Over the years of doing one on one health coaching, I’ve come to see the entire process as having many similarities to dating. There are so many different approaches to improving one’s health, and even more opinions, methods, and experts to get you from point A to point B.
I often repeat back to myself the manifesto coined by Joshua Rosenthal, founder of Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), which says “one diet doesn’t fit all.” The main idea is that you can’t use the same approach with every client and expect it to work, because every client has a unique set of pre-existing conditions, biochemistry, values and mindset (Josh calls this “bioindividuality”). Therefore, to be an effective coach and get your clients results, one must taylor the approach to each person specifically.
Having said that, I have also found that sometimes, no matter what you do, you just don’t have a good fit with a client’s goals, needs, and preferences. Even if you bend over backwards, breaking your own self-imposed boundaries (another good topic I definitely want to come back to another day), and walk on eggshells to please your client, your efforts may go unrecognized, and ultimately futile. I know this because it has happened to me, both as a practitioner and a client.
It’s important to recognize that your coaching won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and you also bring a unique skillset and approach to the table. At the end of the day, your scope of practice, no matter how educated you are and how many degrees you possess, is limited to your unique knowledge and experience. It’s impossible to be all-knowing and all-powerful, all the time (transcendental God and Higher Self unifying experiences aside, also a great topic for another day!).
Some clients will just have unrealistic expectations and not take any responsibility for their end of the deal. (This is also why I recommend setting up these tenets in a client contract from the get-go.) Unfortunately, it’s impossible to offer a long-lasting solution to someone’s problems and serve it up to them on a pedestal. There’s no magic quick-fix, and the pharmaceutical industry is an example that a seemingly simple solution comes with many caveats.
The paradigm where the “authority figure” (read doctor, coach, etc.) has all the answers and cures, is no longer applicable. We are shifting to a client-centered world, where the client is ultimately in the seat of power, which lies in their choices. Often, the client will have to put in work, and exert monumental effort in order to see a transformative shift and actually reap their coveted results.
I really see the client-coach relationship as first and foremost just that: a relationship. Most of us know that romantic relationships require a two-way commitment, but in reality, all relationships do. All of life is based on relationships and commitments we make to and among ourselves, our parents, our children, our partners, our neighbors, and even our leaders and governing bodies.
And just as in romantic relationships, there are some people who are more compatible and will have an easier time getting along, communicating, and reaching common goals. It’s not impossible to get along with someone you’re not compatible with, but it’s a much more involved and difficult process, with steep learning curves. As someone who’s been on both sides of this, I’ve always felt more aligned with the coaches and coaching clients who ARE compatible, who see eye to eye, and who reciprocate.
So how can you attract your soulmate, compatible, ideal client?
First, you have to recognize your strengths and limitations. What do YOU bring to the table? Be clear on that and set realistic goals and expectations for both yourself and your potential clients.
Be honest with yourself about what you know and what you can offer, and be confident and proud of those gifts. Send out that frequency into the universe, so that those that are seeking your gifts may find you with ease.
It’s also okay to be open about your limitations and share failures with your audience and community, so that they can relate to you on a human and personal level. They won’t know these things about you unless you tell them!
So go ahead and make the first step in your courting. If there is interest in learning more, schedule a complimentary call to see if you are a good fit to work together.
From there, lay the foundation and write up a contract that seems fair and achievable to both parties. Coaching is a two-sided commitment where both parties have to show up and do the work.
If you want to learn more about how I can serve your coaching needs, feel free to schedule a call with me here.