#120: Structuring Your Program

We’ve had lots of questions lately around the structure of your program – how long, how many tiers, what to cover in each session, etc. Michelle answers your questions by taking a 100,000 foot view in this episode.

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Hello, health coaches. How's everybody doing today? We are back to our usual weekly episode, our regular Tuesday broadcast every week, 2:00 PM. You'll find me here doing a live Q and a, but even though we're back to our usual schedule in some sense, this is not a usual week. As I speak, we are counting down the hours to the cart closingon this fall's Healthy Profit University FastTrack semester. And it was really interesting because a lot of questions being asked lately, I noticed are around topics that we cover inside healthy profit university. I mean, it's really not that surprising. I designed this program to meet your needs. I mean, I'm listening, I'm paying attention all the time. And specifically though this week, I kept noticing a lot of questions around structuring your program. So today I want to answer some of those questions for you and remind you that also, if you're watching or listening to this before Wednesday, September 23rd, you can still grab a spot and our fast track group for this fall and all the details for that are at healthhealthcoachpower.com/hpu.

And we get started with the fast track group by the way, on October 7th. So let's talk about structuring your program. I'm going to tell you how this went down in my health coaching practice. When I was in school to become a health coach, we all graduated with the same six month program to offer and they gave us outlines back then. I don't know if your school is doing that for you, but I have these outlines for every session I was supposed to do with my client. So I thought at least that I knew exactly what I needed to cover, and I could just follow the outline. And it really wasn't until like a year or so later that I even considered offering any other type of program. But what I notice these days that you guys are so savvy and you want to be offering all sorts of cool stuff.

So before we get into the nitty gritty, I want to give you the like hundred thousand foot view ready? Cause this might surprise you the structure of your program, like the actual topics that you cover and in what order and all that jazz, like those outlines I used to use turned out. They weren't as useful or as important as I thought they were like for working with private clients, even running small groups, even membership sites, whatever, no matter how you decide upfront to structure your program, structure your sessions, once you're in there and you're working with real people, you're going to quickly see what they need. And it might be very different from what you have written on your piece of paper, right? And you're going to see what they don't need. And often your best laid plans are going to go right out the window.

As you practice being a fine, fine coach that I know you are and meet your clients where they are that day. So in other words, your clients very often are going to dictate the program just by showing up and showing you what they need. And actually that really is the most effective way to coach, right? Versus showing up with a textbook of some sort and be like, this is what we're going to talk about today. That's not helpful. It's helpful when you are communicating with your client and you are energetically connecting with them and finding out what do they really need today? How can we best move them forward from the place that they are in this moment? Now I say this, but it doesn't mean that you should be out there trying to sell a vague open-ended health coaching program. The one that I just described, Oh, well, we're just going to, we're going to meet and I'm going to energetically connect with you.

No, no, that's not going to sell you guys. That's just me telling you how it actually works. But when you're out there marketing your health coaching program, it certainly does help. If you can communicate what the program entails. So inside healthy profit university, and we will definitely be doing this during the fall fasttrack semester, I help our coaches create a signature program. Not because it changes the fact that your client should always lead. Your client should always lead, but because it will help you tremendously in communicating your value and signing new clients. So coming up with a structure for say your signature program, it's all about marketing. It. It's about communicating to a prospective client, what you have to offer. But once you're working with a paying client inside of that program, I assure you, it does not matter if you follow the exact format that you had initially laid out.

It does not matter if you have handouts. It doesn't matter if you had two tiers or three tiers or 500 tiers. If you talk about fasting or you talk about carb loading, I guarantee you'll be talking about things you never expected truly, because if you're doing your job, you're going to be whatever and whoever and wherever your client needs you that day. And you won't know until it happens. Do you have any questions about this? If you're here with me live, feel free to ask questions in the comment area. I do have my eye on that because I want to be here for you in this capacity and meet you where you are on this topic. So this is a long way of saying yes, structure program so that you can sell it, but don't get hung up on every little detail. I actually prefer for all of my HPU members to keep it a little bit loose in the beginning so that they can learn from their clients. Like don't spend a lot of time and money upfront. For example, designing 100 different worksheets or handouts, right? You may find that you never use them or that you give them to your client and your client never uses them. So it's a big waste. So I'm going to answer some of your questions today, but like, disclaimer, be where you really could be putting too much emphasis on structuring your program and not enough emphasis on signing clients. Trust me, the former does not have to come before the ladder.

What else did I want to say about that? I just had a great thought. Now it just left my head. Well, maybe it'll come back to me. Oh, here's what I wanted to say. I'm just going to call you out a little bit. If you are someone who has been diligently working on what their program's going to be. Yeah, you got your pen, you got your paper. This is what we're going to cover. And then I'm going to teach about this and then week two, we're going to be doing that. I think this is a way of keeping yourself safe. I think this is a way of keeping yourself from actually having to do the work. I think it's a way of like surrounding yourself and like more comfort. Oh no. If I know exactly what I'm going to say, then I'll be a good coach.

It's not true. It's not true. Some of my best, most powerful coaching sessions have happened when I have literally like stepped away from taking notes, put down my notebook, put down any idea of what I thought the session was going to be with the client. And even just like sat down on the couch and looked up to the ceiling and you know, on the phone with my client, those have been some of the most powerful sessions I've ever experienced. So I encourage you to stop trying to get it all perfect upfront, because you will actually do better when you move and you work with your clients in a more intuitive way. Scary, right? But you're trained for this. You have trained for this. Okay. So let's move on to our first question from hope. Hope. If you're here, say hello, if you're not here, that's okay.

You can say hello later while you listen to this as a replay. Hope says, I've been working with my client for almost two weeks now, and I'm struggling with how to structure my program. This is my first client. So I'm still kind of adapting. I would love some advice as to how you structured your program with your first client. Any advice would be appreciated. So hope. As I already said, my very first clients, I had these outlines and and by the way, inside healthy profit university, inside of our fast track semester, I do give you outline so that you don't feel like you're swimming in the middle of ocean with nothing. It's like a little bit of a life raft. However, here's what I really suggest. I suggest that when you're in a session with your client, next time, hope you can write this down on like a pad of paper for yourself.

It may help you. You can actually just ask your client because here's what you need to know. What does your client need today? You can ask them question or you might Intuit based on their, their posture. If you know, if you're on zoom, based on some of their body language, based on what they're saying right out of the gate, what you should be thinking, what does my client need today? Here's another question. And again, you can just ask them this. What is interesting to your client right now? What is interesting to them? If they come to you and they want to talk about intermittent fasting, okay, go there with them. They want to come to you and talk about how their marriage is falling apart. Okay? Maybe that's where you need to be today. What is interesting to them today? Even if you don't think it's interesting, right?

Like they might bring up intermittent fasting and let's say you're someone who totally thinks that that's hogwash or whatever. Talk to them about it. Ask them why, why are you interested in that? Why is that important to you? Tell me more, right? That can be a great conversation starter. Also notice in your session, what are they asking for support with? Sometimes clients will come to you and straight up say, I need XYZ. Hello. Sometimes I've ignored that. I can remember times that I have ignored what my clients were asking for, because that's not what I wanted to talk about. It's not what I thought they needed. And it didn't go well, those were not clients that ended up happy because I wasn't in tune with them. I wasn't letting them lead the dance. So what are they asking for support with either explicitly or implicitly?

Here's something else to think about? What do they want to implement in their diet and lifestyle? Sometimes again, we go into it thinking like, all right, I'm a plant based coach. I want my client to be plant based. Like this is the goal, but more importantly, what's your client want to implement? We might have a client that wants to eat more fiber because their doctor told them to eat more fiber and they're all hung up on fiber. Great. So let it go on, turn them 100% plant based during this session. And instead talk about fiber and talk about how they can find fiber and all of these great plant based foods. Do you know what I mean? But start with like where their interest is and what they already want to implement, because if they want to implement it. Awesome. Awesome. If they've never heard of it, if it's definitely something they don't want to implement, it's like swimming upstream.

We don't want to do that with our clients. We want to find where the energy is flowing and help guide them along towards their goals. Okay. So, like I said, if you don't know the answers to any of these questions based on like what your client has been emailing you or your previous sessions or anything like that, hope, just ask, how can I best support you today? That's a glorious question to start with and it will open up all the right doors for the conversation that needs to take place that day. I bet you guys didn't know. I was so woo. Woo. I say that was like my tongue in cheek, but I'm really not. I'm not like a super touchy feely woo woo kind of coach. However, what you've been doing this work for a while. There's no other way to explain it. Then, then sort of opened...

I've heard Andrea Beaman has described it in my friend, Andrea. I don't know if you know her, she's described it as sort of you open yourself up and as a coach and you let the universe kind of use you as a conduit for whatever needs to be happening in that session with your client. And that's just another way of thinking about it. I think it takes you out of your head so much and lets you coach from your heart. Okay. Here is another question. And I don't know if I'm pronouncing your name correctly, so I apologize, but this is a question from Thak and he said, hi everyone. I'm wondering what would be the simplest most effective programs for beginning health coaches to offer. In addition to the six month program that could appear daunting to many undecided clients. Well, first what I want to say to that is you want decided clients forget about the undecided ones, seriously learning how to communicate your value.

Like I just spoke about a little bit ago, learning how to communicate your value to your target market is what will convert an undecided client into somebody that makes a decision. So I always encourage new coaches to focus on private clients first because Oh gosh, for so many reasons, they're the most flexible. They're the highest paying and you will learn everything that you need to know in order to then later run successful groups, membership sites, whatever it is that you want to do online programs, I really encourage you to first start with the decided ones and learn how to sell your coaching in a way that creates more decided clients. Okay. So first and foremost, don't spend your energy on how do I sell to all these people that don't want to buy for me? Heck no, let, let them sit there. They can wait, put all your attention on the people who were interested or who are close to being interested and learn how to communicate your value to them.

Is this making sense? Anybody feel like that that definitely feels more aligned than fighting with the people who don't want to be your client. I'm not saying you're fighting with them. I'm just saying it's a different type of energy. Okay. That said, I will answer your question and let you know that what I've seen in my many years in the industry now is that a lot of health coaches do very well offering a five day program. It could be some sort of detox. It could be five days of eating grain free, you know, whatever your thing is. And it can be a free five day event in order to build your mailing list. Even something like that. Now a while ago, I held a master class on how to run, how to create, how to market a five day challenge. And that is actually to be a bonus included with this false fast-track semester.

Everybody loved it. I saw coaches go out there and run their first five day challenge, like smooth as silk. So you could hold a free or a paid five day program. Keep it very simple. You just kind of use email, maybe a Facebook group. And that's a very good starter program for many coaches as an alternative to jumping in and selling your high ticket one-on-one coaching offer. This is an alternative that I do see working pretty well. So thanks for asking that question. That's awesome. And I'm so glad that I was able to tell you about this new bonus because yeah, we just put that out today as a surprise. So you're the first to know.

Here's a question from Katie. Katie said, I'm working on my membership site. It will have three tiers rather than be generic and calling them bronze, gold and platinum. I was thinking of something health related, but I'm drawing a blank. Any ideas? Yeah, Katie, I had all kinds of like cute ideas thinking about this. I'm like, you know, she wants it to be like, nutrition-related, it could be like iceberg, spinach, kale, you know, like you can get all kinds of clever with nutrition jokes or however you want to call your tears. But how about this instead of worrying about naming your tears, because like that's not the thing that's going to make or break your sale. No, one's like, ah, I don't think I'm going to sign up because platinum sounds boring. I've done that before. You know, that's not going to be the thing, the name of the tier. I'm actually curious why you feel that you need three tiers and I'm sure that you have a very good answer. Very well thought out, answer for that.

But just in general for everyone before you get fancy with your offerings, I want you to actually think about how can this be as simple as possible. What is the most simple way that I can get this out in the world? So maybe you have a vision for three tiers at some point, but start with one, just start with one and see how that goes. Because from there you're going to learn what your members need, right? Like your clients are going to show up and teach you what they need. And actually, I bet then after you have kind of gone through the process with different clients, naming your tiers, if you end up having tears is going to come much more easily, it's going to be so obvious. You're going to see, Oh, they all need this. And then they all need that. And then some of them need this other thing.

Right? And then you're going to know how to name your tiers if you need tiers at all. Cause that's the other thing, maybe you won't, maybe you find out that, Hmm, not really any reason for these people to be in three separate tiers. Why would I complicate my life? You know, why would I complicate the sales process or the fulfillment process, right? Cause then you have to fulfill on three different tiers of membership. So this happens all the time. I know that I have done it. It's really easy to kind of overcomplicate overthink things and we just make it more complex than it needs to be. So start as simple as possible and as quickly as possible, just start, get it out there, get it out into the world, easy peasy, simple, straightforward. And then you can adjust as you go. And then you're going to actually be course correcting to find the perfect path for yourself as opposed to like upfront, trying to decide what that path should be good.

Okay. Kind of like if you think about a captain or whatever, getting into a ship and deciding like, you know, this is the route and I'm going to stick to this route and then they just go and ignore the storms that come and ignore the current of the water. Like that's not going to go so well when you're steering a ship, you're always course correcting. Right. So it's better to get out there with a good idea and course correct as you go, but just keep it simple. At first, you're going to save yourself so many headaches. I can't even tell you.

Okay. Any questions from you guys that are here, live about structuring your program. What are you selling it? How many tiers do you have? How many sessions, what price point, all that kind of stuff comes up underneath this, this idea that we're talking about today. I have a question here from Kathy. Kathy said, do you have an application on your website? And if so, what sort of questions do you ask? So I think Kathy, you know, Kathy's referring to is an application for a prospective client to book a time for a consultation. A lot of us have something on our website that says book a free consultation. And if we're fancy, then there's a button that takes you to a calendar or something like that. I have found it to help tremendously to actually have an application process upfront. You're not booking a session with me.

Oh no, you are applying for a session with me. Cause now doesn't that sound a lot more exclusive. That's not the reason I do it, but it's a nice, other reason that I do it. The main reason that I do it is because I don't want to get on the phone with someone who is in no way, shape or form qualified to be my client or I am not qualified to be their coach. I would rather find that out after they've answered like five or six questions and then saying, yeah, this is someone I really could potentially do. Good work with let's book a call versus saying, Oh gosh, no, this is, this is totally the wrong fit. Sorry for wasting your time. And Oh, I just wasted my own time. So I love the idea of having an application process. I know I've talked about this before on the podcast.

If you have an application, the questions that you want to ask our questions, not so much about like telling me about your medical condition. Tell me about your mother's side of the family, tell me about your fa... That's like your health history. You will do that later. Once they decide to become a paid client, but an application up front, our questions, they're going to help them start understanding their problem better and telling themselves and telling you why they want to fix that now and why they want to hire you or work with you to fix that problem. So it's all questions that get them set up and in a mindset of like, yes, we're going to work together. I give away an exact application that you can swipe, you know, and use for yourself inside the fast track semester. But like I'm saying, you w you want to ask questions that help them get ready to become your client.

Why do you want to solve this problem right now is a great question. If they don't have an answer for that, they probably don't want to solve the problem right now. And they're probably not going to hire you, right? So like, they'll go through this process in their head. And if, if they're not really that interested, they're not even gonna finish the application. And that's awesome because you have saved everybody half an hour of your time. Thanks for asking that question, Kathy. I think that's a really good one. If you're talking about how to structure a program, we also got to think about how do we get people in the door, in the first place? Okay. Any other questions from you guys today? I have one from Kim. Kim said, does anyone have any thoughts on what to call a webinar to make it not sound boring right now?

I call it a workshop, but I feel like there could be something better, something more catchy. Any thoughts? Yeah, totally Kim. So it depends on your target market. If you let's say you were doing a webinar, which does sound pretty technical for a group of new moms, like you might call it like a new mommy meetup, right? You might call it a, a breastfeeding circle, something like that. You know, you could literally use any word to describe a meeting. You can call it a hangout, you can call it a party. I've, I've heard it called a fireside chat. I often call mine trainings if they are meant for health coaches. And I'm actually teaching you hard skills. If you're teaching some sort of hard skills, you could call it a training, you can call it a class, but think about who you are promoting it to, and then pick something that they presumably would like to show up for.

And I think you're right to not use the word webinar, which can sound kind of cold and corporate. And that's probably not the feeling that you want to give off in your health coaching practice. So thanks for asking that. I'm pretty sure you asked that because we just went through last week, right? We just held a whole, a five day challenge about how to put together a webinar. And then at the end of it, you have this webinar to offer, but you're like, ah, do you want to sign up for my webinar? Not that, not that you'll come up with a better name, Kim.

Okay. Got a question here from Sue. Sue says I'm new to the group. As I've just recently started listening to the podcast. My niche was going to be helping people reverse their type two diabetes, but I listened to the podcast episode with attorney Lisa Fraley and now I'm second guessing that how could I market that and not end up in pokey. I also listened to one where Michelle mentioned someone's niche being reversing, Lyme disease, and joked for the scope of practice police to not get up in arms. So I'm a little confused. I live in Indiana and it's a green state. Okay. Sue thanks for asking. We do have an episode. I forget which number, but a few episodes back, we did have Lisa Fraley on. And she talked about how, when you go out with your message, like say you have a signature program and you know that every time you work with someone who has type two diabetes, like, you know, whatever, eight times out of 10 or nine times out of 10, they are able to reverse.

They're able to reverse their diagnosis. I mean, that has happened to me in my health coaching practice. I've reversed all kinds of things with clients. It's amazing. So what Lisa was saying, and what I will say to you is even if that's true, and if that is 100% true, that that's the work that you do and the work that you've done, you just won't go out with a message like this. I'm going to help you reverse your type two diabetes sign up here to reverse your type two diabetes. You will not say that you won't say that we can't talk about reversing any sort of medical diagnosis. So instead you want to describe it based more on the symptoms that they're experiencing. So you might say something like learn how to eat for your blood sugar, or have more energy and lose weight with type two diabetes or something like that.

You can, and again, you might want to run this through an actual attorney, which I am not, but my understanding is we can never go out there with a message aimed around a medical diagnosis in particular, but we can talk about the symptoms and we can talk about the different aspects of having that condition and how we can, you know, help them with their blood sugar, help them with their energy levels. Without really saying, I'm going to help you reverse this thing. Okay. So that's awesome that you are in a green state. That means that you can work one on one with your coaching clients. When you're in a green state, you have the fewest restrictions on what you're able to do. So that's fantastic. And just my comment on the fact that nobody's walking around like the scope of a scope of practice police, I'm mostly, I'm aiming that at other coaches because sometimes we'll have a coach in our group that says like you, I work with clients to help reverse type two diabetes.

And I want to applaud and say, good work. You're doing good strong work in the world. But sometimes another coach or sometimes another practitioner will say, that's outside your scope of practice. And like, yes and no. And also mind your business. You know, like if you are putting yourself out into the world with a safe message, like we just talked about, you don't need to worry. You cannot make promises of healing. People. We are not practicing medicine, but we can help someone meal plan with meals that will keep their blood sugar balanced, right? Like we can do so much as health coaches. So it's all in how you communicate. This kind of goes back to what I was talking about with your signature program. You're going about how you communicate your value. And that is something to put some thought into because no, you don't want to be out a flag, a big red flag for someone to come and notice that you are going outside your scope of practice.

But generally what I find with health coaches is we're not, we're not actually going outside our scope of practice, but we are sort of using words internally that we should not use externally, if that makes sense. Okay, good. So once again, inside our fasttrack semester, I will be helping you put together your signature program. Something that does communicate your value and does not over promise on any medical conditions. And we will be doing so much more than that, including helping you run your first five day challenge, growing your mailing list, helping you sell to that list. Oh my God. It's gonna be amazing. And if you sign up by Wednesday, the 23rd and you can take advantage of all of that at healthcoachpower.com/hpu. Otherwise we will do it again at some point, no time soon, maybe in six months, maybe in eight months, it'll come around again sometime you guys, if you're listening to this later. So keep listening to the podcast every week. Thank you for being here and I'll see you again soon.