E230: Become a More Confident Health Coach with ONE Simple Trick

If you’re like most health coaches, you came out of school feeling like you’re not ready to take clients yet. Or, if you’re already seeing clients, you may wonder if your sessions are as impactful as they could be. In this episode Michelle shares WHY so many health coaches feel that way…and 1 simple trick to get you out there, doing the work confidently. Get the FREE coaching skills mini-course at HealthCoachPower.com/skills

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Become a More Confident Health Coach With One Simple Trick

“I’m not ready to take my first client”. 

“I’m not sure I’ll actually be able to help people”. 

Lots of new health coaches feel this way– and it’s holding you back.

If you want to grow your health coaching business, you need to believe in yourself as a coach. Here’s how to start.

Why health coaches lack confidence

Health coaches are graduating with certifications – but somehow, they’re not feeling ready to be, well, health coaches.

Part of the problem is with the many health coach certifications out there.

Some programs teach you to teach clients a curriculum. You’re learning “answers” to common health issues – but not coaching skills. 

And some programs teach a ton about nutrition, functional medicine, science – but nothing about how to actually do the work with clients.

So if you’ve learned the facts, but not the process, you’ll probably feel unprepared! This isn’t your fault– but you can fix it.

How to get comfortable coaching

When I went to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (2008-2009), we were encouraged to start finding clients halfway through the program – yup, before we were certified.

At the time, I thought that was crazy – I’m gonna do what?? I didn’t want to take the leap. But it was what I needed.

It turned out that the universe had my back – I got laid off from my cushy advertising job around the same time I was supposed to find my first clients. That was the push I needed. So I went out and found ‘em.

And so can you. Don’t wait until you’re sure you’re ready. Or until you have X, Y or Z certification. Now is the time.

You’ll never be ready, so don’t wait

You can bet I hadn’t fully mastered coaching when I had my first clients. Some of my sessions were awkward. I stumbled through as I learned. 

And it was fine. People love to be listened to. They don’t need or expect you to be perfect.

I worked with eight paying clients before I graduated. I didn’t achieve that because I felt ready (I didn’t.) But I jumped in anyway. 

And that’s the trick: Start before you feel ready.

How to grow your confidence

First, do a quick review of the coaching skills that you learned in your health coaching program. Dig up those notes. 

If you didn’t get it in school (or didn’t get enough), I’ve got your back– I just put out a brand-new, free mini-course called Build Confidence in Your Coaching Skills. I go over some essential skills you need, complete with demonstrations and examples. It’s all inside.

And then, you have to start. 

Network. Reach out. Get friends and classmates to refer their friends to you. Be scared, and do it anyway.

Experience is the secret sauce. Coach your first (or next) client. Do it imperfectly. You’ll survive the discomfort! And on the other side, you’ll find the confidence you’ve been looking for.

Full transcript:

Well, hello there, health coaches. Thank you for joining me today. We are going to be talking about becoming a more confident health coach. I'm very excited to talk about this with you because I don't think we've had a coaching skills call in a while, but before we do anything, I just have a little public service announcement that the wait list for 2023's fast track semester, it's going to be open very soon, and being on the wait list is to your huge advantage because it gives you access to the best possible bonus package. Fast Track is my most robust business building opportunity, and I run it live just one time a year. So, keep your eyes open for the wait list that is coming at you soon. But as for today, you know how many health coaches I talk to can't even conceive of marketing themselves or putting themselves out there, and I kind of put that in air quotes, putting myself out there.

That's what everybody says. I think we mean marketing or basically going out there and actively finding clients because they simply lack confidence in their ability to be effective as a coach. And that makes sense, right? You will very quickly sabotage all your marketing efforts, even subconsciously if you are afraid that you're not going to be any good at the work, why would you want a client if it's going to in your mind, potentially be a huge disaster, right? We don't want to be a failure. I get it. I get it. I hear so many health coaches say things like this and maybe you're one of them. I hear I'm not ready to take my first client even though the certification is done, even though it's been months since graduation. I'm not ready to take my first client. Anybody feeling like that today? Just raise a hand in the chat if that's you or Pauline is saying in our was our group the other day, I keep panicking about whether I'll actually be able to help people.

I'm not... right? You're thinking I'm not a doctor. Who am I? Yeah, how could I actually help someone just with my health Coach certification alone? Oh my god, it is terrifying. Elizabeth says, me and Crisler is here, and Jennifer's here. Hello you guys. Thanks for joining. Today, I'm going to be sharing why so many health coaches feel this way, and one simple trick to get you out there doing the work confidently. Now, this episode is brought to you by my brand new free mini course. It's called Build Confidence in Your Coaching Skills, and it's available right now at healthcoachpower.com/skills. So I want to talk about, what's going on here? Why is everybody graduating with a certification? Sometimes with multiple certifications. Sometimes I talk to health coaches that say they are a master health coach, and then I say, well, how many clients have you worked with so far?

And they say, None. How can you be a master in something if you've never done it? That's what I just do not understand. So, where are health coach schools falling down? Because something's going on, you guys and I went to Health Coaching School back in 2009, so it's been a while. I'm basing what I know on what I hear from thousands of health coaches who've graduated in the last year, two years, three years, four years, five years. So one thing I hear that's happening is that these days, your coaching certification programs, and tell me if this was your experience. They're teaching you to teach clients a curriculum versus teaching you how to coach, right? They're answering the question that coaches always have, which is, what if I don't have the answer? What if somebody doesn't get results from working with me? I don't know what to do during my sessions.

So they're giving you some type of program to follow with your clients. Is that true for anybody here? Did you get a curriculum that you're supposed to go through with your clients or are you under the impression that at least you should have a curriculum that you go through with your clients? It's interesting because there's a time and a place for that sort of thing, but that's not coaching. So , you're going to still have fears. You're going to still have fears if you're trying to teach a curriculum because what if your client doesn't want to follow the curriculum? What if your client has a question that falls outside of this curriculum that you've been given? Erica says, yes, that was her experience. Crisler says, not mine. We're just out here coaching. Okay? Different schools really take different approaches. That's what I've noticed. So that's the first one.

The other place that I think health coach schools are falling down is that they are teaching a great deal about health and nutrition and root causes and functional medicine, et cetera, et cetera, but nothing much about how to actually do the work with clients. And the worry is from all the health coaches that I talk to, what do I actually do during the session that hour for? Or what am I actually selling someone? I have all this knowledge. Yes, I could probably write a book or I could probably put together a curriculum. But in terms of what to do when you sit down with a client, what happens Then? Andrea's saying, I want to gain experience to become more confident. I feel the academic part is not enough. Bingo. Bingo, Andrea. And so I feel like I talked about this recently and my God, I cannot remember where that was.

But anyway, maybe you heard we had a little conversation. Oh, I think it was in the Facebook group where a lot of coaches are unhappy at IIN, which is the school that I graduated from because they're like, we're not taught enough hard hitting science. I came to learn nutrition and science. And I'm not saying that we shouldn't learn that stuff, but I am saying, as Andrea says, the academic part is not enough. In fact, I would argue it's the least of what you need to be an effective coach. Mind blown, right there. That was a big shocker for some people. So, I want to share with you how I kind of got into coaching and how I became comfortable coaching. I've worked with thousands of clients. I've had clients on six different continents. I've been a practicing health coach for 13 years. It's been a long journey and it all started, like I said, I was a student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2008, 2009.

And again, I'm not sure how well the schools operate these days, but back then when we hit the halfway mark in the program, they said, go out and find clients... halfway not certified. I was like, what? I'm not going to go work with any clients. Are you crazy? And they were pushing us to do though, and I was, in retrospect, I think that was so very smart of them because that way we had this huge support system for when we were working with our first clients and things were coming up and we were faltering and not sure what to say. We were still surrounded by our peers and the school was there for support. So initially I was like, Uhuh, Uhuh not going to do it. Too afraid. Never in life am I going to actually have my own health coaching client. And the universe said, oh no, Michelle, you are going to get laid off from your full-time cushy job in advertising this very same week.

And I did. And then I was like I guess I'm going to go find those clients now. So it was a wonderful push and not everyone is going to have such an obvious push. So allow me to be that for you. Go get some clients, you guys, you don't have to be graduated. You don't even have to wait for your certification program to tell you it's okay. It it's you can start now. That's it. I know everyone thinks you need all these different certifications. You got to be bored certified, this, that and the other. You don't. There are health coaches out there working who have no certifications at all. So what is your excuse? Anyway, the way they incentivized us to actually do this when I was in school is there was a second year that was called immersion. I don't think they do this anymore.

I actually have no idea. But immersion was something that you had to apply to. Not everybody got in and there were prerequisites. And one of the prerequisites was that you had had to have worked with, I forget, five clients, something like that. You had to have a certain number of paying clients in order to be allowed into this second year program. And it was free. The second year program was free. So you were going to be able to be with what seemed like the best of the best from your class, get some higher level education and support. It was entirely free. You just had to do the work now, which was very motivating for this type, a gold star, a plus kind of student. So I was absolutely going to make that happen once I got going, and by the time I graduated from my first year and was unaccepted into the second year, I had worked with eight paying clients and I had paid back my tuition with the money that I earned from those clients.

Was I a master coach at that point? No. Were some of my coaching sessions awkward? Yes. But can you imagine how much more confident I felt by the end of working with eight clients than if I had done none of that? And yet coaches are graduating from school every day with zero. That's me blowing through a circle. I'm making with my hand that much experience. It's mind blowing. And it's not your fault because I never would've done it either if they didn't push me to do it, incentivize me to do it, and if the universe hadn't given me a giant push as well. So let's see how this is resonating with you guys. Jennifer says, I agree with you. Amber says, yes, they still do and it helped me. They still have immersion. Is that right? I'm happy to hear it if that's the case.

Crisler says we plan, God laughs. Yeah, I mean, I really think it's the best way to go into your health coaching business to have a plan that you know, don't have any control over. You never know what's going to happen. I never thought I was going to start full-time health coaching in 2009. I didn't know if I ever would. And then suddenly, boom, I had jumped in with both feet. But anyway, that's a larger story. The point is that they made us get that actual working experience or else I never would've felt confident enough to be out there marketing myself. I never would've felt like I knew what I was doing if I hadn't stumbled through clients for the first , probably for the first year. And Amber's saying, no, they don't still do immersion, but they do still push you to start coaching at the halfway mark.

Great. Cristler. During my holiday break, I reached out to friends and asked them if they'd let me coach them for free. I was only four months in, but I knew I needed more experience after all. Yes, of course. And friends, a lot of times they're happy to help you out and if they think they're going to get something from it too, awesome, sometimes you might do better off actually charging them a small amount because it's still going to be a no-brainer for them. And then you get the experience of collecting payment, processing payment following up if they didn't actually pay you just doing all the things that are involved with coaching, because that's kind of part of the job too, even though we hate that part. Andrew says a two year program should be mandatory. I agree. I think there's a lot more that needs to happen beyond what is currently happening happening inside most health coaching schools.

And I'm not trying to throw shade. I am not inside any of these programs. I don't know exactly what goes on. I just hear what thousands of health coaches tell me, and this is what I am surmising from that information. So I think that coaches who come out of school or if maybe you've been out of school for a while, but you're still like, I don't know if my clients are really getting results. I kind of feel like my sessions are lackluster. Maybe you feel a little blase about marketing yourself because you're not really sure of your value. And I know we're always saying don't undervalue yourself and don't doubt yourself, but dear God with anything, if you're new at it, you don't have half the skills that you will after you've gained more experience, right? So it's fair to say, gosh, I don't know if I can charge this or I don't know.

I don't know if I'm good enough at this yet. I don't think that coaches are getting enough training fair. I said it. So first, there's two things that I think we need. First, you need to be taught proper coaching skills. I mean, if they did this for you in your program, great. Go back, review all of that, practice that. But I don't think most schools are giving enough of it. That's why I've put together my new, entirely free mini course. Build confidence in your coaching skills because if your school didn't teach you, if they only gave you the basics, and if you're still not feeling confident, you definitely want to hook yourself up with this course. I'll give you that url again, you can go there now. It's healthcoachpower.com/skills. But the other thing that you need, and this is the one simple trick to the whole matter, is you need to start before you feel ready, which feels totally backwards, but you can't learn to ride a bike without getting on the bike being unprepared to ride the bike.

Do you know what I'm saying? And it's the exact same thing with coaching. So I can give you the skills, I can demonstrate, I can give examples again, from 13 years of working with real clients, I can explain and I will all inside the minicourse. And I was going to say, but, and nothing will change unless you're willing to get on the bike and do some pedaling, however messy it is, however hesitatingly it's going to be at first, that's normal. This is the trick. Jennifer says, I've been coaching friends for free too that come to me for help. I need to change that though. Yes, I would change it to be first of all, that they're paying you. And secondly, just make sure that you are truly coaching them and you're not just giving them advice the way a friend would like. I would set it up in a more formal structure.

And a really great thing to do is ask your friends to connect you to other people who could benefit. So mutual friends, because mutual friends will trust you because you have that tie, that mutual friend. But they often will respect you more and be more likely to treat you like an expert when they're not that close to you. Crisler has, Crisler says, get yourself out there, ladies. I started attending networking events three months before graduating. That's fantastic. . Jennifer says, I have the confidence, but I have no website, no literature or payment options, no program outline. That's the stuff I need help with all the logistics. And that's what I was mentioning earlier. So coach coaching skills we usually think of as setting smart goals, which is just the bare, bare minimum. Yes. What do you say to your client and how do you say it 1000%.

And it's also the logistics. Exactly that. How are you going to collect payment? How are you going to structure the session? All these kinds of things. So number one, go get my free, Build Confidence in your Coaching Skills Mini course. You're going to bone up in those areas that maybe your certification program simply overlooked. Or maybe you need a refresher. Do that first. Healthcoachpower.com/skills. And number two, I want you to put your mind to working with your first or your next paid clients and doing it imperfectly. And you can even let them know. You can say, Hey, I'm new at this, but I think I can help you. Would you be willing to try coaching with me? Or don't say anything at all. And know that your presence and your willingness to listen is something that people are craving, like literally craving and dying for. Regardless of how perfectly you coach them. You might be the only person in their life that sits down and listens. So you will be of value either way, and I'll see you all next time. Thanks so much for joining me. Take care.