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E#219 Becoming a Confident Coach

This episode is about becoming a confident coach

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

Why you need to be enough 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giving your best to clients 

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you beat impostor syndrome? 

Personal Development 

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

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

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

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

Professional Development 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

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

Learn more here:

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E#218 Benefits of Niching Down

This episode is about benefits of niching down

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

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

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

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

Why? 

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

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

What it means to niche down 

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

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

Why do this? 

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some examples of target markets: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Six benefits of choosing a niche and niching down 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What coaching a niche involves 

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

That’s because no problem exists in isolation. 

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

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

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

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

Not all areas will be relevant for every person. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

Those benefits are: 

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

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

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

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

Learn more here:

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E#217 How to Describe the Benefits of Coaching

This episode is about how to describe the benefits of coaching

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What drives people to change (and buy) 


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

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

Here are four conditions for change and for buying. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How we need to start describing the value of coaching 

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

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

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

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

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

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

A final word 

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

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

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

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

Ready to get clarity on your pathway to success?

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

Learn more here:

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Episode 116: Explaining Your Coaching Services with Fiona Cosgrove

Talking about Health and Wellness coaches is a quite a hot topic right now, and this week Fiona Cosgrove and I discuss a few key question to help listeners really get clear on who they are, what they do and how to distinguish themselves.

Topic: How does a health and wellness coach would distinguish themselves from a psychologist, counsellor or a therapist?

Discussion: In these categories of people, these people work mainly on past issues  and how the past influences the present.  They are trained to work in many situations, but they are not trained in health information and lifestyle related behaviours.

There is a difference in the balance of power between client and professional, comparing a a health and wellness coach to the professions listed above.

Sharing or giving knowledge rather than prescribing.

Commonly people do have past issues that they want to talk about, and coaches don’t necessarily ignore those issues, but it’s not what they are trained to do.

Health and Wellness Coaching is about helping people avoid getting sick in the first place. We help people maintain their mental and physical wellbeing. We collaborate and support . If we are expert in anything it’s in healthy habit formation.

Health and Wellness Coaching is about:

  • creating a preventative space,
  • maintaining and improving habits
  • working in a collaborative and supportive way specifically about changing habits.

Topic: What if a friend questions the validity of the coaching profession?

Discussion: It’s quite common to encounter this kind of scepticism at the moment, as this is still a relatively new industry.

The first thing to do is to draw back on our coaching skills. Thank them for sharing, and question them – “what do you know about coaching?” Listen to their response, and then explain that as health as wellness coaches our role is to support our clients in lifestyle change. Changes they choose.

So many people struggle to make simple changes that will improve their health and their energy, and yet they lack confidence to make those changes. Our job is to help people believe in themselves and work out simple truths about their own lives. We help people explore, gain awareness of what’s important to them and what they want to do about it.

We don’t provide motivation, we simply support people along the way. It may be the first time someone actually believed in their ability to change, and that belief is hugely powerful.

Topic: Qualifications

Discussion: As a new industry, the area of qualifications can get quite murky. Some “coach” training isn’t actually what we are describing; it’s just misuse of the term. But standards are now being developed internationally, and memberships that hold coaches to stringent standards. In the US there is Board certification, and in Australia we have HCANZA. This means that coaches can assure their clients of their professionalism and awareness of the scope of their practice.

Any credible profession has an industry body, an association and infrastructure around quality and training, and Health and Wellness Coaching now has those things.

How do we position coaches from Allied health professionals like dieticians and exercise physiologist?

Allied health professional is the person who prescribes the treatment plan. Health and wellness coaches do not prescribe those things. We share information on safe quidelines, if we think the client may benefit, but we do it gently and we give the clients choice.

What we try to do is find out what the client wants, not what they have been told the “should” want. It’s tapping into their internal values and needs, which makes for a stronger foundation for change.

Health and wellness coaches work with a client to change what matters to them, and the client is always the one in control.

Topic: Why planning is so important.

Discussion: Our roles is also to help people figure out how to implement changes suggested by allied health professionals rather than another add-on thing to do.

As we know, the things that stop them doing them are simple things that they’ve never even thought about. Health and Wellness coaches ask the questions to find out what going on in their lives and what’s gone wrong in the past, we try to look forward to find out what could make them come undone and stop them from making the change.

Being clear on how you respond rather than react, even practicing some of these points, so you have a clear idea about how you will respond  to be really clear on your professional position.

Find the things that speak to you, that are close to your heart about what you do as a coach, and maybe what you don’t do.

 

Looking for more clarity and in confidence in what you do?

Even coaches need coaches! The Habitology Membership as the perfect tool if you’re ready to break old habits and start a new chapter.

Learn more here:

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Episode 103: Four Legal Essentials for Business

Are you unclear on how to be legally compliant and protected in your business? 

Today I want to answer some questions that have come in from students in my Passion to Profit business training program and from some of my private business coaching clients, about the legal essentials of business.

I’m sure you’re aware of why it’s important to operate your business in a legally compliant way, so I want to introduce you to some of the basics that you need to have in place to do that.

In this episode I’m going to list four legal essentials for business that you need to be aware of, so that you can operate your business in a safe, professional and compliant way.

Just a note that I previously published an episode on must-have legal agreements for coaching businesses, and you can listen to that episode here.

I am hoping to secure a special podcast guest on this topic in future – stay tuned.

1. Appropriate Insurance

Any practitioner needs insurance that’s appropriate to their profession and level of risk associated with it, which could include the sale of products. 

There are two types of insurance that you normally buy in a package:

  1. Medical Liability / Professional indemnity, and
  2. Public liability.

Let’s talk about the professional indemnity aspect first.

This is designed to protect you if someone sues you for loss, injury, omission or breach of duty from using your health coaching services. 

In partnership with taking out indemnity insurance, it’s essential that you work within your scope of practice and can prove that it’s your intention to work that way and that you actually ARE working within scope.

This is where formal policies and procedures come in. 

Policies state your intention and include statements of your scope of practice and the standards by which you deliver services and/or products. 

Any practitioner needs insurance that’s appropriate to their profession and level of risk associated with it.

Procedures back up your policies by outlining the specific steps you take to ensure safety, quality, privacy etc in your day to day operations. 

Note that policies and procedures are only evidence if you are actually running your business in alignment with them!

Now let’s talk about public liability.

This is designed to protect you if a third party sues you for accidental injury or damage sustained while using your service.

Imagine that you are holding a workshop in your home and someone trips on your extension cord and smashes their nose on the side of a table and needs costly medical attention.

OUCH! 

That person might decide to sue you to cover their medical bills, claiming that you didn’t take due care to provide a safe environment.

Apart from ensuring safety basics for any events or services you deliver, such as putting a slip-proof mat over your cords and tucking them away safely out of reach of people’s feet, it’s essential that you have public liability to cover you in this situation, and many others that fall under the banner of liability.

It’s important to ensure that your policy includes legal defence costs so that you have adequate legal support to defend allegations made against you arising from your Health Coaching advice or business operations.

If you run a coaching business, then I recommend checking out insurance cover via our industry association – Health Coaches Australia and New Zealand Association.

2. Website Disclaimers

Do all Australian websites need a disclaimer?

Your website needs disclaimers to prove that it is fit for purpose and to state the intention of how the information you provide should be used.

Remember that you can’t control how people interpret your words and ideas. 

So if you give opinions or advice, even inadvertently, a reader may decide to sue you because they experienced loss, misfortune or health issues after reading one of your blogs, or buying one of your DIY products, and misinterpreting the application.

Here is a great blog by Legal123 on this topic

They say that “every website contains information, and in most instances there is a specific intention for the information on the website. A disclaimer will help prevent a viewer suing the website and owner for any loss suffered from taking this information and interpreting it in the wrong way.”

3. Complying with Copyright

According to the Australian Copyright Council, copyright is free and exists the moment you create something in material form. There’s a great fact sheet that I’ll link to in the notes.

In other words, the programs, resources and client worksheets that you create automatically have copyright applied.

When it comes to your website, the whole website is not protected but all of the content you create and add to it IS protected by copyright.

And if you decide to quote somebody or use somebody else’s images or words, you need their permission to do that otherwise you are breaching copyright.

So, what about all those great free images that you get from places like Unsplash.com to use in your blogs or on your workbook covers?

Some sites like Unsplash say that you can use images for free, but they do prefer you to attribute authors in your blogs, and they have a couple of conditions on use.

In the design platform Canva, you can access free images and have freedom of use, but there may be conditions on how paid images may be used in a commercial setting.

The takeaway is – if you are using images, text or music that someone else created, you may need permission to use it but you will need to check the terms of use for that item.

In any case, make sure you include a references section with a hyperlink to the source in any published material that draws on others’ work.

4. Client Data Storage Security

Life was easy before the internet. You simply needed a lockable, fireproof filing cabinet and a pledge to keep records safe and secure for 7 years, before archiving them until the 15 year mark at which point you would shred them.

If you operate in the hard copy world, this is still valid.

But if you’re working online in any capacity, you need good digital security.

There are two parts to client digital data storage and security: 

  1. Making sure that clients sessions are stored on a secure cloud platform if using, and 
  2. Ensuring security of your own PC.

Regarding platform security, I want to share this blog that seems to be independent and gives a great comparison guide. It rates OneDrive as the best for security and privacy as compared with Dropbox and Google Drive at the time this podcast was published.

Even if you’re not using the cloud to store client information, you need to ensure that your computer and digital data are secure.

Individual businesses may be less likely targeted/attacked by hackers, but it’s no guarantee.

Two things you can do to beef up your security are:

  1. To share files with clients via a secure upload/transfer program like wetransfer, then move them to your C drive (off the cloud) or a plug-in external drive that you can lock away in a cabinet.
  2. It’s also critical to have a firewall, virus and malware software to reduce or eliminate the issue of hacking. Malwarebytes is a free online, trusted tool for scanning for and eliminating malware.

Summing it Up

Aside from business law, which I’ll discuss in a future podcast, and legal contracts, which I discussed in a previous podcast, there are four essential ways to ensure that your business is legally compliant and protected. They are:

  1. Appropriate insurance, backed up by policies and procedures
  2. Website disclaimers
  3. Complying with copyright, and
  4. Client data storage security

I have included links in the notes that will help you with these areas. I’m not a lawyer but I’ve been in business and around contracts for a long time and have seen things go pear shaped for others – as well as having a couple of near-misses myself and am grateful I’d done the right thing in both cases to protect myself from client misuse.

Putting the necessary legal infrastructure demonstrates that you’re serious about your business and about operating to a high, professional standard. 

Let me be clear – most of your business activities are probably safe, compliant and harmless. 

But I encourage you to safeguard that by putting the necessary legal infrastructure in place to get your business up to an appropriate standard of legal compliance and protection.

Aside from anything, it demonstrates that you’re serious about your business and about operating to a high, professional standard. 

Ready to get savvy about all aspects of your coaching business?

Knowing what to do can make it easy. 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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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 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 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 26: What is showing up and why do it?

What is Showing Up and Why Do It?

Showing up means investing 100% in an experience and participating fully, to the best of your ability. 

It means acting with personal integrity.

It means being committed and accountable to yourself and others.

It means setting and upholding your own moral and ethical standards.

It means taking action, being seen and putting yourself out there – no matter what.

So why should you show up and how does it work?

I’d like to start with a story of showing up.

Once upon a time, before I was a coach, I was the co-owner, director and principal scientist of an environmental consulting firm. We ran a tight and successful ship with 40 staff – but it wasn’t always that way.

When the CEO and I started the company, just the two of us, there was a lot of banter, discussion, casual conversation and a few arguments about how things should be done.

As we hired more staff and started to build and systemise our business, we got into this terrible habit of carrying our criticism and arguments over into team meetings and open work spaces.

We were sloppy about running regular staff meetings and sometimes showed up late.

And while the business was working, it was a hard slog and we were trying to lead 10 staff at that time in a unified and cohesive direction.

We recruited a new director and he pulled me aside one day and said a few quiet, calm words to the effect that ‘it’s probably not a good look for you and the other owner to criticise each other in front of the staff, or to complain about them when they’re not around.’

That conversation shifted my perspective 180 degrees.

I realised then that I needed to lead by example and that our current behaviour was the direct opposite of what we were trying to create.

Thank you David, for the life-changing moment.

 

And from that moment on, everything DID change.

I knew I had to start showing up and role modelling the values and behaviour we wanted to our company to stand for

I had to start showing up as a collaborative, empathetic leader.

From that point on, quite a few things changed.

I stopped complaining about the CEO and he stopped complaining about me.

We resolved our differences in private in a calmer way.

We got business coaches in to help us be better leaders.

We got conflict resolution and negotiation training for our growing team.

We set and held staff meetings at the same time, every week, consistently.

We started and finished our meetings and events on time.

We developed a strong brand.

We got uniforms.

We collaborated with the team to define our values, from which we set professional and personal standards.

These were all new things for me and for the CEO. It took some time and patience.

But what happened was it launched our business into a professional outfit that was respected in our industry.

We hired another 30 staff and we built from two specialised teams into six specialised teams with a competitive advantage in three key areas of biological science consulting.

So now, back to you.

Why should you show up?

Because if you set a big goal for your personal or professional life, you are probably going to have to develop new skills and become a different kind of person.

You need to learn how to respect yourself, and to think and act in a way that matches the calibre of person you are yearning to be.

At the day-to-day level, Those thoughts and actions might include:

Starting the day with a clear intention.

Making positive commitments to yourself.

Doing what you say you will do no matter what.

Being on time for appointments.

Finishing your appointments on time.

Being honest – not making excuses.

Setting boundaries in all areas of life.

Saying what you mean, and meaning what you say.

Striving for facts, not judgement.

Setting moral and ethical standards.

Asking for help when you need it.

Doing personal development work to help you change your behaviour, faster.

Setting aside judgement and learning empathy.

Becoming more flexible and agile.

Building resilience.

It sounds like a big list and yes, it will take time.

Maybe you’re good at some of these things already.

But if you really want something in your life – to lose 10kg, to become a better teacher, to run your own business or to simply stop doing the things you know are bad for you – this is your time.

Define where you want to show up.

Make your list of traits.

Then create a schedule of actions that you will do repeatedly to start becoming the person you want to be.

Ready to start showing up?

If you need help with this process, or to learn how to self-coach, click here for more information on my self-coaching membership.

See you there!

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Episode 10: 9 of the Best Reasons to Target a Niche

9 of the Best Reasons to Target a Niche

Today I want to dive deep into why you might want to target a niche. 

Why define and target a niche in your business?

Here are 9 of the best reasons I have:

1. Your niche sets the scene for everything else you do in your business.

Most people in business make the newbie mistake of rushing into a big marketing effort but before you can market anything and sell anything you need to know what you want to sell, and who you are selling it to, how it’s going to help that person, what you’re going to charge them and why it’s great value. When you know those things you are ready to start marketing with confidence. Then you get clarity on what sorts of services you’re going offer, how you are going to market to them, where you are going to find them and what sort of business systems you’ll need.

2. Targeting a niche allows you to stand out and be known.

There’s a saying that goes: “If you don’t stand fo something, you stand for nothing”. If you want to be different to every other service or coach out there, targeting a niche allows you to become a specialist, you become known for one thing. It helps you build a profile, and be recognised. It’s much easier to be known and attract clients that way

3. Jack of all trades, master of none.

If what you do and the results you offer aren’t clear, then your potential client listening will question your ability to be good at those things. It raises questions of trust. Most people when seeking help are trying to solve one specific problem. You will be easier to find if you have a clear message. You can position as a specialist in one area, it creates trust, and makes you easier to find.

4. You can’t multi-task problem solving.

Remember that coaches work on helping people change their habits. It takes about 68 days to form one habit. That’s the average according to research. As a coach, you want to help people get real tangible results in the time frame that you are working with them, which will typically 6-12 weeks. They are not going to get the results they are after if you try to throw the kitchen sink at them. If you help a client work on one issue and maybe 2-3 habits around that one issue, they will get far better results than if you try to do everything and cram it in. Keep out the kitchen sink and focus on that one thing. That’s what targeting a niche is all about.

 

5. Your vibe attracts your tribe.

Whether you like it or not, you are going to attract a certain type of person. Normally that person is going to be pretty much like you, I say around 70-80% like you in terms of their age, values, journey. If you work out who YOU are and therefore who you are most likely to attract, you are going to find it much easier to find loyal clients who love you. This is especially important in coaching, where relationships and personal service and chemistry are everything in terms of your business success. Take the straight line approach, and start looking for the people who you naturally attract.

6. You can more easily create high value services.

People buy for 2 reasons: they buy because they want to solve a problem or they buy for pleasure. IOf you are working as a health or wellness coach, your are working to help solve your problem. Imagine if you went to see someone who knew exactly what your circumstances were and what you were going through and exactly what works. How would you feel? This is what I mean by high value services. If you can tailor your coaching, your tools, the resources that you use, the types of programs and services that you offer to a particular niche, they are going to feel as though you are servicing them and their specific needs. The perceived value of what you offer is going to be much higher than if you offer something general that might not tick all the boxes for them. That’s really important when it comes to pricing and earning what you want to earn in your business.

7. Finding a niche allows you to target your marketing and save you time money and the heartache of rejection.

When you know exactly who your ideal client is, you can go directly to where your client is and know that I higher proportion of people are going to take up your services because they are your kind of people. Simply by focussing on the people that you can most likely help and who are most likely to engage with you, you will feel more confident because you will get a greater response rate and more engagement, more buy in. It will save you time, money and heartache. Marketing becomes much easier when you target a niche

8. Most of a buying decision is based on feelings.

When you can relate to your ideal client and tell their story authentically, they will want to buy from you because they feel that sense of rapport and relationship. By building an emotional connection and trust with your ideal client, they are going to have stronger emotional connection with you in the beginning, which makes them more likely to buy from you

9. You can invest your heart and soul in what is most meaningful for you.

This will help you find a true sense of alignment. You will sense that you have deep meaning in your work, a purpose that is authentically you and what you are truly interested in. That means you will probably do a really good job at it. Imagine what it would feel like to turn up to work and love what you do and be totally immersed in it. Your enthusiasm and energy for what you do will in turn attract more clients to you. Instead of trying to be good at everything, just be good at everything, just be good at one thing. Figure out what you love to do, and just do that. It’s going to be way better for attracting clients and creating better outcomes.

Those are my reasons for starting out with a niche.

It makes everything clear and simple, and you can change as time goes on.

When you start out you may not be clear on who you are and who you’d like to target, but you can explore and experiment to find your niche. Put a time limit on in, I suggest around 3 – 6 months. Go out and meet people being around people and understanding their challenges and see what lights you up the best. Then take one direction and follow it for 6-12 months, give it a good go and see how it works for you.

Ready to find your niche?

You’re invited! The Habitology Membership is the perfect tool if you’re truly ready to grow a successful coaching business – and that starts with you. I encourage you to check it out. Learn more here: