Practice Better spoke with Hayley Stathis, a Nutritionist, Naturopath & Health Coach who focuses on running an online group coaching program for women who need to lose weight. She combines personalized nutrition plans (via Metabolic Balance) with coaching around Habit Change, Eating Psychology, and Emotional Wellbeing.
Hayley highlighted for us the successes she’s had in building her own practice using a hybrid one-on-one and group coaching model, and the transition she made to the group format. She also coaches and mentors other nutrition & wellness professionals who want to create their own online programs.
You use a hybrid model in your coaching business, working with clients both one-on-one and in groups. What benefits have you seen as a result of adopting this model?
Years ago I had a business coach tell me to run ‘hybrid’ programs as these were the ticket to charging premium prices, still offering amazing transformation to clients and being able to scale your business. The hybrid model is basically a combination of some one-one-one sessions, an online curriculum, and group coaching.
I find it to be the most satisfying way to work as I know my clients are still getting a lot of support, accountability, and guidance, yet I’m not burned out by seeing them all one-on-one. I now have a much better work/life balance myself and more time for pilates!
When I’m mentoring other practitioners, they often come to me already burned out from a lot of one-on-one clinic work and they want to create an online course or program. Or they’ve created a lot of content but it didn’t sell or they got stuck. I teach them to set it up to be delivered as a high-end group coaching program, delivered as a hybrid of one-on-one and group sessions and they’re able to make a lot more money seeing fewer clients.
Some practitioners are hesitant about using the group coaching model because they still want to provide personalized support to their clients. What strategies do you use to maintain a high level of support to your clients while using the group coaching model?
My clients actually get MORE of me in a group program – they get to see and hear me in the video lessons, check in with me weekly for high-level support & accountability on the group coaching calls and they can interact with me and my team in our private Facebook group.
I made sure that I could still offer personalized advice and prescriptions by offering two one-on-one sessions at the start of their program, along with blood tests, so that their program was still tailored. When I mentor other practitioners I explain that they can always add in more one-on-one sessions to their package if that’s what their ideal client needs.
The other amazing thing about group coaching is the community that is created becomes a source of support for your clients. My weight loss clients help each other with recipes, pep-talks, accountability, and will often answer questions about the program quicker than I can! I love it when I’m a few minutes late to a Zoom call and I find most of the group are already there chatting amongst themselves – it’s powerful stuff!
What Practice Better features have helped you adopt this hybrid model and streamline your practice?
I’m not sure I would enjoy the hybrid model as much if I didn’t have Practice Better! It enables me to streamline and automate so many of my processes. I use it for:
- Automated questionnaires and intake forms for my Discovery Calls and Intake Consults.
- Appointment reminders and online bookings.
- Hosting my online curriculum as a program using Practice Better and it’s drip-fed to clients depending on where they are in their program.
- We run our group calls through the Telehealth function (and clients can register for these so I know who is coming) and we use the group chat function too.
- I can upload their nutrition plans and test results.
- Create protocols and prescriptions.
- Take clinical notes.
- I take payments and have automated payment plans managed in Practice Better.
- I am able to easily work with my assistant as she has her own login.
- Plus, my clients love the Client Portal App so that everything is easy to access on their smartphones.
I’m sure I’ve missed something, but it’s been amazing using Practice Better!
Many practitioners get tripped up on the marketing aspect of their businesses, but this is something you really excel at! Why do you love marketing and how did you build this skill?
I’m lucky that my first degree was in Communications and I worked for 8 years in various Marketing, PR and Events agencies & companies before going back to study Nutrition & Naturopathy. I’ve since done a LOT of online business courses and am currently working with my own amazing business coach. With marketing, there is always something to learn!
For me, marketing is just a natural extension of the work we do helping people to be healthier – it’s just sharing what we know and then inviting them to come work with us. I just try to add value to people’s lives and also don’t forget to make it easy for them to find out how to work with me if they decide to. You have to remember to ask for the dance!
Have you found that there are any key differences in marketing a group coaching program versus a one-on-one program?
The only difference is that you can sign up for a lot more clients at once with a group program! One thing I learned when marketing/selling my group program was not to undervalue it because it was a group rather than one-on-one. Often as practitioners, we have this perception that we can only offer our best if we see clients one at a time – but that just isn’t true. There is so much to be said for group programs! As soon as I realized how much MORE value my clients got in a group, the easier it was to sign clients up.
Another tip would be to not really focus on it being a ‘group’ program in your marketing. Lead with the result that your program delivers, and then when you talk about the group elements tell them WHY you’ve designed it this way. For example, “we have weekly group coaching sessions as this helps you the most with accountability and you also have the wonderful support of like-minded people going through the program with you”.
What advice would you give to other practitioners who are new to marketing their businesses? Are there one or two small and easy action steps they can take right now?
The best piece of advice I could give would be to figure out your niche. That is, who is your ideal client, what’s his or her BIG problem and how does your program or service solve that for them. You’ve probably heard the saying, “If you market to everyone, you market to no one” and this is even more important if you are thinking of creating an online program – it’s noisy online and so you need to be very clear in your marketing who the program is for and what problem you are solving for them. Once you are crystal clear on those things, marketing becomes not only easier but MUCH more effective.
The second piece of advice I have would be to create a package or program that helps your client solve his or her problem. Even if you have your ideal client figured out, it’s far more effective to market a program rather than trying to sell your services session by session. When I mentor other practitioners, I coach them to create what I call their “Marketable Method” which is the system or method they become known for. Once you’re known as the expert at solving a particular problem for a particular type of person, you’ll attract clients like bees to (organic) honey!
The third tip I have would be whatever marketing you do, be consistent. Create a basic plan of how you are going to communicate with potential clients and then stick to it for a whole year!
Do you have anything coming up that you’d like to share with the PB community? Where can our community go to learn more about you?
I have a free Facebook group for Nutrition & Wellness Practitioners that you can join, it’s called Prosperous Practitioner. It’s packed full of great marketing & online business advice, regular free training, and content.
Thank you so much, Hayley!
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