You’ve finished your study. You’ve set up your business. You’ve decided to take the plunge and turn your passion for health into your profession. Now you’ve secured your first client. This is what you’ve been working towards. This is what you’ve dreamt of for so long. Here are 9 simple, yet effective tips to prepare you for your first client as a Primal Health Coach.

1. Make sure you’re covered

Before you can delve into your health coaching, there are some administration matters that you should deal with first. One of the first matters should be your legal considerations. This will vary depending on where you live, but will include publishing a written disclaimer, organizing business insurance, and using personalized client agreements. Getting these legal matters sorted out early is a must. Once your client has confirmed their first session with you, provide them with their coaching contract and a new client in-take questionnaire.

2. Plan and rehearse

To prepare for the session itself, put together a run-sheet for your first meeting. However, use the run sheet as a guide only, as you may find some aspects of the session may require more or less time than you had planned.

Practice! Practice! Practice! Why not set up a mock session with friends or family and use their feedback to tweak your run sheet? You never know, you may secure another client before your first session. Don’t forget to review your Primal Health Coach resources, including the Health Coach Blog. Make sure you are up to speed. Being organized and well rehearsed will help keep your focus if you are feeling a little excited or even nervous before or during your first client session.

3. Make a good first impression

Making a good first impression is one of the most important aspects of your first meeting as it sets the tone for the rest of your coach/client relationship. It is the little things that matter. Be polite, turn your phone off and ultimately make your client feel like they are the most important person in that moment. If you are meeting in person, chose an appropriate location and avoid noisy or crowded areas. Provide enough water for yourself and your client as you or they may need a sip. If the meeting is over the phone or Skype use earphones to block out any distractions and make sure your phone or computer is fully charged. Be genuine and share a little bit about yourself, as this will make you more relatable to your client.

4. Be respectful

Letting go of conventional wisdom is a daunting and challenging concept for many people to grasp, despite their desire to change. As a freshly hatched health coach, you are oozing with passion and enthusiasm, and you are ready to share your knowledge and wisdom with your client. However, be careful not to push your advice too strongly onto your client if you sense any resistance. Your client has made their first step towards a healthier way of life by booking a session with you. Put more emphasis on your client’s positive behaviors and avoid being judgmental about their weaknesses. For example, your client has eliminated refined sugars from their diet, this is a huge achievement, but they may still be consuming grains in the form of bread or pasta. In this scenario, you can reinforce the positives (the complete elimination of refined sugars) and gently remind them in a manner that does not exert superiority, about the negative impact grains can have on your health. As a Primal Health Coach, you are providing your client with information that goes against most of the commonly held misconceptions on health, and can be difficult to accept the first time you hear them. Being respectful is key to building a strong Coach/Client relationship.

5. Keep to time

Whether your client is coming to you, you are visiting them, or you are meeting over Skype or a phone call, it is essential that you are punctual. Tardiness will reflect badly on you and your business, and it will also make your client feel uneasy and unsettled before their session has started. To ensure punctuality, be ready for your session 15 minutes beforehand. This will guarantee that you won’t be running late and you can use your extra time to get into the right mind set for your client.

It is also important to gauge the pace of your session based on how your client is feeling. You may sense that your client needs a little more time to talk, or to think. Don’t push them, this is their time, don’t be in a rush.

This is new to you and it is new to your client, and certain aspects of your session may take more or less time than you had anticipated. When planning your first session allow extra time. It is definitely better to have time up your sleeve than rushing through your session or running over time, which can make your client feel pressured and less focused. You can always fill the extra time (if you have any) getting to know your client.

6. Keep calm if things don’t go as planned

Preparation is essential, but not everything will always go to plan. Maybe you are running overtime. Maybe your computer won’t start. Maybe you dropped your paperwork in a puddle on your way to see a client. If the session is not running as smoothly as you would like, remain calm and focus on what your coaching objectives were for the session. Keep your client talking. Ask about their health goals, their family or what their hobbies are. Your client has come to you as they want to regain control of their health and their life, and they are unlikely to realize that the session wasn’t run as you had initially planned.

7. Stay focused on your client

Yes, this is your first ever client and yes this is a life changing event for you, but remember this is your client’s first step towards their own primal health journey, and they are likely to feel nervous and uneasy. It is up to you to make sure they feel comfortable enough to open up about personal, and at times, sensitive issues. Remember to stay focused on your client and try not to get swept up in your own emotions and feelings about taking your first session as a health coach. You have time to reflect on your own journey later.

8. Believe in yourself

As health coaches we love to help people. Now it’s your chance to help others live a happier, healthier life. All you have to do is believe in yourself.  Squash any negative energy you may have by focusing on your strengths. Have confidence in yourself as a health coach and in the Primal Health Coach program. Remember to stay confident as your client will feed off of your positive energy and this will make for a productive session. Try to stay focused and remember that you are ready for this. Stay calm, there’s no need to rush. This is the start of your new career as a Primal Health Coach. Enjoy it!

9. Reflection

You have successfully run your first session as a Health Coach; this is a huge achievement. Did you run to time? Were you able to connect with your client? How was the structure of the session? Did your client leave the session feeling motivated and energized? There are so many aspects of this first session that you can analyze and it is important to take time to reflect on what your strengths were throughout the session as well as the areas that you can improve on next time.

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