#169: Troubleshooting Your Process With New Clients

If you want to start working with clients, you’ll need to FIND some, for starters. And then…how to collect payment? How to get those forms filled out? What about actually, you know, helping with their health issues? In this episode Michelle helps troubleshoot common issues and offers her free Where To Start Guide for new health coaches. Get it at https://healthcoachpower.com/getstarted

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Hello, everybody. Welcome back to another one of our weekly Q&A sessions. My name is Michelle Leotta for those of you that I haven't met before, I've been a practicing health coach for, oh my gosh. It's going to be 13 years and just a couple of weeks. So I'm glad that you could be here today. We're going to be talking about troubleshooting your process with new clients and all the different issues that can come up along the way when we're working with some of our new clients, especially when there's some of our very first clients. So if you're here live and you have questions for me, go ahead and put those into the comments, either on Facebook or over here on Instagram and let me know what you've been dealing with as you're taking on clients. Um, I think that there's a lot of learning, right?

But anytime we do something new, but as health coaches, often we have had other careers. We have done other things in life where we really, really knew what we were doing. You know, we felt like we really got it. And sometimes to start over is overwhelming because we're like, wait, by now in my life, I should know how to do this. And sometimes we just don't but that's okay. That's okay, because I've been there. I've done that. And today I'm going to help you out this episode, by the way, is brought to you by my newest free resource, hot off the presses. It's my get started guide for new health coaches. So if you want to get going, but you don't know where or how or what to do first. I want you to go to healthcoachpower.com/getstarted for my step-by-step plan. I'm going to drop a link for that right over here on Facebook.

Again, it's healthcoachpower.com/getstarted before we dive in today. And also just to give you a minute to put your questions and thoughts into the comments, what's tripping you up, working with your clients lately. I want to read a review that be well balanced, left for us on apple podcasts. She wrote, "Generous and powerful. I love Michelle's content and podcast, and always look forward to the next one, always so upbeat and positive, giving the simplest to more comprehensive advice. She appeals to rookies like me and pros. I hope to join Healthy Profit University someday. She is so generous with sharing her knowledge and experience, and I appreciate it." Well, I appreciate you be well, wellness be well balanced. Sorry. And I don't know your name. This is all I know from apple podcasts. You're going to have to tell us who you are. Please email support@healthcoachpower.com and reference episode number 168.

We have a little thank you gift to send your way. I'm going to say hi to Patricia and hi to Katie who's here. And Tina and John and Leanne, it is so nice to see you all. We had a really awesome post in our Facebook group about a week ago that I wanted to read it just on this topic of working with clients. And there are so many things to work through and work out and figure, you know, how, how am I going to run my business? So just to inspire us today, I want to get a shout out to Jen and Jen wrote, "I finally narrowed down on my niche pretty tightly. I also have been speaking to the ideal client when posting on social media, I stopped all the confusing options, like different choices on how often to meet each month, et cetera, and only have one program a 12 week, a 12 week program. And once I implemented these three, I got three new consultation calls, even though I'm not charging anymore. Not only that, but using Michelle's suggestions on how to nail that call down all three, signed up with me".

So Jen, we want to give you a round of applause or taking the information and the advice that we're always throwing down every week here on the show and implementing it and seeing how it works and figuring it out like how it's going to work with your business and boom, seeing some results. So again, big round of applause for Jen. And today, I want to talk about some of the things that maybe you're struggling with, that aren't going so well so that you can be like Jen, and you can take some advice and you can implement it and you can see improvements in your own business. So again, here to take your questions live, but I do have some pre-planned and by the way, you should always do that for your Q and A's ask your audience what they need, but have a couple of questions in the can.

So let's start with Sharon, who said, I received my health coach certification in may, and I still have zero clients feeling discouraged and losing the motivation and inspiration a bit. What's one thing that helps you stay on track or is key in getting clients. So what I want to say to this is that we can't really lose motivation. It can feel like one of the things that we do don't work out. Sharon, trust me, I've been there. We've all been there. And I have found that when I have a moment where a client or even a friend, or literally anyone in my life goes, oh, you helped me. Oh, aha. I get it. You know, like their eyes kind of open. And they have that moment. It fuels me for like probably a good six months. I was like, that's all I needed to keep going.

And I think most of us are like that because we're so thrilled when we're able to help people. That's why we got into this business. So this is going to sound kind of backwards, Sharon. But I think that staying on track means continuously working with people. And you're going to say, but Michelle, I can't find any clients working with people in so many shapes and forms. So it could be that you invest a lot of your time and efforts right now into your social media following or into your mailing list. Or it's just something that's not necessarily signing clients right away, but it's building rapport. It's built, it's being helpful and showing them how awesome you are. This is what eventually leads to paying clients. So sometimes we think, okay, I got my certification. I'm going to hang my shingle right here. And well, why isn't everybody knocking on my door?

Why doesn't everybody just want to be my client? Why doesn't it work like that? It definitely does not work like that. We have to learn as health coaches, which it's very different than if you had gone to medical school and you became a primary care physician. You know, the way that we acquire clients is not so straightforward. So we have to understand it's not going to be a matter of just saying here's my certificate. Clients are going to show up, but rather there's this journey that people have to take and it starts even, gosh, I mean, nobody wakes up in the morning going like, huh, gosh, I think I'm going to find a health coach today. Let me go search the internet for some health coaches. Really not the thing that people are doing, right? So we need to be out there demonstrating, not even telling people what a health coach is, but demonstrating how helpful and inspirational and useful we can be.

That's what's going to make them go, oh wait, hold on. What do you do for a living? Wait, can I work with you? How do I get more of this? So Sharon, that's why I'm suggesting that you put your efforts into being helpful, showing how useful you are getting out there in front of groups that you're able to hold workshops, right? Just be in front of people. And they are going to start to understand how Sharon can help them. Right? Not because they woke up thinking that that's what they needed. But once they see you in action, they're going to go, Hmm. I need to talk to this woman. I need more of that. So if you here live telling me, like, what is most accessible for you, right. Especially if you're a newer coach, do you feel kind of like, oh my God, hold a workshop. That's so crazy. That's scary. I could never do that.

Or does a workshop sound pretty reasonable? That's like something you could do. You could hold a, a one-hour workshop at the local yoga studio or the gym or something like that. You can start helping people right away. Um, or about social media. Some people hate it. Some people love it, right? It doesn't have to be your thing. But if it is, is that a place that you're comfortable putting more of your energy and attention? And then my personal favorite is always the mailing list because that's going to serve you really big in the long run. If you have a mailing list, nurture the heck out of it. And if you don't start one, but these are all ways that are going to lead you towards those pain clients that you're looking for. So good luck to you, Sharon.

And thanks for asking the question again, another way here from Renata, and we're not as already working with clients. So, she says I'm struggling to get some of my clients that are interested in doing health coaching to fill out the intake form. Does this ever happen to you? Yeah, it does, Renata. It happens to a lot of us now. It doesn't happen to me quite so much because I work with a lot of very type A like overachieving women and they love to fill out a form. It would only be better for them if it was a spreadsheet. Cause then they would love that even more. So it very much depends on the type of person that you're working with in your practice. But when you can know, okay, like for example, let's say that I was a health coach who worked with clients who had ADHD.

Chances are that form's not going to be filled out on time or at all. And I'm going to have to figure out another way to collect somebody's health information. So Renata, I don't know who you're working with, but if you're sending them the form, the best suggestion I have is to make it as easy as possible, printing a PDF, writing on it, scanning it back to you. That's what I used to have my clients do. And like the stone ages that there's a lot of barriers there. You know, people would be like, oh my scanner, isn't working or whatever my printer is out of ink. So these are ways to not get the forums done. It is much, much easier if you can have electronic forms. So you could do that using some sort of like Google form, as long as you're not collecting super personal data through that form.

I wouldn't use it to take people's address and last name and things like that. But you could certainly ask questions about their health and have it be a little more anonymous. If you're using a Google form, I prefer to use practice better. Many of us are using practice better for the intake form. It makes it so much easier. So there's that even with the very best online forum, you're still gonna have people that don't fill it out. And so one thing I do in my first session with my clients is we go through a very comprehensive intake form, whether they have built it out or not, whether they filled it out completely, or they only answered some of the questions, we're going to go through it together. And so I would suggest having a plan like that. Number one, because they may not fill out the form number two, because talking it through, going through all the points in your intake form can be super duper helpful.

You're going to gather more information that way. And when they're talking, they may have a tone of voice or they may drop a detail here or there, there, that's going to give you a lot more information about them than something that they may have just typed into the form. So I encourage you to have that human conversation either way and know that you're not doing anything wrong and everyone has been there. And this is just part of working with people is getting them to do the things as long as they pay you. I'm cool with having to handhold them through the form. And we're gonna talk a little bit more about payment in just a second.

I do have a question here from Leanne on Instagram. She says I would love to do a workshop, but what's the best way to narrow down a topic. So Leanne, I can't see your last name here, but I'm pretty sure you're a Leanne who just joined healthy profit university. So one way to figure out your workshop, title or topic is that it's going to fall directly out of what we call your, my best work statement or your target market, right? So if you have a target market like helping, you know, moms, you know, lose weight, you're not going to want to hold a workshop about arthritis and inflammation, right. Just doesn't make sense. So you always want to hold workshops that fall directly out of your target market, who you work with and the problem that you help themselves. That's the workshop you should be doing. And you really only need one, maybe two or three tops. So like different takes on the same subject or different subjects that all relate to that same person.

And they're a big problem. Boom. There's your workshop topic. Anyway, that's going on a little bit of an aside right now. But going back to this idea of an intake form, like we were just talking about with Renata. Fox Health Coaching asks, do you have a specific intake form that you like? I do, but more importantly, do you, most of us use the form that our school gave us. And I know that's what I used at first as well. I went to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. So I used the forum that they handed us. I mean, I think I literally used that exact form. I didn't re type it or put it onto my own letterhead or anything like that. And that's fine. That's totally fine.

I found that as I gained experience, and also as I eventually, about 10 years later, I did a functional medicine training with Aviva Romm. There were other questions that I wanted to ask, right. There were other things I needed to know because my practice had evolved. And there were some questions on that forum that I realized I was asking, and I really didn't care about, like, I literally didn't even know what to do with the answer. So I got rid of them and kind of created my own. So, I would encourage you to use what you have for now and, and slash, or change it to meet your needs. There's really no right way to do it. You just, for you, you need it. You're doing it to collect the information. That's going to be important in your practice. So depending on the type of coaching practice that you have, the type of coach that you are, you may need to ask different questions. We get, we get a lot of questions about intake forms.

It's funny. I think I used to think that the form was prescriptive in some way. Like this is what health coaches should ask. And then I realized, wait, no, I'm asking the questions. Um, I should only ask them if I need the answer and I should ask the questions that I need answers to. And this is more about me and how I want to work with my clients. So you really get to decide these things.

Okay, I have a question here from Kaitlin and Kaitlin said... Told you we were going to talk about payments and payment questions. She said, do you have your clients pay when they book or do you wait until you start to have them pay? I usually do half at booking. And then the balance when we start, but I'm curious what everybody else does.

So, it was interesting cause I think Caitlin got lots of different answers inside our Facebook group. But I wanted to share with you Kaitlin, that by all means, try to get full payment immediately upon signup. Preferably if you are still on the phone or, you know, inside of that initial consultation, if you can collect payment on the spot, you are going to save yourself so many headaches down the line. That is always my preferred way to go. Now, that's not always possible, right? Because sometimes people need time to decide if they're going to sign up. Sometimes they need to go check with someone. Sometimes they have to shuffle some money around. I mean, it's not always possible to collect full payment, but that really is the gold standard because anytime that there's outstanding payment equals admin work for you. Like even in my business now. And I, you know, I have hundreds and hundreds of different payment plans running at any given time with different people.

Every time somebody misses a payment, I have to either do this myself or pay one of my assistants to track them down and get the payment that is owed people's credit cards expire. We have to track them down. Like any time that payment is owed, it equals admin time. End of the story. So try to consolidate all your payments and take it all upfront if at all possible. That is my best advice for you. Okay. What other questions do you guys have for me? What's coming up and working with your clients, either the actual coaching sessions or in these like logistics that go along with it, the forms, the payment. How are we accepting payment? I know you guys have questions about all of this stuff. And I have an interesting one here from Tracy.

Okay. Let me read you Tracy's questions. She says I'm doing practice health histories and I've done many so far. I'm aware I can't work with all the clients coming my way. I need to find my niche, et cetera. There are times when I feel confident that I can help the client. And there are times I feel we can work together, but I don't feel confident during our health history session. I don't, I really don't like that feeling. I know I'm not supposed to know everything firsthand, but I easily get lost in my own head during the session as I try to listen. So my questions are, how do you keep yourself focused on the client? How do you navigate those feelings or what helps you to stay grounded in your work? I'd like some control on my practice. So I don't lose myself every time she says, I enjoy having these practices, but these thoughts and feelings take over and I'm getting tired of it.

So, Tracy, I think what you're getting at is some form imposter syndrome. When we're speaking with a client and they're telling us sometimes, oh gosh, I can even remember one of my earliest health consultations. This woman told me she had ulcerative colitis, which I at that time had never heard of before. And I just kind of nodded and my eyes got very wide and I thought, oh, I don't know what I'm doing. I shouldn't be here. Why is she talking to me? And it's almost like I just wanted to disappear. I didn't want to offer my services. I didn't want, and then have her sign up and not be able to help her. I didn't want to not offer my services and lose a potential client. So it felt so conflicted. What I've learned through the years, Tracy and what I think, gosh, what I see from so many of you graduating lately is that coaches feel correct me if I'm wrong.

But as coaches, we feel like we all are responsible for having the answers. We're responsible for teaching our clients what they don't know. And if we don't have the answers or we don't, you know, as we're listening to someone, tell us their story, we can immediately see a path to success. Then we're the worst. You know, we don't deserve the clients. We don't deserve to be a health coach. Those maybe we got into the wrong field, you know? And in truth, what I have discovered through years and years of coaching people is that I rarely have the answer even when I think I do. Right? Even when I think, and I could, even at our first session, I could have written down like, this is what this person needs. I need the, you know, the supplementation and this kind of diet blahbity blah. Um, usually it, that's not the case, right?

Each individual has that knowledge within themselves of what they need. And as a coach, you can offer suggestions. You can give your client exposure to ideas that they may not have had otherwise, but ultimately, each client is going to tell you what they need. And that's going to be a combination of, you know, physically like what they feel they might need. Like maybe going off there. He is really gonna help my digestive issues or something like that, but also what they can handle and what they are mentally prepared for. Because like I could have the greatness suggestion in the world, but if my client is just not there yet in their own mind is not going to work. They're not going to go for it. They're not gonna be able to stick to it that they don't want to do it. Right. So let's try, let's try just as a community to lay off the, I have to solve someone's problems.

I have to know the answer and lean in a little bit more to this idea that I am a coach. I am a conduit in a way to help this like bring out of this person what they need to find success, whatever that's going to look like for them. Um, if, if I start these days, if I start having a conversation like Tracy is describing where I'm like, oh, I've never heard of that health condition before. Oh, I've never done a training about that and just breathe. And you have to remember that this is your client's journey. You're going to hold their hand. Ultimately they are the ones that are going to have the answers. I know it's wild. You believe me can be hard to believe because we think again, like, you know, in this right now, information is so readily available. Like any of us can Google any health issue and get, you know, ideas about it.

Even more holistic, crunchy ideas, if you know which websites to look at. So your client has information, you have information, you can relax into knowing that the information is out there and pretty easy to get for all of us. But what we don't have is a safe space to talk it through time, to process it, someone to hold us accountable. People make great, great progress when they're just given that space and given that time. So next time you think, I don't think I can help this client. I don't think I know enough. Just remember that you don't have to, the answers are going to come from them if you're doing your job. Right. I know it's so insane. Like mine's exploding. Like that's why we're coaches. That's why we're not educators. We're not nutritionists that are like, Hey, I want you to eat this much of this.

And this much of that. Here you go, goodbye. Right? Coaching is an art as much as it is a science. Um, and I think if you can lean into that a little bit more, I leave the door open for not knowing how it's going to go. You'd be really surprised and probably have even better outcomes in the end. Um, so thank you for asking that question, Tracy, because I think it's a very important one. Okay. Just want to see if we have any other questions coming in right now. Fox health coaching is just saying she did not like the forum that I am, gave us or gave her all right. Then don't use that for him. You know, you get to make this stuff up. It's so cool. Running your own business because you can decide exactly how it goes. Now, that being said, I know it can be a little bit overwhelming, especially if you're just getting started in your business.

Um, and that's why I put this guide together for you guys. It's going to walk you through the first three steps that you need to take to get your health coaching business going, because I see you all going in circles and going over here to that shiny object and over there to that shiny object, when really the most important things you can do, they are outlined for you at healthcoachpower.com/getstarted. So grab that for yourself. It's juicy. It's a lot of good meaty business goodness, in there that's going to help you do what you need to do to get your business off the ground. And then let me know how it goes.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Everybody, we will be back next week with another Q&A, and in the meantime, I will see you inside our Facebook group. Take care.