#179: How To Talk About Your Work As a New Coach

Getting clients and marketing yourself might sound scary but it really boils down to one thing – knowing how to talk about your work. In this episode, Michelle shares how to go about it. And don’t miss this free get-together for new health coaches to meet Michelle face to face – register at https://healthcoachpower.com/getstarted2022

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What do you do?

It’s such a common question to ask and be asked, but it can be pretty scary to answer as a new health coach!

What your clients want

Your answer to that question is probably something along the lines of “I help women through diet and lifestyle changes” or “I specialize in gut health.”

Here’s a secret: your ideal client doesn’t really want that. They don’t necessarily even want a health coach.

What they want is to solve a problem.

What problem do you solve?

Even if your ideal client’s digestion is a hot mess, they’re not really thinking “Boy, I need to work on my gut health!”

They’re thinking about gas and bloating and feeling uncomfortable in their body. They might not even be familiar with the term “gut health.” So you need to start thinking about your work in the terms of the problem that you help solve.

Here are a few examples:

  • I help women with fibromyalgia have more energy and reduce their fatigue and pain.
  • I help women with autoimmune disease get their energy back.
  • I help corporate men with beer bellies get back into their suit pants.

This takes some practice, because sometimes we can mix up the problem and the solution. For instance, I help moms do meal planning (solution) vs. I help moms get rid of their child’s eczema (problem).

It’s always about wanting to solve a larger issue.

Your health coach business is not about you

You might be the face of your business, but your business is about the client and their problems and needs.

Whenever you talk about your work, even on your website’s About page and on your Instagram, practice making it less about you.

Yes, it’s your own profile, but you really want to craft your message in such a way that you’re talking about how you solve a problem for a particular type of person — your ideal client. It will be a stronger way of communicating what you do as a coach.

We’re always the main character of our lives, but our clients are the main characters of our health coaching businesses. Stop talking about your certifications. Don’t worry about the letters after your name. Instead, start talking about how you can help them.

Where to talk about your health coaching business

Now that you know how to talk about what you do, start doing it everywhere!

Don’t be obnoxious, of course, but you can reference your work in conversations when you keep it top of mind.

Let’s say you’re talking to the receptionist at your dentist’s office. She asks if you want to book your next appointment, and the date she suggests happens to be conflicting with a class you’re teaching that day. Mention it! She might ask what class you’re teaching, and you can tell her what you do.

Those are the types of conversations you want to be having, when it feels appropriate.

Of course, you also want to talk about your work on social media. Rather than just posting a picture of what you had for breakfast and saying, “Yum, love this breakfast,” post a picture of what your family had for breakfast and how it’s a perfect example of a food that won’t trigger your son’s eczema. It’s subtle, but it makes a big difference.

Finally, I want you to talk about your work when you email your list. This is your most captive audience. They have literally opted in to hear from you, so for goodness sake, talk to them about the big problem that you can help solve!

Your email list is the best place to make your offers.

Selling your services

Making offers is another scary thing to do when you’re new. Asking for money? Awkward! Let’s reframe that.

When you’re having a conversation with a potential client, you are not selling health coaching. All you’re doing is having a conversation so that you can figure out if you can help them with their big problem. You are interviewing them. You are in the driver’s seat.

If you can and want to help this person, then you’ll tell them how your health coaching program addresses their problem. Keep it all about solving the problem (and throw a couple anecdotes about how you’ve helped someone else with a similar problem too, if you can).

It’s all about knowing how to communicate what you do. Nobody wants to sign up for a health coaching program, not phrased that way.

But if you tell a mom, whose kid has raging eczema that’s making her life a living hell, that your program is going to give her child natural, short-term relief and long-term reduction in symptoms, and you’ve seen it work before for your own child or for other families that you’ve worked with — now she’s listening. She wants a solution to this problem very, very badly.

Learn more with your colleagues

Learning how to talk about your health coaching business gets easier with practice! I’d love to hear all about your business during our free get together on February 16. Meet fellow health coaches who are also getting started in their business and let’s chat about building momentum together.

Sign up at HealthCoachPower.com/getstarted2022


Full transcript:

Hello there, health coaches. Last week, I was talking about starting your health coaching practice from scratch and how things have really changed in the past 13 years that I've been a health coach. We covered the five big mistakes that new health coaches are making. There's so much juicy stuff in there. So if you missed last week, I wanna encourage you to go back and check out last week's episode. You can find it in our Facebook group. You can find it on Instagram. You can find it. If you go to healthcoachpower.com/podcast, as well as on, you know, Apple and Spotify and YouTube and all the rest. But today I wanna talk to you about talking about your work, because when we talk about marketing or thinking about, oh my God, I gotta market myself. I have to sell my program. I have to find clients, you know, all of that stuff can feel very, very scary, but it's really just about knowing how to talk about what you do.

Why is that so hard for health coaches and trust me, I've been there now, before we dive in, I also want to invite you to a gathering that I'm hosting a meetup of sorts. This is for new health coaches. I wanna get together over zoom, actually meet face to face and be able to talk. We're gonna talk about how to get your health coaching business off the ground. And you can sign up for that for free at healthcoachpower.com/getstarted2022. I'm gonna put that in the comments right here on Facebook. And if you're on Instagram, you can find it in my bio link. It can be lonely working by ourselves, right, starting a business by yourself. And nobody really understands what you're doing, especially in the beginning when you're second guessing everything. So I think this is gonna be a really fun community event. I'm looking forward to it. And again, the place to sign up for free is at healthcoachpower.com/getstarted2022.

Okay. So if you're here with me live, I have a question for you. And I'd like for you to answer in the comments, you got your certification, right? You wanna work with clients. Okay. We know that part. What do you do? What do you do? Just such a common question that people get asked. You've probably asked many people in your life and people have asked you tell me in the comments, if you're here with me live, what do you do? Here's the thing when you're talking to others or when, uh, you're just thinking about in your own brain, do you think I'm a certified health coach? Are you like, I help women through diet and lifestyle changes or I specialize in gut health? You know, what's the thing that you do.

How would you answer that question? And what I wanna encourage you to do is think more in terms of that thing, that your client wants your perfect client, what do they want to achieve? Here's a secret. They don't really want diet and lifestyle changes. Not really. And they don't even really want a health coach per se. They want to solve a problem. That's why they're talking to you in the first place. And even if their gut is a hot mess and it often is, let's be honest. They aren't saying to themselves, you know, boy, I really need to work on my gut health. Literally, nobody is saying that what they're thinking about is their big problem. The thing that, you know, when they lie in bed at night, it's bothering them. They think about it. First thing in the morning, they look in the mirror, whatever it is and they go, ugh, I gotta fix X, Y, Z.

You know, maybe they're thinking about their gas and bloating. You know, that's a big problem. Maybe they're very uncomfortable, right? The discomfort that goes along with that, oh, the pain, maybe somebody else is thinking about their autoimmune disease. I, you know, was just on the phone with a client before I hopped on here. And she was talking about how the pain in her legs is almost entirely gone since we've started working, but it's still in her hands. Right? So we're working on that. So for her, that's her big problem, the pain associated with autoimmune disease, maybe for some of your clients, it's their weight. But again, they're not thinking they need to solve their gut health, or anything like that. And neither should you, so you need to talk about your work and think about your work in terms of what problem you help solve.

And for whom you wanna put it in their terms, try that, see what that would sound like. Tiffany's saying, I specialize in helping women with fibromyalgia have more energy and reduce their fatigue and pain. Okay, good. So Tiffany's talking about a very specific, like particular type of person, women with fibromyalgia, and we're helping that person with their energy and their pain. Great. That's exactly what I'm talking about. It could be, I help women with autoimmune disease, get their energy back. It could be, I help corporate men with beer bellies, get back into their suit pan. I help parents get rid of their children's eczema, right? It's not like I help moms do meal planning, meal planning is never the problem, right? It's always about wanting to solve a larger issue. That's underneath that. So this hopefully illustrates how you begin to talk about what you do as a health.

It's not about you. That's the thing. It's not about you. It's not about me as a coach either. It's about the client who they are, what problem they have, what they need solved. So whenever you're talking about your work or, um, even if you're just talking about yourself, you know, on your, about page, on your website, in your Instagram, I want you to remember this, make it less about you funny, right? Cause it's like on your own profile, you would think it is about you, but you really wanna craft it in such a way that you're talking about how you solve a problem for a particular type of person, Jen saying she helps women balance their hormones and blood sugar. Jen, I would suggest, one) what type of women? You know, we wanna know that we're talking to a specific type of woman and you know, she probably is not lying in bed at night going like, oh, I gotta balance my hormones, but she might be lying in bed going, oh, another hot flash. These are driving me crazy.

So if you can frame it in terms of the problem, you're gonna help her put an end to her hot flashes. Now you're cooking with gas, right? That's just a stronger way of communicating what you do as a coach. So, this is a shift that we have to make in our mind. And it's, it's simple, right? I just explained it to you in a couple of minutes, but it's, it's not always easy. And, and I get looped up in it as well in my own head where I'm like thinking about it in terms of me, because we're always the main character in our own lives. But when it comes to marketing, we have to make our client the main character. Right? We have to remember that they're not out there looking for a health coach. And, I hate to say this, but nobody cares that you're or health coach, like this is just not a thing that people want or care about.

They don't even realize that they need us. Ain't that the truth. So stop talking about your certifications. Don't worry about the letters after your name. And instead you wanna start talking about how you can help them. Okay. And Jen puts some laughing emojis over here on the comments. So I think you took my point. Very good. Let's move on to talking about how, when and where to talk about your work as a health coach. Now that you know how to talk about it. I want you to go talk about it, um, everywhere. But don't talk about again, being a health coach, don't just talk about nutrition or wellness or gut health or hormone health in broad terms, right? You always wanna be out in the world online in real life, talking about the problem that you can help somebody solve. Right? We're gonna talk about what they care about.

Um, where can this happen? Think about all the places you've been. Maybe just in the past week, you could be talking about what you do all the time. If you put it top of mind, you can reference your work. I don't want you to be obnoxious, but like you can reference your work in conversations. Let's say you're talking to the receptionist at the dental office that you go to. And she asks, you know, they always ask, when do you wanna book your next appointment? As if I know what I'm doing six months from now, you know, I'm like, come on, I'll call you. But anyway, let's say you're having the conversation. And so she is suggesting a date and you're like, oh, I can't do that date. I'm teaching a class that day. She's like, oh, what class are you teaching? You're like, oh, I help parents get rid of their kids' eczema.

Those are the types of conversations that you want to be having. So you wanna talk about your work when it feels appropriate? You, you wouldn't say to the dental receptionist, oh I can. I'm teaching a class that day about eczema, you know, but you see how like you open the door for questions and then you're able to get into it. If they're interested, you can. Of course also talk about your work on social media. I think that's where everybody's mind goes immediately. So in this case, you're not just gonna post a picture of what you had for breakfast and say, yum, love this breakfast. Instead, you're gonna post a picture of what your family had for breakfast and how these, whatever oatmeal muffins are a perfect example of a food that won't trigger your son's eczema. This is a way of talking about what you do, right?

It's subtle, but it makes a big difference. And most of all, I want you to talk about your work when you email your mailing list. Pause. If you don't have a mailing list, please, that one, I have a tutorial for you about that. If you need it, just leave a comment in the Facebook group. And I will get you that tutorial. When you have a mailing list, this is your most captive audience. They have literally opted in to hear from you. So for goodness sake, talk to them about the big problem that you can help them solve. Your email list is the best place to make your offers. Book a call. Let's have a quick chat, buy my four part eczema solution, whatever, all the offers that that's, what you can make do within your emails. And that is your best audience for that. It's where they tend to work best.

So how are we gonna talk about our work? We're gonna talk about our work in terms of the lion and the problem that they wanna solve and where are we gonna do it? We are gonna do it everywhere with everyone without being obnoxious. And now that might take a little bit of practice, but try opening up conversations. And when people show interest, then tell them a little bit more about what you do. Erica says I help women in their forties and fifties learn how to find a better balance with healthy and not so healthy foods. So they can manage their weight, regain their energy, feel good in their skin, again, through a plant based flexitarian diet. Well, that's a mouthful isn't it. Let me suggest a couple things. If, when you think about what you do as a coach, it sounds like what Erica just said.

So helping women in their forties and fifties, you could, you know, it, it might just be easier, especially if you ever have to speak this to just say, midlife women in midlife, right. Or you might for somebody else, you might just be able to say postmenopausal women. And that would pretty much reference anybody over 50. So anyway, that's, uh, and just a way to make this a little more succinct for yourself. And then what problem do they wanna solve? I'm seeing here that they wanna manage their weight and they want more energy and they wanna feel good in their skin again, which probably goes back to maybe losing weight. Um, so we want, it's much better for your messaging, right? If you're just on the phone with a receptionist or you're just having a quick conversation with someone, if you can narrow that down to the biggest problem that you help those midlife women solve Erica.

So yeah, of course we know, we know as health coaches that once a woman changes how she eats or a man changes how he eats, it's likely that they're going to meet drop excess weight, have more energy sleep better. Their skin's gonna look better. We know it all comes in one big beautiful package, but what's the thing that they care about most, right? What does the thing that midlife women care about the most? That's the one that I want you to communicate. And then the last part, she does it through a based flexitarian diet. Cut that, cut that part right out. I'm gonna tell you why that's something that very easily can turn people off. So from right from the get, go from the first thing you say, somebody, not everybody, some people are gonna go, oh, plant based. Oh, I've heard about that. I don't, I don't wanna be one of those vegetarians, you know?

So there's a possibility that you turn people off of it and it doesn't matter. Cause at the end of the day, when somebody hires you, they're hiring you to help them solve their problem, how you solve their problem. Uh, do they really care? I mean, you might have them eat this food or that food, or you might suggest that they do this type of exercise or have them look into this sort of, uh, you know, EFT tapping or you're gonna do Reiki or you're gonna, you know, throw magic dust at them. Who cares if at the end of the day, their problem is solved. They're gonna be so happy that they worked with you so better to not get into all the hows up front and just talk about, I help this per type of person get this kind of result. That's gonna open up a lot more conversations and you can save all the, you know, we're going to eat this or, you know, try to eat this instead of that later in the coaching relationship.

All right, let's move on here. Oh, Rosie is saying she does not have an email list yet. Rosie, I am gonna hit you back with the link as soon as I get off this live broadcast so that you can set up your email list. It's gonna take you 10 minutes. Seriously. It's like the easiest task to just complete, get it done. And now you're off and running.

Jen is asking, is it okay to have the hows on my site? Like I do, you know, the plant based eating or the keto or whatever it is that you guys do. You're you're methods. Um, that's a hard question for me to answer it de it really I'm gonna say it depends if it's like, uh, if it's, if it has any possibility of being a turnoff, I would take it out. I help people, you know, get, go to the moon through ayurveda, you know, I would take the ayurveda out because that's people are gonna go, what what's that?

That sounds weird. I don't wanna do that. You know and so there has a possibility of turning them off. But when you just said the part, like I help people go to the moon, of course I'm being silly here. Um, they're gonna go, what you help people get to the moon? How that's amazing. Like I need to talk to you about this. So just consider keeping your methods a little bit, you know, for, for a deeper conversation. And also PS, you guys, maybe you help people through plant based eating or whatever. But if you have a client who is like, I want to eat steak, you have two options. You can meet them where they are and say, cool, enjoy that steak. Hey, what about some asparagus on the side? Right? Meet them where they are and that's how you're gonna help them or don't take on that client.

But most of the time we have an idea in our head of how we're gonna help someone. I think we was just talking about this last week. You think you're gonna help someone with intermittent fact, you think you're gonna help someone with keto and you realize like it might, there might be a compromise. You're probably gonna be somewhere in the middle between what they're doing now and what you think the ultimate diet for them is, you know? So leave, leave space in there for your coaching to be client led. Okay. Um, let's move on before we are running out of time. And I see we have some more questions here. I wanna talk about selling your services. So just tell me in the comments and by the way, if you're on Instagram and you're live with me, your comments go and disappear as soon as the live is over.

So I won't be able to get back to you, Jen. I see that you're saying you don't have an email list. So if you're on Instagram, send me a DM and then I can get the link to you that I've been promising everyone. Tiffany says she needs the link as well. Everybody needs an email list. Holy Moses, we're gonna have to talk about this real soon on one of the podcast episodes. Okay. For today, selling your services, who gets nervous, just put like a hand raise or just say me in the comments, if you get nervous, when you have to ask for money, when you have to tell people about what you offer and would they like to sign up with you? Ooh, it's the worst, right? You're just like, oh, I don't wanna talk about that. It can be very, very awkward. So let me reframe the conversation for you.

And India's saying me and Danielle is saying me and Erica saying me. I know it took me a pretty long time to figure this out, which is why I like to talk about it a lot with you guys. When you're having a conversation with a potential client, think of it this way, you are not selling health coaching. All you're doing is you're having a conversation with somebody so that you can figure out if you can help them with their big problem. The answer might be no. I mean, there are plenty of times I've been on a call with someone and I'm like, I don't think that I'm the right practitioner for you. Right? And that is legit. Maybe I don't think I'm the right practitioner because they're way out of my scope of practice. Maybe it's because I just don't like them. It doesn't matter.

Right. But you are interviewing them. So this puts you in the driver's seat. And if you can help this person and you want to help this person with a problem that they have, you're gonna tell them how your health coaching program addresses their problem. Right? We're gonna keep it all about solving the problem. And it'd be really cool. If you could throw in a couple anecdotes about how you've had success, solving this problem in the past for yourself, for others, how you've helped someone with a similar problem either, right? Those are all great things to include in that conversation. So again, it's all about knowing how to communicate, what you do. Nobody wants to sign up for your health coaching program. If you say, well, I offer health coaching. It includes 12 sessions and 37 handouts and a recipe book and a pantry makeover. They're like, that sounds like a lot of work.

I don't wanna do that, right? Even though you really could help them, you're phrasing it in such a way that they're gonna go. Uh, you know, I, maybe later you're gonna get the maybe later kind of thing. But if you tell a mom whose kid has, you know, raging eczema. It's keeping them up at night, that's making her life a living hell. If you tell her that your program is going to give her child short term relief naturally and long term reduction in symptoms, and you've seen it work before, you've seen it work, you know, for your own child or for these other families that you've worked with. Now, she is listening. She is hanging and on every word you say she doesn't want PDF handouts or, you know, video modules. She doesn't want that. She wants a solution to this problem very, very, very badly.

So let's see what you guys are saying here. Jen said she had email list on her to-do list. She, she needs to set up an email list too. You guys are unreal. I'm so glad we brought up this topic. Now I know what we have to talk more about. Um, who else? Oh my God. So many people need help with their email list. Tiffany says, I don't get nervous anymore, but I don't know how to work it into the conversation. This is, so you guys know, I run a program called Healthy Profit university, right? This is like, my favorite part of the program is teaching like that the exact sales conversation, what I've kind of yop lined for you today, like, this is what you need to know. It's like, can I help you with your problem? And if I can, I need to be able to prove that, right?

So you have to be able to talk about your program in a way that says, I'm gonna help you with this. I'm gonna help you with this other thing. That's bothering you. Oh. And I'm gonna help you with this other thing that you mentioned. And they're gonna think, have you been reading my diary? You know, cause you're just telling them exactly what they need. Um, and this is so much different than when somebody just signs up for like weight Watchers or if you're like gonna hire a dietician or something. And they're just gonna say, eat this, don't eat that. And they're not taking it to consideration your lifestyle, your desires, right? What makes you different from somebody else? But as health coaches, we have the opportunity to have these hour long conversations with our clients, right? Like nobody gets that when they go to the doctor or whatever, we have these very, very personal connections so that we can create something for our target market.

That is like, like so custom, so beautifully done exactly for them that they can hardly say no. Anyway, uh, this is obviously all just the tip of the iceberg. But tell me in the comments, you can just say yes, it makes sense. If anything I said today helps you make more sense of how you talk about health coaching. Like, does it make sense that you don't wanna talk about yourself, but you wanna talk about them and does it make sense that you can work it into conversations almost everywhere you go without just banging people over the head? Hey, I'm a health coach. Did you hear I'm a health coach? Let's talk about how I'm a health coach. No, but you can just ask questions, drop, drop an anecdote here and there. Oh, you know, you're having that problem. I know someone who had the same problem, she was able to get rid of that problem.

And then, you know, four weeks, whoa, that's a conversation opener, right? So we can be a little bit more forthcoming about what we do without just shouting from the rooftop and littering our business cards and brochures all over the place. That's not gonna get us anywhere. Uh, Jen says, yes. India says solution-based conversations make sense. I really like the way you put that India, you should come be on the podcast with me and rephrase what I say into nice succinct statements like that; solution-based conversations. That's right. Um, so like I said, we're just kind of dipping into this topic today. Learning how to run your business, learning how to talk about your health coaching business. It all gets easier with practice, obviously. And I'm gonna wanna hear all about your health coaching business during our free get together, coming up in just a few weeks.

So if you haven't already please sign up for that. At healthcoachpower.com/getstarted2022, and I can pretty much promise you that we're gonna have an episode coming up in the next couple of weeks. I'll see what I can work into the calendar to talk more about setting up your mailing list since that is obviously a big need, but next week I actually have some very special guests coming on the show to talk about the AIP certified coach program. So this is just letting you know what's coming up next week. If you wanna mark your calendar. We're going to be talking about getting certified. If you wanna work with autoimmune clients, it's not something that you would have to do. Any coach can work with autoimmune clients, but this is an additional training I did recently that I found to be so fantastic that I wanted to tell you all about it. So if that of interest, we'll see you next week and otherwise keep your eyes open for an upcoming episode about mailing lists. Thanks for being here today. Everybody take care.