February 2014 - Coaching Blueprint - marketing for life coaches
4 Ways to Practice the Yoga of Coaching

4 Ways to Practice the Yoga of Coaching

 

I spent the early days of my coaching practice hiding under the illusion that my devotion to yoga was an entirely separate holiness from that of serving my clients. Sure, I claimed my yogic habits proudly on my “About” page, but isn’t everyone a yoga teacher these days? It felt so trendy, and besides- I didn’t want to brag. I wanted to be accessible to everyone, even those who don’t particularly care to touch their toes.

I wasn’t entirely foolish enough to believe the hours spent in Lotus had no effect on my coaching practice. I knew that my yoga made me a strong, grounded presence for my clients. But it was only recently that I realized: we can powerfully and directly apply the simple tools of a yogic practice- something we may think is only for our personal benefit or reserved for our time off- to our work with clients, both in person and long distance.

4 ways to take your asana off the mat and into your practice.

1.) Drop in. We all know the importance of taking time to sit and arrive on the mat before diving into asana, and it’s just as important for our practice with clients. They probably just rushed to make our call or appointment on time (or maybe we did!), leaving them still spinning and ungrounded from their day and barely able to pull their thoughts together. I start by asking my clients to close their eyes, take a few deep belly breaths, and scan their body to notice what is immediately present. On your end of the phone or in your office, create a sacred space to hold the energy. Light a candle or some incense, create a small altar, or whatever resonates to allow you to drop in and become centered. Your clients will feel the difference in you and will appreciate the opportunity to center themselves before diving in.

2.) Teach your clients to breathe. On the whole, we’ve completely forgotten how to breathe. We inhale only a tiny percent of our 6 liters of capacity and rarely exhale fully enough to release the stagnant air. This has serious effects on the nervous system and detoxification process, leaving our clients with decreased capacity to deal with stress and anxiety and seriously decreased energy- two of the primary complaints out there! I assign a simple breath practice to almost every client: 10 conscious breaths, either first thing in the morning or just before bed. Have your client put one hand on her belly so she can feel herself breathe fully into her diaphragm, then count to four as she inhales slowly through her nose. Have her pause for one to two moments, then exhale fully. Simple. Powerful.

3.) Bring awareness back into the body. Quite a few of our clients will come to us with experience in traditional “talk therapy”, which invites them to share purely from a mental space of thinking about their struggles. But this disconnects them from their body and the felt experience of the desire or challenge they’re currently processing. So when a client shares a fear, for example, ask her to put her feet firmly on the floor, close her eyes and feel where that fear is living. What qualities does it have? Does it travel at all? Bringing her attention back into her body will calm and center her, and with that presence she will be able to gain insight into the deeper levels of experience and emotion.

4.) Savasana. My favorite pose, and the most important! Close the session by allowing a few moments of integration- not lying on the floor necessarily, but invoke a similar vibe. Take a few slow breaths together to see if any last thoughts or insights percolate to the surface to be shared. Let the juice of the session sink in and allow the depth and power to reverberate! You’ve done good work, stretched the edges, and helped your client learn from her body. Honor her presence and commitment, and thank her.

Namaste, y’all.

 

Heather Day is a Transformational Coach, yoga teacher, and a guide for those who seek to live a Heart Centered Life. She helps people who have fallen out of balance to return to center with intuitive and practical tools for body, soul, and lifestyle. You’ll find her eating papaya, teaching yoga and coaching from her home in Costa Rica. Get her free meditation series to overcome fear and find your own Heart Center, and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

How to stop the bounce: prioritize your website

How to stop the bounce: prioritize your website

 

When a potential client stops by your website, what is the first thing you want them to see?

Is it your coaching packages, your latest digital program, a sign-up form for your mailing list? All too often we have so many products and so much information to share we don’t take the time decide what is most important.

When there’s no obvious starting point visitors can get quickly overwhelmed and leave before you have a chance to make a connection.
 

Give your visitors a roadmap

Think of your website as a roadmap. It should direct clients to the information they are searching for as well as the items that you deem most important. Whether you’d like them to learn more about what you do, buy a product, or follow you on Twitter, your website needs to tell them where to start and what to do next.

In order to get organized, you’ll want to take stock of everything you’re publishing/promoting on your homepage and then rate each item from most important to least.

Say you have one link to download free worksheets and another link for the top 10 books you recommend to clients. Why not group them into a drop-down menu item called “best resources,” or create a bright, bold button that says, “Click here for my favorite resources to get you started!” so that people see exactly where you’d like them to go?

Make the #1 item the focus of your homepage, whether it’s an upcoming event, your best selling product, or your latest blog post. Then showcase the next three to four items at a smaller scale, lower on the page or in the sidebar.

Finally, evaluate the rest of the potential avenues available to web visitors that are on your list. Is it important that users see these items immediately upon opening your site? Remove anything that doesn’t make the cut and transfer the rest of the list to the bottom portion of your site or combine items into one button or block.

I recommend updating your homepage on a weekly basis. You want to keep it fresh and relevant so your clients and readers will keep coming back to see what you have to offer. If you aren’t updating weekly, one alternative is to at least refresh your opt-in freebie on a monthly or quarterly basis.

 

Your Website Check-up

If you’re not sure whether your website is easy to navigate and directs users to the most important stuff first, there are two things you can do.

First, take a look at your Google Analytics and check your bounce rate
. This is the number of people who visited your site and didn’t move to a second page. AKA, the number of people who opened your site and were smacked in the face with so much information they turned around and left.

According to Google, the average bounce rate for content sites is 40 to 60 percent and 70 to 98 percent for blogs. Lower bounce rates are better! You’ll get much more conversion if only 20 percent of people leave your site after looking at a single page, than if 90 percent do.

Second, try having someone who didn’t grow up around computers check out your site (moms and grandmas are usually good for this! 😉 Next time you visit, have them open your site and ask for top three things they notice. Then ask them to find a piece of important information, such as your coaching packages or how to contact you. It’s the ultimate test to see if your site is user-friendly. If grandma can do it, anybody can!

By creating a homepage that is easy to navigate and content that is easy to locate you’ll be able to grow your traffic and point new visitors in the direction that will turn them into clients instead of stopping them in their tracks before they have a chance to get to know you.

 

Sarah Morgan is an award winning web designer, blog and business consultant, circus performer, and aerial instructor from just outside Detroit. She thrives on helping people grow their own websites, make the leap from unfulfilling jobs, and be brave in business and in life. In 2012 she quit her corporate design job to literally run away with the circus and get back to what she loves – working with bloggers and small businesses to create a killer online presence. Through her blog and ebooks, Sarah inspires readers to turn their passion into a job they love and build strong, successful online brands.

How to Build Your Social Media Platform in Ways That Feel Good

How to Build Your Social Media Platform in Ways That Feel Good

 

I often see new business owners online awkwardly testing the waters on social media. They’re sure how to put themselves out there, but knowing that social media is one of those things that everyone says you “should” be doing to promote your business. Often times they’ll simply broadcast their sales message on various platforms, not quite feeling good about it, but not knowing of a better way. It is possible to build your social media platform in ways that feel good.

Social media is not about promoting your business. As I discussed in my previous post, it’s about getting to know people and building valuable relationships and connections. It’s about building your tribe, and developing that ever-important know, like, and trust with the people you meet online.

That’s how I use social media, and I’ve distilled my own heart-centered way of using it into seven steps. The first three steps involve set-up (creating profiles, creating content, and connecting online), and the fourth step is where the magic starts to happen. This is one of the most important aspects of my seven step system, and it’s the main reason why the way I use social media for business feels good.
 

Be of Service

The first step is to be of service: to use your social media connections to reach out and help others. This may seem counterproductive, as I know that many coaches are already concerned about wasting too much time on social media. But the key to building fruitful relationships online is often reaching out to help others first…before you start asking for help.

It’s a fantastic way to spread goodwill and to lend a hand to other coaches and people in heart-centered businesses. It’s also a great way to help out your potential clients by sharing little tips and bits of information that they will find interesting and useful. In a nutshell, helping others online builds that know, like, and trust that you need to attract your ideal clients and to create powerful joint ventures.

I’m going to share a few tips on how to help the two main groups of people you will want to connect with online using social media: potential clients (people who are in your group of ideal people to work with), and other business owners (people who have a similar client base, but who provide a different, possibly complementary, service to them).
 

Help Potential Clients

There are a number of ways you can help potential clients online using social media:

  • Survey them. Once you’ve connected with a number of people from your ideal client base, ask them what they want, and get ideas from them for the content you’ll be creating.
  • Blog. Write blog posts with tips and suggestions that will help your ideal clients.
  • Images. Create “quote boxes” with your tips and suggestions, and schedule them to post to your Facebook page. Share the same images to Google+ if you use it, and pin them to Pinterest.
  • Twitter. Share quick (140-character or less) tips and ideas to help your ideal clients. Make them really useful and valuable, which will encourage your followers to re-tweet them.
  • Video. It’s a fantastic way to create connection with potential clients, and for them to get a good feel of your style and what you’re like. You can create a series of quick (5-minute or less) videos where you discuss a tip or suggestion in each one.

 

Help Other Business Owners

Why help other coaches and business owners? Because you can form valuable alliances with them and cross-promote your businesses. This works best when you have a similar client base, but provide a different solution to your clients (think: fitness coach and health food coach, or media coach and copywriting coach). There are a number of ways you can help other business owners by using social media:

  • Reach out. Connect on social media and strike up a conversation with them. Let them know how much you loved their latest blog post or tweet or product.
  • Just ask how you can help. Perhaps they have a big launch coming up for a new product or service, and they could use some help spreading the word about it on social media. Or maybe they’re putting together a new affiliate program, and you could even make some extra money by promoting something you already love.
  • Invite them to your platform. Perhaps you run an online networking group, and you can invite them to speak. Or maybe you host a weekly podcast, and you can ask them to be your guest. If you have a blog on your website, you can also approach them about writing a guest post for you.
  • Share their stuff. Retweet them on Twitter. Share their posts on Facebook. Re-pin their images on Pinterest. Plus-one their content on Google+. Share their YouTube videos.
  • Review their product. If you’ve read a great business or coaching book, review it on Amazon and Goodreads. If you’ve purchased an online program that’s relevant to your business, review it on your blog. Then use social media to share your reviews and spread the word about them.

 

Take action today.

Choose one action from the client list and one action from the business owner list, and make it happen. Be of service, help others, and spread the love online. Before long, you’ll see how lending someone a helping hand online will help your business, too. You’ll have built some amazing relationships online, and others will be offering to help you with your own business.

I hope this was useful to you! This is one of the most enjoyable ways of using social media for me, and it’s been such a huge part of how I’ve built my business. Help others first, and I promise the help will flow back to you. And you’ll build your social media platforms in a way that feels really good.

 

Holly Worton helps coaches, holistic practitioners, and women in heart-centered businesses go from confusion to confidence with social media, so they can use it to build relationships online and get more clients. Why? Because as a heart-centered business owner, you do amazing work, and she wants to help you help more people. The way to do that is through Connection, and social media is one of the best ways to connect with others and to build your tribe. Sign up for her free 90-minute social media training at Socially Holistic to get started building connections online. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+.

 


4 Steps to Writing a Killer Guest Post

4 Steps to Writing a Killer Guest Post

 

When my clients ask me how they can grow their list or attract more clients, my number one answer is always guest blogging.

Why?

Guest blogging is a simple way to gain more exposure without paying for advertising, and we all know when you’re trying to get your biz off the ground, you really don’t have much (or any) cash to spend.

But I also remember when I was first starting off as a coach and I was encouraged to write guest posts to build my audience, I froze. It was terrifying to think of putting myself out there, especially in front of the “big name” bloggers.

To help ease that fear of yours and make this process a million times simpler, I’ve outlined the major steps for you below.
 

4 Steps to Writing a Guest Post:

1. WOO THE LIKE-MINDED SOULS

Who makes your rockstar list? Who are the people in your niche who are killin’ it, and you authentically resonate with their work?

Grab a piece of paper and write down 10 people in your field who you admire and would love to connect with. Now, choose the top 3 people you’d absolutely LOVE to write for in the next month.

(P.S. Make sure that they actually accept guest posts–if they don’t SAY they do on their “About” page, they probably don’t, or they use an invite-only system. Don’t waste their time and yours by pitching to them if they don’t explicitly state that they accept guest post submissions).

Once you’ve narrowed it down to the lucky three, send them some love. You can do this by reading their content and commenting on their blog, having genuine conversations with them on social media, or sending them a love-filled email.

(P.S. Keep that email really, really–really!–short. Two-three sentences, at most.)

Be genuine and be careful not to expect anything in return. Your intentions are pure and good, right? Remember these relationships won’t happen overnight. This is a process that takes time, so be patient and continue sending out those good vibes.
 

2. BRAINSTORM BLOG TOPICS

Once you know who you want to connect with + how you’re going to initiate that connection, it’s time to figure out what topics you will write about.

Begin by identifying your dream client. This is the person you write all your posts for, the person you’d love to work with, the person you’re dying to have purchase your products/services.

Once you know who your dream client is, answer these 5 questions:

  • What is her biggest struggle?
  • What does she google?
  • If you were meeting for coffee, what would she ask you?
  • What does she worry about? What keeps her up at night?
  • What’s the worst case scenario for her?

 

3. CREATE AN IRRESISTIBLE PITCH

A “pitch” is a fancy way of describing the email you write to ask someone if you can write a post for their blog. It can seem intimidating at first, but pitching yourself doesn’t have to be so scary. My favorite trick? Remember that we are all people with hopes and dreams and fears. Also, know that most people are good and want to help.

What to include in your pitch:

  • Your name + contact info
  • Your website
  • Links to previous posts you have written (don’t inundate them with full-length pieces)
  • A brief description of the topic
  • How the post will benefit their readers
  • The date when you will send the post

 

4. WHIP UP A 100 WORD BIO

If the piece is accepted, you’ll need to include a bio and head shot with your email. Your bio doesn’t have to be exactly 100 words, but that’s a good starting point.

What to include in your bio:

  • Your name
  • Where people can find you (a link to your website, twitter, facebook, etc.)
  • What you do + how you help people
  • Why they should care
  • Bonus: Interesting facts/impressive awards

Still feeling stuck? Here’s a script (inspired by Alexandra Franzen) to get you started:

[Your name] is the founder of [link to your website], where she’s a [your job title] for [who you help].

As a brilliant coach, she’s been feature on [blogs/websites/podcasts/other places that have recognized or shared your work].

You can grab your copy of her next [book / program / project / collaboration], [title of your new thing], on [date].

[Discover / learn / find out] how to [what you help people do] at [link to your website].

Congratulations!

Now you’ve learned how to connect authentically with like-minded bloggers, brainstorm blog posts ideas to draw in your dream client, create an irresistible pitch, and write a bio that describes who you are + what you do, in way that totally sounds like you.

With these simple tools you are ready to begin your guest posting adventure.

Pitch those ideas, write those posts, and start bringing new readers back to your site immediately.

With all the awesome work you do, you totally deserve it.

 

Ashley Wilhite is the founder of Your Super Awesome Life, where she helps women live a life they love while creating a freedom-based business. You can find Ashley on Twitter, Facebook and get your free copy of “The 5 Things That Hold You Back From Living the Life You Love.”

4 Ways to Practice the Yoga of Coaching

Ask these 3 questions to measure your true commitment

Laying on my bed staring up at the jungle sunrise, I pondered if I had “what it takes” to really make a life of coaching.

It happens every once in a while to me, to you, even to the “really big name” coaches. They’ve told me as much- that there are inevitably those days where we doubt our own commitment to our businesses, imagining that we’re not “taking it seriously” or putting in enough time or energy.

Those are the days when I become my own worst boss. Ever. The one that works me to the bone, burning the proverbial candle at both ends and demanding a never-ending stream of enlightened blogs and inspiring Facebook posts. All because somewhere, I saw that some other coach was up until 3am the other day because she was so buzzed on her new program, or that this other gal wakes up at 3am every day to write. Because she’s just so full of magic.

And suddenly, whatever I’m devoting to my business, my practice, my path… it’s not enough anymore.

 

Define “commitment”.

I know coaches who are walking all kinds of business paths. Mammas who write blog posts covertly once the kids have gone to bed. Ex-CEOs who have super slick websites, 4 assistants, and a superbly organized social media campaign. Renegade, motorcycle driving chicks who swear a lot and coaches who spend months at a time in Antarctica.

We come in all flavors. You knew that. Intellectually, you knew that.

But what’s so easy to forget is this: as a result, commitment comes in all flavors, too.

Personally? I want to spend as little time in front of my computer programming knick-knacks into my website as possible. I didn’t start on this journey so that I could run myself into the ground, turn into an SEO zombie, and obsess over every Tweet. I want to guide my clients on a transformational journey of coming home AND live in the jungle, teach and practice yoga, and do my own deep work.

Because truthfully? Committing to myself and my own growth journey IS committing to my clients. It IS committing to my business.

There are plenty of people out there who will tell you to create a strict regimen, treat your business like a 9-5, and discipline yourself into success. That this is how you define commitment: in hours and numbers and blog posts written.

But dear god, if that isn’t the reason we chose to strike out on our own in the first place, right?

 

Commiting to your business means committing to your life.

Your clients want a coach who walks the talk. We all know how easy it is to coach someone else to take care of herself, to give herself time to play, to relax, and to slowly slowly let go of the things in life that are causing tension or friction.

Yet we invite the very same tension into our lives on a daily basis when we doubt our own level of commitment just because we haven’t launched a major program in the last 3 months, or compare our own particular style of coaching to someone else’s, concluding that we don’t measure up.

Maybe that’s just not your flavor.

Maybe that’s just not your path.

Maybe that’s not how you commit.

Because I’ll tell you a secret: if you’re not wholeheartedly committed to it, whatever it is, it won’t work.

If you’re not all in? Might as well let it go. Because you will eventually come to resent your business, and you won’t be an effective coach for anyone.

Maybe for you, committing to your business means devoting fewer hours to computer work and more to your family so that you can come to your work happily. Or maybe you’ve been dying to travel. Or go on a meditation retreat. Or explore another aspect of your coaching practice.

Commit to be true to your own growth, and your business will grow accordingly. If that means you’re up until 3am excited about a project? Fantastic. If you sleep until 9 every day and only blog once a week? Beautiful. Learn to work in your own perfect rhythm.
 

Then take a good look at your current business model and ask yourself:

  • What parts of my business regularly cause me stress? Are they necessary parts of my coaching practice or am I forcing myself to do them because I think I should? And if they are necessary, how can I change them- or my approach- to be more in alignment with my commitment to my life?
  • How am I measuring my own level of commitment in my business? Is it by hours worked, clients served, projects launched? Am I comparing my practices to someone else’s business as a metric? How can I create some sort of measure to gauge whether or not I am “all in” with my practice?
  • What parts of my business am I really excited about? If I had endless hours in the day to devote to my projects, how would I happily spend them? And what does this suggest about how I commit to my business?

 

Committing to your business has nothing to do with how many hours you spend, how many programs you launch, or even how many clients you have.

It’s about being all in, in your own way.

 

Heather Day is a Transformational Coach, yoga teacher, and a guide for those who seek to live a Heart Centered Life. She helps people who have fallen out of balance to return to center with intuitive and practical tools for body, soul, and lifestyle. You’ll find her eating papaya, teaching yoga and coaching from her home in Costa Rica. Get her free meditation series to overcome fear and find your own Heart Center, and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.