Are You Still Afraid You Don’t Know
Enough To Be A Health Coach?
By: Karen Pattock
The time you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. You’re officially a health coach. You’re ready to grow your home-based business and start getting clients. Getting the education is behind you. That was the hard part, right? Unfortunately, way too often that isn’t the case because deep down you’re still not sure you really know enough to be a health coach.
“I’m not sure that I know enough to be a health coach” is a common theme among new health coaches that I hear over and over again. They are worried that somehow they will let their clients down while working through the coaching program. Worse yet, what if their client ends up thinking that they are a fraud? That fear can be paralyzing for inexperienced health coaches. They are their own biggest critics.
A brilliant coach of mine once said, “The only difference between an amateur and an expert is that the expert has done it time and time and time again.” Pretty insightful don’t you think? So let’s ask ourselves, “What does a REAL Health Coach look like?”
How does someone get really good at being a Health Coach? Well the truth is that you aren’t born with the knowledge. You are, however, born with the innate desire to help others with their challenges. In fact, you have probably been helping your family and friends with their challenges all of your life. So how do you become really good at health coaching and grow your confidence? Practice, practice, practice!!!
I can remember working through the program with my first couple of clients. At the beginning of each session I always felt a little nervous. That nervousness always went away though right after I asked my client, “What’s new and good?” Immediately my mind shifted from the focus being on me to the focus being on my client. That is THE key factor you will want to remember.
The 60 minute session would go by so quickly and I would wonder where all the time went. Honestly, by using my outline as a guideline for our conversation and, (here is the important part), focusing on my client and where they needed the conversation to go, I was effortlessly turning into an expert health coach. By listening to my client and their needs I was always led in the direction that satisfied my client. It is no different for you and your clients.
When you critique your skill and knowledge it is critically important that you remember your client isn’t where you are in their nutritional journey. That is why they are hiring you. You have valuable insight into their health and they need you to share it with them.
The health coach that has an open mind and is willing to look at each client, or potential client, as a unique learning experience is the health coach that is going to be extremely successful. If you have the attitude that you already know it all, and that your way is the only way, you’re going to miss the potential for learning from each client. Remember, no single answer is going to fit every single client.
Before you can even judge yourself and decide whether or not you have the answers they need, you need to take the time necessary to REALLY hear their question. Your potential client’s question is going to be unique to their life experiences. Therefore, you cannot put the pressure on yourself from the beginning that you need to know everything.
For example, there have been several clients that have had miraculous turnarounds in their health just by me suggesting that they incorporate a detoxifying green smoothie into their morning routine. Hmmm… seems simple enough right? Yet in the client’s eyes it was life changing and when they saw results I looked like a ROCK STAR Health Coach.
In the world of health coaches, green smoothies seem main stream and almost like “old news”. I promise that is not the case. It’s only main stream for those of us that are nutritional junkies… and we are a very small percentage of the population on this planet.
Let’s go one step further. Let’s say that a client asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to right off the top of your head. In my experience it has been so inspiring to a client when I say “I don’t have the answer to that question but I do have a network of people that I am connected with that will allow me to ask your question. That way I will be able to get the most up-to-date, personal experience out there relating to your concern. The network I am tapped into gives me access to people with similar experiences that have successfully resolved the problem. So let me do some research and I will get back to you in our next session. Will that be okay?” I guarantee they will be impressed and grateful that you’re doing the research for them.
In their mind, not only are you researching their problem, but it also becomes obvious to them that you’ve heard their concern and want to help them resolve it. Chances are you’re the very first person to ever really listen to them and really understand their situation. Can you imagine how that feels for them?
For the first time they aren’t generically being put in a box. You’re going to find them a specific answer to their problem, work through it with them step-by-step, and come up with an answer that works. Just remember though, it may be a process of elimination so you just let them know that ahead of time. They will appreciate your honesty and they will love you for being open and honest with them.
You no longer should second guess whether or not you have what it takes to coach someone. Always remember how much they need your help.
Here are five simple tips to get you through the moments of self doubt and move you past what is holding you back:
- When you’re with a potential client, ask them to tell you what they want and need from you. Don’t second guess or pretend to already know. Listen, more than you speak. Take good notes and refer back to them when necessary.
- Periodically check back in with your client regarding their priorities and goals, (maybe every 3 or 4 sessions). This is a critical component to staying on top of what your client’s top desires are at the time. It’s often changing as they go through the program with you.
- Remember each client will be a unique experience. Through your formal program you will work through their challenges, step-by-step. Rome wasn’t built in a day. As you give tips and suggestions keep in mind that there is a lot of trial and error involved in the health coaching business. Your client will like and respond positively to some of the suggestions you offer and dislike and not respond to others. That’s to be expected. Don’t take it personally. It’s not a measurement of success or failure. It’s a method in which you will get to know them and their bodies. Take that opportunity to continue to tailor your program to their needs.
- You’re NOT supposed to know it all. Let’s just say for argument sake that you could solve every one of their challenges in the first session. If that were true, your client couldn’t handle that much change or information all at once anyway. It’s your job to give it to them in small chunks so it’s easily incorporated into their daily routine. In no time they will believe you are a GENIUS and will be telling all of their friends and family about you!!
- Lastly, be sure that you’re CONSTANTLY making the entire coaching program about them and only them. Any insecurity you may have will only get in the way of their successful health coaching experience. Keep the focus on them, which will take the pressure off of you and the entire experience for both of you will be extraordinary.
These simple tips along with a shift in your perspective will allow you the insight that you need to be a top notch Health Coach. The biggest characteristic you need to possess is compassion and you wouldn’t be in this business if you weren’t filled with compassion. I promise that if you love your clients, they will love you right back.
You do know enough to be a Health Coach.
Now go change the world!
Hey, can you please do me a favor? Hop on over to my Facebook page and tell me what you think. Do you ever have moments of vulnerability and doubt? If so, how do you get through them to move to a more positive place? Give me your thoughts. I eagerly await your input!
With love and support,
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Simple Statement of gratitude that you are taking responsibility for guiding and advising beginning Health Coaches towards effective skills to help clients. You truly give the concept of free enterprise an ethical and considerate definition, in other words, in addition to your own excellence, you unselfishly assist others to pursue and attain the same excellence, to improve the health of our Nation In Crisis, with True Patriotism and Authenticity. Mrs. Sherri Mraz, IIN Health Coaching School Representative directed us in her Coaching Circle to investigate/appreciate your work, she’s a top-notch Professional also. Glad to be one of your students and be united in the war against unnecessary chronic disease with you. Christian Blessings to your Considerate Entrepreneurial Crusade…
IIN Student Henry, (May 2013 Class)
Thank you so much for your kind words of appreciation. You have put a huge smile on my face today. 🙂
It is my pleasure to serve & help health & fitnesspreneurs build their businesses so they can touch more lives with their expertise. Together we are making a difference in the world.
Sherri is awesome! She is one of my favorite people. You can definitely learn a lot from her as well. Keep up the great work!
Thanks again & have a great day. ~Karen
Thank you for the information. From someone who is just getting started with my own business, I know I have some work to do. But I do have to keep in mind that I am the one with the knowledge and that it is my job to make sure that I am educating, motivating and inspiring my clients. Thank you for the tips, this will be very helpful.
Thanks for posting! I always appreciate the feedback. The job you are doing is SO, SO important so keep up the good work. In the meantime I will continue to support you with the latest in business building tips, tools & strategies.
Thanks so much for such a wonderful post Karen.
I was blessed to start coaching the day my first certification came through and I have grown and developed my practice since then. It’s like anything in life, there’s only so much theory we can do before the practical side of things. It’s the hands on that does the most teaching for us and self discovery.
It sounds like you are making great progress in building a thriving business. Congratulations! It’s a learning process each day for all of us no matter what job we are performing. That’s why I want to encourage every health & fitnesspreneur to just get out there and share their knowledge. Get the momentum going so they can change the world. Thanks so much for commenting! I love the feedback.