who are less fortunate – and not wanting or being able to charge very much – then failing in business because they couldn’t meet their income needs.

Quite simply, it’s better to make your money first, then you are way better positioned to help people who are less fortunate!

Summary

Today we discussed the fact that like attracts like – it’s a proven phenomenon.

That means if you have poor money values, you will probably attract those kinds of clients into your life and it will hinder your ability to build a profitable business!

The first thing to ask yourself is whether you are really cut out for business – whether you are prepared to do the mental or mindset work required to do it justice.

And if you are, then changing your self talk around money will be a priority for you. 

In the meantime, how can you attract clients who are willing to pay?

Coaches help people accumulate good habits that will help them achieve. 

Firstly, by describing your services as affordable, and setting a price that is comfortable to you, using my goldilocks method.

Secondly, by shifting the conversation away from price and onto value.

Thirdly, for those of you who want to help the disadvantaged, it will probably be easier if you create profitable business first, then make charity your longer term goal.

Coaches help people accumulate good habits that will help them achieve. 

Ready to change your money values?

You can change your relationship with money by changing the way you think! 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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Episode 96: 5 Tips For Coping With Uncertainty

Resilience is your ability to bounce back from stress and it’s something you need to be able to cope with uncertainty in a healthy way. 

It’s not until you’re tested that you realise how much resilience you actually have, or not.

In this episode, I’ll define resilience, and talk about five things you can do to better cope with uncertainty and build resilience.

Here are three definitions:

  1. “Advancing despite adversity”
  2. “Recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”
  3. “The capacity to respond to stress in a healthy way

When you’re resilient, you’re better equipped to cope with uncertainty.

Resilience is built by using a set of skills and doing certain habits consistently.

If resilience was money, it would be like having $50,000 in your account as a buffer. Just like savings in the bank, resilience is a kind of personal wealth that must be built over time.

Firstly, I’d like to talk about the skills of coping with uncertainty.

Then I’d like to talk about habits you can develop to build resilience and help you cope better.

5 Tips for Coping With Uncertainty

1. It’s normal to feel stressed

As we have seen, uncertainty is a normal and unavoidable part of life. 

We have control over many things, but we can’t control everything that happens to us. Life throws us all curve balls at times. We lose our jobs, people pass away, our kids leave home, and relationships change.

We may feel stressed about what we can’t control, and that is normal.

Stress is a response that helps us to survive. Healthy or positive stress allows us to adapt and make good out of situations.

It’s unhealthy or negative stress that feels difficult and needs attention.

Recognising and accepting that you feel stress, and understanding which type it is, is a first step to being able to cope and build resilience. 

It can give a sense of relief to recognise that you’re feeling something right now, that is normal and will pass.

2. Process negative emotions (feel the feelings)

 

For a lot of adults processing the emotions around these types of events is difficult. Many of us have forgotten how to do it, or we are too busy to give this attention. 

It’s a really important skill to have because we cannot suppress negative emotions. They hang around in the background and eventually come out like a big volcano when you least expect it or, when something stressful happens.

If you want to learn how to process emotions properly, watch your kids. Think about the last time your child fell over or got in a verbal fight with a sibling or friend. 

They probably talked about how they felt, they probably cried a lot, and eventually the crying would have stopped and they would have settled down and moved on.

Making time and space to acknowledge and process your emotions, with self-compassion, can help you to cope better with stress.

3. Focus on what you can control to dial down stress and emotional intensity.

Please know that stress is caused in your own brain, and therefore, you can use your brain to resolve stress.

What I’m saying is that we are the ones that decide how we will react to life’s circumstances.

While your brain can tell you a big story about how bad things are, realise that you are not your thoughts. Thoughts come into your head, but they are not necessarily facts.

Rather than get bogged down with your thoughts, it can help you to see the flipside – what I call factualising.

By focusing on the things that you can control, you can shift out of an emotional state and back into some logical thinking which can help to calm things down.

This could include:

  • Listing things that you do have control of
  • Identifying all the things that ARE stable in your life right now
  • Recognising how you have succeeded in the past

4. Use Your existing skills

Think about any uncertain times you’ve faced in life, and what you learned from those times.

What skills did you use? How did you use them? What was the outcome?

Here’s an example.

A client of mine said she had struggled with uncertainty around her job. Every week she was told a different thing, and she felt a lack of control over her future, and even her ability to make a weekly plan.

When we discussed this further, she identified that one of her skills was organising and another was persistence, and a third was being able to ask for help.

She realised that in the past, she had been able to develop a week by week schedule to help her cope with the uncertainty, and she realised she could do this again, and reach out for help to make sure it was the right thing for her.

By focusing on using her skills, she was able to get through her period of uncertainty.

5. Self Care

 

Self care simply means doing things that boost your physical, mental or emotional health.

Most of us don’t make enough time to do these important things, but they help to create healthy hormonal responses, remove us from the uncomfortable situation, give us an outlet for stress, and help us feel mentally and emotionally replenished.

Self-care activities can also feel like an achievement, even when life is uncertain.

Some self-care activities tick all of those boxes, for example, exercise.

Let’s say that you’re able to go out into your yard and use a skipping rope for a few minutes. You break a sweat. You release some tension and you release endorphins.

Your mind is on the present moment, not tripping over the jump rope and staying upright, or counting your reps.

Meanwhile, you’re outside in nature. You experience physical sensations that distract your mental worries. You remember what it’s like to be outside again. 

After all that, you feel like you’ve achieved something and you have something to show for it – an elevated heart rate, knowing you’ve done some good for yourself, and you’re feeling calmer and more in control.

As you can see, self-care is a way of building and maintaining resilience. It’s what puts credits in the bank for when you need them.

If you actively practice self-care activities each week you can keep building your mental and emotional savings account.

Summary

Resilience is your ability to bounce back from stress and it’s something you need to be able to cope with uncertainty in a healthy way. 

Resilience is your ability to bounce back from stress and it’s something you need to be able to cope with uncertainty in a healthy way. 

It’s often not until your busy life is disrupted that you realise that you’re not coping well and need to build your resilience.

I described five ways to cope with uncertainty and start building resilience:

  1. To acknowledge it’s normal to feel stressed 
  2. Processing negative emotions – feeling the feelings and letting go
  3. Focus on what you can control 
  4. Identify your existing skills and decide how to use them
  5. Develop a consistent self-care practice

Ready to build resilience?

Resilience is built by using a set of skills and doing certain habits consistently. 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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Episode 95: Validation and Profit

This episode shows you why and how validation using rigorous, high quality data is your secret weapon for helping your clients to get better results and make long lasting change, and to create more value, more sales, higher prices and better profit.

Today’s episode is called validation, and I’m talking in relation to results that your clients get in your coaching business.

In my last episode I talked about how to sell more coaching programs with the inclusion of monitoring data, and that’s the backstory for today’s episode.

I’ve chosen the title ‘validation’ because I want to show you why and how rigorous, high quality data is your secret weapon for helping your clients to get better results and make long lasting change, and to create more value, sales and higher prices.

What is validation?

Let’s start with a simple definition.

  • The action of checking or proving the accuracy of something.
  • The recognition or affirmation that something is valid or worthwhile.

 Change is hard for our brains, and data gives our brains the validation they need to decide a habit is worth continuing.

Why Validation Matters

Let’s start by talking about why validation is important.

Let’s say that your client is living a stressful life, and she quite likes the idea of regular meditation and wants to start up a regular habit to help her relieve stress.

To create a consistent habit, you know she’ll need to convince her brain that it’s worth it.

That’s because the human brain prefers to run efficiently, on autopilot, doing the things it already knows how to do well, so it can focus on threat, survival and fun stuff.

Therefore, according to your client’s brain, having to bring focus on developing a new habit is a chore and possibly a risk. 

Change is hard for our brains, and data gives our brains the validation they need to decide a habit is worth continuing.

Aside from learning how to do the habit, her brain requires a process of ‘learning’ a whole bunch of micro habits and rewiring entrenched behaviours that happen before and after the meditation, before it can get the habit to happen automatically.

For example, she’ll have to learn to stop what she’s doing, say no to people, set aside time, stop saying she’s too busy, and then do the darn 10 minutes of meditation.

As she juggles her competing priorities and her already entrained habits that create stress, her brain will start to realise that starting a simple habit like 10 minutes of meditation is actually hard to fit in, commit to, and do consistently. 

That will probably feel uncomfortable. She’ll have the urge to continue with her ‘more important’ stuff.

And a day after she meditates, she may feel totally stressed again, so her brain will question how effective it really is, because the results may not be huge or immediate. 

Her belief system could jump on the bandwagon. She might start telling herself that this is too hard. She might tell herself that I might as well give up, because I am probably going to fail anyway.

This is why validation with evidence-based data is so important.

It does more than just prove to your client’s brain that a habit is safe and worth the effort. 

It also provides tangible evidence that your client is capable of change and that the results are worth pursuing.

This is especially important for habits that have little to no visible, immediate impact.

For example, there are habits like physical exercise where you feel the endorphin rush and sweat afterwards. There’s a tangible impact.

Compare that with deep breathing exercises to lower your blood pressure and stress hormones. Those are two pretty invisible measures that your habits had a gradual, positive impact. No immediate reward there.

That begs the question – how do we help our clients monitor and measure progress? What kind of data are going to be meaningful?

Let’s look at two types of data – qualitative, and quantitative.

As she juggles her competing priorities and her already entrained habits that create stress, her brain will start to realise that starting a simple habit like 10 minutes of meditation is actually hard to fit in, commit to, and do consistently. 

That will probably feel uncomfortable. She’ll have the urge to continue with her ‘more important’ stuff.

And a day after she meditates, she may feel totally stressed again, so her brain will question how effective it really is, because the results may not be huge or immediate. 

Her belief system could jump on the bandwagon. She might start telling herself that this is too hard. She might tell herself that I might as well give up, because I am probably going to fail anyway.

This is why validation with evidence-based data is so important.

It does more than just prove to your client’s brain that a habit is safe and worth the effort. 

It also provides tangible evidence that your client is capable of change and that the results are worth pursuing.

This is especially important for habits that have little to no visible, immediate impact.

For example, there are habits like physical exercise where you feel the endorphin rush and sweat afterwards. There’s a tangible impact.

Compare that with deep breathing exercises to lower your blood pressure and stress hormones. Those are two pretty invisible measures that your habits had a gradual, positive impact. No immediate reward there.

That begs the question – how do we help our clients monitor and measure progress? What kind of data are going to be meaningful?

Let’s look at two types of data – qualitative, and quantitative.

Qualitative (subjective) data

Normally coaches use tools that are subjective, that is, where the client rates themselves.

We use various quizzes, questionnaires, 1 – 10 rulers, sleep diaries, logging sheets and other self-rating tools to help clients understand what they feel, who they are and what’s changing for them.

They use these to rate hunger, energy, mood, stress, sleep quality, response to food and similar types of information.

Qualitative data is very important because it captures how the client feels at any given moment. The problem is, that information is subject to bias.

A client who self-rates may feel exuberant one day, and miserable two days later, so their mood will skew the data.

Even the more high level, scientifically validated questionnaires can be influenced by bias.

I had a client do a quiz several times because she wasn’t sure that her answers were accurate and she got a different answer every time.

How would you feel about the data if that was you? 

How much would you trust it? 

Could you rely on it?

That’s why coaching programs can be bolstered by rigorous data collected in an accurate way.

This kind of data provides the validation our clients need to believe that they can do something, and to believe that their new habits are ‘working’ and ‘getting results.’

Quantitative (objective) data

This is essentially what quantitative data is – objective data that is measured accurately using numbers.

Even better, using calibrated devices to measure physiological data that shows the impact of our habits on our bodies and minds.

One of the best examples is the bioimpedance scale which measures body composition – in other words – bone, fat, muscle and water. 

While not as accurate as a Dexa scan, bioimpedance is an easy and accessible method to quantify body weight, muscle mass, bone mass, hydration and body fat percentage.

Obviously the more expensive models give more accurate data, and a Dexa scan is the most accurate.

I used this scale early in my business – from 2005 onwards – as a marketing tool. At health expos I had lines of people out the door wanting to get their body composition measured, while other vendors stood at empty stands, wondering what was going on.

 

Data provides tangible evidence that your client is capable of change and that the results are worth pursuing.

I used this scale in my coaching program to help clients see tangible changes in their bodies – inside and out – in conjunction with other qualitative and quantitative measures.

These methods gave my clients plenty of evidence that their bodies and minds were changing and, it gave me a huge data set that could be used to demonstrate typical client outcomes in my marketing.

For example, I could specify that 99% of my clients lost weight during my program, ranging from 3 – 15kg, and with the majority of that being body fat based on the numbers recorded.

These were all things that they measured during the life of their program, so they had great awareness of what had changed.

They loved the physiological data as it proved their lifestyle changes were having an impact and it validated how they felt.

You can imagine what that did for my marketing!

My clients would say things like – “there is real science behind this”, and “I have gotten so much more out of this program than I ever expected!”

That’s just with a simple scale.

More recently, some higher tech options have come up to get even better quality data.

One that comes to mind is the heart rate strap and watch that measure exercise performance.

There are a variety of wearable watches that measure various physiological data. 

I can imagine what my clients will say in future when I use these devices as part of their coaching program and I’m very excited about the value, precision and accurate response measurement that can be developed.

It will help us to add tangibility to our somewhat intangible services.

It will help your clients to quickly identify which of their habit based interventions are having the greatest impact, and help them pinpoint where to focus their energy.

They will have a greater appreciation for the effectiveness of habit-based intervention, and a greater awareness of their own best solutions for managing physical and mental health.

And finally, it will give coaches a competitive advantage over others, help them to sell more programs, at higher prices and retain clients for a longer period, as has been my own experience in my own coaching business.

I am excited to share some new research in this area in coming months.

For now, if you would like to know more about monitoring and measuring, please get in touch at melaniejwhite.com/contact.

Ready to use data to improve your coaching business?

Knowing howto use data effectively can make all the difference. 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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Episode 94: How to Sell More Coaching Programs

In today’s episode, I want to explain how to add massive value to your coaching programs so that you can sell more programs at a higher price, and secure raving fans.

You might be wondering what’s this all about? It sounds too good to be true?

I’m going to explain it all in this episode and it’s so ridiculously simple that you will wonder why you didn’t think of it before.

Today I want to talk about why data is important to YOUR clients, and how you can use it to benefit your business, and what sort of data to collect.

Why Clients Buy

Let’s start with a concept of why clients buy from you in the first place.

This is marketing 101 and there are some key elements that drive a purchase, especially something worth over $600 like a coaching program. People will:

  1. Spend big money to solve a big problem.
  2. Buy from you if they like you as a person and see that you are trustworthy, that you have a similar journey or that you have an area of specialty.
  3. Buy from you if you can prove your service can get results. 
  4. Buy from you if your offer is tangible and makes sense to them.

Let’s look at that first point. In marketing language, a viable niche is a group of people that are spending big money for paid support. 

The second point – buying from YOU – requires you to put yourself out there professionally, with your best foot forward, and being relatable, listening and building relationships.

I find that for most of my business coaching clients, especially those just starting out, the challenging parts are proving the results, and offering something tangible that makes sense to them.

Now I’m going to explain an easy way to do this, right away, even if you have limited runs on the board.

Your Secret Weapon: Monitoring Data

As a scientist by training, I’m a strong believer in high quality data to position yourself as professional, evidence-based and offering repeatable results. 

Part of the reason I was able to help build a multi-million dollar business was that we had 10 years worth of data that none of our competitors had.

We used this data to shift legislation, to position as experts, to develop specialty skills and expertise, and to be the go-to company for two specific types of service.

Further to that, the weight of data that we had was compelling evidence that our management services were effective and could get results.

What would it be like to achieve those things in your business?

In my last episode, I talked about how you can use the data from client strengths surveys to understand your ideal client and rocket fuel your marketing. 

Let’s talk about why data is important to YOUR clients, and how it benefits your business.

Our brains love proof (evidence)

Part of the reason that it’s hard to make change is that we don’t believe what we’re capable of, or that we can change, until we have proof.

That’s because the human brain is wired to want proof that any new behavior is safe, and a good idea.

Quite simply, good quality data provides that proof.

Data provides tangible evidence.

A coaching program without any monitoring data is lacking a critical piece of the puzzle because that data gives your clients the evidence they need that what they are doing is worth it, and getting results.

Now, think about all the opportunities you have to introduce data into a coaching program.

The two aims of a coaching program are to raise self-awareness, and to help people move through the stages of change.

Data gives your clients the evidence they need that what they are doing is worth it, and getting results.

If you ask your clients to capture data at the beginning of a program and the end, they can see quite tangibly how far they’ve come, what’s changed, and by how much.

If they monitor data throughout their program as they are experimenting with change, they will more quickly learn what is working, and more specifically, what is working best.

This will help them to tweak their goals and set better quality goals, so they get even better outcomes by the end of a program. 

In my last episode, I talked about how you can use the data from client strengths surveys to understand your ideal client and rocket fuel your marketing. 

Let’s talk about why data is important to YOUR clients, and how it benefits your business.

Our brains love proof (evidence)

Part of the reason that it’s hard to make change is that we don’t believe what we’re capable of, or that we can change, until we have proof.

That’s because the human brain is wired to want proof that any new behavior is safe, and a good idea.

Quite simply, good quality data provides that proof.

Data provides tangible evidence

A coaching program without any monitoring data is lacking a critical piece of the puzzle because that data gives your clients the evidence they need that what they are doing is worth it, and getting results.

Now, think about all the opportunities you have to introduce data into a coaching program.

The two aims of a coaching program are to raise self-awareness, and to help people move through the stages of change.

If you ask your clients to capture data at the beginning of a program and the end, they can see quite tangibly how far they’ve come, what’s changed, and by how much.

If they monitor data throughout their program as they are experimenting with change, they will more quickly learn what is working, and more specifically, what is working best.

This will help them to tweak their goals and set better quality goals, so they get even better outcomes by the end of a program. 

Summary

Today I talked about a simple way to increase coaching value and sales, reputation and clients.

Clients buy to solve a problem and because they trust you – but beyond that, they need proof and tangible results that are meaningful to them, in order to truly value and be an advocate for what you do.

The simplest way to do this is with high quality data that your clients will collect before, during and after their program.

Since it’s such a juicy topic, I am going to deep dive into specifics in my next episode, next week. Stay tuned!

Ready to sell more coaching programs?

There are tools that can make it easy when your know how! If you’re  ready to break old habits and make your life easier I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 93: Client Strengths = Better Marketing

In today’s episode, I want to show you a great way to capture important information about your clients so that you can learn more about who your ideal client is, who you naturally attract, and how to become more of a client magnet.

There are really two parts to working with clients in a coaching relationship. 

The first part is to help our clients become more self aware so that they know what thinking and doing habits need to change. 

When our clients are more self-aware it facilitates the second main part of coaching clients, which is helping them to experiment with new lifestyle habits and make those changes in a way that suits them, their needs and their personalities.

Coaches use a variety of quizzes and questionnaires to help clients become self-aware. I call this ‘grow’ content because every time a client learns something about themselves it helps them to grow a little.

And one of the main tools that coaches use is the VIA strength test.

In this episode I want to walk you through a step-by-step process of enhancing the professionalism of your practice, and using the VIA strengths test information to enhance your marketing.

VIA strengths test

The VIA Institute on character is an organisation that combines the science of strength with the practice of well-being. 

According to their website:

The VIA Institute on Character helps people change their lives by tapping into the power of their own greatest strengths. Established as non-profit organization in 2001, we set out – and continue to – advance both the science and practice of character, and empower those on their strengths-building journey. That’s why we make our research accessible to everyone and offer the VIA Survey free of charge, worldwide.

 

Every time a client learns something about themselves it helps them to grow a little.

They say that “your character strengths are the qualities that come most naturally to you. They say that every individual possesses all the 24 character strengths in different degrees, giving each person a unique character strengths profile. And when you know your strengths you can improve your life and thrive. The research reveals that people who use their strength a lot are 18 times more likely to be flourishing than those who do not use their strengths.”

The VIA character strengths test is a core piece of strengths-based coaching and it sets the scene for introducing positive psychology into your coaching sessions, and helping your clients create an upward spiral with their health and wellbeing habits.

Enhancing Your Professionalism

As a scientist by training, I’m a strong believer that every time you do something in your business it makes sense to do it in the most professional, replicable, efficient and streamlined way possible. 

And the first tip that I want to share with you today is something that is going to help you build your professional, credible reputation.

You can actually create your own professional account on the VIA website and you can store basic client results in that website. 

Firstly, what that means is that you can give your client a personalized link to the VIA website that has your practice name or business name in the URL.

Here’s how you set that up.

Firstly visit www.viacharacter.org

Click on the ‘Professionals’ menu link in the top right of the screen.

Choose ‘Pro Sites’ from the dropdown menu.

Read the information on that page, scroll down and go to the Create Your Pro Site Now button, and follow the prompts.

Now, you can send your clients a unique URL with your business name in it, taking them to the VIA test.

My link is http://melaniejwhite.pro.viasurvey.org

Now, when your clients take this survey you will be sent an email letting you know that they have completed it and you will be able to log into this website and see a list of clients who taken the strengths survey, the date that they took the survey, and you’ll be able to click through to see their results. 

This is all free. 

There are other things that you can get with a paid account but you probably don’t need those things yet.

Know Your Niche, Enhance Your Marketing

Here is the really interesting thing about the data that you collect over time.

I have a couple of coaches that work in my business as licensees for an 8-week weight loss program that I developed. 

Recently, I downloaded The VIA survey data for all of our clients from that program.

Then, I made a spreadsheet that lists the top 5 strengths of the clients who have recently taken the test. And then I sorted them by coach. 

My theory is that we tend to attract people who are 80% like us and I wanted to see if this strengths data reflected that different coaches are actually attracting different kinds of clients.

And the results are pretty amazing. 

For the clients that I have coached recently around weight loss, their top 3 strengths fairness, gratitude and honesty. All of my clients have had at least two of these in their top 3 strengths.

For another coach in my business, all of her clients top 3 – 4 strengths were honesty, kindness, love and humour.

So very clearly the two of us are attracting slightly different kinds of people. Honesty is something that all of our clients have as a very high ranking strength. 

But hers are slightly different to mine. 

I also see that my clients are much more consistent in the top 3 strengths than the other coach, and perhaps that means that she works with a slightly broader range of clients or that her niche is less defined than mine.

What does this all mean, and how can we use this to improve our marketing? 

Well looking at my client list, and knowing that I seem to attract people whose top strengths are gratitude, fairness and honesty, I know more about my ideal client AND I can more likely attract them with sales copy that creates those sorts of emotions.

I can present my offer in a way that seems fair.

I can be open and frank about who it is and isn’t for, and what is or isn’t included.

I can share my gratitude for being able to help others around through the power of their transformation.

This is just a bit of an idea of how you could use this information but it’s really amazing to see these trends and to understand the power of this information.

Regularly checking in with strengths survey results and collating the data in this way might make a big difference to your ability to attract and engage potential clients. 

Summary

To wrap up today’s episode as coaches we like to help clients become self-aware and to use their strengths to experiment with and form new habits.

We use a variety of quizzes and questionnaires to create aha moments and raise self-awareness.

The VIA character strengths questionnaire is a recognised tool that many Health and wellness coaches use.

You can go to the VIA website and create your own professional account, as part of your professional positioning.

Being more self-aware helps our clients to experiment with new lifestyle habits and make those changes in a way that suits them.

In addition to that, you can collate client data in a spreadsheet and identify trends that tell you important things, like how clearly defined your niche is, the common ground between you and your ideal client, and the types of strengths and emotions that might resonate with them in your marketing copy.

I’ve included links in the transcript of this episode to help you get started on getting to know your clients better.

Ready to know your client better?

Quizzes are just one of many tools that can make your coaching business easier and more effectictive. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and make your life easier I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Eppisode 92: Feeling Connected and Creating Clients

If you are finding solo business hard, and want to feel more connected and create clients through networking, this episode is for you. We explore five ways to start building professional and personal networks to achieve these aims.

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

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

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

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

We need a way to feel connected and supported in business so that we can find the motivation, energy, confidence and enthusiasm to persist.

On top of that, building professional and personal networks is a wonderful way to meet potential clients and referral partners who can send qualified referrals your way.

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

Joining a Health Professional Network 

Allied Health professionals often have either formal or informal meetings, social events and/or online groups for the purpose of networking, referring and collaborating.

Their meetings are typically monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.

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

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

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

You might also like to listen to episode 74 where I do a deep dive into how to build a referral network with Allied Health Professionals.

Also, check out episode 65 which is about communicating your value.

 

Allied Health professionals often have either formal or informal meetings, social events and/or online groups for the purpose of networking, referring and collaborating.

Their meetings are typically monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.

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

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

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

You might also like to listen to episode 74 where I do a deep dive into how to build a referral network with Allied Health Professionals.

Also, check out episode 65 which is about communicating your value.

Joining a Professional Industry Association

Every reputable profession has an industry association that acts as a voice for its members.

Their meetings are typically monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.

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

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

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

  • Action step: Contact HCANZA to enquire about membership.
  • Action step: apply to sit the NBHWC exam and become board-certified

Joining a Social Networking Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Action step: Jump into LinkedIn, brush up your profile, and explore groups.
  • Action step: Join the Students of Wellness Coaching Australia group.[MW1] 

Joining a Local Business Network

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

Their meetings are typically monthly.

Depending on where you live, your local Chamber may be quite active or not so much.

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

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

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

Start Your Own Group

An easy way to build professional alliances is to start your own group.

This is a good tactic for you if you are outgoing, love people and enjoy networking (otherwise it may feel like too much work – and you’re better off joining someone else’s network/group).

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

However, I’ve listed FIVE options that you could start exploring to build professional and client networks for the purpose of feeling supported, brainstorming ideas and creating clients.

We need a way to feel connected and supported in business so that we can find the motivation, energy, confidence and enthusiasm to persist.

To get started, choose the one that feels like the best fit and make plans to join and explore what it’s like to be a member.

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

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

Now, it’s over to you.

What is your easiest and most obvious starting point?

Ready to get more connected and create clients?

It becomes a whole lot easier when you know how. 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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Episode 91: Being Authentic

If you want to be more authentic, there are three things you need to do – create courage, be honest and act with integrity.

Nearly everyone I speak to wants to be more authentic. Authenticity is something most people value, and it is a key part of building strong personal and professional relationships.

But what does being authentic mean, and what does it involve?

I created this episode to help you understand what being authentic really means, the squeamish parts of being authentic, and the three things you need to do to start being more authentic.

What is Authenticity?

Authenticity means being yourself. It’s when your actions and words are congruent with your beliefs and values.

The VIA Institute on Character describes authenticity with this statement:

“I am honest to myself and others, I try to present myself and my reactions accurately to each person, and I take responsibility for my actions.”

VIA Institute on Character 

In other words, courage, honesty, and integrity are the three skills that create authenticity.

Here’s an example of what being authentic looks like.

One day I made a biriyani for dinner. My first one ever. We ate the meal and at the end, I asked my husband how he enjoyed it.

He said, firmly but kindly, “I really appreciate the effort you went to in making dinner, but I would prefer not to have this again. I don’t really like it, but I’m glad you tried it and am thankful you took the time to make a lovely meal.”

My first reaction was to feel deflated. He saw my face drop, and we talked about the importance of honesty.

It turned out that he didn’t want to pretend to like a meal then lie to about it later. It would mean that I’d made it again, thinking he liked it, and he’d have to lie again. He might become frustrated, or resentful about that.

It totally made sense to me, and I appreciated his honesty and courage and I could see that he was genuinely speaking with empathy and giving feedback from a place of love.

This one conversation opened a whole new way of thinking and personal growth for me.

It deepened our relationship and helped me to examine my own beliefs, thoughts and actions about honesty and integrity.

It helped me to identify the skills that I wanted to develop, so I could be more authentic.

As you can see it might be easy to assume that authenticity just happens.

But it doesn’t.

It’s more than just appearing to say something nice, or honest. 

Have you heard of the smell of fear? It’s a real thing. When we are afraid, we give off chemicals that send a warning to others.

If you have any fears, doubts or lack conviction in your beliefs and values, or are ‘faking it’ or hiding something, then you will be given away by your body chemistry, posture, tone of voice and facial expressions. Your body will contradict your so-called authenticity. 

Have you ever heard people say one thing and seen them do another?

Or have you ever had the sense that someone was lying to you?

How did that feel? 

And how did that affect your opinion of that person?

Authenticity is a wonderful thing but the fact is, being authentic can be challenging.

That’s because being authentic means that you need to be honest, to speak up for yourself, to voice an opinion, perhaps to be vulnerable, to expose something or to face a challenge.

Being authentic often requires us to develop certain skills, like courage.

If building relationships is important in your business and life, then it will serve you to improve your authenticity skills.

Let’s look at the three main skills of being authentic.

Courage

In interpersonal relationships, it’s courage that allows you to name what is happening to raise awareness, acceptance and understanding.

It’s when you can express observations, feelings, needs and requests and to shake up the status quo without offending, violating, blaming, shaming, or demeaning others.

For example: I don’t like it when you do X, it makes me feel Y. I would like it if you didn’t do that around me anymore.

If you have been in a cycle of people pleasing, it can be hard to find the language of courage, especially knowing that the other person may feel sad, disappointed or angry.

It’s about being able to stay on the right side of that fine line.

And let’s be clear: people pleasing is dishonest because it usually involves pretending to be someone that you’re not to meet someone else’s needs. It involves putting your own feelings and needs aside.

As you could guess, it takes courage to break out of that cycle and say no, or to be clear about what you will or won’t, can or can’t do.

If you have been in a cycle of people pleasing, it can be hard to find the language of courage, especially knowing that the other person may feel sad, disappointed or angry.

You will also need to learn to be ok with other people’s discomfort.

But courage is a powerful skill that can transform your relationships and build personal integrity.

I recommend that to build courage, you start with some small challenging situation in your life where you want to speak up for yourself or set a boundary, or a place in your business where you need to ‘show up’. 

Choose something that is just a little uncomfortable.

Then rehearse what you will say in that situation and how you will say it in a way that is calm, rational and non-judgemental.

Then schedule that into your diary and do it. Reflect on how it felt. Reflect on what you learned.

I promise you, if you do this one small thing, and do it regularly, you will build phenomenal courage, diplomacy, self-assurance and emotional balance.

Honesty

The second part of being authentic is being honest.

Honesty goes hand in hand with courage.

It means you are speaking the truth and more broadly, it means that you are presenting yourself in a genuine and sincere way, without pretence.

The research shows that honesty achieves more than just trust and positive relationships – it also helps you to set more accurate goals – in other words, goals that reflect your true values and interests.

When you set realistic goals, you can more easily achieve them, and this in turn builds self-confidence.

Honesty can be challenging because we are often afraid of the consequences; of hurting other people’s feelings, or of letting others down.

The most important thing you can be, though, is honest with yourself. If you aren’t happy about something, or if you are living out of alignment with what you believe in, then it’s going to create more tension within you than if you lie to protect the feelings of others.

This is worth thinking about.

And the truth is, if people can’t handle your honest and tactful truth, spoken diplomatically, then they are probably not your people.

Integrity

The third part of being authentic is integrity.

Integrity is when you are who you say you are and act consistently across all areas of your life, rather than behaving differently around different people.

Integrity is when you live your life in alignment with your values, morals and ethics.

It’s been described as ‘doing the right thing, even when no-one is looking.’

In other words, integrity is a personal choice.

And it is a choice that builds confidence, courage, and authenticity.

Here’s why.

When you live with integrity, you never have to question yourself or doubt yourself. You are doing what you know is right for you. 

And when you take responsibility and are accountable for your actions, other people will trust you and respect you.

You become a role model and develop a positive reputation.

I feel that it’s easier to forgive someone’s mistakes if they have integrity, because you know that they are coming from an authentic, honest place.

Integrity directly impacts on your success in life because it improves your chance of promotion, leadership and attractiveness, generally.

Right now, think about someone you know who seems to have a lot of integrity.

How do you feel about that person?

How much do you trust them?

What is it specifically that causes you to feel this way about them?

You can hone your integrity by being clear on your core values, your decisions and by developing your strengths.

For example, if your strongest values are around family, community, contribution, love and responsibility, then it makes sense that you will cultivate thoughts and actions that align with those values.

In another example, if your strongest values are around achievement, competitiveness, courage, hard work and helping society, then it makes sense that you would cultivate thoughts and actions that align more with those values.

Neither of those two people is better than the other, they are just different.

But if person B presented to be family-oriented, but was more interested in creating ventures that helped communities, you would easily identify the incongruence between words and actions.

Similarly, if person A said that they badly wanted to get promoted at work, they might secretly rather prefer to focus on their family and loved ones, and might not be able to get the promotion they say they want.

As you can see, one of the foundations of being authentic is being self-aware.

When you understand what your values are and what drives you, then it’s way easier to act congruently and to be authentic.

When you take responsibility and are accountable for your actions, other people will trust you and respect you.

Summary

Being authentic is a wonderful way to build personal and business relationships, to feel fulfilled, and to follow your purpose.

But it’s more than just saying certain things or acting in a way that impresses others.

Being authentic requires three core skills; courage, honesty and integrity.

When you are self-aware, and act consistently with your values across all areas of life, with honesty, you are well on the way to being authentic.

Ready to be more authentic?

When you understand what your values are and what drives you, then it’s way easier to act congruently and to be authentic. 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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Episode 89: Stretch Goals

Do you want to develop courage, confidence, persistence, agility, strategic thinking and self-belief? Then you might just need to set a stretch goal.

Imagine if you could achieve a huge goal, something bigger than ever you thought you were capable of?

How much self-belief would you have if you could do that?

What else would be possible?

And how sweet would it be to overcome your fears and overwhelm, so you could bask in the glow of achievement?

It would be amazing.

Many more doors would open for you, and the world would have many more possibilities because you’d taken a leap of faith, and grown as a person along the way.

Would it be an easy process to get there?

Probably not.

It would be a baptism of fire – a situation where you must immediately cope with difficulties and obstacles.

But you would be a stronger, better person for it, more confident, accomplished and ready to tackle the next thing.

Welcome to stretch goals – the topic of today’s episode – guaranteed to supercharge your business and your life.

What is a Stretch Goal?

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

Extreme difficulty means going beyond your current capability and performance.

For you, this could mean going all out to lose 15kg, or holding a big marketing event to attract 100 people to your business, or just saving an extra $300 this month.

Extreme novelty means working differently, creatively, following new paths or approaches never tried before.

For you, this could mean trying a totally new exercise approach, or making a complete change in your business model.

Why Set A Stretch Goal?

You’re probably thinking that the whole stretch goal idea sounds a bit hard, a bit crazy and a bit scary. It sounds like a risk.

And it is ALL those things.

BUT the results you get from a stretch goal are worth it:

  • courage
  • determination
  • agility
  • the ability to manage risks, and
  • self-belief.

So in summary, a stretch goal is a hard goal that pushes you outside your comfort zone so you can truly discover what you’re capable of.

Top performers know that failure is part of the process so more than anything, stretch goals are an exercise in developing self-belief, acceptance and persistence by achieving bigger things than you thought were possible.

A Crazy Example (Do Not Try This At Home)

In 1997, my then-boyfriend, an avid motorbike rider, suggested that we do a trip across Australia from Perth Western Australia to Cairns Queensland through the middle of the country on dirt and sealed highways. 

It seemed like a great idea – but I had never ridden a motorbike before in my life.

This was going to be a monumental stretch goal that would shape my beliefs, attitudes and the course of my life going forward.

At the time, I had to take stock and think seriously about whether I could actually do this. Whether I had the resources within me to be able to take on such a big crazy goal.

I had to consider the time it would take me to learn to ride a bike. What would it cost me to buy a motorbike, lessons and to get my license and riding gear.

Then of course there was the whole rest of the trip to plan, like where the fuel stops were, how to modify the motorbikes to carry enough fuel between the fuel stops, how physically strong I’d need to be to ride the 10,000km and endure the harsh conditions of the desert. 

We had to think about safety check ins, sleeping arrangements, dried food and water given the limited carrying capacity of our motorbikes. 

I figured that between us we had what it took to do this trip and to plan it really well, so I said yes, let’s do it. And we developed and rolled out our travel plan over a 12 month period.

This was going to be a monumental stretch goal that would shape my beliefs, attitudes and the course of my life going forward.

In the weeks leading up to the trip people told me I was crazy. They laughed at me. They said things like, ‘you’ll never do that’ and ‘you’ll kill yourself’ and ‘who do you think you are?’

I didn’t dare tell my parents I was going because they would have been horrified. 

After all, I was 26 years old and was about to ride my own small off road motorbike – a Yamaha XT-250 – across the desert with no off road experience and only three months of lessons, license and riding time.

But I forged on. I created a 6-week gym training program for myself to build up some strength for the long haul ahead and I added 2kg of muscle to my skinny little frame. I felt strong, and physically and mentally ready.

A week before we left, I came down with a really terrible flu and was bedridden with a chesty, green-phlegmy cough in the week prior to our departure. I was SO sick. I had barely any energy and I lost all of the gains that I’d made in the gym. 

But we delayed our departure by a week, had a farewell party, and decided to go ahead anyway. 

The first 2 days it rained solidly and we made it on the sealed roads via Merredin and Kalgoorlie to Laverton where we holed up for a day and waited for the rain to pass.  

But when the rain showed no signs of letting up, we decided to hit the dirt highway so we could get ahead of the front. 

That meant riding a bike with 3 months of experience under my belt, heading into slippery mud holes, slimy sliding muddy roads, rocky hills, deep sand river beds  and of course coping with any cows, camels, kangaroos, wild horses and other wildlife sprinting across the road. 

There was not a soul in sight for most of the ride, and being the middle of winter in Australia it was freezing cold at night and crisp and sunny during the day – great for riding but not so good when you have the flu and a fever and a constantly runny nose. 

We wore balaclavas during the day under our helmets to keep warm and my balaclava was stuck to my top lip because of my runny nose. 

As you can imagine, I felt miserable and like giving up. I spent the first few days crying, sending daggers at the back of my boyfriend’s head, realising that there was no way out and I had to keep going. 

It felt bloody awful and terrifying. I was riding at about 40 km per hour while my boyfriend rode on ahead then impatiently waiting for me to catch up. 

On about day 6 of the trip something interesting happened. We were riding through the desert near Peagull Caves in WA, and up ahead on the dirt road I could see this little shape.

As we drew closer, I realised it was an Italian guy riding a little Vespa with a small suitcase and a hat box (of all things!). He was smoking a cigar, grinning broadly, and pottering along at 30 km per hour. I passed this guy and waved, then suddenly I felt like the queen of the world because finally there was somebody going slower than me on a smaller bike and he was enjoying himself.

You would not believe how good I felt in that moment. It was a huge lesson – that I could actually enjoy this journey and make the most of it. I didn’t have to be the fastest or best rider, I could simply ride, and be happy for being here and doing this huge feat.

Then I started to gain more confidence in my riding and although I was still to be sick with the flu for another six weeks, I really made progress. I felt like I was accomplishing something.

Then after a couple of nights’ stopover at Ayers Rock and Alice Springs, we hit the dirt again, and one of the most rugged tracks in the Northern Territory desert called the Cattle Water Pass. 

My boyfriend convinced me it was a 60 km shortcut but it ended up being one of the most hectic, eroded, difficult, windy tracks I could have ever imagined (he did apologise for taking me down it later on). The upshot is I ended up nearly falling off my bike and collapsing in exhaustion covered in sweat and feeling defeated. 

I was in the middle of Australia and the only thing I could do was to keep riding.

We ended that day at the Urandangi Roadhouse and all I could see ahead was a dusty road with rocks and big bulldust holes that could easily cause an accident. Bulldust holes look like the normal road, but they are actually gaping holes that can be up to a couple of metres wide and maybe half a metre deep, filled with very fine dried silt.

So on the surface, they look like road, but when you ride a motorbike through them at 70km/hour, your front wheel plunges in and you go flying over the front. Which is NOT what you want to do in the remote central desert.

I was terrified of the road ahead, so I asked every person I saw at the pub – both of them – what the conditions were like. 

The first guy said “it’s a great road, you could drive a regular 2WD car on it, you’ll be fine”. Phew, what a relief!

But then the next guy said “it’s the worst road I’ve ever been on it’s full of bulldust holes and you’re at high risk of a serious crash – it’s not safe to drive on”. 

It was at that point that I realised that nobody could predict what the road ahead would be like. Nobody could guarantee me that I would be safe. I had to just get on that road and ride it; to make my own decisions about how to ride, and how I was going to talk to myself about that journey (mostly, I prayed). 

But, isn’t that a metaphor for life? 

The trip got easier from then on. We made it to Cairns, stayed a few weeks and by the time it came to do the journey home I was a confident and competent rider and I was riding at 80 km per hour off-road and was able to handle all different sorts of terrain with confidence.

What Stretch Goals Create

I mentioned that that trip was a defining moment for me.

At the time, I felt like I was the queen of the world. I had a huge sense of accomplishment and achievement. I had so much more self-belief. 

I knew that if I persisted I could get through anything, even when it seemed there was no way out.

That trip helped me to develop character strengths and skills that I would not have had otherwise.

And in the years after that, I have used those strengths, skills and that self-belief to start businesses, to change careers, to move interstate, backing myself the whole way.

Why was I able to do these things? 

Because I knew that I could make them work. I had proof. And without that baptism of fire, I might never have achieved everything I have so far in my life.

That, my friends, is what stretch goals can create. 

For me, that was a stretch goal worth pursuing.

Summary

Yes, the whole stretch goal idea is a bit hard, crazy and scary. 

It involves getting out of your comfort zone to tackle something huge – something that seems impossible – knowing that you could fail along the way.

Some people will tell you it’s easy, others will tell you it’s hard. In the end you’ve just got to back yourself. 

Is it worth it?

You will have to decide for yourself.

But if you want to grow as a person, and to develop more courage, determination, persistence, agility, strategic thinking and self-belief, I highly recommend setting yourself a stretch goal.

It will totally change your life.

If you want to study stretch goals with me, jump on into my monthly membership at https://www.melaniejwhite.com/habitology.

Ready to set a stretch goal?

It’s a great way to grow as a person, and to develop more courage, persistence, and self-belief! 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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Episode 88: Packaging Coaching Part 2 – Interview with Irena Geller of Irena Geller Coaching

Confused about how to package coaching with an existing service? This is part 2 of a series of interviews explaining how to do it.

Today, I talk to Irena Geller about working with a ready-made coaching program.

Ready to package coaching with your existing service?

It might be what you have been looking for. 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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Episode 87: Creating A Vision For Your Coaching Business

Any time, but especially now, it’s a good time to review and revise your business vision. 

This episode explains two vision traps to avoid, and two steps to creating a compelling, inspiring, get-me-out-of-bed vision.

You might be asking – why write a business vision, and further, why would you revise it? 

Well, because your vision is a clear and vivid image or statement describing where you want to take your business and what it will achieve in the world.

It’s the thing that gets you excited. It’s a get-me-out-of-bed statement that inspires you to persist, no matter what, to overcome any obstacles that come up.

It is the outcome you seek to create, therefore your vision creates a framework for setting specific, actionable goals.

And of course, your vision may change over time, so you need to review and perhaps revise it from time to time – especially when your life and/or circumstances change.

A vision is SO important to your business because strong emotions are what drive us to persevere and what cause our customers to buy.

We need to create business vision statements that are aspirational, motivating and speak to a purpose that is bigger than ourselves.

A vision is SO important to your business because strong emotions are what drive us to persevere and what cause our customers to buy.

To get it right you need to reflect on your why – your values-based motivators; your deeper purpose, and what lights you up emotionally and touches your heart.

As you can guess, it takes some work to uncover these things. 

And that is probably why I see a lot of business owners struggling with creating a business vision – because they aren’t sure how to peel off the layers to find and explore their values and purpose.

So today I’m going to walk you through a process of defining a business vision so that you can firm that up and then, as a result, start to set and achieve meaningful, realistic goals.

I want to help you to create a vision for your coaching business that is realistic, meaningful and purposeful, so you can work every day on purpose.

Vision Traps

Before we talk about creating a business vision, I want to point out two main vision traps that people fall into. This will help you to understand why you might be getting stuck with your business vision.

The first main trap is the ‘looks good on paper’ trap.

If you’re like most people, you think that you operate and make decisions from a position of logic.  

In this case, rather than digging into what’s important to you and why, you are simply using your logic to examine some superficial facts about yourself and using those as your basis for creating a vision. 

Vision traps can happen to anyone who lives in a world of shoulds, or who isn’t that connected with their emotional side or values. Maybe you’re not sure if what you’re thinking is ‘right or not’.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say that you have had experience as a personal trainer, so it seems logical that you would set a business vision that builds around your skills in those areas.

For example, you might say to yourself, ‘I’m a personal trainer, so my business vision is that I want to help women in their 30’s to be fit and healthy and to have strong bodies that look good in a bikini.’

And let me just say – this is totally fine if that’s truly meaningful to you.

BUT maybe in your heart, you want to work with women who want to be consistent with going to the gym because they are struggling to manage stress, and they aren’t eating well or exercising as a result – and that’s meaningful to you because you’ve been in that situation yourself and it felt awful and out of control..

What I’m saying is this – If you looked a little deeper into what is truly meaningful for you, you might uncover that deeper sense of purpose, the stronger values behind the work, the bigger reasons for you to take action no matter what.

Think about how very different those two business visions might be – one around helping people to exercise, and another around helping people to manage their time, responsibilities and their minds.

The key message here is this: your past doesn’t necessarily dictate your future.

You get to choose a business vision that is meaningful and purposeful to you, in simple terms – it’s heartfelt

Sure, it may draw on any of your life experiences, skills and qualifications, but not necessarily the most obvious.

The second type of trap is the ‘this is working for other people’ trap.

It is similar to the ‘looks good on paper’ trap that I just described.

The main difference is that in this case, you’re not sure what you want to focus on, so you look at what others are doing and try to do the same thing – because it’s working for them, so it must be the right thing to do.

Notice once again how your logic is jumping in and taking over from the heart. Perhaps you are afraid of failing, or you’re unclear, or you aren’t backing yourself.

The same thing applies as for trap #1 – you need to get in touch with your feelings.

I am NOT trying to be your therapist here – just to explain what you need to do instead of using logic to define a vision.

And, I do want to say that yes, it can be useful to look at what others are doing to help you get perspective and ideas, and to help you to define what you like and don’t like.

But a business vision is a very personal thing and you probably won’t find that same level of emotional connection to someone else’s vision. 

Now that you’re aware of the traps, do either of them resonate with you?

Or are you really in tune with your heart and higher purpose, and working to that?

If you’re stuck and need help, let’s go to the next part – my process for helping you create a business vision that compels you to take action and persist.

Step 1 – Getting Clarity on Your Vision 

To clarify on the values behind your business vision, or the main areas you wish to focus on, I invite you to zoom out of what you think you know about yourself and start asking yourself some thought-provoking, coaching style questions, with a very open mind.

Here are a few of my favourite questions that can help you connect to what’s most meaningful and authentic to you.

  1. What did you love to do as a child when you were playing?
  2. What is your struggle to success story with your own health and wellness?
  3. What are your strengths and how have they helped you to change habits or maintain habits more easily?
  4. Who sees you as a role model, and why?
  5. What is your passion area of health and wellness?
  6. What really irritates you about a specific area of health and wellness?
  7. What do you feel is lacking in a specific area of health and wellness?
  8. What do people need more of? Why is that?

Using the previous example of a personal trainer creating a business vision, going through these questions might uncover things like:

  • You always struggled with body image
  • Your role model was Oprah – and you could relate to her yo yo weight struggles
  • You are passionate about helping women accept themselves and feel strong, without needing to turn to food
  • You are irritated about the unrealistic body imaging out there in the media
  • You feel that self-compassion is missing from the gym environment
  • You feel that the current advertising around gyms is disempowering and could speak more to strength, confidence and personal power
  • You want to help women to feel more confident about exercising in gyms so that they can be their fittest self

So as you can see, when you ask yourself for your opinion on things, your values are revealed in that conversation and you can uncover some more emotive statements that could be used to create a powerful, inspiring vision.

This exercise is a great starting point for creating a new business vision, or to clarify or test the relevance of your existing business vision.

Step 2 – Going Deep

To make sure you have gone deep enough into your values and motivators, you can use the Five Whys exercise.

This is really simple – it’s about digging deep to explore what’s behind the things you want to do or achieve.

It’s great to do this as an exercise for either a new business vision or an existing one – it is a reality-check that the vision truly represents what you feel, believe and stand for.

Basically, you look at the vision you created and ask yourself why five times in a row.

Those are all why type questions that might reveal values.

Here is an example to illustrate how it works.

Let’s say your business vision is to inspire women to feel confident about exercising in public so they can be strong, fit and confident role models in life.

Now you can use the five whys to see whether that really does matter to you, and what the values or motivators are behind that.

You’d first ask yourself – why is that important to me, personally?

Maybe you want to smash society’s body image issues and right the wrongs of the media.

Then ask yourself another why question, like – So what? What difference will that make?

Maybe you feel that if we all had better body image, we’d be more confident in our daily lives.

Then ask yourself something like – why does that matter?

Perhaps you know from personal experience that when you feel good about yourself, you can achieve more and be more and that feels amazing. You feel happier and healthier. Stronger.

Why is that important?

Maybe you feel that women are role models for their kids and peers, they have the power in the family unit, and they have a unique opportunity to end the cycle of body shaming.

You might then ask yourself – What could that create in the world?

And perhaps the answer is equality. Peace. Confidence. More women in more powerful roles, making the world a safer, happier, healthier place.

These are all just made up examples, but I use them to illustrate how you can go deeper into what’s important to you personally, so you can polish up your vision and make it more meaningful.

Road Testing Your Vision

Exploring the values behind your vision is designed to uncover the deeper stuff that is personal to you, so you will probably know when you get it right. 

But in case you are unsure, there are a few ways to road test your vision to make sure it is true, values-aligned, meaningful, exciting and compelling.

1. Read it aloud, with gusto.

Do you feel a swelling in your chest, or goose bumps, or feel a little teary, or hear the word ‘yes!’ in your head? 

Then it’s probably on the mark.

2. Ask a client’s opinion.

How does your client respond to the vision when you read it out? Are they visibly and audibly excited or inspired, does it resonate?

If so, then it’s probably on the mark.

3. Read it on a day when you feel tired and flat.

We all have bad days. And if you read your business vision on a ‘tired, flat’ day – does it perk you up, get you interested and fired up again?

If so, then it’s probably on the mark.

A word on perfection here – it may take you time to get it right. Maybe 3 months, or a year.

It may change over time, as your stage of business, life or priorities change.

And that’s ok. 

Review it once every year as part of your business planning process. And as long as your business vision inspires and excites you, it’s doing its first and most important job.

Then, you are ready to set some goals to achieve it.

Summary

Your business vision should be an inspiring, vivid statement that describes what you want to achieve in your business, and why that’s important to you.

A lot of people try to create a vision based on their logical thought processes, or leave their vision on the shelf for years without revising it.

Your business vision should be an inspiring, vivid statement that describes what you want to achieve in your business, and why that’s important to you

Today I talked about how important it is to bring heartfelt emotion into your vision, so that you are truly and emotionally connected to it.

That will bring energy and emotion into your marketing and help you to set relevant goals for achieving it.

Using a process of big picture questions to uncover what you want, and the five whys process to clarify the values behind it, is a great way to create a compelling vision statement for your business.

If you need help with this, visit melaniejwhite.com/contact and drop me a line, we can make a time for a free coaching call to see if this is something I can help you with.

Ready to create an awesome business vision?

You will love the feeling of having the right energy and emotion in your business! 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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Episode 83: Connection

Humans need connection to survive. Let’s look at the three ways you can increase your connection so that you can be more resilient and calm in these trying times.

At a time of global lockdown and enforced isolation, we may need to make more effort to connect, and to find creative ways to connect.

Why? Because connection is directly related to longevity, resilience & wellbeing and, let’s face it – we all need a bit of that.

In the so-called ‘Blue Zones’, the areas where there are more centenarians than anywhere else in the world, social connection is one of four essential pillars within the magic formula for longevity.

Today I want to talk about connection – what it is, and how to do it more effectively.

According to the Blue Zone model, Connection is one of the four essential pillars, and there are three parts to connection:

  1.     Belonging (some sort of faith-based community)
  2.     Loved ones first (families come first)
  3.     Right tribe (choose social circles that support healthy behaviours)

Let’s explore each of these, and I invite you to consider which elements you have access to right now and how you can draw on these to stay calm and build resilience in these uncertain times.

Belonging

Belonging is to do with a feeling of being connected to something bigger than yourself, when you transcend the day to day goals, feel alive and more interconnected.

In essence, belonging is a search for meaning. 

For some people this equates to religion or spirituality but for others it’s about that connection that can be found via music, altruistic pursuits, philanthropy or passion projects.

In a time when physical connection is difficult, I think that being able to create a sense of belonging within yourself is a powerful skill that can help you to stay calm and build resilience, and to escape the anxiety of what’s going on.

I invite you to ask yourself a couple of questions. 

Where does your sense of belonging come from – a higher power, or a higher calling, or both?  

What sorts of feelings does that connection create within you?

Loved ones

Your family and loved ones provide love, support and a framework of values. They are the people you count on, and who you respect and have shared responsibility for.

These are your primary relationships; they give you a sense of security and protection.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs says that beyond the basic human needs of food, water and shelter, humans have psychological needs that are met through both belonging and loving relationships.

Powerful tribes can transcend the bounds of physical isolation and can close the tyranny of distance.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.

In other words, when it comes to relationships, we are greatly influenced by the people closest to us.

I think that’s because of our desire to belong (and fit in), partly because of the trust we have in our intimate relationships, and also the fact that emotions are contagious.

I’ll talk about that in a separate episode but for now, a couple of questions for you to ponder.

Which are your healthiest, positive and most robust friendships and intimate relationships, and why do you think so?

Who are the people that are most important for you to connect with in difficult times or during hardship?

Your Tribe

We are wired to belong and be part of a pack, and when we belong, it eases our sense of loneliness and isolation.

According to Seth Godin, one of our most powerful survival mechanisms is to be part of a tribe, where we contribute to and gain from a group of like-minded people.

Effective tribes have good leadership, a shared interest and a way to communicate.

But beyond that, a powerful tribe is more of a movement.

It’s a place where many people work together to seek something better, and bigger than themselves.

It transforms their shared interests into passionate goals and big visions for change, creating energy and transformation.

And in the definition provided by the Blue Zones research, tribes are about like-minded people who engage in healthy behaviours.

The more tightly-knit the tribe and its shared interests, the greater the power of a tribe.

And an effective tribe doesn’t have to be big. Sometimes small tribes can be super powerful.

How do you know that you’re part of a powerful tribe?

Well, you feel powerful and energized when you’re engaged with it.

Maybe even reading the words above, you feel this way.

Tribes can exist in real life and online.

Powerful tribes can transcend the bounds of physical isolation and can close the tyranny of distance.

Tribes can be found in Facebook Groups, LinkedIn groups, community groups, not-for-profit organisations, social causes and workplaces.

Once again, I invite you to consider two questions:

Which tribes are giving you the support you need right now?

What role do these tribes play in your motivation and your mental and emotional wellbeing?

Summary

Today I’ve discussed three aspects of connection to others – one of the pillars of longevity in the Blue Zone communities of the world.

Belonging, loved ones and tribes are all types of connections that we have access to in our daily lives, and they are more important than ever right now in helping us deal with change, uncertainty and stress.

Being able to create a sense of belonging within yourself is a powerful skill that can help you to stay calm and build resilience.

Knowing this, I encourage you to think about which of these areas might need some attention so you can get the support and nurturing you need at this moment.

I also recommend that you invest time in self-connection, because self-reliance is a powerful way to stay calm and have a sense of control when the rest of the world is in chaos.

If you have thoughts or questions about this, please connect with me on melaniejwhite.com/contact

Are you accessing enough connection?

Do you need support to create a sense of belonging within yourself? 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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Episode 81: How To Run A Business In Stressful Times.

This episode describes three levels of resilience and helps you to get clarity on what to do at YOUR level to keep your business on track in stressful times.

Everyone responds differently to external pressures. The way you respond depends on your personality, your thought processes and your personal circumstances.

But at the core of things, stress starts in your mind. Your perception (thoughts) determines your resilience. Resilience simply means the resources and capacity you have to cope with the circumstances around you. 

When your resilience is low, it affects your ability to make decisions, to think clearly and to be fully present with your clients – all of which are obviously important in relationship-based businesses like coaching.

When you’re running a coaching business in stressful times, there are different approaches you can take to support your wellbeing and to feel at peace with your business decisions. 

Your best approach depends on how resilient or stressed you feel. Most people will fit into one of three categories.

Three Categories of Business Owner Resilience

Category 1 – feeling resilient, seeing opportunities to be of service, and feeling ready, willing and able to reach out and help others. These people may have fewer external pressures, may be more extroverted, or could be people who have done a lot of their own coaching around beliefs and behaviours. In any case, they have the resilience to be able to cope with stressful times.

Category 2 – feeling fearful or overwhelmed, seeing roadblocks, and feeling unable to cope with the responsibilities of both business and life. These people may have more challenging circumstances, may be more introverted, or are yet to master the skills of emotional balance. They are unlikely to have enough resilience to cope with stressful times.

Category 3 – wanting to help, seeing opportunities but becoming easily overwhelmed. These people may be managing internal and external pressures but are close to capacity. They may have some skills around emotional balance and some level of stability in life. This means they feel resilient at times and are able to cope, yet can fall back into overwhelm. Their resilience is ‘inconsistent’.

These are generalisations but they may help you identify yourself for the purposes of making rational decisions about what to do with your business.

Let’s look at some approaches for each category.

Business Approaches for Stressful Times

If you’re in category 1, seize the day. Despite stressful times, you are best positioned to continue running your business or even expanding it, so that you can help others.

You may offer services that help others to;

  • Get some respite (e.g. online retreat)
  • Cope better (e.g. plans and strategies)
  • Maintain positive habits (e.g. visions and goals, accountability groups)
  • develop new habits or routines (e.g. challenges or programs)
  • create more joy, fun, freedom (e.g. uplifting classes or events)

Remember that showing up for others in stressful times takes time, energy and effective planning.

Showing up for others in stressful times takes time, energy and effective planning.

You may tend to attract clients who have similar resilience to you, but be mindful of others who are struggling and may have less capacity to cope with higher energy activities or sharing of information in a group setting.

If you are in category 2, your primary concern is your own wellbeing, stability and your loved ones. In stressful times you probably have limited capacity to truly be of service to your clients.

You may like to define a period (e.g. 2 – 6 months) to focus on your own physical and mental wellbeing, during which time you:

  • close your business temporarily (e,g, block your calendar)
  • Subcontract another coach to service your clients
  • Reduce business activities to a minimum (e.g. working with a few select clients)
  • Consider Centrelink or other options for financial support if needed. Business offsets, grants or hardship payments are sometimes available.

Remember that as a business owner you may have legal obligations to clients such as coaching out their contract, refunding them, putting payments on hold or suspending memberships.

There is also the common courtesy of emailing your clients to let them know that you are taking time off, and to let them know what to expect from you in the interim.

Maybe that’s nothing, or you may continue newsletters, or you may schedule social media posts, podcasts or have a VA do that for you. Just make sure you tell your clients how they can stay connected or when you’ll be back in touch with them.

If you’re highly stressed then it’s likely you’ll be in decision fatigue, so you may find it easiest to discuss a strategy with your business coach or mentor to help you develop a clear plan going forward.

If you’re in category 3, then your biggest priority will be emotional balance. 

That’s because you may feel motivated to make offers in the heat of the moment, or be super responsive to clients, but then realise you lack the energy or capacity to follow through with an appropriate level of service.

Your best approach will probably be to:

  • create a clear schedule of work and non work activities and stick to it (e.g. a weekly plan)
  • reduce the number of clients you see each week, and set a maximum number of sessions per day
  • pause and reflect on your capacity when a client asks for help rather than just responding  
  • pause and reflect on your capacity when you get an impulse to offer help or run and event, rather than just rushing into action  
  • Automate your marketing activities.

Remember that a successful business is consistent how it shows up. It underpromises and over delivers in value, not the other way around.

If you run your business in fits and starts, it may damage your reputation. You’re better off to dial down your activities and be consistent with them. 

SUMMARY

Those of us who serve others can fall into the trap of overhelping, overcommitting or overextending ourselves, and burning out.

The most important thing for us all as individuals is to check in with ourselves each day and reflect on how we are holding up, what our capacity is, and to maintain our own physical and mental wellbeing habits. We must do this to meet our own needs and to have the capacity to serve others.

The most important thing for any business – in good times and hard times – to be is consistent. Consistency builds a sense of trust, reliability and professionalism.

In times of stress, I encourage you to reflect on your resilience and make a decision as to what your business approach will be. Decide how long you will do this approach for. (E.g. 3 months? 4 months?) then take the appropriate actions.

The most important thing for any business – in good times and hard times – to be is consistent. Consistency builds a sense of trust, reliability and professionalism.

You can revise your plan at any time but definitely at the end of your defined time period, and get clear on how you’re feeling and what you will do next.

If you need support with your business in stressful times, these resources may help.

Summary of state-by-state stimulus measuresAustralian Tax Office information for COVID 19Business support for sole traders

Small Business NSW (includes info on financial hardship and bank loan deferment), Business Qld (includes information on economic relief, payroll tax relief,  power bill relief and support facts), Business Victoria (includes different support options including low cost business mentoring), Telstra small business supportTips for coping with COVID anxiety (Psychology.org, includes a list of resources)

Ready to navigate your business through this stressful time?

Now is a time to have a clear and realistic picture of what your business can do. If you’re looking to break old habits and get through this, I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.

Learn more here:

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Episode 79: Interview with Terri Sparrow on packaging coaching with a product

Confused about how to package coaching with an existing service? This is part 1 of a series of interviews explaining how to do it.

Today, I talk to Terri Sparrow about packaging coaching with a product.

Ready to package coaching with your existing product?

It might be what you have been looking for. 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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Episode 78: How to Build a Referral Network with Allied Health Professionals

What is the most effective way to become known and to start connecting with potential clients?

By building a referral network with Allied Health professionals. Here’s how to get started so you can get a steady stream of referrals and build your sales pipeline.

When I work with coaches who are starting their coaching business, the first question they ask is ‘how do I get clients?’ I want to talk about the most effective way to become known and to start connecting with potential clients – by building a referral network with Allied Health professionals.

When you start a business, the first thing you need to do is start marketing.

But what is the best place and way to START marketing?

To answer that, let’s acknowledge that there are three main parts to marketing your business:

  1. Becoming known
  2. Connecting and engaging, and
  3. Making offers

Working in an industry where quality and credibility are essential, Health and Wellness Coaches can gain a huge advantage when starting their businesses by networking with allied health practitioners.

It takes time to build rapport and relationship in allied health, but these specific relationships will help you to build the most meaningful connections.

And if you start building your networks when you start your business, you will more easily build qualified referrals and fill your sales pipeline.

In my local coaching business, I networked with GP’s in the startup phase of my business and involved them in the development of my program approach, and within 2 years was being listed on GP care plans and was referred clients on a regular basis.

Let’s take a step back and explore what all this means and involves, so you can start building your own relationships with allied health practitioners.

It Starts with Trust

Even when someone is ready, willing and able to get help with their health and wellbeing, they will generally only buy from someone they know, like and trust.

As a new business owner, you may not yet have that trust and connection, and that’s why a referral network is so important.

As a new business owner, you may not yet have that trust and connection, and that’s why a referral network is so important.

Further, consider how much more weight an Allied Health Practitioner’s referral has, compared with a referral from a friend or family member.

People see medical and health professionals as trustworthy and reliable, and that sentiment transfers to you as a referral partner.

It therefore makes sense to start building Allied Health relationships early on in your business, so you can position your business as credible, professional and reputable.

 

Referrals Build Referrals

An easy way to get referrals from Allied Health practitioners is to meet and network with them and refer people you know to them.

Even if you don’t have any clients, you can become their client, or refer people you know to certain practitioners.

Do this and they will get to know you and will more likely want to reciprocate.

Which local practitioners could you use the service of and refer people to?

Networks Build Collective Knowledge

When you maintain your professional networks and relationships, you enjoy an added benefit of keeping your finger on the pulse with developments in your area, and in the health industry more generally.

For example, I recall a Medicare Local meeting that I attended in my Shire.

I had the chance to network with Allied Health professionals I knew, meet new practitioners in the area, learn about some of the common problems our sector was facing generally in terms of funding, information sharing gaps and key client issues (some of which I could help with) and, I was able to make a couple of useful contributions to this meeting.

I learned very quickly that these sorts of events were worth attending and helped me to support other practitioners while also building trust in my network and identifying new business opportunities.

In addition, as Allied Health practitioners came to know me better, they understood how I helped people, and could send clients to me that were the right kind of client for my niche with the exact problem I helped to solve.

As they say in marketing, I was getting pre-qualified client referrals who were suited to my program and to my way of working.

The impact of this was to increase my sales conversion rate such that around 90 – 95% of all enquiries would buy from me.

The credibility and respect attached to Allied Health referrals may be as good or greater than referrals from the general public and, they are likely to be qualified leads.

How to Build a Referral Network With Allied Health Professionals

Here are five steps to getting started with your Allied Health Network.

  1. Get professional business cards printed with contact details and website/social media links (ideally LinkedIn)
  2. Develop your professional identity and a clear, simple elevator pitch-style overview of who you help, what you do, and how you deliver that (see the Coaching Success Accelerator, Unit 1, for a step-by-step process)
  3. Visit www.healthdirect.gov.au/Australian-health-services to identify health services in your local area and make a list of those relevant to your services and niche.
  4. Decide on how you will approach Allied Health professionals to make contact – for example, would you:
  •   send a letter,
  •   phone to request an in person meeting,
  •   book an appointment as a client
  •   attend an Allied Health event, or
  •   approach a chronic disease organisation that relates to your niche?

5.  Start scheduling appointments and reaching out to those professionals to introduce yourself and discuss a referral process that suits you both.  They may have something in place that they use, or you could develop something together.

Summary

Referrals are a great way to start and build your business.

The credibility and respect attached to Allied Health referrals may be as good or greater than referrals from the general public and, they are likely to be qualified leads.

If you start building your networks when you start your business, you will more easily build qualified referrals and fill your sales pipeline

That means you can convert a higher percentage of enquiries to sales.

Further, you get to keep your finger on the local and industry pulse and help other practitioners, plus identify business opportunities.

What are you waiting for?

It’s time to follow a simple, five-step process to building your referral network so you can generate a steady stream of enquiries to fill your programs and sales pipeline.

Ready to build networks with Allied Health professionals?

 Give your business the head start it deserves! 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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Episode 77: Three Ways to Be a More Compassionate Coach

Learn how to be a more compassionate coach so that you can maintain your own emotional and energy in the session, AND help your clients get into more of a creative, optimistic and motivated state.

If you are a coach, especially a new coach, then sooner or later you will learn that your clients will show up in various states of excitement, fatigue and motivation.

Sometimes they’ll come into the session feeling flustered and agitated.

Sometimes they’ll show up serene and calm.

Sometimes they’ll show up stuck, demotivated and negative.

And unless you have a way of facing whatever comes up, you will probably struggle to maintain your own focus, energy and sense of self-confidence in that session.

You might take their emotions personally, or you could start feeling like you need to ‘give them something’ or ‘fix them’ by the end of the session. 

But none of those are true.

What is true is that emotions are contagious.

So when a client shows up in any given state, you need to be present in your own space, resilient, and able to meet them where they are at.

If you want to remain neutral, open, objective and empathetic – to be focused and in the moment, thinking only of the client’s agenda….

…..then you need to know how to show up to the session the right way AND how to handle a client’s negative emotions in your coaching sessions.

This episode explores three ways to be a more compassionate coach, so you can do just that.

Why Emotional Balance Matters

Your emotional state has an enormous impact on your brain’s capacity for learning.

More specifically, if you or your client go into a session feeling frazzled, self-critical, angry, sad, exhausted or frustrated, or any other negative emotion, then it reduces the ability to learn new skills, listen, take in knowledge and remember things.

If you are thinking things like “I’m no good” or “I don’t know what to say – help!” then you will bring your focus to that and be less present, attentive and focused.  

Using self-compassion and compassion are great ways to maintain your own emotional and energy in the session, AND help your clients get into more of a creative, optimistic and motivated state.

If your client is verbalising things like “I’m no good”or “I failed”, then they will bring their focus and attention to what isn’t working and their negative feelings, effectively sapping brain resources and becoming stuck.

Our prefrontal cortex is impaired by negative emotions, and this stifles creativity, cognitive ability, curiosity and strategic thinking.

And unless you manage this properly, you risk being sucked into the vortex of your – or your client’s – emotions!

When I started coaching, I sometimes took on the client’s state at the start of the session. 

Sometimes I took their emotions home with me or expected the worst from some sessions when I had clients who were stuck or overly negative.

This didn’t do me OR the client any favours. 

It distracted me from their agenda. And finally, one day, I had a powerful aha moment after feeling particularly miserable – that these feelings were all about me and how I felt, and I needed to switch into focusing on the client instead!

I needed to develop some strategies to help me get into that ‘all about the client’ headspace so I could truly serve them as a coach.

When you and your client are able to be emotionally neutral or positive, your prefrontal cortex is activated and you are both more ready, willing and able to listen, reflect and learn.

You will be calm and present, mindful and truly hear the needs so you can respond appropriately.

Your client will remember more and be able to come up with more of their own solutions. 

And when a client starts talking about positives and opportunities, it gives you an opportunity to broaden and build those positive emotions so that your client gets more out of the session.

I’m sure you can see why emotional balance matters for both the coach AND the client.

As the coach, your priority is to learn how to manage your own fears, insecurities and inadequacies, and to be able to handle your client’s emotional state, however they show up to the session. 

So let’s talk about how to be a more compassionate coach.

Using self-compassion and compassion are great ways to maintain your own emotional and energy in the session, AND help your clients get into more of a creative, optimistic and motivated state.

Self-Compassion Being Skills – How You Show Up

The first thing you can do to be a more compassionate coach is to show up to each session with a compassionate coaching presence.

The being skills of compassion are warmth, patience, mindfulness, calm and empathy.

Showing up with these skills helps you to be fully present for your client, and to put your own beliefs, judgements and bias aside so you can truly focus on their needs, wants and agenda.

I would like to share the process I use for building self-compassion.

This really helps me to avoid being sucked into my client’s energy and emotions and get into a more compassionate headspace, so I can be present and maintain the client’s agenda.

Here are the FOUR things I do to build and maintain the being skills of self-compassion:

  1. I work with my own coaches for my own personal development
  2. I use a pre-session ritual, and
  3. I intentionally practice my being skills. 
  4. I manage my own emotions through compassionate self-coaching.

I am always banging on about working with a coach, so for now, I just want to talk about the last three of these things.

Let’s start with pre-session rituals. 

1. Pre-Session Rituals

There are LOTS of different things you can do as a pre-session ritual to help you develop the skills of compassion. 

Here are a few ideas:

  • Spend 5 – 10 minutes meditating (e.g. Headspace app)
  • Spend 5 minutes doing a breathing exercise e.g. 4 7 8 breathing exercise
  • Take a short walk in nature, standing upright, striding purposefully and breathing deeply
  • Visualise yourself being present 
  • Listen to calming music

Basically, you are looking for any ritual that quiets the inner voice and brings you into a calm, present state.

What could you do to relax and become present?

What would best suit your learning style?

What equipment, resources or tools would you need?

2. Intentionally Practising The Being Skills of Self-Compassion

Here’s a fact – when you radiate warmth, patience, mindfulness, calm and empathy, then you will show up with compassion AND those feelings will rub off on your clients.

Remember, emotions are contagious!

Your clients will be better equipped to settle down, let go of the past, to accept themselves and to feel self-compassion.

Then, they will be more able to make peace with their challenges and move forward.

If you are self-compassionate, you will be better equipped to help them zoom out of any emotional reactions so they can objectively review events and see things as they are, and start seeing opportunities for change. 

Here’s what I do to intentionally practice the being skills of self-compassion.

  1. At the start of each calendar month, I choose a being skill I would like to focus on.
  2. I write that in my diary.
  3. I find at least one opportunity each day to intentionally practice that skill in a conversation with a friend or family member.
  4. I reflect on that skill before a coaching session and look for opportunities to bring it into the session, to either
  • Help a client move into a neutral place, or
  • To help a client to broaden and build on a positive moment.

This is my personal practice – what would you do to strengthen your being skills?

3. Managing Your Own Thoughts – Being Self-Compassionate

Those of you who know me know that I am a big advocate of self coaching using the Model that Brooke Castillo created.

That is about changing your internal dialogue – to stop catastrophizing, criticising and blaming – so that your self talk becomes more neutral and factual.

I can’t stress enough how important this is. 

The analogy is that you are learning a new language – one that is more empathetic, nurturing and compassionate.

You can learn more about the model at the Life Coach School Podcast.

So the first thing I do to be more self-compassionate is to use the Model to rewire my thoughts.

The second thing I do is to use the tools of self-compassion both as a regular practice and in those moments that I feel emotional pain.

You can learn more about self compassion in episode 76 and you can visit self-compassion.org for some useful tools 

My practice for those more intense emotional moments of suffering is as follows:

  1. I watch my self talk
  2. I catch my inner critic in the act, calling me a name, judging me
  3. I practice self-kindness by replacing my negative thought with something kind – and to do this effectively, I imagine that I’m talking to a friend who felt like this
  4. I remember that other people feel like this. I consider others I know who have suffered.
  5. Then, I bring myself to the present moment by focusing on my breath, or even better, something in nature.

I find that nature helps me to zoom out and get perspective, to feel gratitude and then warmth, and to become calm again.

Summary – Charity Begins at Home

To wrap things up, I ask the question – how can we show up with empathy for our clients, and put judgement aside, if we can’t be compassionate with ourselves?

I truly believe that charity begins at home.

If you want to be a more compassionate coach, then you need to do two things: 

  1. To manage your own emotions and self compassion, and
  2. To show up with compassionate being skills in your coaching sessions with clients.

When you radiate warmth, patience, mindfulness, calm and empathy, then you will show up with compassion AND those feelings will rub off on your clients.

I described my own practice of four things that I do to build self-compassion and compassion:

  1. Working with my own coach
  2. Using pre-session rituals to enhance my being skills for my client’s benefit
  3. Intentionally practicing being skills every month, focusing on one at a time
  4. Managing my own thoughts with self-coaching and self-compassion tools and practices.

If you would like to become more self-compassionate, visit melaniejwhite.com and click the Free Chat page, to enquire about a good fit session with myself or another coach in your area.

Ready to be a more compassionate coach?

Both coaches and clients are better off with compassionate coaching! 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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Episode 75: Confidence in Your Coaching Business

Here are two things you must do if you want to succeed in your new coaching business – and measuring your numbers isn’t necessarily one of them.

Today’s episode is the second half of an important topic – confidence in your coaching business.

In episode 74 we talked about confidence in your modality and also in your own skills as an important foundation – so please go back and listen to that one. 

That’s a segue into today’s topic.

It’s one thing to feel confident as a coach, but running a business is a whole different ball game, especially if you have only ever been an employee, and never run a business on your own.

So today I want to talk to you about how to grow confidence in your business skills.

Confidence in Your Business Skills

I want to start by busting a myth.

A lot of business coaches talk about how important it is to know your numbers. 

That means things like how many people are clicking on your email links, how many people are visiting your website, how many people signed up for your webinars, what the conversion rate is, and so on.

Too many coaches and wellness practitioners set goals around a certain number of clients and give up within a month or two if they don’t hit those numbers.

I want to challenge that for brand new business owners and say that getting fixated on the numbers can be a huge confidence killer for a new business owner.

Why?

Because when you start out, you are still figuring out your strengths. You are still figuring out your niche. 

You are trying to work out who your clients are, what they want, and how best to give it to them. 

You are finding your voice in the public arena and working out what you stand for.

You are testing, experimenting, and trying different things to see what suits you and your style. You might not yet be sure about which business model you will use.

When you start out, you are still figuring out your strengths. You are still figuring out your niche. 

And while it’s useful to measure how many people are responding to you – ask yourself – what do those numbers really mean if you are chopping and changing your messages, forums, platforms and topics during this early experimental phase?

The answer is – nothing. 

It’s like comparing apples with oranges.

So if you put too much emphasis on the numbers in your business, you may do more harm than good, and end up eroding your confidence rather than building it.

How do you build confidence in your business skills?

You might remember in the last episode that I mentioned our brains want proof of something before they believe it is true, or possible. 

But it’s hard to get proof in advance when you are totally new to something, like running a business!

Here are two things you can do to give your brain that sense of confidence.

1. Get help to create a solid strategic plan

The simple answer is to get help to create a solid strategic plan in your first year of business.

This is your framework for experimenting to see what works, to work out YOUR best way of doing business, and create a regular, organised and intentional work plan.

If you are new to running a business you will definitely need help to create this plan.

But that is your framework for moving forward and having a plan helps you to build confidence in your business and that you have a pretty good path to follow.

2. Measure your commitment to take consistent action

Measuring things is a great way to see progress.

If you are new in business, the true measure of your business acumen is your ability to consistently take action

Your commitment to consistent action, no matter what, is actually what builds confidence in your business. 

That’s because taking action no matter what indicates that you have grit, courage, persistence, strength and determination.

Having those traits feel good, and empowering.

They are all qualities of confident people and confident business owners.

And the stronger those traits, the more resilience you will have to experiment with things and not take any failures personally.

You will be better equipped to manage your emotions and be logical, factual and realistic.

And in a new business there is a LOT to experiment with.

You will be experimenting with business processes and tools, coaching techniques, session plans, number of sessions, trying different sorts of questions, what type of client to look for, where they are, whether you’re going to market online or offline, which social media channel to use, how best to have conversations with people, how to plan effectively, how to create offers that attract clients, how to pull together coaching programs and what clients want in their coaching programs. 

Some things will work and some will fail.

Some things will feel right and others won’t.

Your brain wants proof of success. But you can’t know the exact formula for any of this in advance. 

At least while you are figuring out how to run a business, succeeding and failing along the way, you can create a consistent, stable platform of action-taking so that you can build confidence in your ability to run a business.

Then, when you’ve been in your business for a year and have worked out YOUR way of doing business, you can start looking more at the numbers and results. 

But in the beginning, I encourage you to focus on measuring your ability to follow your plans and process – because when you get that process right, you will succeed. 

Summary

In summary, know that you are experimenting with so many things right now, so the numbers don’t mean that much. 

When you learn to take action no matter what, you are actively cultivating a growth mindset, the behaviours of a self-confident person, resilience, capacity and self-motivation.

What is more confidence-building is 

  1. To get help to create a strategic plan as the roadmap for your business and,
  2. To take consistent action toward your plan, problem solving and tweaking along the way, with the support of someone with the right skills and experience. 

When you learn to take action no matter what, you are actively cultivating a growth mindset, the behaviours of a self-confident person, resilience, capacity and self-motivation.

Those are the secret formula for your business success.

Ready to grow confidence in your business?

A plan and a growth mindset can go a long way! 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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Episode 74: Confidence in Your Coaching Skills

If you want to build confidence in your coaching skills, quickly and effectively, you need to start doing these things right now.

I have been having lots of conversations lately with graduate coaches about their levels of confidence around their coaching and their ability to run a business.

So I decided to create this episode – dedicated to you new coaches or wellness practitioners out there – about how to build confidence in your coaching business.

When I say confident coaching business, I mean that you feel confident in your modality, in your skills, and about your business. We are going to cover these things in TWO podcast episodes because it’s a big juicy topic.

Today, we are going to focus on confidence in your modality and your coaching skills.

The NEXT episode will cover confidence in your business skills.

Before we dive in, I want to share one of the most important lessons that I’ve learnt in life.

It’s simply this – if you feel confident about what you’re doing or selling, then it is extremely convincing, magnetic and compelling to other people.

Here’s proof. Think about someone you know who is self-confident. 

How inspired do you feel around that person? 

Would you trust their opinion or advice? 

Now, think about somebody that you know who is confident in running their business. 

Do you look up to them? 

Are they a role model for you?

When you are confident in who you are and what you do, you can sell anything – no matter what it is. Your unwavering belief and confidence is highly magnetic and highly attractive. It’s the secret of effective marketing!

That’s why feeling confident in your coaching will help you to build a powerful business.

Now let’s explore three areas in more depth: feeling confident in what you do (your modality), feeling confident about your skills in that area.

Confidence in What You Do

Let’s start by talking about your confidence in what you do – that is, in your profession. 

Even if you don’t have much experience in your field as a coach or wellness practitioner, you will likely have great confidence in the modality that you use. 

When you are confident in who you are and what you do, you can sell anything – no matter what it is.

You probably have great confidence in the power of that modality to truly help people make change, to become healthier, calmer, less anxious and more at peace.

That’s a really important starting point. Because if you lack confidence in your abilities, at least you know that your modality is effective and you believe in that – and you can learn and improve your skills.

If you feel confident in what you do, congratulations, that’s great! 

If you don’t believe in what you’re doing then your commitment, confidence in your abilities and your ability to sell it are going to be virtually zero.

I’ve had this experience myself. I joined a network marketing business many years ago and they introduced new product lines that I didn’t like.

Because I didn’t believe in many of their new products, I found it harder and harder to sell those products because it didn’t feel authentic and aligned. I had to quit that organisation within a year of joining.

That taught me a valuable lesson – simply, that I must believe in what I do in order to be good at it and be able to sell it.

So I invite you to step back and look at the big picture of what you do for a moment – your modality – and consider how effective that modality is. 

Consider what happens when experienced practitioners use that modality. Think about the results that their clients have achieved. 

The upshot of this is, even if you have had few or no clients yourself, really get clear on how much you believe in your modality as an effective tool to help people. 

It’s a great point of focus if you are new as a coach/practitioner, and/or in your business, because at least you believe in the power of what you do!

To help you boost your confidence and get rid of doubt, you may like to include a focus on the benefits and possible outcomes of your modality as part of your pre-session ritual, to truly get connected to the value of what you do.

Confidence in Your Ability as a Coach

The next thing to talk about is building confidence in your own ability as a coach or practitioner. 

You will need to take a slightly longer view because it takes time to develop skills and competence in ANY area of life.

Let’s face it, you can’t study a year of piano theory and step onto the stage as a concert pianist, having never done that before, right?

The thing with confidence in your ability is that you need to find evidence for your BRAIN. That’s because our brains want evidence that something is true before truly believing it. 

I recommend that you listen to my previous podcast #73 where I talked about how your inner critic can get you stuck in a negative thought loop that your brain will eventually turn into a belief!

If you think that you’re no good and focus on that then your brain will find evidence to support that. And if you think you could develop confidence and skills and are curious about that, then your brain will find evidence for that instead. 

So focusing on how you could develop skills or become a better coach, or to acknowledge what is working well, is way better training for your brain.

This raises the question – how can you help your brain to get the evidence that it needs to believe that you’re good at what you’re doing or at least competent – so that you can start to feel more confident in your skills and abilities?

Our brains want evidence that something is true before truly believing it. 

In my role as a Coach Trainer for a health and wellness coaching school, I explain a few different ways for student coaches to that can quickly and effectively build confidence. 

These ways revolve around mindfulness, self-awareness, reflection and acknowledging success. These are things that don’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s important that we develop these skills as part of our personal and professional development – and to help us become more confident as coaches.

I want to share FIVE ways that you can become a more confident coach or practitioner.

You may want to write these down, so you can set some goals around these things and weave them into your schedule.

#1 – The first thing to do DO IT – to actually coach – with practice clients – until you start feeling confident enough to do paid sessions. 

Find anyone with a pulse who you like and who is willing to change. Do two or three sessions with them just to get the feel of coaching and using the skills. 

Don’t worry about ongoing sessions or continuity in the beginning – just use the sessions to become familiar and comfortable with your methodology and running a coaching session.

That leads me to the second point.

#2 – When you work with clients, make sure that you choose people that you have good chemistry with and who are ready to change. 

If you don’t have a good personality fit with your client or if they’re ambivalent or a bit resistant to change, or just trying to do a favour, then your session with them will likely feel difficult or uncomfortable and you will probably question your own ability.

By all means experiment with different kinds of clients and personalities so you can see who fits best, but be mindful that not everyone will be the right client for you – and that this is NOT a reflection of your skills as a coach.

It’s a fact of life – we tend to attract certain types of people and not others. That’s one reason why only certain people will want to work with you, and why it’s worth targeting a niche.

I learned about client chemistry the hard way. 

I was running my coaching business and had somebody else selling clients into my program. 

After a while, I realised that I felt drained and tired when I was walking into those sessions. I started to doubt my ability as a coach. And I was ready to quit. Fed up. Disheartened.

THEN I reflected on the facts and realised that I had exceptional rapport with certain clients AND that they were getting the best outcomes. It was then that I realised I needed to target a niche and find my ideal client so that my work was always energizing. 

It is valuable to work with different types of people in the beginning to figure out who your people are – but be aware that the differences in your personalities or learning styles and how that may affect your confidence in your skills. 

What do you think that means for a new graduate coach or practitioner? If their client seems difficult, they will likely start blaming themselves for their poor skills. I’ve seen it a hundred times, and it’s the absolute wrong thing to do. 

If you DO find yourself feeling uncomfortable about a client, please simply step back and acknowledge them as a person with their own challenges that they are responsible for, and know that your job is to hold space and work with them in a way that they need. 

Your job is not to fix them but to be there for them and support them and to help them find their own solutions. Better still, start becoming more selective about who you work with and choose people that you have great chemistry.

That’s a really organic process for finding your niche and ideal client, loving your work and to rapidly build confidence and capacity as a coach or practitioner.

#3 – The third way to build confidence in your coaching skills is to start reflecting on your own performance. 

When you graduate, you no longer have a teacher supporting you and guiding you in the use of your skills. You’re on your own. Developing your own feedback loop is therefore an essential part of your professional development.

Do a post session reflection and fill in your coaching log. 

This is an essential professional development practice that can raise self awareness, identify your strengths, and find areas that need sharpening up.

#4 – the fourth way to build confidence is to get feedback from your clients. There are a few types of feedback that you can get in a session. 

  • You can get non-verbal cues from your client.

Watch their body language through the session with you. Do they become more open? Do they seem more relaxed? Does their energy or excitement build?. 

These are all non-verbal cues that indicate your client is growing and getting something important out of the session with you. 

  • You can ask your clients for feedback at the end of each session.

Build it into your session close to ask what they learnt about themselves and if they have any feedback on the coaching. What you’ll find is that clients are usually so thankful and grateful for your listening or the realisation they had. 

Many new graduate coaches I speak to think that listening to someone doesn’t have any value and isn’t worth anything but when you hear your clients expressing their heartfelt gratitude for your holding space you’ll start to really see how valuable it is for the client and that’s what this is all about-them.

  • Ask clients to complete a written survey at the end of their whole coaching program asking them what they liked, didn’t like, what changed, and how they changed, and what their next goals are.

This will give you a LOT of information about the entire process as well as your skills, and about their own openness to change, commitment and self-responsibility.

#5 – The fifth way to build confidence in your coaching ability is to help your client measure and monitor changes they experience on a week by week basis. 

Monitoring and measuring could include the assessment of weekly goals using percent success for each goal,  it could also include physical measurements that they may take such as number of steps or 1 to 10 scales for stress or energy. 

Anything that they are physically recording and seeing changes in is giving you evidence that your process your methodology and your skills and their readiness to change a facilitating shifts that have value to the client. And all of these give you ongoing evidence that will help you to build confidence in your coaching skills. 

The caveat for this one is that some clients struggle to change due to their own beliefs or past trauma that have nothing to do with your skill. It may simply mean that their challenges are outside your scope and referral is required.

Summary

The way to build confidence in your coaching ability is to actually do it. 

We discussed two ways to build confidence.

1. Start with confidence in your modality. 

It will help your brain and your mindset to focus on the positives that your qualification or modality can create. 

Look to experienced practitioners in your industry and observe your role models to validate that what you’re doing is effective and credible.

2. Build confidence in your coaching ability by coaching, and collecting feedback.

The five ways to do this included:

  1. Start coaching people now and start learning from that. Get comfortable with a couple of free sessions with a client, then work up to a series of sessions with paying clients.
  2. Work with clients you have good chemistry with.
  3. Create your own feedback loop – your coaching log.
  4. Get client body language, verbal feedback in a session, and written feedback at the end.
  5. Help your client measure and monitor change as evidence that ‘it worked’.

Just like playing the piano, you can only become good at coaching by actually doing it.

Ready to sell your service with confidence?

Feeling confident in your coaching will help you to build a powerful business. 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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Episode 73: The Three Best Ways to Build Self-Confidence

Do you really wish you were more self confident but aren’t sure where or how to start?

Then this episode is just for you.

Self-confidence is a skill that anyone can learn.

And I want to walk through three things that you can do to start building self-confidence, so you can show up and be more powerful in your own life and in the world.

What is Self-Confidence?

A  nice simple definition of self-confidence is to be secure in yourself and your abilities.

I believe self-confidence comes from three things; trust, a sense of competence and your ability to value yourself. 

You may like to go back and listen to Episode 72 for more information on developing Unwavering Self-Confidence.

Why would you want to become self-confident?

Well, there are lots of great reasons.

When you are self-confident, you can handle your emotions better.

You will feel more in control of yourself and your life. 

You will become more self-reliant, which means you can make better decisions for yourself, trust your own instincts and look after yourself better.

When you’re self-confident, you will probably speak to yourself more kindly and be a happier person who achieves what they want in life.

It sounds like a great place to be, doesn’t it? 

So, how do you get there?

The Shy Little Rabbit

I would like to share my own experience of developing self-confidence as it may be relevant to you.

As a small child, I was what you would call painfully shy. 

What I mean by that at adult parties I would be terrified of playing with other kids or even speaking to other kids, so I would sit next to my mum all night while she spoke to the adults and I would enviously stare at all the children having fun around me. 

At primary school, I didn’t raise my hand in class even though I knew the answer because I was terrified of being wrong or being judged. 

As a teenager I was uncomfortable about who I was and having any attention paid to me so I sat quietly at school and had just a couple of close friends because I didn’t feel confident enough to join in with social groups and activities that my peers were involved in. 

And when it came to my first serious dinner date with a new boyfriend, I was so self-conscious about having him see me eating that I struggled to eat much of anything at all.

Through my growing up years, I wasn’t secure in myself, I doubted my abilities and I found it hard to value myself or my opinion.

I struggled at job interviews in my 20’s, and I feared judgement in social circles so was never willing to put forward an opinion or take a stand for anything.

So a lot of the time I sat on the sidelines.

I was a watcher; a listener, a passenger on the bus.

But I felt that life was passing me by and that I was capable of so much more and helping so many more people – if only I had the self-confidence!

Does any of this resonate with you?

Have you felt like this before?

Fast forward to today and I am confidently and competently running my own successful business.

I am a contract coach trainer for Australia’s leading Coach Training organisation. I’m very comfortable on camera, doing Facebook lives, and in any sort of public speaking event. 

In the past few years, I’ve danced in a troupe in front of 10,000 people on stage, performed in various concerts, and have presented at local and international conferences with ease and confidence.

These days, I trust myself, back myself and I recognise what I am capable of. 

I’d like to share three things that I have done to help me develop self-confidence.

1 – Change your self-talk and thinking patterns

 

The most powerful thing you can do to build self confidence is to change the way you talk to yourself and to observe and start to change your automatic thinking patterns. 

I didn’t know about the power of changing your self-talk when I was growing up, but I really wish I had started there because I would have become self confident far more quickly & easily.

The reason self-talk and thinking patterns are so powerful is that most of our thoughts are unconscious, and negative.

I believe that as a society we tend to condone the behaviour of self-deprecation, of de-valuing our efforts or diminishing ourselves in front of others. 

People call it being humble. But I disagree and I really want to challenge this paradigm.

The dictionary definition of the word humble is “having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s importance.”

But the VIA Institute on character has a more accurate definition of humility as a character strength. 

They say a common misconception is that humility involves low self-esteem and worthiness or a lack of self-focus. 

But true humility means that you can accurately assess your own skills, you can recognise your limitations, you can keep your accomplishments in perspective and you’re not distorting any part of your own image, representing yourself and your capabilities accurately.

True humility means that you can accurately assess your own skills, you can recognise your limitations, you can keep your accomplishments in perspective.

So back to the concept of self-talk and thinking patterns.

It’s as simple as this: if you are thinking accurate, factual and positive thoughts about yourself and your abilities, you will develop self-confidence.

If you are criticising yourself, doubting your abilities or judging yourself, you will create self-doubt.

Thoughts are just statements that, when repeated, become your beliefs.

So how do you change your self-talk and thinking patterns?

The first step is to start watching your thoughts and noticing how you talk to yourself, and what you are thinking about yourself.

The next step is to replace any negative or unhelpful thoughts into something factual and non judgemental.

For example, if you catch yourself thinking something like “I can’t do this”, then you could change that thought into a question, like “what do I need to learn so I can do this?”.

Since our thoughts are largely unconscious and automatic, it is really helpful if you work with a coach to uncover your hidden thoughts, and to learn how to self coach as we do in my membership.

2 – Set and Achieve Stretch Goals

You probably would agree that a lot of people start with action rather than thought because they’re not aware of the impact of thought work, or perhaps they think that actions are easier to start with.

We see it everywhere: people tend to start with a gym membership, or a diet, or some other sort of action rather than examining the thoughts and motivators that drive those actions. 

Before I had any awareness of the power of my mind I would use stretch goals to help me do things that I lack confidence to do otherwise. 

I didn’t know that by changing my thinking I could develop more self belief more quickly and I wish I had started there, because I would have managed failure a lot better and become stronger and more resilient. 

In any case, I learned that if I dug deep and found courage, and took action despite my fear, then I felt good about what I was achieving. 

The added bonus for me was that taking physical action gave me tangible proof that I had some sort of skill or ability or confidence to do something, and the sense of accomplishment felt more real.

So while it’s important to change your self-talk, it’s equally important to set and achieve stretch goals.

Here are a few of the bigger stretch goals that I have done through the years. 

They mostly involve being in the public eye somehow, I think because I found it harder to back out of something and perhaps a little more of an accomplishment to put yourself out there.

  • At high school; volunteered to do a role play with two other students in Year 11 English class (I got a standing ovation! LOL)
  • On a Bali holiday, I was asked to do catwalk modeling of locally made leather clothes at a big tourist party and saw this would be good for developing posture and presence.
  • At university, I did a presentation on my honours project at an International Wetlands Conference with an audience of around 300 people (scary – but a way to build credibility and hone my speaking skills)
  • After my honours year, I put my name down to be a first year student tutor (a paid role) which involved me teaching cell biology and animal biology to classes of 25 – 40 students at a time. This taught me agility. 
  • From the age of 25 onwards, I started presenting my research and findings at environmental conferences in front of audiences of 100+ people
  • When I was 27, my boyfriend at the time and I rode motorcycles from Perth to Cairns, through the desert. I had three months to get my license and learn how to ride off road.
  • When I was 27, I became a company Director and Manager in our business.
  • When I was 28, I danced in a troupe in front of 10,000 people at the Perth Entertainment Centre on Australia Day.
  • When I was 38, I went for a Guinness World Record for the longest bellydance shimmy at a local health expo and was promoted in local and interstate media.

These are just examples and they may be bigger goals than you might like to stretch for. For me, these gave me a sense of validation and external feedback, of proof in the world that my goal was real, and a more tangible sense of accomplishment.

Right now you might be asking, what should my stretch goal be?

I will say that what’s most important is that you work where you are now. 

Challenge yourself to the level that is comfortable for you and will guarantee your success.

If you set goals that are a stretch, but winnable, you will build confidence. If you aim too high and fail, it may be an emotional setback.

Maybe your stretch goal would be to strike up a conversation with someone. 

Maybe it’s to ask for a raise, or to have a sales conversation.

Maybe your stretch goal is to say no to that second scoop of ice cream.

Decide on 2 – 3 goals that are meaningful for you – one action you will take each week for the next three weeks – and notice what happens.

 3 – Intentionally recognise success

The third part is so important.

Our modern epidemic is constantly striving for more, for greater expectations, without recognising how much we have done already and what our capacity is.

I call this the Pattern of Pursuit, and it’s a habit that I recommend you break.

My definition of the Pattern of Pursuit is when you are constantly achieving but not recognising your efforts, such that you feel not good enough because you are too busy doing and not taking the time to be, to reflect, and to acknowledge.

Self-confident people have humility.

And if you recall the earlier discussion on the VIA Character Institute’s definition of humility, it was being able to accurately assess and represent yourself and your capabilities.

You can only do this if you reflect on and acknowledge what you have achieved.

Further, every time you recognise your achievements, such as accomplishing your stretch goals, it generates a sense of self-confidence.

What I love most about intentionally recognising your success is that you learn to trust yourself and back yourself, and to value your own opinion and skills.

When you do this, you stop worrying about whether you are good enough. You stop worrying about what other people are doing, whether you are keeping up, and whether they are judging you.

You value your own opinion, and you start to become more self reliant, where you set your own internal standards and develop your own motivation to succeed.

It’s powerful stuff.

My favourite ways to recognise success are to:

  • Tick of tasks completed in a physical work diary
  • Monitor exercise, movement and standing on my Apple watch
  • Speak about accomplishments over dinner with my husband
  • Journal about achievements and goals.

Summary

To summarise, even the most timid little rabbit can become a self-confident person. 

Self-confidence is simply a skill you can learn.

The three easiest ways to build self confidence are:

  1. Watch and change your self-talk – through coaching, self-coaching or journalling
  2. To set and achieve stretch goals that are 100% winnable – start where you are now
  3. To use simple ways to measure and recognise your daily and weekly achievements.

Challenge yourself to the level that is comfortable for you and will guarantee your success.

If you would like to work on your self-confidence and master it, pop into the Habitology membership in February 2020 where we will be studying and self-coaching these important skills. 

I’ve included the link in the notes for this episode.

In the meantime, please comment below and let me know your favourite confidence-boosting technique. I’d love to hear all about it!

Ready to build self confidence?

Self confidence is so important when setting out to reach your potential. 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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Episode 71: Selfish vs Selfless

If you often feel selfish about doing things for yourself, listen up. I’m going to help you explore the concepts of being selfish, selfless, and to identify the comfortable middle ground.

When it comes to doing something for themselves, so many of my clients struggle with feeling selfish about that.

I felt it was a great topic for a podcast to today about being selfish, being selfless, and what lies in between.

Fact – They’re Just Behaviours

Before we start, let’s be clear that being selfish or selfless is largely about someone’s behaviour in a certain circumstance.

Some people behave selfishly, or selflessly, more often than others.

And while frequent selfish behaviour or unselfish behaviour may shape your general attitude, it also may not necessarily define you as a person.

I have known people to behave selfishly in certain situations and yet generously and compassionately in others. 

I have known people to be seemingly selfless in certain situations, and then to lash out, withdraw all support and empathy and become seemingly selfish. 

In that context, please, let’s not use these terms as judgements, labels, or ways to define ourselves or others. 

Let’s take the drama out of these words and use them as frames of reference for behaviours that people may display in certain situations.

Selfish vs Selfless: Some Definitions

To get clear on those frames of reference, I want to read you some dictionary definitions for the words selfish and selfless.

As I read each one out, listen to see what they conjure up for you.

The word selfish (of a person, action, or motive) means lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

The word selfless means you are chiefly concerned with the needs and wishes of others, much more than your own.

How do you feel about those two words?

A lot of your will think that being selfish has negative connotations – it’s about ignoring the needs of others.

The word selfless is interesting though; it is almost the opposite in meaning in that you have little to no regard for yourself, yet somehow it sounds strangely positive – almost as if you are being virtuous, or a knight in shining armour for others.

The trouble with these two extremes is that having any level of consideration for your own needs seems to be a negative thing.

Yet there is no way that could be true!

So, knowing that neither extreme is sustainable, I want to ask you a question you might not have considered.

There must be a middle ground where looking after yourself is acceptable – so WHAT IS IT?

I posed this question on Facebook last year and some smart cookie had a great answer; therefore I would like to introduce you to the middle ground.

Self-Care

Self-care is any activity that you do deliberately in order to take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health. It’s setting time aside for activities that enhance your energy, restore your health and reduce stress.

How do you feel about the word self-care?

I find it interesting that some people see self care as a negative, as something for the weak, or at least, as something they don’t have time for.

Perhaps you might find yourself dissing self-care because you have only ever considered the (unsustainable) extremes.

So I would like to dig into the concept a little further – to explore the middle ground with you right now – so you can review your relationship with yourself, your needs and these three little words.

Being Selfish 

I want you to first get really clear on what being selfish means to you and how you relate to it, personally.

Right now, think of a time you judged yourself or someone else to be selfish.

What was it that caused you to make that judgement?

What were you telling yourself at the time?

What feedback did you get from others that influenced your thinking?

Chances are that you noticed was someone behaved differently than you would (or you behaved out of character) in a certain situation.

If you are someone who wishes you were more self-disciplined, or were better at regulation your thoughts and actions, then that tells me what you actually want is self-care.

For example, a group of friends organise a coffee date that suits all except for Kylie, who says she can’t make it then because she has her pilates class at that time.

Is she selfish for sticking with her existing plan, instead of meeting her friends?

What meaning would YOU attach to Kylie’s behaviours?

What are the other friends saying, and how might that influence your judgement?

To me this is self-care. 

Without any other information about what sort of person Kylie is, how she is feeling right now, what her needs are, or how good a friend she is, it is clear that in this instance she is looking after her own needs.

Here’s another example.

Let’s say you have slaved all week for the family, washing clothes, making beds and cooking meals, and you are short tempered, frazzled and exhausted.

So you lock yourself in the bathroom for a nice warm bath. You hear your kids knocking at the door wanting to come in and talk to you.

Would it be selfish to say no?

To me this is self-care at the end of a largely selfless week. 

Without any other information about what sort of person you are, it is clear that in this instance you are looking after your own needs.

To me, this is setting a good example for your kids of how to set boundaries and meet your own needs, so you can be calmer, more stable and emotionally balanced, more available to others and a happier person to be around.

What do you think?

Being Selfless

Now let’s get clear on your perspectives on selflessness.

Right now, think of a time you judged yourself or someone else to be selfless.

What was it that caused you to make that judgement?

What were you telling yourself at the time?

What feedback did you get from others that influenced your thinking?

Think about this example. 

Kelly worked hard all week, did all her work and stayed back late to finish projects on time, and made time to help her colleagues with some of their tasks.

Is Kelly being selfless?

How do you know?

To me, it sounds that way. She is putting others first.

But we have no information on what this behaviour has cost her, personally.

What if Kelly sacrificed her healthy meal prep, missed her gym sessions and drank wine a few nights this week, despite her intentions to do the opposite of these things?

In that case, how would you feel about the concept of selflessness?

And what would you think of Kelly as a person?

One thing I know is this – when spend most of their time doing selfless behaviours, they may become martyrs (constant sufferers and complainers) or lose the respect of others.

Getting Clarity

By now you may be feeling a little bit uncomfortable about your ideas and feelings toward selfishness and selflessness.

That’s ok.

That simply means you are at a growth edge, getting ready to consider the truth in your own terms, and perhaps, how you would like to behave and show up, be going forward.

I suspect that most of you listening to this podcast are not aligned with either selfishness or selflessness. 

You’re seeking a middle ground that feels aligned and has integrity.

So let’s talk about that now.

Why Self-Care Wins

If you are someone who wishes you were more self-disciplined, or were better at regulation your thoughts and actions (self-regulation), then that tells me what you actually want is self-care.

You want the middle ground between selfish and selfless.

You want to be accountable to yourself, and to do enough of the basics required to meet your own needs.

When I say basics, I am talking about the basic human needs – to eat well, to move, to get enough good quality sleep, to have adequate relaxation and rejuvenation time, to have some fun, to enjoy loving relationships and to have a sense of peace, calm and confidence.

People with high self regulation have good levels of confidence and belief that they can be effective in what they pursue and they are more likely to achieve their goals.

As you can see, there is nothing woo woo about self-care.

Looking after yourself and giving enough attention to your own needs.

Summary

Let’s get some perspective on selfishness, selflessness and self-care. If you are consistently selfish or selfless, it can become your attitude. 

But a lot of the time we judge individual behaviours – our own or others – as selfish or selfless.

You want the middle ground between selfish and selfless… the middle ground is self-care.

The problem with these words, according to their formal definition, is that you don’t get your needs met. So they both have negative connotations for you as an individual.

I propose that the middle ground is self-care.

That is the state of intentionally looking after your basic needs – for food, shelter, activity, sleep and rest – with self-discipline.

If you do this, you will be on your game, better able to support others and probably, a happier person.

Ready to find the balance between selfish and selfless?

Come explore the middle ground! 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: