I asked my awesome Tribe of Therapists and Coaches what advice they would give to someone just starting out in the industry. So after collaborating (and adding my own take on parts) here is what we came up with as a team. Thank you so much to everyone who commented*. You ROCK!
And so, if you are a new Coach or Therapist (or are looking at becoming one) here are a few bits of advice that hopefully will help you on your journey….
1. Listen to your clients. I mean TRULY listen. Don't just 'hear' them. Listen to what they may not actually be saying with words but want you to understand.
2. Be sure to enjoy what you do. If you enjoy what you do you will never work a day in your life.
3. Continue being curious. Never stop learning. Always be a white belt. You do not know enough. Ever.
4. Don't assume that having a large number of skills, treatments and qualifications will bring you more clients. Sometimes the opposite is true. Find YOUR thing and do it well. Specialise in that. Become the best in that field. Don't just have a bunch of skills that you're half good at.
5. Remember that what you love and have a personal interest in will change over the years. This is ok. Follow your heart.
6. Meet all your clients with curiosity, never judgement. EVER!
7. Remember that your clients know themselves better than you or anyone else ever can. Help them to believe that too and facilitate their self learning.
8. Don't be afraid to admit you don't know. If a client has a condition you've never heard of, ask them about it. Ask what it is like for THEM. Ask how it affects THEM. Once again, your client knows best. They will be grateful that you want to understand their side.
9. Be true to yourself. Know what is right for you and what isn't. There is nothing wrong with changing your mind. Follow your gut.
10. Don’t listen to anyone that doesn’t have their own SUCCESSFUL business. Everyone is an 'expert'. Trust in those that live it every day.
11. Remember that there are no quick fixes or short cuts to gaining experience. Serve your time. Build your knowledge through experience.
12. Don't stress about lack of clients to begin with. Have patience. They will come. Trust the process.
13. Treat every client like they're the first person you've seen that day. Even if you've seen 10 other clients. Each person deserves to be treated with your FULL attention and enthusiasm. If you can't manage this then you need to see less clients per day. Quality matters more than quantity.
14. Keep things simple. Simple works. We all have a tendency to believe that complicated is better. It's not.
15. Understand your WHY. Why you do what you do? What drives you to want to help people feel/ move better? Knowing your why will help when times get tough and you doubt your choices.
16. Spend money on the best education you can afford. Spend time researching that education. Make sure the education will give you tools for you to use in the real world, not just a piece of paper.
17. Challenge everything. Question everything. Then question and challenge again. Never stop. And if something doesn't feel right don't just accept it because someone told you. Question it. Challenge it. And research what you don’t know. Take everything in with a grain of salt. There is as much good advice as there is bad, but take it all in and learn from it.
18. Be your authentic self. And never trade your authenticity for approval. Be YOU. After all, you are what makes what you do original. We can all do the same treatments or therapies yet it is what YOU bring to your work as an individual that is most important.
19. Remember that YOU are the thing that makes your business work. No-one else is doing what you're doing, because no one else is you. Don't be put off by the competition - there is none! Learn to sell what YOU have, not what you think people want.
20. Mistakes are inevitable. You will make them. Embrace them. The more mistakes you make the more you learn, the more you grow. Just make sure you learn from them. Adapt.
21. Listen to your elders. There's nothing like experience. But remember to absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. And add what is specifically your own.
22. Give equal attention to your personal development as well as your skills development. This really is non-negotiable. Or at least it should be. Sometimes even coaches need coaching and therapists need therapy.
23. Unsure of where to start? Start by writing a list of all the things you need to do to help you reach your goal. Then for each item make another list of steps to get there. If each step still seems to big, then break it down again. And again…until you're finally at a level you can handle. Then do the first thing on one of the lists.
24. Take care of yourself. Learn to say no. As a new therapist/ Coach you think you have to take EVERYTHING that comes your way. You don't. Set and decide your working hours as well as you-time in the very beginning. We give so much of our energy, emotion and time to our clients which needs refuelling. You will get busy and you will earn money but make sure that YOU are in control of your business and not the other way around. Take care not to burn the candle at both ends.
25. Don't compare your Day 1 to somebody else's Day 100. It’s easy to get lost comparing ourselves to those that have been in the business a lot longer than we have. Never compare yourself to anyone. YOU are unique regardless of how long you have been in the business.
26. Treat everyone you meet like they could completely change your life. You never know who you are talking to. They could just be the gatekeeper to your destiny.
*Tanja Foy - Lisa Rowley - Jason Croucher - Samantha Dean - Rory French - Louise Huntley - Huw Buckley - Louise Clancy - Tracy Swindell - Rachel France - Julie Makarewicz - Sharyn Doris Oldman - Laura Inglis - Kirstie Wilton - Sarah Melton-Whitelam - Stevie Barr - Senae Mitchell - Martin Meredith - Jessica Cajka - Mairi Taylor - Nick Lngrd - Melanie Jones - Helen Vickers - Debbie Ross - Sally Sisson - Fiona Higgs - Debbie Ross - Caroline Toshack - Susie Cubitt Cooper - Jeni Broughton