- Tip 1 – Attract the right clients with the right expectations
- Tip 2 – Don’t rely on just one measuring tape
- Tip 3 – Don’t go crazy on holiday survival kits
Are you taking on clients for the holidays?
As a coach, you have most likely used the holidays as an entry or onboarding point for new clients. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, in fact it is great to have a very tangible goal to work toward, such as a family-orientated holiday! I have and will continue to welcome clients into a shorter-term 6 to 8-week program leading into the holidays. It is a time of increased motivation and willingness to implement and practice the nutritional strategies, so I like to take advantage of it.
With all that said, there are some important flags to look out for in these clients, to ensure they will benefit from the program. More importantly, there are certain considerations you should aim to incorporate to your coaching service, to enable sustainable and safe progression through your program, by each and every one of your clients.
Tip 1 – Attract the right clients with the right expectations
Not sure what I mean? That’s OK, let’s look at some examples of NOT-SO beneficial program tag lines, all of which I have seen over the past few years:
- “Get shredded for the Christmas Swim “
- “Drop weight, so you can indulge over the holidays”
- “Get shredded to show the family a new you”
Hopefully you are appalled at these, and the fact that they were actually real taglines used. However, on the off chance that you’re not, let’s get nit-picky and break down why they are misleading, toxic and potentially dangerous taglines.
- “Get shredded for the Christmas Swim “ – This tag-line places far too much emphasis on the Christmas swim as an event that defines the entire holiday period. If you go into the holidays with anxiety about how you’ll look on the beach with your top off, or in a swimsuit, it can put a damper on the whole holiday period, if you didn’t get to where you wanted in your body composition goals.
- “Drop weight, so you can indulge over the holidays” – Downright dangerous and will attract clients that currently have or have had disordered eating behaviors or full blown eating disorders. A client that wants to work on their nutrition for this reason (so that they can enjoy periods of overindulging) is an immediate red flag for you as a coach. This person doesn’t need a nutritionist, they need a clinical health professional or mental health practitioner. Using a tagline like this will attract those types of individuals.
- “Get shredded to show the family a new you” – Basically saying that any progressions you have made in the professional, self-enlightenment, emotional or other spaces is completely worthless if you don’t return home skinnier than you were last year. Not going to lie, this was a goal for me for several years as a heavier youngster. Once again, there is nothing wrong with wanting to come home looking good and maybe having achieved healthy weight loss. However, it should not be your defining factor. Placing this much self-worth on a weight drop will only lead to the adoption of damaging beliefs and behaviors in your pursuit of said goal.
How should I attract new clients?
Now on the flip-side, let’s look at some that can be highly impactful to your clients physical and emotional health, but also attractive to new prospective clients.
- “Join my fat loss programme, and achieve consistent, informed results”
- “The New Year is coming, but why wait? Let’s get started today!”
- “Want to enjoy the holidays and the food you love without guilt? Join my program and let’s build some healthy habits”
Nothing wrong with playing on people’s emotions to attract them to your program, that is the essence of advertising and marketing. However, when this becomes highly toxic, shameful and misleading, it is a big NO-NO.
Tip 2 – Help your clients identify multiple progress markers
If you read my last article, you’ll remember this. In my coaching and speaking, I try my best and translate the idea that a balanced, nutritious diet will have so many more benefits than the achievement of weight loss, muscle gain or whatever goal your client has.
Setting up a 6- or 8-week program means that you are against the clock. No matter the client you bring on board, there will be specific expectations, and that is perfectly perfect. However, in the case that the scales don’t go down (or up) or the jeans still don’t fit, you will need to show your client that the past few weeks have not all been in vain (Unless of course, they haven’t improved on anything).
Ask them to reflect on these additional factors:
- Energy levels
- Ease when waking up
- Energy when exercising
- Digestive symptoms (not that you should consult them on this, but if someone is experiencing less, it may be because of an improved diet)
- Sleep (probably not due in great part to nutrition, but may be positively impacted by a consistent routine)
- Dietary Momentum – This is an X-factor that I like to give my clients. It sounds quite wishy-washy, but it is simply the positive feeling you get when you have strung a couple of days, weeks or months together of a healthy, balanced routine. You feel momentum, so ride it.
Tip 3 – Don’t go overboard on the “Holiday Survival Kits”
As we inch closer to the holiday season, your clients’ focus will most likely be shifted toward “surviving” it, with as little ‘back-tracking’ as possible. Of course, by ‘back-tracking’, I simply mean sliding back in their weight loss goals, adding a few pounds, not exercising as often, indulging a little bit too much.
As a coach, you want to dissolve this belief structure. It can foster an always-activated or overly anxious disposition throughout the holiday season, which will only lead to early burnout and/or diet fatigue. This is a time when you want your client to be switched off, relaxed and focusing on the many other pleasures life has to offer. However, that doesn’t mean you have to throw caution to the wind and completely let go.
Instead, try and reiterate the importance of healthy habits. These are habits that can help keep your client on track with their current goals, and avoid ‘falling off the wagon’ during the holidays, after which point they will return to you with another massive mountain to climb once again. All of these habits should have the following key ingredients in common:
- Easy to practice
- Comfortable and almost enjoyable
- Time efficient
In my coaching, here are some of the go-to habits I like to work on and have my clients develop as we approach the holidays:
- Fill up the plate with protein and vegetables/fruit (satiety)
- Try to opt for the brown carbohydrate (satiety, complex carbohydrates)
- Chew each bite of food at least 15 – 20 times (satiety and digestion)
- Use a small plate (satiety and portion control)
- Ask yourself if you are truly hungry before eating and snacking
- For every drink, add a glass of water
- Get out for a walk after eating large meals
As I mentioned before, using the holidays as a highly specific and attractive focus for onboarding new clients is great! There just needs to be a few additional considerations to ensure it is not a period that fuels unrealistic expectations or enables unhealthy dietary behaviours.
I hope this helps, and as always, thank you for being a part of our coaching tribe!