There were no instructor sessions last week due to the 4th of July holiday. We made up for it this week with two sessions — Scope of Practice with Chris Kresser and Introduction to Business Development with Keith Rhys. In addition to that, there was a Teacher Assistant session, the weekly Mentor Coach session, as well as our weekly peer-partner practice session, which we schedule on our own time. We read chapter three of the Coaching Psychology Manual and four chapters from The Paleo Cure. The video content was a little on the light side compared to weeks past, maybe because we were assigned so much reading. All in all a busy full week.
On the Functional Health side of things, we covered the importance of eating head to tail, how to eat for gut health, and how to reintroduce borderline foods after completing Chris Kresser’s 30-day paleo reset. We were given quite a few handouts which I can see being useful once we have practices up and running.
The Art & Practice of Coaching track focussed on scope of practice issues. It raised a lot of questions for me about what the actual scope of practice parameters are for health coaches, especially under the ADAPT framework. Some of the lines between medical advice and coaching are less than definitive. A lot of the questions that have come up in discussion require nuanced answers. I will devote an entire journal entry to scope of practice issues as things become more clear to me. For now, I want to write about our Introduction to Business Development session with Keith Rhys.
Introduction to Business Development
I did a little research on Keith Rhys while doing my due diligence on the ADAPT program. I knew he was going to be leading the Business Development track and wanted to make sure he would be teaching us something more substantial than, say, how to attract clients through social media platforms. I read every blog post on his website, signed up for a free webinar, and subscribed to his mailing list just to see how he would use it.
Keith has been Chris Kresser’s business coach for the past ten years. He specializes in helping health professionals build an online presence and believes in the use of long-form, high-quality content to establish oneself as an authority in one’s niche. Keith’s instructor session took place on Thursday at 2am in Mauritius. I slept through it and watched the video replay this morning before sitting down to write this post.
I found Keith’s enthusiasm for online marketing strategy inspiring. And I say that as someone who’s been around the block a few times and is not so easily inspired. But there’s no fluff in Keith’s stuff. He knows his subject inside out and is directly on point with his message. He speaks with the upbeat cadence of someone sincerely eager to share.
Keith covered several issues in his 90-minute session and answered a variety of student questions. The most important thing to come out of it was his recommendation that we each create a “marketing journal” for the purpose of exploring our potential niche. He gave us four “awareness questions” to think and write about between now and the end of the pre-practicum with the promise that working with these questions will lead us to clarify our niche. I won’t share what the specific questions are, but I will say that I think they are excellent.
Defining one’s niche is something you hear a lot about in health coaching circles. I’ve been familiar with the concept for some time and have thought a lot about what my niche might be well before the start of the ADAPT course. I’ve thought about specializing in helping men over thirty shed their belly fat. I’ve thought about working with women seeking to manage their weight. I’ve thought about specializing in fasting and low-carb diets to reverse diabetes and insulin resistance. All three of these niches seem to be high-population markets. But thinking about Keith’s awareness questions has brought a fourth niche into focus.
Ancestral Nutrition for Spiritual Practitioners
In his talk, Keith Rhys suggested that we look at our niche as a combination of who we are and what problems we solve for others. Our niche, he said, strikes a balance between us and our audience.
Who I am, my “uncommon value,” to borrow another of Keith’s phrases, is informed by an extensive background in yoga, sitting meditation, and transformational work. Who is my ideal audience? I believe they are other spiritual practitioners who wish to combine ancestral health principles with a life of spiritual practice. Or vice versa: those who wish to adopt a spiritual practice as part of their ancestral lifestyle.
As a former vegetarian, I’m acutely aware of the common assumption that vegetarianism and spirituality are inexorably linked. It saddens me to see many of my fellow yoga teachers buying into this idea at the expense of their health. It saddens me to see my meditation sangha, many of whom are showing signs of protein deficiency, clinging to a vegetarian ideal because it was what our teacher taught before he died. It also saddens me to see well-intentioned young people believing they must give up meat to “save the planet.”
Another thing Keith Rhys said in his presentation was that “most people won’t seek change until they experience enough pain.” I think that there are a lot of vegans and vegetarians in the world suffering from ill health who are ready to incorporate high-quality animal proteins back into their diets. As someone who’s been there and who understands the misconceptions and moral fallacies perpetuated by vegetarian dogma, I believe I can speak to these people with some sense of authority about the wisdom of ancestral health principles. I think I can earn their trust.
I think that’s my market niche — ancestral nutrition for spiritual practitioners. I want to be a beacon of clarity for recovering vegetarians.
I realize that we are early in the process and I’m open to having my mind changed. But as I’ve said, I’ve been considering this for quite a while, at least a year now, ever since I started researching the viability of a health coaching career.