#193: How to Answer “What is a Health Coach?”

There’s no quicker way for your confidence to evaporate than stumbling over an explanation of health coaching. Especially when the person who asked could have TOTALLY become a client…if only you’d known what to say. Let’s fix this common hiccup! And make sure to join our FREE training to Create Your Signature Program in 5 Days at http://HealthCoachPower.com/signature

Subscribe to these episodes on YouTube, or:
Apple Podcasts – https://apple.co/2sOjwVA
Stitcher – http://bit.ly/2K3UaN6
Spotify – https://spoti.fi/2Y0Eu1r
Google Podcasts – https://bit.ly/3E1yMAq

How to Answer “What is a Health Coach?”

Have you noticed that we’re the only ones that even know what a health coach is? We might as well be a secret society of wellness warriors. It’s like we all stumbled across health coaching, thought it sounded awesome, and got certified, but our family, our friends, and our potential clients don’t have a clue what that means! They’ve never had a health coach – and right now, they don’t have any intention of hiring one. 

The problem with “what is a health coach”?

Imagine you’re at a cocktail party. Someone asks you what you do, and you say “I’m a health coach”. They ask “what is a health coach?” and you get stuck. Maybe your school or certification program gave you a canned answer to that question. Maybe you’ve practiced a little speech about it. Or maybe you have no idea what to say and you wind up rambling. Either way, it’s a conversation killer.

Why no one cares about your job title

Here’s the problem: when you tell people you’re a health coach, they have no frame of reference. They don’t know who you might help or what you really do. If you went to the cocktail party and you said “I’m a divorce attorney”, people would get it. They’d think, I need that. My best friend needs that. But when you say “I’m a health coach” you just get blank stares.

They’ve never heard of health coaching! How do you think this affects your business? If people don’t know what you do and why it’s worthwhile, why would they want to pay for your services?

“Health coach” doesn’t mean one thing

Asking “what is a health coach?” is kind of like asking “what is a vegetable?”: there are so many kinds, colors, shapes and sizes and there are different benefits to all of them.

I’ve been in this industry for 13 years, and I personally know health coaches who can tell you what vitamins you’re deficient in by looking at your tongue, health coaches who do Reiki, health coaches who are all about going vegan, health coaches who sell powdered shakes, health coaches who are trained chefs and health coaches who are personal trainers. They all bring their specialty area into their practice.

Some of us received a health coach certification from programs like IIN or HCI. Others have done functional medicine trainings. Some coaches are licensed medical professionals and can diagnose and prescribe medications. Some are registered dieticians who create specialized meal plans. And some health coaches have no certification or training at all. Anybody can hang a shingle and call themselves a health coach. No wonder people are confused!

It’s all about your value

In our profession, our job title does not communicate our value. Instead of talking about who you are, start talking about what you do. One of the best ways to clearly communicate what value you provide is with a signature program that’s specific and unique. During our free Create Your Signature Program training starting April 24th, I’ll help you put together a program that demonstrates exactly what you do in a way that people understand. Go to HealthCoachPower.com/signature now to sign up.

Use your signature program to talk about what you do

Once you have a great signature program, you may never have to answer “what is a health coach” again. Imagine you’re back at that cocktail party, and instead of saying “I’m a health coach”, you say, “I help women fix their periods.” Whoa. That was clear. That was like “I’m a divorce attorney.” Or maybe you say, “I help adults with ADHD get focused,” or  “I help corporate women get rid of stress.” Can you imagine the response? They’ll be interested. They’ll know exactly what you do. They’ll recognize themselves, or their sister, or their friend, and lean in closer. They’ll ask for your number.

You’re solving their problem, not selling yourself

It doesn’t matter to this person whether you’re a health coach, an Ivy-league doctor, a Reiki practitioner, or all of the above, as long as you can help them solve their problem. For somebody struggling with their periods, with their ADHD, or with chronic stress, they’ll be so happy they found you. You’re speaking their language, and this is powerful.

Your signature program helps you have the right conversations

The more that you work at making this statement specific and concrete, the more precise it gets, the more beautiful it gets, the more it works. This is how having a great signature program will change your business: you’ll be having the right conversations. You’ll be the expert, even if you’re brand new to coaching, and that is magic.

Ready to get that signature program dialed in? Register now at HealthCoachPower.com/signature and start having the right conversations. You’ll never fumble the answer to “what is a health coach” again.

Full transcript:

Well hello there, health coaches. Today, we're talking about how to answer the question, "What is a health coach?" Before we start talking about that though, I was just digging around in my closet. Cause I knew I was gonna be here recording and I was gonna be on camera and I found this cute jacket that I bought. Can you see if you're with me on Facebook or if you're watching on YouTube later, you'll be able to see this cute jacket that I bought way back, about 13 years ago, when I started my health coaching business, it's like, I think you would call this a boiled wool jacket. I could be wrong about that, but it's definitely wool. And has this little lace detailing here. It's adorale. I thought I was going to be needing it in my professional life as a health coach. Guess how many times I have worn this jacket, you guys? I think I wore it one time. Maybe. That's it it's been sitting in my closet just being cute on the hanger for over a decade now. And I just think that's hilarious and I would really like to wear it someday. In fact, I was gonna wear it right now, but I put it on. I looked at myself in the camera and I thought, oh, I just look way too stuffy. Like this is, this is not, this is not my jam. Even though it is an adorable little crop jacket.

Anyway, I guess I bought it back in the day because I didn't, I didn't know. I didn't know what a health coach should wear. In fact, have you ever noticed that we're the only ones that even know what a health coach is. We might as well be like a secret society of wellness warriors. We could have a secret handshake. you know, it's like you and I, we all stumbled across health coaching. We thought it sounded awesome. We got certified to become one, but our family, our friends, our neighbors, our potential clients don't even get me started. They don't have a clue. They've never had a health coach and they probably right now don't have any intention of hiring one. You know what I'm talking about? So this is all one of the big reasons why I'm hosting a free training next week to help you create your signature program. It's gonna take just five days. It's free. You can join us at healthcoachpower.com/signature. If you've had trouble getting people interested in health coaching, definitely plan to join us. And again, that's at healthcoachpower.com/signature.

Now, if you are here with me live, and I know a bunch of you are tell me in the comments, have you ever been asked, "What's a health coach?" And what's your answer to that question. And while you're doing that, I just wanna make sure that I'm properly streaming over here to Facebook because Facebook's being a little bit weird right now. And I always like to make sure that the broadcast is working. Cause I know a whole bunch of you wanted to join me today for this one. Oh, we have so much to talk about. Okay, here we go. Now I can see you guys that is much better. So what's your answer to the question. What is a health coach? Maybe your school, like your health coach certification program, maybe they gave you a can answer to that. Something that you could tell people when they ask. So I'm curious, you know, what did the school tell you? And so, in addition to what comes out of your mouth, when somebody asks.

There, there's a couple big problems here. When we think about this idea that nobody knows who we are, what we do, they've never heard of this profession. They've never heard of health coaching. It's like, why does that matter? How do you think? And this is another thing I'll ask those of you that are watching live to tell me in the comments, how do you think it affects your business? That nobody understands what you do. I got Sean raising a hand. This has definitely happened to her. Jen's saying I help... Her definition of a health coach is, I help people learn what type of nutrition works best for their body. And I help them overcome eating habits, which don't benefit them. Okay. All right. How do you think it affects you when people are asking that question when they don't know what you do when you go to a party and you say I'm a health coach and then they're like, okay, whatever.

And there's, there's just nothing there. They have no frame of reference. They don't, they don't know who to refer your way. They don't know if they need you. They don't know if you, they just have no clue. I mean, I think it's pretty obvious that this is a negative thing. If you went to a party and you said I'm a, I'm a divorce attorney. Someone's gonna go, oh, I need that or they're gonna go, oh, my best friend needs that. You know? But when we just say I'm a health coach, everybody, he just has question marks in their eyeballs. Like if they were a cartoon character, there would just be two question marks there. Courtney says, yes, I have tried many responses. And now I just say, I coach you to reach your health and wellness goals. It's not my favorite response, but I tend to get long winded if I try to explain more, right?

Cindy says, I help women reduce belly bloat and feel more comfortable in their skin. Cindy, I know you're a Healthy Profit University member because you know exactly where I'm going with this today. Let's back up for a second. If people don't know what we do and who we are and why it's worthwhile, why would they wanna pay for our services? Right? That's a, that's a hard question to answer. And I tell you this, they certainly don't wanna pay a premium for a service that they don't understand. If someone doesn't know what health coach is, even if they go ahead and hire you, cuz it sounds intriguing. Perhaps are they going to would be a good client? Like once I had this client, oh my gosh, you guys, all she wanted was for me to tell her what to eat and no matter like exactly what to eat.

And no matter how many times I would ask her open-ended questions, try to coach her, try to help her. Look at the bigger picture. She just wanted to know like Michelle, please tell me if almonds and dark chocolate are a good snack. That's it. That's all she wanted for me. And after a couple sessions, well, she never showed up again. That was the end of that. I remember this other, a woman asking me. So what's a health coach anyway, at the end of her consultation, that's right. She had signed up for a free consult. She talked to me for a whole hour in my living room. This was one of my very first health history consultations. And at the end of that whole hour, she still had no idea what a health coach was. And guess what? Apparently neither did I, because I stumbled over my words and I gave her a convoluted answer that probably made no sense at all.

I was like a health coach, um, helps you make small changes over time through the diet and life's style, uh, helps fill the gaps between doctor visits. Mm that's not quite it though. A health coach helps you set health related goals, create an action plan, break, negative patterns, replace them with healthy ones. Uh, I needed like a phone, a friend, you know, everything that came out of my mouth. It was just better. It's like Courtney, you know, we get long winded. If you try to explain unsurprisingly, that woman did not sign on as a client. And I don't blame her one bit. So, let's see you guys have any other questions for me? Uh, Sean saying, uh, I tell them I help support guide and encourage people. I'm making healthy lifestyle changes. Yes, we all have. So some variation of these words, some of us have it down to one sentence.

Others of us ramble on for several minutes trying to explain to health coaches before you go wordsmithing the perfect definition of a health coach. Here's the truth. There is no one definition of a health coach. Now that I've been in this industry for 13 years, I can tell you this. I personally know health coaches who can tell you to stick out your tongue. They look at it and they know what vitamins you're deficient in. That's something right? I know health coaches that do Reiki. I know health coaches that are all about the keto diet. I know health coaches that are all about going vegan. Some health coaches sell powdered shakes, others sell essential oils. I know health coaches that focus on marriage and relationships. Then over here, we have Jen saying she helps people learn what type of nutrition we're best for their body. I know health, uh, health coaches that are trained chefs, uh, others that are personal trainers.

They bring their specialty area into their practice. Some of us received a basic health coach certification from like I or HCI. Others have done functional medicine trainings. Some coaches are licensed medical professionals and can diagnose and prescribe medications. Some are registered dieticians who could create specialized meal plans and some health coaches have no certification at all. Gonna let that sink in for a second. So ,now what is a health coach? I think that's kinda like asking what is a vegetable it's like there are so many kinds, there are so many colors and shapes and sizes and there's different benefits to all of him. Do you want me to tell you about every vegetable? So the very first thing that I need to say is this. If somebody is asking you what a health coach is, you are not having the right conversation. Got that. Just let a little bell go off in your head.

The next time it happens. Uh oh I got myself into one of those we're wrong conversations. Again like Michelle was talking about, this is like the consultation that I had with the woman I told you about just a few minutes ago, by the end of that hour, should she have had to ask me what a health coach is so away? I clearly did not do a good job of communicating my value. Winnafred says, sounds like me right now, LOL yes. You're not alone, Winnafred. This happens to everyone. What's Sean saying, when I'm talking to women, I help women over 50 that are on medications, tired and overweight. Their top results are increased energy off meds and losing weight. Okay. Might still be a little long-winded right? Compared to the person that says I'm a divorce attorney, but we're getting there. We need to be able to communicate our value and not just give our, um, our title.

So to speak, especially in this profession where our title, I hate to say it this this way, but it means nothing. It means nothing. You can, anybody could hang a shingle and call themselves a health coach. Other people are, you know, board certified have done PhD, like number of hours of training, right? We span, we span the whole, the whole range. So this idea of communicating your value is, needs to be front and center, not sharing your, uh, your job title. And I'm gonna be talking a lot about this next week during our free create your signature program training in five days, I'm gonna help you put together a program that demonstrates exactly what you do in a way that people understand. I want you to register for that now because we're starting soon, April 24th. So go to health, coach power.com/signature. And if you're listening to this a day or two late, some of you, a lot of you here live, which is awesome. But if you're, uh, a couple days late on catching this, that's okay. You can still sign up and you can get access to anything that you missed. And again, that's healthcoachpower.com/signature. Here's why having a signature program is surprisingly one of the best ways to never have to answer this question of what is a health coach.

Now, how about, because I know someone's gonna ask this. How about when we meet someone, right? We are at that party and they explicitly say, what do you do for a living? If we say I'm a health coach that leaves the door wide open, of course they're gonna come back with, well, what is that? Oh, what's a health coach, right? So again, wrong conversation, wrong conversation. You stepped in it, get a backup, get outta that mud. I'm gonna go out on a limb here, no matter how, no matter how beautifully you've put together. Those words about what a health coach is. When you try to describe the overall concept of health coaching, it will likely overwhelm at best. I noticed I am likened to a nutritionist. Oh, is that like being a nutritionist? And I'm like, yeah, kinda at worst. I know I've had people assume that when I say I'm a health coach, that's because I work for beach body or something like that.

I sell a product. I work for a company and I sell their product. And that is not what I do. So my suggestion is that we stop identifying what we do with health coaching. So let's go back to the party. I'm introduced to somebody. They politely ask, oh, what do you do? And I say, I help women fix their periods. Whoa. That was clear. That was like divorce attorney. Or maybe I say, I help adults with ADHD get focused. Hmm. That's what the person's gonna say. Hmm, that's gonna be interesting. They're gonna understand that. Or maybe I say I help corporate women get rid of stress. Can you imagine the response that they're gonna have? They're gonna go, oh, that's interesting. They're gonna know exactly what I do. Let's say they are a woman with difficult periods or an adult with ADHD or someone with a lot of stress. They're gonna lean in close. And they're gonna say, I need that. Or they're gonna think about their sister who has that problem. And they'll say, I, can I get your number for my sister? Now you're having the right conversation, right? This is where we want to be. Does this make sense? Tell me in the comments, if you're here, live, tell me how you would answer that question. Now, what do you do? Try it. I help blank get blank.

At this point in the conversation. Once you have communicated to someone, what you actually do, it doesn't matter if you're a health coach. If you're a nutritionist, if you are a Yale trained medical doctor, if you're a Reiki practitioner or you know, all of the above, cuz we tend to have a lot of different certifications and degrees and trainings. Don't doesn't matter. Doesn't matter though, to this person, all that matters is that you know how to solve this problem. And for somebody struggling with their periods, with their ADHD, with chronic stress, they're gonna be so happy. They found you. like now you're speaking their language. And this is so, so very powerful. I'm seeing some comments over here on Instagram, beyond radiant says I teach parents how to silence the tantrums. Oh yeah. if I have a three year old, I am listening.

I help parents silence the tantrums. Okay. That's a very good example. Who else has one for me? Again? This is where having a signature program will change your business. It's gonna change your conversations. It's gonna position you as an expert, even if you're brand new to coaching and that's magic. So please join us next week. Come see how to put together a signature program. This is entirely free and it's open for registration at healthcoachpower.com/signature. Now I'm gonna stick around for a few minutes to see who else can tell me, what do you do again? The magic formula for that is I help blank. Get blank. Let's see. Let's see what we got here. When if it says I help women maintain their energy throughout the day. Okay. Put that right into that scenario that we were talking about, you know, you're at a party you're uh, you know, you've, there's like a cheese plate over here or something.

You, you get a drink in your hand and they say, what do you do? I help women maintain their energy throughout the day. Maybe, maybe we're getting there. What kinda... I help athletes maintain their energy. That would, oh, I get that. I help athletes maintain their energy. I think Winnafred, that wants to be a little bit more specific, but you're getting there and I'd like it. Christine says I help midlife women and manage daily stress. Cool. Let's tighten that up. Cuz again, it sounds all right when you're typing it on the screen. But when you're saying it in conversation, I'm an accountant, I'm a teacher, I'm an attorney. I help midlife women reduce and manage daily stress. What? Right. Maybe it's I help women manage stress. Right? You can, you can have that tighter answer, you know, in your, in your head that you're really looking for midlife women, but maybe you can have that tighter answer that you can share.

That's just, boom. This is what I do. I can say it in as few words as possible. TAs saying I help people break free from diet culture. Yes. And I don't know, maybe you work with all people, but if you're working with women, if you're helping women break free from diet culture, I think that would be a powerful thing to say, oh, I love when you guys play along, Emma says I help young adults create a life. They have passion for young adults create a life. They have passion for, I'd be like, are you a career coach? You know, I think that would be the next thing out of my mouth. So maybe am I, there's a way to be more specific about that as well. Young adults like teenagers, young adults, like in their twenties, um, create a life. They have passion for what does that mean?

Right. Sometimes what you're gonna, um, you're gonna notice that a lot. A lot of times we try to describe what we do. We use fluffy words. I help women create vibrancy. What the hell does that mean? Right. So I know. And you know, like I remember the day I had stopped eating sugar for, I had been off sugar for, I don't know, maybe a month or something. It was an experiment early on in my own health journey. And there was this day that I like paused. I can remember this day so clearly. And I was like, I feel happy and alive. Like I just had this realization. I, I felt that. So, I think when I, or when any of any health coach says, like we help someone create vibrancy or feel their passion for life like you and I, we may know exactly what that means, but most people don't.

So, I want you to use more concrete words to describe what problem you help someone solve. So for example, and I don't know, Emma, maybe you, maybe you are like one of these health slash career coaches. Um, I would make sure that you are saying something about careers. I would make sure you're saying something about their work, their job, um, because otherwise a life they have passion for like what, through their art, through their, what is it, their volunteer work, you know, like, uh, what problem are they having would really be the, the better way to think about it? What problem are they having that you help them solve? So I help young adults with depression. That could be a very specific way of describing that you help young adults create a life. They have passion for, cause that's sort of like the opposite of depression.

So I'm just putting a lot of words in your mouth right now, Emma, cause I don't have your full story, but I wanted to just share some ideas for how you can make that even more powerful and make it work. I don't want you guys out there having conversations that feel awkward and you're like, well, Michelle told me that I'm supposed to say, you know, I help midlife women who live in the suburbs and have a dog and a cat, uh, you know, reclaim their vibrant life. I didn't tell you to say that. I told you to say I help blank, get blank. Let's see. Do we have any other over here on Instagram that I can use> Ashan's saying, this is helpful. I help women stop hot flashes. Boom. Right there. I help women stop hot flashes. All, all of those words are easy to understand, easy to say.

And you know exactly what she's talking about. Shawn says I help women live, move and feel like they did in their twenties. So, I help women in their fifties feel like they're in their twenties, something like that. I help women. Postmenopausal women feel like have energy like in their twenties. I, I think there's probably, uh, an even more succinct and powerful way to say that. But I like that very much. Cause I think everybody who's no longer in their twenties can remember what that felt like to be in your twenties. So, that describes it in a very succinct way. I love it. I'm gonna tell you guys, this is the first step to creating that signature program. Cause there is no signature in a program that helps you live better and more vibrantly and healthier. There's no signature in that. That's just called like general health and wellness.

But when you can package your services around health, a certain type of person get a certain type of thing that they want. That's special. That's signature. Christine says my concern when it is so specific that you can reach enough of your target market to sustain business. It's actually the only way Christine. So if, um, let's just jump let's, let's jump into a different industry. Um, and so let's say that I'll, I'll just use myself as an example. I'm still a practicing health coach to this day, but obviously I'm here, right? I work as a mentor for you guys. So, um, if I were doing this podcast episode right now, and it's about how to explain what you do in your small business. And this was a podcast for small business owners, all small business owners, online business owners, health and wellness business owners, the, the person who owns a shoe store, the person who runs an Etsy shop, the real estate age, anybody who considers himself a small business owner.

That's what the show is about. Would you be listening? I think you're here cuz I said, we were gonna talk about how to explain what a health coach is. And this is the health coach power community podcast. And we have like two or 300,000 downloads on this show in a very short period of time because it is so specific. It's not all small business owners, right? You're not here because you wanna hear about all small businesses. It's not even online businesses. It's not even like we're here talking about all wellness businesses. We are talking about health coaching and this is the way to make your mark and to attract an audience when it's too big. And it's too broad. I promise you it is much, much harder. Don't be afraid to niche down. It's the biggest mistake that health coaches make thinking that you're gonna get less business because you're more specific.

It is the inverse of that. Emma saying, I want to help. I want to help who... I want to help young adults with balancing stress, anxiety and making a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. Thank you for your help. I'll be working on a more succinct way to say it. Yeah. Like you're there. I always think of these things as you are, uh, Michelangelo and you are about to sculpt the David, right? And, and you're just getting started. So you have, have like your, I don't know what you would use. Is anybody here? A sculptor like a knife perhaps. I really don't know. You have your tools and you're just starting to carve into this block and it's still very rough. It doesn't look like anything like the David yet, but you know, it's roughly this size and shape and you're kind of there like Emma, that's where you are.

And the more that you work at it, the more precise it gets, the more beautiful it gets, the more, um, the more it works. So it's okay if you're just starting, but I'm here to help you. We're gonna do more of this next week inside the training. Because like I said, you can't create a signature program with, without something unique about it. That's what makes a signature a signature. Right? That's what makes anything interesting. Like if I came on and I started today's show with like, oh, I found some clothes in my closet that I used to wear, that would've been boring, but I bet a lot of you enjoyed hearing about this and seeing this very specific, cute coat is much more interesting. And it has these little puffy shoulders and I'm sure like that was a much more interesting story telling you how I thought this was too stuffy for me to wear now as a health coach.

But's what I thought I used. I was going to need to wear. Anytime you are more specific, it, it gets so much more interesting and people pay attention. Christine says this makes sense. I'm so glad it makes sense. I know it's like simple but simple doesn't always mean it's easy. It's simple. Right? But you just gotta wrap your head around it and I'm gonna help you out. So one more time, if you have not joined yet, please head over to healthcoachpower.com/signature. We are actually getting started on Sunday the 24th. And I can't wait because by the end of these five days, you will have a program that you can start enrolling clients in and you're gonna know exactly what it is you do. It is a wonderful feeling. and who knows, maybe you do something in your health coaching that I don't do in mine. Maybe you need a very cute boiled wool jacket, but I'm gonna stay in my yoga pants for today. It's been very fun being here with you guys and I will see you soon. Take care, everyone.