Sup sup Motivators! Thank you for another week fantastic coaching conversations. As usual, you can catch up on all the action in just 15 minutes right here!

  • Joy Victoria asked for advice on gathering video testimonials from clients.

    • Omar Atlas: General points to consider in before you ask:
      - Only ask people who you want to hear from (i.e. clients that are kicking ass). Make them feel that are part of an exclusive and special club!
      - Frame asking for a testimonial as an invitation for them to “show off”, get validation from, and inspire their community
      - The sooner you ask people for testimonials, the better (when they are still excited but before they start struggling)
      - Give them specific, step by step instructions on how to give you a video testimonial

      Hey, (name) we love your enthusiasm and the energy you've brought to (name of the community)! [Make them feel special]
      We want to invite you to share your experience so far. You would be featured on our sign-up page to show future (group identity label) what the experience is like. [Make them feel special by giving them an exclusive invitation. Framing your ask as an invitation also gives them the opportunity to say no. Finally, we give them a reason as to WHY we are asking them for a testimonial]
      This would be in the form of a 1 to 2 minute video that you could record on your phone or webcam. [Tell them exactly what you want]
      All you’d need to do is give a super brief introduction (name and where you’re from) and answer 3 questions… [Then tell them how to do what you want]
      #1: “How has this been different than other things you've done?”
      #2: “What have you done well?”
      #3: “What have you learned?”
      If you want to participate but are unsure about how to actually make a video, just let me know and I'll walk you through it step by step! [Offer for more support in making a testimonial]
      Thanks again for the amazing work you've put into this project and helping us create an amazing community dedicated to helping people finally change their health habits. We couldn't do this without you! [Priming them to say what you want them to say to your leads, make them feel special again]

    • Michele Burmaster:
      1. What was happening in your life when you found (service)?

      2. What did you expect (service) to be like?
      3. What was (service) actually like?
      4. What do you feel you got from (service)?

    • Josh Hillis:
      1) What was it like before?
      2) What did you learn/do well/what changed?
      3) What’s it like now?

  • Benjamin Pickard asked for advice on asking better open-ended questions

    • Amy Dix: When I was trained in coaching I was encouraged to use a mix of open ended questions and reflections. I really like incorporating reflections because 1. They feel like I'm listening 2. They can confirm I'm on the right track of interpreting or correct me and 3. Hearing their own words said back to them can be really powerful. Also mixing that in makes the conversation feel less like an interrogation. My fave open ended question is probably "tell me more about that" I don't have a template but I've used techniques like "explore offer explore" that if unfamiliar I'd be happy to share some time. My kids need dinner so I'm off for now! Great question!

    • Amy Dix: Another fave: tell me what that looks like. Every conversation is so different that I don't have a template but over time you find words that feel like your own.

    • Josh Hillis: One if my favorites is "what did you notice this week?"
      (In your workouts, in your food journal, eating slowly, ect.

  • Kerry McCarvill shared a document with some ideas on asking open-ended questions.

  • Roland Fisher started a discussion on ethical marketing.

    • Sandi Danilowitz: I Would say disagree; people behaviour is to resist being told what to do, it's like the sleeping 5 year old within. Also, they're not stupid and will figure out they are being sold the bill of goods, and not getting what they want. Motivational interviewing seems to be an effective tool in finding out what they want, and what their goals are, and then coming up with a workable plan together. I think a good coach is someone who does not deceive, but is honest about the game plan. Thats my thinking!

    • Omar Atlas: I read it as another way of saying "meet them where they are at"

    • Omar Atlas: But this is a great thread cause I think it's an issue everyone here has struggled with or is struggling with.

      How to sell reasonableness.

    • Stevo: Just a point de art, the quote is, "selling people what they want; giving them what they need."

    • Yusuf Clack: It's important to be able to interact with their fantasies and nightmares. "Every marketing decision is an ethical dilemma." But this can be done without deception. We're educators and leaders. Not just because we're great people but that's just sustainable business practice. You can get people excited about a vision and lead them without lying to them. I suspect we all communicate a version of: "it won't be easy but it will be worth it"

  • Josh Hillis started a discussion on balancing client autonomy with a concern for their safety.

    • Jen Willett: could you write a 'quiz' and help people come to that realization themselves? Like, "if you score ___ out of ___ points...your trainer miiiiight be a douchebag."

    • Annie Brees: This reminds me of a situation we had in our group. Georgie and Steven gave some great advice sharing something like this, "I'm super excited that you are so stoked and experiencing success with your trainer! That's awesome! Be sure to keep in mind -insert red flag advice here- and if you need help with anything feel free to reach out to me!"

  • Lauren Koski asked for advice on fostering client re-engagement with a group.

    • Omar Atlas: After two or three times of no response, I give them space.

      I still send them a weekly update of the awesome shit happening in the group as a non-threatening way of reminding them that they can come back anytime.
      This thread also has some good advice:

    • Devan Nielsen: I'd keep them on the list until they ask to be removed, like Omar said a weekly update of awesome shit happening is a perfect thing to do. We often don't know the reason for the silence, it could be that they need the motivation from literally anyone to get back out into the world, and sometimes that could just be an email. Other times it could annoy the hell out of them and they can tell you that.

    • Seth Munsey: After a few emails with no response, I will send an email that pretty much says;

      Hi ________!
      Thank you for taking the time to visit with us at Iron Republic. It was such a pleasure meeting you (working with you/helping you on your journey/...whatever you feel like putting here)I am truly sorry that we were not the right fit for you at this time. I wish you the very best with your fitness endeavors, and I hope you are able to find a program that meets your needs. :-)Please know that I am glad to be an ongoing resource for you – I will happily answer any questions you have about your fitness program. Also, my newsletter and blog will be a great way to get current and relevant exercise and nutrition tips, as well as workout programs. Good luck ________. I hope our paths cross again soon…

      9/10 times they respond. Fortunately I have never gotten a negative response back from this email. They usually thank me for keeping in contact with them, that life has just been pretty crazy, that they love what we do and they definitely want to come back in when able, etc... Many times, I get a response in the ballpark of, "Don't count me out! I'm planning on coming back in this week. Just had a crazy couple of weeks."

      Then I just restart a dialogue with them. People are busy and I am not even in their top 20 list of priorities. So they don't respond until they think they are about to miss out for good.

  • Sean Flanagan asked for advice on addressing clients’ perception of individualization in group program.

    • Stevo: Sean Flanagan, I think you're right on to tweak in the expectations on the marketing copy. And some people are just special snowflakes. The metric I'm more interested in than "perception of complaints" is total engagement ((posts + comments + likes)/users), churn, and the number of people who would be "very disappointed if you stopped offering the service." If those are going up AND your total workload is going down ("we're getting dramatically fewer questions for the monthly Q+A phone calls we do"), then I wouldn't worry at all about a few people complaining. In fact, I'd tell them that "we have an awesome individualization service available for X price point."

      Oh! And good to hear your workload dropped :)

    • Jessica Owens Mauk: I'm always confused when people ask about habit based coaching, but seem to want zero autonomy. I'm not "coaching" you if I'm making every single decision for you.

    • Stevo: Jessica Owens Mauk it's also why I'm wary of selling food plans or programs. I think there's a way to do it while supporting autonomy and long-term growth, I just haven't figured it out yet :/

    • Georgie Fear: I'd ask why this client chose this program but not another. They've got some shred of wanting autonomy because they came to you (assuming your marketing text communicated the no meal plan bit). Fish for it and follow it.

  • Annie Brees asked for advice on increasing participation in her group.

    • Samantha Attard: Two things come to mind: first - I wonder if the platform is difficult for them to use. Perhaps they would do better, for example, if they simply emailed in their reflections to another group member or shared in a different way. Second -- LESS questions and/or rephrase. potentially -- 1 of the questions is a little sticky or people don't know how to answer, so they are skipping all of them. OR, simply having more than 1 or 2 questions seems like too big of a barrier...while if there was only 1 they would be fine to answer. Have you found that participants selectively are answering some of the questions? Could there be 1 or 2 questions that are hanging people up so they don't respond?

    • Nishanth Appari: Hola Annie!

      I'm new to the group, but I'm quickly getting a hang of the group though. I have already noticed a couple of coaches post about how they are having their clients check in daily, in their respective groups.

      Is it just me or does that feel a little cumbersome for others as well? If it were me in that situation, I'd probably not want to checking in everyday? Alternate days, maybe?

      I'm sure, there's some solid reason behind this, but I can't help but feel that it's a lot of work for beginners. Could someone please enlighten me?

      Also, I'm sure you must have thought of this, but I'm just putting it out there. Have you considered dividing the clients into 2 or 3 groups, based on their dominant interests.

      For example, an entrepreneur and then someone who wants to climb the corporate ladder and then stay at home moms, maybe?

      If the group is large enough, you could have them share what they learnt about on their journey as an entrepreneur and the other entrepreneurs could join the conversation about whatever problems they are facing?

      I'm eager to know what others have to share too. :)

    • Kara Beutel: We see this too actually, although it tends to happen a bit later. We've not yet figured out what is underlying the issue. I think "burn out" on the same questions is a part of it, but in talking with Georgie about it this week we started thinking that some of the habits themselves might not be as conducive to conversation as others. For us doing all nutrition habits, we have a few that are behavior based (how often to eat, tuning in to body cues, etc), and those tend to get some good interaction. But then we have a bunch of meal-content habits in a row. It appears people get sick of reflecting on the amount of protein in their meals each day, lol. It just doesn't seem as conducive to chatter and support as the more abstract habits. So we decided to play around with the order of our habits to put some behavior/abstract ones in between the more "boring" ones so that interaction hopefully stays up. Not sure what habits you all use, but maybe see if a decrease in interaction has to do with any habit(s) in particular?

    • Stevo: At Habitry, Co. we call this typical drop in engagement at week 3 "the habit hangover."

      What's happening is the novelty is wearing off, but the habits of checking in haven't formed yet. It usually lasts from week 3-6. The lessons we've learned is more autonomy support, novelty, and reinvestment.

      1) one of the easiest ways to insure that people do something is to remind them that it's optional. That counterintuitive bit of psychology is at the heart of autonomy support. So tell them, "hey guys! We think reflection is the secret sauce, but it's totes optional to do it here or skip a day or two if it feels like work!" Don't make it an assignment but keep it daily!

      2) more off-topic threads. Post more baby animals, jokes, and content about the community itself. You need to create more novelty and it's totally fine if it's way off topic. To Nishanth Appari's point, that would be a great way to build connections if you had 2-300 people and only pockets of interaction. But since you have 1/10 that number and you're using a medium with only a single thread (Facebook groups) I'd not recommend it in this particular case. Instead, in double down on the threads you have.

      3) let them broaden their scope on the reflection. "Hey ladies, just so you know you, if other stuff is on your mind you can reflect on it in the daily 2Qs if it's bothering you."

      4) jump in with them. Do the next habit with them. Model the engagement you want and look at things from fresh eyes. This always reinvigorated my groups. It also lets them see how YOURE reinvesting in the group.

      5) let them pick the next habit. Reach out to your 2-3 most engaged members and present them with options. Let them feel reinvested in yeh process from the top down.

      6) to Kara Beutel's point: absolutely. Look at the order. Letting them have a say will really help this.

      7) if you're bored, they were bored a week ago. Do things YOU think are fun. Do the things YOU want to do and talk about the things you wanna talk about and I bet they'll have fun too because they were drawn to you for a reason. Just be sure to flesh it out with lots of open-ended questions to see how they are liking it.

    • Georgie Fear: I find it helps to reinforce HEAVILY in the first two weeks when they do support each other and interact. "I love how you are helping out your teammate, Michelle!" etc.

      Also, when someone DOES pop in after an absence, whether its a few days or longer, we always give a warm "totally okay!" reception, "just hop back in the river, we're glad you're here! Don't worry about catching up on the old stuff, how was today?"

    • Bart Groninger: Another stray thought: when the challenge ends sit down with participants. Winners, losers, bailers and completers. Have a post mortem discussion, ask what worked and what didn't, ask how your experimental stuff effected the individual/group? From this build a list of best practices (as well as behaviors to avoid). Use the the answers and lists to 1 modify your program and 2 make the "best practices" part of your introduction for your next challenge, make a hard copy and hand it out.

    • Amy Dix: Yo ladies, Steven's suggestions seem on target with my experiences participating in groups: I haven't been an admin on an online coaching group yet. The group that I can no longer imagine leaving feels like a community now. We know little bits of each other's lives and feel personally invested in people's success. A lot of topics are somewhat tangential to the main focus but sometimes those help to bond everyone and make the group feel like a refuge. I'm betting throwing in some other threads other than the tasks will help. I like the idea of not making check in mandatory on a daily basis. There are days when people can't be glued to Facebook.

    • Stevo: Ashley Palmer, I've done very similar things for my groups!!. The keys are to make the challenges related to consistency and to incentivize with schwag, not cash. I cannot stress that enough! NO CASH. Extrinsic motivation destroys intrinsic motivation (Deci, 1970-now, roughly 10,000 studies). Schwag acts as a status, an identity motivation rather than an external motivation which has a much higher self-determined motivational quality. I also love the way that Dustin Schlichting and Mike Hawes do their challenges, which is every gets to set their OWN TARGET. That's right, everyone gets to set their own consistency challenge.

      TBH, I think these challenges go over much better after 7-8 weeks because up until then, the community hasn't gelled enough for schwag to mean much. But after that, you're golden!

      Oh, and I also suggest a two-layered approach where in addition to having a personal consistency goal, you also set a "consistency standard." This would be something that the coach deems a standard like, showing up 80% of the time. And I made these SMALLER PRIZES so people were really striving for a personal reach goal.

      In addition Ashley raises a very important point that I cite in the book: losers who get feedback from a coach are more likely to persist than winners who get no feedback. SO YOU HAVE TO COUPLE CHALLENGES WITH A METRIC FUCKTON OF PERSONAL SPECIFIC POSITIVE FEEDBACK!!!!!!

      You'll not the all caps. That's because it's important. Also, I'm not sober.

  • Benjamin Pickard asked for advice on helping a client figure out her goals.

    • Annie Brees: Correct me if I'm wrong but what I'm hearing is that she is committed but craves variety and if variety keeps her motivated to workout, I'd stick with that! Additionally, what about substitute variations for the same movement - so she feels like it's a new exercise but it's still the same movement. (I.e front squats for xx weeks then switching to kb single or double rack squat)? She should still be able to see improvement in her primary movement.

    • Stevo: But also agree with Annie Brees. What's broken? She sounds happy. She's getting results. Also, Benjamin Pickard you say "if she wants things to improve." Does she want that? What things? Improved how?

      I had this talk with an 80yo woman when I was a young trainer. "If we're not here to work on something, I don't feel right taking your money." And she said, "Stevo. I'm paying you to show up, make sure I show up, and keep me from doing stupid shit.”

      Well. Ok then. Long story short, I got her into a community of people like her and we were all happy, but I never would have known what problem I was helping her with if I hadn't ask and had just kept assuming she wanted to "improve."

    • Stevo: Crap, missed that front squat thing. Thanks Sean Flanagan. Sorry Benjamin Pickard! In that case do Daniel John's even easier strength programming with front squats and give her a bunch of eye wash (what Dan calls all the bullshit other crap like "finishers" and "accessory work" that makes people feel like they did something).

      I've worked with clients for years and told them every single day, "all the stuff that matters is in the first 20min. The stuff we do the rest of the time is bullshit. It's not doing anything except make you sweat and breath heavy." And for years, every day, they say "that stuff at the end is really working!" And I face palm. I feel like a magician telling, "THIS IS A TRICK. I AM TRICKING YOU." and the audience keeps saying, "you have magical powers!"

    • Jessica Owens Mauk: What I'm hearing is she wants to see strength gains, but she also wants those lung busting, body destroying, lay on the floor in a puddle of sweat workouts also. (Is she a former Crossfitter?)

      I like Stevo's suggestion. Put her on a minimalist strength program and then give her the variety and perceived intensity she craves with short "fat blasting" metcons at the end.