#269: Cultivating Client Accountability and Engagement

cultivating client accountability and engagement - Michelle Leotta
Information is freely available to our clients. But implementing new habits? It’s where health coaches can really shine. In this episode we’ll talk about how to maximize your clients’ experience and results, and the tools that can help.

This episode is brought to you by our sponsors:

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


 

Cultivating Client Accountability & Engagement

Dealing with Everyday Challenges

No matter how motivated a client might be during a session, and no matter how much they want to succeed…they’re human. They hit roadblocks. Ha! Don’t we all?

This is why it’s crucial to take a well-rounded approach to keep progress going and make sure healthy habits stick.

The Awesome Role of Health Coaches

Think of health coaches as friendly guides, not rule enforcers. We build partnerships with clients to help make lasting lifestyle changes. So rather than thinking about client “compliance,” think about client “engagement.” The focus is on getting clients involved rather than making them follow orders, so they’re actively shaping their wellness journey.

Tackling Too Much Info & Making Resources Easier to Access

One common problem? Client overwhelm. That’s a quick road to disengagement.

See, when there’s too much info, too many resources, and too little organization…it’s like trying to drink from a firehose. We need to simplify. Creating specific, achievable to-do’s and giving bite-sized info help cut through the noise, keeps clients engaged without overwhelming them.

Tools that Boost Engagement

You probably already have calls, emails and maybe text messages with your clients. But how can we make it even easier for them on a day-to-day basis, so they aren’t searching their inbox for the resources you sent? Or the invoice they need to pay?

Practice Better is an excellent option – it’s all-in-one interface for you and your clients that keeps everything under one roof (and with 1 login to remember!)

Plus, Practice Better includes handy tools that increase client accountability and engagement – like secure chat, to-do list tasks, protocols, and programs.They even have a brand new integration with That Clean Life so you can show your client how to meal plan, create grocery shopping lists and get recipe ideas for their exact needs and preferences.

Keeping it Simple for Real Change

Keeping things simple is key to making lasting changes in behavior. Health coaches help clients take clear steps forward, bridging the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it for long-term health and wellness.

In a nutshell, helping clients take charge and stay engaged means being understanding, using tools wisely, and always making the process as simple and doable as possible.


Full transcript:

Michelle:
Hello there, health coaches, I have a story for you today. Little storytelling opportunity last weekend as many of we were just coming off a very busy, it was a very stressful week in a good way, that good kind of stress, but we had our five day jumpstart with, we had nearly 1000 health coaches enrolled for that. Amazing. But it was a lot of work and at the same time, my neighbor started passive aggressively parking his giant car in front of my driveway. So there was all that going on and I need to get my house decorated for Christmas. Why am I sharing this? Why am I giving myself aina all over again? Because on Saturday night my boyfriend was like, let's go out to dinner. A glass of wine sounded perfect and we're at this really nice bar where they just kind of come along and they refill your glass.

Okay, so now one glass turned into two and then they had this delicious chocolate martini. I just had to try. It looked so gorgeous and all the drinks were well spaced out and I wasn't driving and I'm a little bit over 21, just a little. So all good, except during the night, inevitably I get the hotter than hell hot flash that keeps me up for two hours. This only happens when I drink alcohol, especially wine. I know some of you know exactly what I'm talking about, and if you were my health coach, we would probably have a conversation about this. We would probably have a talk about different ways that I can make sure I don't go over my one glass of wine limit once a week if that. I don't really don't drink very much, but even though I know what's best and I know what to do, just like any of our clients, we don't always follow through, right?

We're human. And that's why health coaches providing accountability and keeping clients engaged is so important because even the best of us can use more accountability. I'm going to call you the next time I have a glass of wine so you can remind me how glass is number two and three always make me feel that night. Oh my god, I get so hot. Okay, so inside your coaching practice, how can we cultivate more accountability and engagement? That's what today's show is all about, and this episode is brought to you by Practice Better. My very, very favorite practice management software that a whole bunch of you in our community are using and love Practice Better handles all of your billing, all of your scheduling and more. It also has some excellent tools to keep your clients engaged and accountable. So basically it streamlines your entire practice and for a limited time, you can get a bonus kitchen cleanout program built right into the practice, better platform to start using with your clients, plus 30% off your first three months. Go to healthcoachpower.com/pb stands for Practice Better to get started. Details are in the show notes and with us today is my friend Brittany, a business success coach from Practice Better. Hey Brittany, thanks for joining us.

Brittany:
Michelle, thanks for having me. It's nice to be back here and chatting with you today.

Michelle:
You're one of our favorite guests. I have to ask you, do you have any embarrassing stories to share mine where you could have used a little extra accountability in your own health, especially, I don't know, around the holidays?

Brittany:
Gosh, where do I start? I think the stories are endless. I think like you said, we're all human and it's almost like we have all the knowledge and there's an extra layer of guilt that we have when we don't follow through. I certainly felt that. So yeah, I mean, I can't think of a story off the top of my head, but that's probably because there's just too many examples.

Michelle:
It happens to every single one of us. I mean...

Brittany:
On your phone right at night when you're like, I should be sleeping. I shouldn't be having screen time right now. I shouldn't be exposing myself to all this artificial light right before I'm trying to fall asleep. That's probably what I'm most guilty for, is just getting in that wormhole of the mindless scrolling right before bed.

Michelle:
You are not alone with that. So for anybody who's here with us watching live, tell us in the comments so we don't feel all alone here where you personally could use some extra accountability and if you have any embarrassing stories that we can commiserate over, like we are all human. I've been known to have that phone on way too late at night too, boy. See, we all need health coaches. I want to actually talk about something real quick. I always use the word engaged rather than compliant. When we're talking about things like this, that's a habit that I picked up when I studied with Dr. Aviva Rom because compliant has the connotation of a top down authoritative relationship, whereas we're coaches, so the engagement word, it feels more like an equal relationship and words matter. So of course we want to keep our clients engaged with us, we need to hold them accountable, we want to help them. We want to do good things with our clients and for the world. But from a business perspective, Brittany, can you talk about how this is beneficial to us from a business perspective?

Brittany:
Yeah, absolutely. Maybe this is super obvious, but I think clients of course, are more likely to achieve what they came for. They're coming to you with it usually a certain pain point or something specific that they're looking support on, and if they follow through, if they stay engaged and accountable to all of this amazing advice that you're providing them, they're more likely of course to then achieve those goals. And I think this is really obviously great for the client, but it's really good for the practitioner too, for your confidence. I imagine that if your clients are routinely falling off track and not achieving their goals, that that's a recipe for imposter syndrome where you're going to start questioning your own skillset. You're going to start wondering if you have what it takes to be a successful coach or practitioner. So I think that's a big thing that stands out for me is follow through from your clients is just going to help you feel like you've got what it takes as a coach and you're going to put out that energy to future clients and prospective clients as well.

Then I think the other thing that's super important is that having a clear action plan for your clients that's designed to help them achieve their goals is a really foundational part of creating a great experience for your clients and any great experience, maybe you really loved that chocolate martini and you're going to go and tell all your friends that they need to go and try it. Any good experience is going to lead to word of mouth and those word of mouth referrals really do help us grow. They're such an important part of growing and scaling our coaching practices and our businesses. So I think we can never underestimate how crucial it is to get the clients to stay engaged because their experience is going to help you grow.

Michelle:
Yeah, 1000%, and we hear this all the time from the coaches in our community. My client's not doing the thing. We talked about X, my client is not doing X, I'm failing. I'm no good as a coach. You're exactly right. It really starts to eat away at your confidence.

Brittany:
Absolutely. I mean, I experienced that as a new practitioner and I think you get into this head space where you have so much knowledge that you feel so excited by that you just want to dump on your client, that you share the world with them and then they're overwhelmed and they're like, they don't know what to do. They don't know how to sift through that world of information to know what that right next step is, and then you kind of take it personally, right? You're like, why aren't you doing it? I gave you all this stuff. So super important.

Michelle:
Yes, we all know the feelings. If you're here live, you're just listening later, just raise a hand. We've all been there. If you know that feeling, I want to hear about it. Ellen said, thank you for that tit that engagement versus compliant. It sounds more inviting. It does, and I think it puts us in a different headspace if we're like, mmm mmm mmm, they're not complying. That's not what we want to be in.

Brittany:
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think word choices really matter. Of course.

Michelle:
So today when we're recording this, it is December 5th, and I know it's actually a really big day for you guys at Practice Better in terms of how you can help with client engagement. Why don't you tell us a little bit about what's going on?

Brittany:
Yeah, you're right. Today's a really exciting day at Practice Better. We launch our integration with That Clean Life. That Clean Life is a nutrition planning software if anyone's not familiar with it, and it's something that our community has been asking for quite some time. So it feels so good to finally be able to deliver what people have been asking for such a long period of time, and that's being able to create meal plans or nutrition plans right in the practice, better platform for the purpose of engaging with clients and keeping things accessible for them, giving them more tools to support their needs. So super exciting. These are the tools that I used when I was practicing or practiced better in That Clean Life. So it's especially exciting for me on a personal level, but the whole company is just, we're buzzing today with this exciting integration.

Michelle:
That's great. I know I've been seeing it all over social media and everybody's talking about it, so I was same here. These are the two tools that I was using most often in my own coaching practice with my private clients and my group clients. Sharon over here says, yeah, that's exciting. Is it for the Sprout membership too, Brittany?

Brittany:
So this is something that you'll be able to use in protocols and programs and Practice Better, so long as any of the account types that you're looking at can facilitate those, you'll be able to use That Clean Life probably more capabilities, the higher the plant tiers you get. My recommendation is always going to be the plus when you really unlock the full potential. But yeah, so long as you have your right now, I will say kind of off the hop with all of this is you're still going to have your two separate subscriptions, but now you can use the two pieces all in one place, which is amazing.

Michelle:
That's awesome. It sounds a little bit like the integration with fullscript.

Brittany:
Yeah, absolutely. It's completely within features that you're likely already using in Practice Better, whether that's the protocols or the programs, the mood journals. So it's very much ingrained in likely the work that you're already doing to support your clients. You can just kind of take it to the next level and deliver even more value to your clients.

Michelle:
Cool. Yeah, I was always very happy with how the fullscript integration worked. It was just one less step for me. When I'm inside Practice Better, I could access everything and one less step for the client as well, and it just feels like one seamless experience. I love it.

Brittany:
Yeah.

Michelle:
Okay. That is cool. I mean, it's not the only thing that you guys have to offer. How else does Practice Better stand out when it comes to this whole idea of client engagement and accountability?

Brittany:
This is a big part of what our whole platform is about. It's running your business, but it's also the client end of things and supporting your clients and engaging your clients, really working with them. And we have so many features so that you can really figure out what works for you and resonates with your particular community and your clients. And I think with all of those features, the key to it is just keeping everything in one place and really accessible for the client. We often talk about that from the lens of the coach or the practitioner, how convenient it is, having everything in one place, but it's also super important for your client, and if we want to stay engaged and we want them to stay motivated to be taking action, imagine what they're experiencing. If they have to be digging through their inbox to find this PDF, and then they have to email you here and log into this platform to do this and hop over here to do that, it's just not seamless for them. So with all of our features, everything is in one place for your client and incredibly accessible. I think that's huge when it comes to accountability and engagement.

Michelle:
And you guys really have designed, I mean, everything in the platform is designed for practitioners like us. Anybody can use an online calendar, anybody can use some sort of online billing tool or whatever, but it's in subtle ways. There's subtle ways that you make it tailored to the nutrition and wellness professionals, which I always really appreciated. Talk about niche marketing, right? You guys know your audience?

Brittany:
Yeah, yeah. Our team, we have several practitioners on our team and our software was co-founded by a holistic nutritionist. So the origin of Practice Better really came from somebody who has the exact same pain points as our users. So the same logistical or administrative things that you are struggling with in your own business or client engagement, these are things that the founder was experiencing too, and that was the origin story of Practice Better. So that's why we have so many of these features that are so specific to our industry and our space that are working for you and your clients.

Michelle:
Yeah, they sure are, and I'm sure you guys have all had this experience just today, just for a personal matter, I was on the phone and I had to dig up oh, A PDF over here, and then I had to go find another email with this information over there, and then something else had been sent to me via text message and I was like, well, hold on, hold on, hold on. Lemme look here. Lemme look there. It was so annoying. And don't you think that even in the last five years, everyone's tolerance for that kind of inconvenience has gone way down?

Brittany:
So true, so true. And think about the number of emails you get a day, you think, oh, this is at the top of my inbox now I can come back to this later. And then by the time you come back to it, you're like, wait, where did it go? It is buried. So our worlds are just moving so fast right now, and I think that's where we're really craving things that are simple and streamlined that just make things easy for us. We've got so much chaos going on around in our worlds. We don't need everything else working with a practitioner that's voluntary, typically we want it to be simple, we want it to be accessible or else behavior change is hard. That's one thing that we should talk about is the fact that making change, no matter how big or small, it's really hard for people. So we have to take down as many barriers as we can to get people to stay on track, stay engaged, because they will inevitably come upon something that's going to feel really hard for them. So we need to make it simple and easy. We need to be the part of it that's easy.

Michelle:
That's what they came to us for to help make this whole challenge that they're facing easier. So if you're watching live, tell me in the comments, where do your clients fall off track? Where do they stop engaging with you? What things just seem to be harder for them to implement and stay on top of? I know I was just talking to one of our five day Jumpstart kit members this week about how for some reason I always find that people are more engaged with making food changes than they are with making changes related to their sleep. You can talk about sleep, you can strategize around sleep, and I just as a practitioner, I always found that to be more difficult to actually get them to put the phone away and go to bed a bit earlier and block out all the light. So I'd love to hear from you guys where you see your clients falling off track and Brittany, what do you see most often in the practice, better community? You must hear coaches and nutritionists talking about where all their clients seem to be veering off.

Brittany:
Yeah, absolutely. We hear all kinds of stories. We hear stories about clients that are really invested and engaged, then all of a sudden they no show an appointment or they just never start their meal plan. And there's always that air of mystery of what went wrong, what happened in between this meeting where they were so excited and they were agreeing with everything and then I set them off on their own and they just crashed and burn. So a lot of that comes down to, as I mentioned earlier, just information overload where the client doesn't know how to take everything that they've just learned and turn it into an actionable step that they can just implement. So oftentimes they're like sponges, right? They're absorbing so much information that we have to share with them. We forget how much we know as coaches, but then they go off to take action and they're like, well wait, which do I start with first?

And should I do this or do I do it all at once and can I take this supplement and at the same time is this one? And things become way too overwhelming and they just get this overwhelmed paralysis where they don't do anything. So that's a big one that we hear. And then the other thing is just the accessibility issue. I don't know where to find this or this. I wasn't able to pull up my grocery list when I was actually at the grocery store, and so I didn't know what to buy and so I'm going to have to come back later. Sometimes it's just a preference thing where someone's like, I actually don't like fish, and that's what you put on my meal plan and I'm not going to eat that and I didn't speak up, and so now I'm just too shy and I'm going to just ghost you.

Little things like that. So many things that we hear, and it really comes down to I think communicating with the client in a new way and simplifying, like I said, easy is the key word here, to just remove as many barriers as possible and keep things super simple and accessible and also actionable for the client. We shouldn't be presenting information, we're a textbook or anything like that. We should be putting it down into bite-sized pieces for people. Think about often the way that we consume a ton of media these days, whether it's on our social media apps, we've got now 15 second videos that we're scrolling through all day, or we're listening to podcasts on 1.5 speed. We're always rushing through all this information and it's really no different. People are now absorbing things so much faster. So simplifying what you're sharing and keeping it short and sweet so that they're not getting overwhelmed with too much to read or learn.

Michelle:
I just giggled when you said listening to things at 1.5 speed. I totally do that. Audio, I have to say it's a little anxiety producing.

Brittany:
Sometimes my mom will overhear me listening to an audiobook or something and she's like, what are you doing right now? It's just the way I have to absorb things these days. It's just fast.

Michelle:
Understood, and I just want to say something as simple as I can't remember my password. How many things do you just go, oh, guess I'm not going to do that right now if you just can't remember the 9000th password that you needed. So just to the idea of keeping everything streamlined and in place, I think we're onto something. What specific tools? Tools, I mean we mentioned That Clean Life now being available. What other specific tools are coaches and practitioners using to support their clients?

Brittany:
Yeah, there's definitely a few standout ones in Practice Better, although this is certainly not exhaustive. The Secure Chat feature is just a really nice way of having casual check-ins with your clients, and a means for them to reach out for those casual conversations where they're not necessarily having to wait a week or two until that next appointment. So if they're like, Hey, I'm at the grocery store and I can't remember if you told me if I should be eating this or eating that, maybe they can be a little bit more dynamic in getting an answer from you and then taking action. So that's a great one is the Secure Chat feature tasks are one that I think is so important. It's a way for you to kind of distill all the information that you've shared into that one actual item. So think of it kind of like a to-do list.

So maybe you do want to give them all the information so that they have the opportunity to learn, but you can still help them understand what the right priority is and the next focus is for that task. So I love that one. And then protocols, this is a place for you to basically package all of your advice and recommendations into one place and deliver it to your client. So anything pertaining to lifestyle supplements, Michelle mentioned fulls scripts, you can include your Fullscript recommendations there. And then That Clean Life meal plans can all be built into a protocol and delivered in one kind of easy to access place for your client. Same idea with programs. The last thing that I'll call out is our food and mood journals. So this is a really great resource for your clients where they can actually sync pieces of health tech that they're wearing, like their Fitbit or their Apple Watch information can automatically be sent over with their permission of course, into their client journal, and the practitioner or the coach can review it, comment on it, set goals and targets.

So that's automated. The client doesn't even have to think about that and the practitioner's getting some really great insights about maybe movement or sleep, things of that nature. And you can also, now, this is probably my favorite feature of the integration with That Clean Life is that through the integration, clients can log the meals or the recipes that they're eating with just the click of a button pretty much. Whereas before it was a little bit more of a manual process to have the macronutrient breakdowns or everything logged into the food journals. Clients can now, if they're following that meal plan, just click a button and it will upload into their food and mood journal and then the coach can review everything. So it's a great way to make sure that the client is actually following a meal plan and then be able to make it really, really easy for the client. Because if someone has to take 10 minutes to log a meal, the chances of them doing that, I mean, maybe you'll get some clients, but I think you're going to have a harder time with it being a more manual process versus a click of a button. So huge game changer. And those are just, I guess a touch at some of the features that people are using to really engage their clients through that whole journey of them working with them.

Michelle:
Yeah, that's amazing. Now, back in the day when you got any kind of meal plan from That Clean Life, it came, you would create it and it would come as a PDF. And I know every time health coaches hear the World Words meal plans like alarm bells go off, we're not allowed to prescribe meal plans. I know guys I know know don't freak out. So one of the things I love about That Clean Life more recently is that there is the ability for clients to actually go in and do their own meal planning and you can guide them and show them how to use the tool and kind of say, oh, I don't like fish. I'm going to do this instead. How much of those capabilities are part of this integration?

Brittany:
The interface of the way that practitioners or coaches will provide the resources or set the client up is virtually the same. So they'll have that same ability to customize and swap things out according to their own preferences. So completely customizable, which I think as far as getting clients to follow through and stay engaged, that's really important. It's important for them to have their ability to customize to their own preferences, but also it's a learning tool for them if they're always relying on you to provide them exactly what they should be doing, how are they ever going to have that sustained change on their own? So that's a really great way of segueing them to being a little bit more autonomous and independent with what you've taught them as well. So yeah, you've got all of these features that you can access right in Practice Better, which is awesome.

Michelle:
That's amazing because they're already in there making their next appointment or whatever so they can pop over. Maybe you show them how a meal plan can be put together so that you can cook once, eat twice, or cook once if you're me and eat like four times and they're going to go, oh, I get it now. And then you can say, great. Now go look for recipes that you like. Go look for recipes that are going to work for your family, and they can do, they're doing it themselves. You are empowering them. It's not that top down approach. It's that I'm going to teach you to fish approach, which is exactly what we want to be doing as coaches. I love that you have that capability built right in now. So good.

Brittany:
You can put together collections or individual recipes and share them with the client and then the client can swap things out and just really make it their own so that it's something that they actually feel excited about and is practical and realistic for them and something that they're going to want to eat and take action on. So it's really exciting.

Michelle:
And so many good recipes. I make lots of them myself. Okay. Ellen is saying over here about going back to the idea of information overload in her old functional medicine practice. Imagine a 20 to 30 supplement protocol and lifestyle changes and symptom management and detox practices, blah, blah, blah. It was so hard as a coach to make it simple and prioritized for them. So it sounds like this is where it would be useful to have that task to-do list that your client can actually go down on a daily or weekly basis, whatever it is, and make sure they didn't forget anything.

Brittany:
Yeah, I think honestly, the tasks are maybe a feature that could be a little bit overlooked because it's fairly simplistic, but I've been that client seeing a functional medicine practitioner who's been on 15 supplements and meal plans and all the things, and it was even hard for me. And I come from this world with this background, so I can certainly relate to that. So yeah, if you can distill that information down and just even help them figure out what that next right step is, it's going to be huge for your clients.

Michelle:
You're right, that tasks feature, it's like it's not super sexy. It's like, oh, A to-do list. But that I'm going to tell you, it's always been one of my favorite features inside Practice Better. It's the thing that makes it most actionable for the client. It is so easy, but I'm glad we've called it out because again, that's not something that comes with if you're using a free online scheduler for your calendar and a free billing software for your billing, you don't get these tools that are really meant for health coaches and overall the tools, the resources that are out there these days, it blows my mind. So I just want to say thank you for all that you're doing over there to make our jobs easier as coaches, and for everybody listening, remember, for a limited time, you can get a free Kitchen Cleanout program and you can save 30% off your first three months with Practice Better when you go to health coach power.com/pb.

This episode is also amazingly brought to you by our very favorite, That Clean Life, big coincidence. We were talking about both of these services today, That Clean Life is an amazing resource for health coaches to create recipe books and help clients with their own meal planning on any type of diet. You're going to love it. You're going to love how it integrates with Practice Better, and for a limited time, I have a discount to share for that too. You can get 20% off your first four months when you join at healthcoachpower.com/tcl. Brittany, thank you so much for joining us today. Hey, Michelle, it's always a pleasure and I will see you all next week. Take care everybody. Bye-Bye.