Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

First Graduate of Diploma of Health and Wellness Coaching Announced


We are delighted to announce the first graduate of our Diploma of Health and Wellness Coaching as Rachael Heslop! 

Rachael’s background is in corporate and volunteering where she worked regionally in NSW in London and in Sydney.  
She completed the Professional Certificate in 2020 and went on to study for the Diploma. Rachael plans to use the skills and knowledge in a workplace environment and to continue her with a degree in Psychology  which she has already begun. 

Rachael kindly gave us her experience of the training: 

"The Wellness Coaching Australia Diploma provides exceptional insight into human behaviour (and is meticulously backed by science). I now have skills to support clients through behavioural change successfully and confidently, as well as set up a business (including marketing), run a business, or work as part of an organisation as a coach. The quality of the content is world class and I am proud to now say I am a WCA Diploma graduate, knowing that Fiona and the team have set me up for success. A special mention to Melanie White for her unwavering support as course concierge. 
WCA has been so supportive along the journey and I am proud to have been a part of this."


Follow Your Flow


2020 and 2021 has and is irrefutably been a masters course in challenge and struggle. Want to meet it as an opportunity to find your way into a deeper sense of engagement and motivation? Find out more about how to follow your Flow!

Flow state, this unique state of peak performance and life engagement, is an area of great interest to everyone from elite athletes, to high performing executives, to artists and academics. As we know, being in ‘the zone” of flow state is not just about maximising performance, or efficiency, but it’s the state where you feel your best, where your full absorption in the moment leaves no space for self-criticism, as we obtain a sense of one-ness with the task in the present moment.

But there are a lot of misperceptions about flow as well, including the perception that flow is Binary (i.e. you are either IN flow, or NOT in flow). However the research of Dr. Herbert Benson, a Harvard Cardiologist, has been used to identify what’s now called The Flow Cycle, which has 4 stages. So it can be tremendously helpful to understand where you are in the cycle, as there are things you can do to move yourself through into flow, and help yourself find your way back in more smoothly the next time

As 2020 evolved into an incredibly challenging year of instability and uncertainty, I was hearing phrases like “at my edge”, “stretched beyond my means”, “lost my ground” and even the word “struggle” from my clients. I began to develop the framework of a group coaching course on Resilience as something to offer as a resource for this time. Through this research I interested in “flow hacking”, or identifying the gateways into the flow state and how to most efficiently facilitate a way in for myself as well as for my clients.

For someone who is currently feeling in “struggle” it can be hard to stomach the idea that you're on the verge on an optimal state of consciousness.

It would be helpful to learn then, that the first stage of Flow is called "Struggle". It's the time that you're at your edge, your brain is being stretched to the verge of what it knows and it feels like overload. Again, it is so important to know where you are in the flow cycle, because it’s essential not to give up completely at this stage, as tempting as it might be.

It is then time to move into the second stage of flow is called “Release”. It's where you let go of focusing on the problem, and allow your brain to shift elsewhere. You remove your attention from the tension of a “problem” into relaxation, restoring, ease and instead distract yourself by going for a walk, listening to music, etc. Flow lives on the cusp in between the flight/flight activated response and the relaxation response.

Once you’ve created space for the positive hormones it’s possible to return to the activity that was generating the challenge and this time slip straight into that sweet spot of Flow, where you’re now flying with that creative engagement, unrestricted by the limiting beliefs that your dear old rational brain overlays on all of your creative ideas.

This kind of unrestricted creative potential in the flow state results in a 500% increase in productivity. It results in a 700% increase in creativity. AND perhaps more important to our work as wellness coaches, is that we know that people in Flow state are happier and more intrinsically motivated.
Finally, just as we need to know how to get ourselves INTO Flow state, it’s equally important to know what to do to get ourselves OUT. The final stage of Flow is called “Recovery”. This is by far the easiest part of the Flow Cycle to overlook, given our culture’s general tendency to overlook rest and spaces of integration.

It’s essential to take this time to pause, to restore and recharge, given that Flow state is actually an incredibly taxing process on the brain and body, In doing so we are presenting the possibility of future burn out, and helping ensure that we are fully prepared to dive back into the stage of “Struggle” again when it arises.

Written by Lucine Eusani, Mphil, MA Conflict Resolution & Wellness Coach, RYT

WCA Coach Trainer & Mentor


My First Six Months in Business with Sarah Rusbatch


Sarah Rusbatch is a qualified Health and Wellness Coach who trained with Wellness Coaching Australia through 2020. Sarah finished her course with the Passion to Profit business program. This article is about Sarah’s first six months in business and how she has built a global following and a viable business as a Health and Wellness Coach.

This article is an excerpt from two podcast interviews: one about why she was starting this business (Oct ’20), and one about how her business is going gangbusters! (Feb ‘21). 
It has been edited for length and clarity.

A Career Change
Before training as a Health and Wellness Coach, Sarah Rusbatch had worked for over 20 years working as a Recruitment Advisor, Executive Legal Recruiter and Career Coach at a global level.

But Sarah also had a growing concern about her alcohol intake and she had the personal experience of seeking help and taking steps to develop a better relationship with alcohol and ultimately, herself. With the right support over an 18-month period, Sarah stopped drinking altogether and as a result, found more meaning and purpose in life and a great sense of enrichment.

Training as a Health and Wellness Coach with Wellness Coaching Australia was a natural progression that helped her to turn her own experience with alcohol into a purposeful business so that she could help others do the same.

Here’s how the fist six months in business have panned out, after graduating with a Professional Certificate in Health and Wellness Coaching in December 2020.
 
Getting Started and Choosing a Niche
MW: Was there anything else that was difficult or that you were afraid of in the beginning? And how did you overcome that?

SR: I didn't have an understanding how to launch a coaching business. How was I going to work out what to charge? How was I going to build a program? How was I going to structure it? Because it's all very well having the qualification. But then what do you do after that? 

What Passion to Profit did really well was just gently guiding me step-by-step through what's needed, finishing with everything you need to know from a systems perspective; also just really practical things like sending out coaching agreements and all of the legalities, plus who is the niche, where are you going to market to your niche, and how are you going to build your program? I was really scared of all that just because I didn't know it but by the end of the program I felt really confident. 

MW: What helped you get ready to build your business and launch? 

SR: It was choosing a niche, and part of that was knowing that it's natural to be scared to niche down but that that's the only way to get success.  

I'm forever grateful for what the course has taught me in terms of just being able to back myself and know that what I was doing was the right thing to do. Because when you've got the qualification, there are so many avenues that you can go down and as a new coach you don't feel like you want to say “no” to anyone. 

I felt like I wanted to set up a business that could cater for every single person that came across to me so that I was never turning anyone down, but of course when you go through Passion to Profit you realize - how are you going to market to anybody if you look like you're covering every single thing?

What you helped me to do was really get to know who the ideal client was. I wanted to work with what their challenges were, what they were looking for and how I could help them.

Working with a niche just brings me so much more joy, because I feel like I'm an expert in my area. What I realize now is that without a clear niche, I could never have been an expert in terms of really understanding my area and be able to offer a great service in that area.

MW: That's a good point. So, by being general you don't get the chance to become a specialist and it affects your confidence in being able to being able to put yourself out there and see how you can tangibly help people. 

SR: Yeah, I found when I've been dealing with the same issues within my niche, I've learned so much from that and that's what made me a better coach in a very short space of time. I have been able to take that forward with the next clients that I work with. 

Creating Energy and Momentum in The First Three Months
MW: Okay, and so when you did finish and you graduated you got your Professional Certificate in Health and Wellness Coaching including Passion to Profit, was there any challenge that you had then or was it easy for you to go out and get into the market?

SR: I knew exactly what I was doing by that point. I was really clear, and I just ran a challenge, and I sold my program off the back of the challenge and filled all my spots.

MW: You make it sound so easy. “I just did a challenge and launched a program off the back sold all of my spots!” 
Let’s backtrack a little. Walk us through it.

You started by creating a free Facebook group in around October 2020, and quickly grew it with a sobriety challenge in January 2021, where you went all out and showed up daily to support your audience. 
What was the experience like?

SR: It was exciting, a little bit overwhelming and I felt a little bit lost at first. But I know the direction to go now because there are so many opportunities coming up, and I feel very proud and very excited with how well it's going in such a short space of time. 

I guess it's useful here to explain that I'm working in is women who want to stop drinking and discover more about themselves and find more fulfillment and purpose and passion in their lives, and I realized that I was starting the challenge at a good time of year because it was January. 

Everyone had just had a very boozy Christmas, feeling a bit rubbish, the start of the new year setting intentions, so I ran a challenge, and I knew that I was going to do this. 

At first, I thought I was going to do a five-day challenge, but then I thought, “well most people do dry January. I'm going to run a 21-day challenge in January to support people who want to take a break from alcohol.” 

I was overwhelmed with the number of women that joined that challenge, which boosted my confidence in knowing that I had so much to offer.

Every day I did a live video. Now, I would not recommend this because this is 21 days at 5pm Perth time every day. 

The intention was every day for five minutes most days. But it ended up being about 40 minutes each day! 

Even so, that made me realize how much I had to say on the matter and how much people were really enjoying and learning about the support and the tips and in the market, not many people were out there talking about these things. 

MW: How did you map out your strategy to really launch and grow so quickly? 

SR: I developed a clear strategy of how to sell my product to the audience, which evolved while I ran my pilot program as part of Passion to Profit.

I think you know from my last session in P2P that my program was not how I thought it was going to be. It was definitely a journey of me learning who I wanted to work with and really getting to identify what their pain point was and what their issue was, that I would be able to support them with. 

So my strategy was to build the group, run a free challenge that was important to a lot of people at the time, and then I built a waitlist during that time for my program. 

That is, I started talking about my program while I was doing the challenge. I said, “I have an exciting program coming soon and it would be a natural step on from taking the alcohol free challenge.” 

People joined the waitlist and I sold all my waitlist spots in two days - amazing! - and then I opened it up to people that were not on the waitlist. Then I think was about a week before closing that I sold all of the spots that I wanted to sell.

(Note: Sarah’s first offer was three groups programs with six spots in each (18 clients), plus four individual programs.)

MW: I'm hearing that you started with a free thing that people could join - your challenge - and you were very present and engaged. 

SR: I had a lot to say every day not just doing a static post using a posting service. When you run a Facebook group, you are actually in the group interacting with them and spending a lot of time. That’s important to know.

MW: It sounds like it was worth the investment because then you also had this the enticement of a call to action, which was your waitlist for something coming soon, which created some intrigue and that got them interested and excited about being part of that next thing to continue past the 21 days. 

SR: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, and that just seemed to just work really well.

Lessons Learned
MW: Sarah, did anything come up in the challenge that you think would be generally relevant for other niches? Like what were some of the issues that might have been raised in the group?

SR: Well, the one thing I learned is that I gave far too much away for free, and I gave far too much. I think there's a fine line between how much information you're prepared to share and it's not even about it being free, but it's about you know, as I said 40 minutes a day for 21 days. That's an awful lot of information that I was giving away. And if I was doing it again, perhaps I wouldn't do it quite that way because not only is it exhausting but there's too much information. I could have kept some back a little bit. 

But overall, the most amazing thing is that we're seeing the connections that the people in the challenge had with each other and were creating that real sense of community. 

So many of them have continued to stay off alcohol since then and most of them tell me that that group on Facebook is their favourite group ever and that they absolutely love it because they're all forming connections with each other. It's not just about me and so I'm creating an actual community which is great. 

MW: Yes! I mean you have lived experience and are very credible you're showing up and creating those connections. The timing of you is perfect. And also, at the bigger picture level there is a bit of a movement toward being sober curious, right? It's the start of a new thing. And so, there's you've got lots of ways of getting traction. Plus. It seems you're very good at networking too and you have extended networks around the place.

SR: Yeah, so I had the foresight before I even ran the challenge. I knew that I would use the Facebook Community to create a group because I knew that in this sobriety world that that really works well, and it gives people a lot of support so I had to set that up about four months before. I didn't realize how useful that was going to end up being because not only to the ladies in the group but to me as well because and they knew me already, but even to get them to do the challenge they had come across to me and they knew me, and I dumped some live videos and I shared my story. 

SR: So I think and because I decided that was going to be my way of marketing. I've done that ahead of time which definitely accelerated how quickly I was able to get success one side qualified and was ready to launch. 

Becoming Visible, Engaging and Attractive
MW: I was going to ask you about three or four things that you did to become very visible and engaging and attractive? 

SR: One of them would be starting that group earlier on and getting it all set up and starting to build those slow burn connections over time as we discussed in Passion to Profit - when you're creating a Facebook group or don't sell for the first six months just build the community and just build and get them to know you and each other, and that's what I did 
I've been very blessed that I've had the group has grown very quickly. There's 1700 women in it now (note: at publication date this is over 3000) all around the world. 

I have had no issues. There has not been a single problem. You know, women can sometimes pull other women down and I had just haven't had that at all. They have been the most supportive and amazing group of women. 

I do still monitor it and I do still have to get approval from me before posts will go live in the group. I don't feel quite ready to let it go free for all yet. But it 's definitely been a massive help for me having that group. 

MW: What are some other things that you've done to become visible?

SR: I sent an email to every radio station in Perth and told them what I was doing and so far. I've been on ABC Perth, I've been on 6PR, I'm going to be on 98.5 tomorrow and I also looked for all the health and sobriety podcasts out there and I just sent an email to all of them with my story and what I'm doing and starting to get some bookings.

It was literally just literally just writing emails to all the places that I could think of that might be interested to talk to me, right? 

MW: So obviously one of your marketing strategies is public speaking and that's whether it be in a Facebook group or on a guest podcast or a radio or a webinar. That's your jam. It's playing to your strengths and you enjoy that.

SR: Exactly yeah. 

MW: What about writing Sarah, is that something you enjoy?

SR: Absolutely, and I would love - my dream one day - is to write a book, but it's just finding the time. I've started a weekly Newsletter now for the ladies - some are in my group and some are not so the other people that have found out about it being through Instagram. So I have a page on there and then eventually I might start writing a Blog because I have lots of ideas but finding the time.

MW: And I guess you get to become known initially by getting on the radio and guest podcasting and being visible on Facebook – these things have been a foundation for you and Instagram as well. And then it may be that in future, you'll be doing less of that publicity stuff as you get better known and settle into some writing and blogging.

SR: Exactly exactly. 

Managing Time and Energy
MW: How are you managing your time and your energy and your clients with this big explosion in popularity?

SR: I am using a planner and I plan the night before I tried. This trick was just planning what I'm doing the next day because it's very easy to get distracted. If you even so much as look at Facebook, that's a half an hour gone so I'm very strict with when I let myself do that now so that I can get focused on what I need to do. I'm very strict with turning my phone off at night and being with the family.

I had to set boundaries because my kids are still young and they see me on my phone all the time because I'm always on Facebook and Instagram doing posts and responding and I've had to realize that I can't be like that in front of them. 

I've got a learning curve and I've got to create my bond with my daughter who said to me the other day, “mum why are you on your phone all the time?” 

That was a bit of a wake-up call because what I tried to explain to her I am actually working. It's the same mum who used to be in the office doing her work. My husband and I had a chat about it so now I do phone stuff in the office so that the kids don't get confused. It's just finding my boundaries and what works for our family and still keeping the momentum going to the business.

MW: Credit to you that you've got that awareness right at the beginning. 

SR: It's the context so taking your phone into the office and treating it formally like work really does make it work and probably makes it easier for you to not waste time on Facebook and not go down the rabbit hole. 

MW: Exactly. So you're a coach who's leading by example setting boundaries managing your environment.

SR: Yeah, being aware of the family. And I'm trying to just recognize when I'm getting full up and what I'm getting overwhelmed and when I need to take a break because that's everything. I talked to my ladies about that, and I've got to make sure that I'm doing that as well. 

It is recognizing when I need to go for a walk, when I need to go and take 10 minutes to read a book or have a bath or whatever it is. I'm making sure that I live by that example. 

MW: Fantastic Sarah. Have you got any last words of advice (which is very non coaching)? But any recommendations are opinions or even just advice for people who are scared of starting their coaching business and want to create the success that you've created so far.

SR: For me, it was a couple of things. It was developing my niche and knowing getting really clear on who that person was. So really, you know, we talked about the Avatar of who was that person and it was me five years ago and so in some ways it was easy for me because I spoke to me so loudly I was so grateful to you for encouraging me to run the pilot group. 

That was amazing, absolute gold because everything I've done with this program is based on doing the pilot group as part of, and in doing, Passion to Profit. 

I wouldn't have been able to go into selling this program confidently if I hadn't done that before so I would say to anybody out there if you're thinking about doing a good coaching pilot group is absolutely brilliant. 

Also, you have to go with what feels right to you because it does become all-consuming and it's exciting and so you have to be really passionate about where you want to help people.

For me, that's why I knew there were a couple of ideas that I was having but I was thinking “how does that make me feel if I'm working with people in that area all day, every day?” 

It was asking myself those questions around what lights me up and what makes me feel invigorated and where I want to spend my time that really helped me home in on that niche. 

I think that's so important because you are the business and then if you want to be doing this in 10 years time or even if you want to sell it even if you want to run a great business you have to love it. 

MW: I always think of Mick Jagger. After all these years he's still singing the same songs. He has to love those songs otherwise, he couldn't get out of bed and be a superstar every day. Imagine if he'd had enough of singing Satisfaction! 

Stretch Goals in Business



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

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

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

What Is A Stretch Goal?

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

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

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

Why Set A Stretch Goal?

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

Choosing a Stretch Goal

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

Alternatives to Stretch Goals

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

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

Coaching for Mental Wellbeing




As Health and Wellness Coaches we know that our main focus is supporting people in adopting healthier habits that will improve their physical health.  Right?  And it is tempting for outsiders to think that our work focuses purely on nutrition, physical activity and maybe sleep habits. But the reality is, we work in a much wider space.

Let’s review the model we learn. Our job is to find out –
What a client wants?  
Why is that important?  
What is getting in the way?  

The first two of key to helping a client change.  Unless they know where they’re heading and why they’re going there, they are unlikely to move forward. But let’s consider the last factor.
Do you recall the four categories of common obstacles?  Barriers can be -
Situational
Behavioural
Cognitive, 
Emotional

And we all agree that it is helpful to recognise that any one of these areas could present a challenge. 

My belief is that the majority of our work needs to focus on helping people overcome those obstacles.  Not just work out what changes they need to make, but base those changes on the things that are stopping them.  And guess what? Which category do you think is most commonly reported?  Well, actually all of them.  But the commonality might become clear when we take a look at these examples:

Situational – clients might have multiple responsibilities with childcare, aged parents, work etc.
Behavioural – clients may use social media before bed to unwind from the day – result?  Poor sleep
Cognitive – clients tell themselves that they are out of control, can never get on top of things, are not good enough!
Emotional – out of the above thinking comes emotions like fear, anxiety and hopelessness

What is the end result of all of the above?  STRESS!  The important point here is that unless we can get control of our mental wellbeing, our physical wellbeing will not be good.  Unless we can help clients calm their minds, they will not be able to harness the resources they need to succeed.

So where do we start?

Step 1 – recognise that a client’s mental state is part of our work.  That does not mean becoming psychologists or psychotherapists.  It means listening for and observing signs that a client is struggling with how they are feeling.  And enquiring and acknowledging those feelings.  

Step 2 – find out what it would take for them to feel somewhat better.  We often presume that if they could achieve their (health) goals they would automatically feel better, but it is unlikely that this will occur until they get their mental wellbeing under control

Step 3 – help them implement small changes that will help calm their minds now.  It may be something as simple as rethinking (or reframing) a situation.  Or perhaps enlisting help from someone in their circle.  You may be that person, but on your own, not enough.

Step 4 – support them in feeling better about their situation as it is now and recognising what is in their power to change and what is not.  This conversation may uncover some previously hidden possibilities.  

Never forget that your ideas for them may not be as good as their own.  Trust their ability to become self-aware and support them in trying out new ways of doing things, or thinking about things. 
Normalise their stress but don’t downplay it.  These are challenging times, but life will continually throw up challenges.  Come armed with your toolbox of experiments, not solutions.
Show them your belief that they can, if not change, then tweak their mindset.  Sometimes the smallest adjustments can create the biggest wins!
Always remember that a health and wellness coach covers mental wellbeing as well as physical wellbeing.  

Note: if you feel that you could benefit from some more training in this area, why not enquire about our Understanding Stress (for you and your client) programme.


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




Introduction

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

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

From sickness to health: empowerment and partnership

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

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

What is health and wellness coaching?

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

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

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

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

The current status of the evidence base for HWC

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

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


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

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


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


The literature reported improvements in the following areas:

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

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

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

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

Who is delivering HWC? Identifying an emerging workforce

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

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

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


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

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

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

Unanswered questions and next steps for HWC

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

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

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


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How Coaches Can Work in NDIS



With the rapid growth of the Health and Wellness Coaching industry in 2020, and a spotlight on mental health and wellbeing after lockdown, there has been a surge in interest in coaching within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as a viable work option.

At a recent Ask the Experts Session for members of Health Coaches Australia and New Zealand Association (HCANZA),  NDSP Plan Manager and WCA graduate Neil Cumming talked about how NDIS works and what the opportunities are for health and wellness coaches.

If you’re interested in working in the NDIS in 2021 as a Health and Wellness Coach or as a Psychosocial Recovery Coach, this article will give you some pointers on how to get started.
NDIS Structure

The government-run National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) delivers the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to people with a disability. 
The goal of the scheme is to identify needs and provide support as early as possible, to help improve their outcomes later in life. 

Individuals qualify to receive a plan via an application and planning process which helps them to establish their NDIS plan and their goals which might include pursuing goals, becoming more independent, and/or being more active in the community and at work.

Support needs are based on the individual’s circumstances and disability, their specific needs and goals. The supports chosen for the plan must be both “reasonable” and “necessary” as defined by the NDIS.
Once a plan is established, the individual needs to work with their nominated plan manager (see below) to identify the supports they need and are eligible for, to monitor their budget and engage in reviews. 

NDIS plans and budget can be managed in one of three ways: 
1. NDIA-managed, 
2. Plan Managed, or 
3. Self-managed.

Coaching in the NDIS 


Do Coaches Need to be Registered Providers in the NDIS?
A starting point for working in NDIS is to consider registering as a provider.

Do coaches need to be register providers in the NDIS? The short answer is no, but there are differences in how you can work within the NDIS based on whether you register as a provider or not.

If you register as a provider, you have scope to work with clients whose plans are managed in any of the three ways noted above – so you have access to potentially more clients.

If you decide not to register, you will only be able to work with clients who are self-managed, or some who are plan-managed if the plan manager is a registered provider.

In January 2019, NDIS stated that over 250,000 Australians were receiving support under the NDIS, and this number has grown in 2020.

Areas a Coach Can Work in NDIS
Health and Wellness Coaches can work in Core Support, which includes assistance with daily life, transport and participating socially, economically and within the community.
They can also work in Capacity Building, which involves multiple areas including support coordination (organising the providers to support the individual), improved health and wellbeing, increased daily living and other areas.
As of July 2020, Psychosocial Recovery Coaches (aka Recovery Coaches) can provide support to people with a psychosocial disability. 

Psychosocial Recovery Coaching is a role that has been developed in consultation with people who have mental health issues, Mental Health Australia, and state and national governments. To work in this role, you need to have had either:
lived experience with mental health issues, or
Cert IV in Mental Health or Cert IV in Mental Health Peer support or similar, or
two years paid experience in supporting people with mental health challenges.

Psychosocial disability is a disability that can arise from a mental health issue, by improving their personal, social and emotional wellbeing while living with or recovering from a mental health condition. The individual defines ‘wellbeing’ in this case.

NDIS Coaching Pay Rates
Pay rates vary according to qualifications and role, and rates are by negotiation for all three categories of plan management.
At the time of writing, a Psychosocial Recovery Coach working in a Support Coordination role can earn $80.90 - $178.68 per hour depending on whether sessions are daytime, evening, weekends or public holidays.
A Health and Wellness Coach working in Improved Health and Wellbeing can earn upwards of $54.30 per hour, depending on whether they have additional qualifications that are recognised within the NDIS, and the level at which they are working.

Please visit the current NDIS pricing guide for more information.

What is it Like to Work with NDIS clients?
WCA Level 4 graduate Octavia Chabrier works in wellness empowerment within the NDIS. 
Octavia says “To be successful in a coaching role within the NDIS, the key is to build good rapport with Support Coordinators. I’m getting my name out there and am starting to get referrals. 
A Support Coordinator recently referred a client to me who wanted support but did not wish to work with a psychologist. The Support Coordinator described me as someone who could offer coaching, mindfulness and body work which represents a blend of my skills and qualifications. I love the fact that I can use the various tools in my toolbox to help people take simple, tangible steps toward their goals, according to each client’s unique needs.”

Summary
The NDIS offers an entry point for coaches to offer meaningful support to people in a variety of ways, and through a variety of entry points.
The first decision to make is whether to go through the provider registration process, and whether to consider further study in Cert IV Mental Health or related qualification.

As part of that, it is worth considering the type of work you might like to do and what you are qualified to do within the NDIS system, in terms of specific item numbers and pay rates.
From there, it is a matter of networking with various agencies in the system to become known, and to start working with clients.

This is a very abbreviated summary of a complex system.  

If you are interested in getting started as a coach within the NDIS and need support, we recommend reaching out to the NDIS for further information. 


References: 
NDIS, 2019. A quarter of a million Australians now benefitting from NDISNDIS website, accessed 25.11.2020.

NDIS website. Accessed 25.11.2020.

White, M. 2019. Working with the National Disability Insurance Scheme Framework. Wellness Coaching Australia website.

Behavioural Strategies to Support Mental Wellbeing


 
We are all aware of the strangeness of this time and also how different the experience of this pandemic has been from one individual to the next. So many factors will affect where we sit in our sense of wellbeing, but one thing that we all share is a feeling of uncertainty of what lies ahead. Now this is not news. We are being bombarded with media coverage of the situation and the adverse effects on various populations, and it is a time when we need to collectively come together and support each other, however, it is also a time when we need to dig deep into our own experience and understand the effect this uncertainty may be having on our mental and emotional health. It somehow feels wrong to dwell on our personal situation but the danger is that we don’t acknowledge and find coping strategies to deal with whatever challenge we are facing, no matter how small it may seem in the bigger scheme of things. Our clients need support in this time, but we too need to be monitoring our own mental state.

Many factors can result in stress and anxiety. But at this time there are some key changes that will affect many. To name a few:

• Finances
• Job loss
• Fear of sickness
• Separation from loved ones
• Isolation
• Loss of loved ones and inability to get closure
• Trip cancellation
• Unwillingness to make plans and have things to look forward to

Many of us are experiencing a sense of destabilisation in the world as we know it. So what is in our control right now? By following a step by step process perhaps we can regain a feeling of equilibrium during this difficult time. What people often fail to realise is that there are many physical behaviours we can adopt that will have a profound effect on mental stress. That is not to say that self reflection is not of value and changing our thinking will not help, but if we combine the two, then we get the biggest benefit. So here’s a step by step approach that used both our minds and our bodies:

STEP ONE – Take Stock
Become self-aware of what emotions you are experiencing but also what physical sensations are might be indicating that our body’s needs may not be being met. Where are you holding the stress?

STEP TWO. - Identify what is in your control
Work out what you can change and what you need to accept. Don’t waste time ruminating over things that are outside of your power of influence.

STEP THREE – Check in with how you are treating your body
What we eat or drink, how we move, rest, sleep, hydrate and breathe are all physical behaviours that can nurture vitality. If things are not right in any of these areas, our energy can be depleted. e.g. Do you need exercise or rest?
Check on each and see if there are any areas that you can change or improve. How will you do this?

STEP FOUR – Renew with nature
Get outside whenever you can. Use nature to improve your mood, help your sleep, release hormones and general performance in life. We have never needed nature more.

STEP SIX – Eliminate unhelpful behaviours
What habits are you developing that are not helpful? Is it something you are regularly thinking and telling yourself, or something you are doing to cope that is working against you? Identify and replace them.

STEP SEVEN – Love yourself
Engage in regular doses of self-compassion. Understand your emotions and how you deal with them. Be aware that sadness can wrongly be expressed with anger. Talk to your close friends and family. Discuss what’s going on for you. Follow physical pursuits that replenish you. Be your own wellness coach.

STEP EIGHT - Trust
That life will unfold in the way it is meant to. Let go of the illusion of control. We never really had it!

And remember this statistic. A researcher in trauma (Donald Meichenbaum) said that an estimate of all the people who had experienced trauma, 30% of them suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and 70% of them experienced some form of personal growth! And the difference was the person’s belief about the event. If you believe it is possible to grow, you will.
Care for your client’s during this time, but also care for yourself.

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



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


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

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

Now there’s a reason for hope!

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

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

Goals

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


Agency (this is where motivation comes in)

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

Having a Plan

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

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

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

Stay safe and hopeful.  

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

Feeling Connected and Creating Clients in Business



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


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

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

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

We need a way to feel connected and supported in business so that we can find the motivation, energy, confidence and enthusiasm to persist.
On top of that, building professional and personal networks is a wonderful way to meet potential clients and referral partners who can send qualified referrals your way.

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

Joining a Health Professional Network

Allied Health professionals often have either formal or informal meetings, social events and/or online groups for the purpose of networking, referring and collaborating.
Their meetings are typically monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.

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

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

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

Joining a Local Business Network

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

Their meetings are typically monthly.
Depending on where you live, your local Chamber may be quite active or not so much. 

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

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

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

Joining a Professional Industry Association

Every reputable profession has an industry association that acts as a voice for its members.
Their meetings are typically monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.

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

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

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

  • Action step: Contact HCANZA to enquire about membership.

Joining a Social Networking Group 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Start Your Own Group 

An easy way to build professional alliances is to start your own group. 
This is a good tactic for you if you are outgoing, love people and enjoy networking (otherwise it may feel like too much work – and you’re better off joining someone else’s network/group).

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

However, I’ve listed FIVE options that you could start exploring to build professional and client networks for the purpose of feeling supported, brainstorming ideas and creating clients.
To get started, choose the one that feels like the best fit and make plans to join and explore what it’s like to be a member.

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

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

Now, it’s over to you.

What is your easiest and most obvious starting point?


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