I jumped straight in, designing logos, websites, business cards. In my head I believed that if I did all of this the clients would start rolling in.... Yes, you know what I’m going to say next, it’s just not that easy. In hindsight I can see that I really needed to focus on experience! I needed to be a coach and improve my confidence. I can say honestly that I have never been hugely confident, so for me there was self-doubt running around my head to begin with… ‘do I know enough?’, ‘what if I’m no good at this?’, ‘what if I can’t help anyone?’. I would imagine most coaches go through these doubts at the start. If you think about it, most jobs/skills/careers begin by studying, then you start at the bottom and learn from those who’ve been doing it longer than you, you trip and stumble and you learn even more. In time, your confidence begins to grow. You can’t allow coaching to be any different. Find a mentor, find a job in the industry or work with others for free. In essence, build on the skills you have learnt through your training at Cadence Health and gain experience.
A few months after graduating, I discovered a job opening with a large company as a Weight-Loss Consultant. Even though the company doesn’t use the same techniques, or follow the same ideology around food as I do, what I have been able to learn from them is proving invaluable. My first day, I was thrown in the deep end, and coached 10 clients back to back! Amazing, from coaching for course assessments, then practicing with a few family members and friends, I was suddenly coaching clients week-by-week; even better, I was helping them! Although I went through three days on-the-job training, the truth is most of my knowledge came from what I had learnt through Cadence Health. And it suddenly hit me! I realised I had become a successful coach; all it took was actually helping real clients to realise that! Luckily I can do this work part-time, allowing me to continue learning while also building my own business, Santé Wellness (www.santewellnesscoach.com).
One of the other major challenges I faced when starting out was defining my ‘Target Market’. Again, it’s a gradual process and something I struggled with post-study. You etch this out as you evolve, it’s very individual based on where you want to position yourself as a coach: it is the backbone to your business. Wanting to help everyone is a great aspiration, the reality is you can’t save everyone. To be able to appeal to potential clients, you have to be talking the right language that appeals to them, and you simply can’t talk to everyone! You’ll want to know, who are they? What are their desired outcomes? What motivates them? Personally, I am still refining my focus and I’m sure I will continue to do so for some time yet! Spend plenty of time reflecting on who it is you want to help and why. Get your ‘mantra’, that is understand your people and who they really are and how you will connect with them; this will help you in your search for those you will help!
Throughout my personal journey, there has been frustration, and certainly at times I have wanted to give up. Becoming a Health Coach comes with the aspiration of running your own business, freedom to work to your own schedule, it offers flexibility and opportunities outside of any one location, all the while creating a meaningful difference to other people’s lives. And, while this is achievable, there is a lot of hard work between ideas, plans and their realization. The valuable lessons from the Cadence courses are a great platform, they can help carry you through those moments of self-doubt. It is important to hold on to your dream, because if you want it badly enough you’ll overcome the challenges. More than anything, believe in yourself and always be positive. I conquer my fears every day by reminding myself that I am a Health Coach, I do help people on a daily basis, and each step brings me closer to fulfilling my dream. And if all else fails, ‘Fake it Til’ You Make it!’ - only you create your doubt, no-one else has reason to question your ability!
We all have a role to play in community health, the only question is how do we play this role? Through intelligent, evidence-based inquiry we can understand how to health coach to support others in taking on positive behaviour change.