Updated: Sep 14, 2021
As practitioners, there can be a constant nagging that we need to be on the lookout for new tools, gadgets and tests to add to our practice. We often are searching for new ways to deepen our clients’ experiences all while trying to keep up with the latest technology- doing something to set us apart.
We do this to refresh our skills, to expand our understanding and to ensure that we bring the very best into our clinics or online portals. But what if we told you that all the flashy technology, all of the test kits, all of the diets with the latest research to back them up, are not going to get your clients to comply with your plans?
Hear us out
Consider the tests, supplements, diets and technology to be tools. Without them it’s hard to build new structures and dismantle old patterns. But, to build strong, sturdy buildings we need more than solid tools. We need expertise, an intuitive understanding of the land, the weather conditions and daily comings and goings. This is your knowledge and innate wisdom as a practitioner.
This blend of art and science is the key to client compliance. We need to listen, intensely, to what our clients are asking for before coming up with a plan, suggesting supplements or ordering tests. Those come later.
First, we need to truly listen. For example, when a client comes in saying they want to lose 20 pounds, going deeper into why will yield more profound long term results. We need to understand why losing 20 pounds is important to them. The why is more important than the goal.
Through this, we can determine where they are at now and what the journey was that brought them to this place. This isn’t to sound smart, to prove that we are good at our jobs, but instead, it' something much bigger. It is so we can create truly tailored plans, that meet the client where they are at and motivate them to make change, one bite-sized piece at a time. To make plans that make a long, lasting, positive impact on their quality of life. This is the way we empower our clients and show them that they have the ability to heal.
With our weight loss client for example, one could easily determine that for them to lose weight, we need to change their dietary habits through creating a plan, share a few helpful supplements, cut calories, download a tracking app. But, this client still doesn’t lose weight. Or, they do for a little while and then it plateaus, or they drop off all of the sudden and you never hear from them again. What many of us fail to realize is that someone’s superficial goal, be it the 20 pounds they want to lose, or the PR they want to hit in the gym, has a deeper meaning.
For some, the driver is being able to play soccer and interact with their little one, or set an example for their children. For others, that PR in the gym is an outward reflection of their inner why - to challenge themselves and to be a leader by example, by building a strong foundation and taking care of their body and mind. And for some, the driver is to live a long, happy and healthy life. To spend more time with family and friends and build a community, which may or may not become important after going through a health scare.
While we may not address this with every client, as some may not be able to fully articulate their “why” just yet, understanding this as a practitioner allows us to not only create a tailored plan, but to coach them through it. This is the art of coaching. Understanding the drivers. By asking questions - why now? Why not last year, why not next year? What would happen if you didn’t make this change? The art of listening and hearing is a pillar of a great practitioner- one who inspires change in their clients.
This deeper understanding of your client will allow you to support them, when they feel like they make mistakes, when they stray from the plan or feel lost with the goals they came up with at the beginning. You will find that without these deeper drivers, the spark that clients and patients come in with initially can fade. Without impetus, the desire to make, and sustain a change, like weight loss or the dedication to changing their routine to accommodate a new training regime and nutrition plan can fizzle out. Because they are not the root. The weight loss, the PR - they are the fulcrum that sets their deeper goals and whys in motion.
Another aspect of coaching is to consider readiness - how prepared they are to not only make change, but sustain it. We call this The Science of Coaching.
If you want to deep dive into these concepts to provide your clients with sessions that truly move the needle on their health goals, increase your confidence as a practitioner and more importantly- scale your nutrition business through expanding your referral reach, check out our newest online course, The Confident Nutritionist: transform your nutrition practice into a profitable business that you love. It's self-pace but registration is only open until Sept. 24th!
Author: Sidney Shindle, Co-Founder Fiore Health