Nik: On one end, we had the spa and as you all know, the pandemic hit.
Moira: Yes. And so, tell me about 2020. What happened?
Nik: Yeah, let’s talk about 2020. You really had to shift. We had to shift in a major way. I call it the Pandemic Pivot to Prevention.
I’m Dr. Moira. I’m a college professor, instructor, coach, and passionate mentor to health coaches around the world, but I haven’t always been that confident and committed to my coaching career. I wasn’t sure if I could make it work or even what the best approach was to success and fulfillment. I decided to step up and step into my dream of guiding health coaches on their journey from Hesitant Health Coach to Committed Health Coach. With a unique approach to coach growth, the Health Coach Catalyst program creates a strong hexagonal effect. The Coaching Hive podcast is your glimpse into the concepts, ideas, and approaches that underscore the Hexagonal Effect while giving you the opportunity to implement tools and tips along the way. Are you ready to dive into today’s podcast? Then let’s go and remember that this podcast is family friendly so go ahead and play it through your speakers!
In this episode, I sat down with Coach Nik. I have known Nik for several years and have been in awe as she has overcome. Challenges has had to make shifts in her business, has set her own health to rights, continues to step outside her comfort zone and serves her community with conviction. It is an absolute honor to have this time with her.
And I hope that you find her words and wisdom, not only inspiring, but motivating as you take on your own challenges. So, let’s jump right in and sit down with Coach Nik.
(Please pardon any inaccuracies in this auto-generated transcript)
Moira: I am so happy to be able to sit down and talk with you today. Now let’s set the stage here. I wonder if you could share with me just a little bit about your background and what led you to health and wellness coaching?
Nik: Yes. Well, you know, I’ve always been a fitness fanatic, a gym rat, one person that did not meet motivation or a buddy to be fit. So Zumba was a perfect transitioned from my personal interest to being able to help others. But I’ll tell you Zumba was amazing and singing the clients really respond and get excited about their health, but more was needed.
And after about two years of enjoying Zumba, I kept getting these questions about nutrition and other aspects of health. And I said, well, it’s time to do more. Let’s go full circle with this. And that led me to coaching. You know, initially it was, let me get some basic nutrition under my belt. And then when I came to understand the power of behavior change, psychology mindset shifting, it just may sense to become a master certified health coach so that I could do more than empower women with knowledge. I could actually help assist them with the change process so that they could engage in, in lifetime or long-term sustainable habits.
Moira: Wow! So you bring up such an interesting point already. You know, you went from Zumba into trying to learn some nutrition stuff because you wanted to be able to share that information.
But I think it’s so true that as coaches, when we get into our trainings, we go, oh, there’s more to it than just sharing nutrition information. And it sounds like you really, that really resonated with you that concept of how do we actually coach our clients, not just tell them information and say, you need to, but taking it that step further and coaching.
Nik: Yeah, that’s it hits it on the nose and that’s an integral piece that is missing and that’s gonna shift the paradigm of health. That’s the component.
Moira: It really will, and really walking alongside our clients instead of that traditional, you have to kind of concept that sometimes we hear from our healthcare providers, but now saying, I am here to walk with you through this journey.
What a great way to come into health and wellness coaching. You were already motivated for your own health and wellness and saw that need, you identified that gap and were able to kind of step into it. And it’s exciting every day is exciting and coaching.
Nik: Yeah, it Really is. It’s every day is different. It just creates that evolution from day to day.
Moira: I know that you’re actively working toward growing your business. You participated in this pitch contest. What are some of the ways that you are currently serving your clients and the coaching community? What are you involved in This?
Nik: We, I call it elevated to the next level in 2019 a time where my personal health took a shift. I asked myself the question, not only how can I do more, but in looking at behavior change, how can I develop this concept where women who wouldn’t normally think about their health or how much they have to change or do when it becomes overwhelming? What could I provide that will first gauge the conversation? So in 2019, I opened up my first wellness spa. It is a holistic spa with a time-based membership because first for my women, the women asked support carving out time for their own personal self-care is a challenge. So I opened up this wellness spa with the idea of providing therapies and a time-based approach. So we could first let’s carve out some time. Second, let’s look at some of the challenges you face. Third, let’s engage in some holistic therapies that will boost your energy and empower you to want to engage in behavior change, of course, coupled with coaching. And so that for us on the east coast health coaching is still one of those. It’s an, it’s not tangible. It can be difficult to package and people think, Hey, well I already know what I need to do. Why would I talk to you to tell me what I need to do? So in order to meet my clients where they are, this approach has proved to be tremendous and first gauge in the conversation and then giving them the option to engage in health coaching, to propel their help. Oh. So on one end we had the spa and as you all know, the pandemic hit.
Moira: Yes. And so Tell me about 2020, what happened? Yeah. Let’s talk about 2020. You really had to shift.
Nik: We had to shift in a major way. I call it the pandemic pivot to prevention. Oh, that’s brilliant. So it was, we had the shut down, Maryland went on a quarantine, but our health could not quarantine. Correct. And so our pivot Moira was actually to the virtual space. Being able to walk away from managing the spa B gave me clarity.
And not only could I embrace the virtual coaching, but it led us to me taking our beautifully well concept and developing a lifestyle change program that the CDC C said, Hey, well, we want it. We recognize you. You have pending status. And now without evidence-based curriculum, we will support you in this mission for healthy change with women, especially in light of what diabetes and pre-diabetes of another serious condition, how it is impacting the community. And so we’re excited to be a part of this healthy change that’s taking place. And ironically, although we’re in Baltimore county, a suburban area, we’re literally just a couple of miles from a very underserved population in terms of food, access and access to healthy programs. So we’re meeting our community. We’re not meeting them where they’re with them. So it’s been an amazing journey, a lot of hard work, lots of hard work. Yes. We’re excited about the changes we’re seeing. We can, we have outcomes and they’re very positive outcomes and we are scaling and looking forward to supporting more.
Moira: Oh, so you, you know, you went from 2019 with this brick-and-mortar space and, you know, you identified something really unique there that it’s very difficult for women to carve time out and you’re so right. Whether, whether it’s career or family or anything else that’s creating that barrier, it is very difficult as women to take that step back and say, no, my health does have to take a priority and I need that time. And so, you were really thoughtful and pulling that out as a key issue, as a key challenge and addressing it right upfront in your program, pulling that out and saying, yes, I get it. I hear you. Let’s see how we can work on that. And then just building it step by step, but then you have 2020 and oh my gosh, crazy that pandemic pivot to prevention, but it is working. And I always love when I hear coaches talking about how they are serving, not just clients who are financially able to have that coaching relationship and it, and it’s not necessarily a second thought, but I love that. You’re also reaching out to a community who is very much underserved, where food access is an issue and it’s not something that’s easily fixed. So, I love that. There’s that balance to what you’re offering.
Nik: Thank you. And it’s important, you know, healthy change for us. Isn’t that based on the size of your pocket, that’s the reason why we’re in the situation we’re in. And, you know, we know that as coaches, we do, we have to earn a living, right? One area of opportunity for us is that we have a nonprofit. I founded a nonprofit that first focuses on healthy change for girls because we determined to change those health statistics from a generational perspective.
But 30% of our mission is focused on our ability to truly support and sustain the support. So while non-profit is in place to help us so that this isn’t something that we just start for the moment, because diabetes is trending. Community support is trending. We’re in it for the long haul. And now non-profit will be able to give us the resources or provide the resources for us to continue in our efforts.
Moira: For those of you who are listening, who have never started a nonprofit, it is an undertaking. It is not a, oh, I’d like a nonprofit. The next day, you snap your fingers and it’s done. This is a process. It is a huge undertaking. There are so many different regulations and rules and papers and this and that, that have to be managed in a specific way.
So, kudos for really taking that on and saying, you know what? That extra effort it’s worth it. Oh yeah. Compliance and governance is, is, is something else. And just having that team in place that a board of directors who’s on the same page. So you hit it on the nose. It’s work. It is work. I know sometimes we think, oh, this is so nice a nonprofit, but it’s, it is sometimes harder than running just a regular for-profit business. Absolutely. So many more intricacies and details to it that unless you’ve been in it, you don’t know, you don’t know those little nitty gritty details. So the next time you’re thinking about, you know, supporting a nonprofit also appreciate what has gone into making that happen.
Nik: Yeah. All day. Yeah. Ask yourself how much more work I’m not willing to do. Yes.
Moira: So you are really taking time to serve your clients and meeting them where they’re at and where they’re able, you are truly embodying what we think of when we think of health and wellness coaching and what the NBHWC has tried so hard to create as a standard is that you are guiding and you’re meeting those clients where they are versus saying, well, you have to be at a certain point before I’ll even talk to you. You are saying, no, this is about you and your journey. How can I support you? So, I’m curious to know, given your wide range of undertakings that are kind of in your toolbox right now, what is the most satisfying part of coaching for you?
Nik: The most satisfying part is being able to see positive change. You know, there are so many professions where we give and we don’t get to see the outcome. Not that we’re looking for the trophy. No, but that, it’s just so wonderful to see a woman in a perplex state from a health perspective, not only excited about eating more vegetables. Now I’m eating more water. I’m carving out time for my care.
But imagine how it feels when their blood work from four months ago shows elevated blood glucose levels, hypertension, not under control. And they’ve made some minor adjustments over the course of a few months and that new blood work they’re excited. They can’t wait to share, and they have their pre-diabetes condition or they’re managing diabetes better. They’re enjoying better sleep and less stress, which means they’re also managing hypertension and their physician is willing to be a part of, or allow us to be a part of that healthcare team, because we are her advocates. We are there to support her. So that’s most satisfying to me because I’ll be honest, as excited and as motivating as I aim to be, we unfortunately have lost clients. Yeah.
Chronic illness is serious and it is taking lives and it is driven by lifestyle changes. And so our work as coaches, cliche is, as it may seem, especially if we’re in a space of a chronic illness and just being that healthy champion in their lives that we’re actually saving lives. We are part of a life-saving work. And that makes me eager to come to work every day I want to work well, I won’t do this every day because I have to do self-care too. You do in the, in the midst of it, I can get up and be excited about being able to help. We’re helping women, but indirectly we’re helping families, which means indirectly we’re changing the scope of communities that excites me.
Moira: I can see, I know our listeners can’t see, your enthusiasm on your face, but oh my gosh, you just glow with that enthusiasm and that purpose for helping everyone. It just shines through you are doing the right thing. Oh, my goodness. I know you did not ask me. And that is unsolicited, but you are doing the right thing.
Nik: No, I, you know what, and I’m thankful, so I’d love to hear it, but I’m thankful you hit it off. I love that purposeful purpose. Purpose has to drive us, and you know, no ego here. I’m just thankful. I’m thankful that somehow along the way, some divine intervention, as, as some may call it, just to be in the space, to be able to support.
Moira: You brought up a point a moment ago that I want to tie back in here. As you said, we have to make a living and we do. But I think when you have that purpose and that thankful attitude, and it’s truly what you want to be doing, that it is so much easier to find a way to make the finances work than if it’s something that feels like drudgery, where you really have to roll out of bed and you hit the floor with that plod and you go off. I don’t want to do this today. When you’re waking up excited to get out there and help other people and to work with your clients, I think it’s still work. It’s still hard work to find clients and all of that don’t get me wrong. But the finances, a lot of times, I think fall in a little bit easier than if it’s that drudgery.
Nik: Yeah. And it’s proven it does. The more you’re willing to give, because there is a giving process in coaching. We still have to prove our relevancy. And you know, that means that depending on the space that we’re in, that we have to be willing to give in order for those in order, you know, funding, it will come, it will show up That will.
Moira: We have to remember that, that just getting out there in the community. That’s not, that’s a big step forward. Sometimes we get scared. So can you tell me a little bit about, I’ve mentioned it a couple of times you did a pitch contest. It was fun. Okay. So tell me about it.
Nik: So this is, as you get to know me, you’ll know, I’m just one of those people where if some, if someone says, let’s try this and of course, if it makes sense, right? I’m like, okay, fine. Let’s just do it. There’s work involved in pitching like the pitch deck that forces you to research, why people should give you money, you know, and on one end, yeah. You want them to feel the dream. But on the other end, realistically with pitch can get involved investors who want you to be able to take that in scale or use it. So it was a, it was a community-based, which is a great way to market. Yes. And it also gave me an opportunity.
One of the missions I’m charged with is just helping people to understand that health coaching is real, as needed it’s necessary. So let’s learn about what we do and invest in what we do. And so it was actually awesome because I am a Crowdfunder and the platform, I first stepped my first crowd funding campaign on, did it ahead to the first pitch them to get picked, to pitch, and then hope that the investors out of the, was it five of us, five or six, six, five, and I’m happy I won top place, but you know, I will tell you it was work because it forced me to look at who am I supporting? Why am I supporting them? What are the outcomes? And realistically, what am I going to use this money for? And it was absolutely awesome. And I’ll tell you now I’m ready to pitch and keep pitching. I’m looking forward to a few more coming up. I’m just going to throw my head in and see what happens because we just talked about this. The money will come. People will see what you do, especially if you’re visible, you’re giving where we’re talking. Unsolicited funds. I can’t wait because it’s going to help us with another project that we have going on here. So I’ll continue, continue to pitch. It’s a great marketing tool, not the mentioned is great. When you win, you can, You know, edit it, the revenue stream in a sense.
Moira: Yes. And you brought up a good point there. It’s not that you just showed up and said, here’s what I do and who I am. Can you give me some money? You had to really sit and think about what it is you’re offering, what it means, what impact it has, what that looks like, why is that important? And you really had to sit down and figure that out.
And I always encourage new coaches to do that same thing, whether you’re pitching or not, unless you know what it is you want to do and who you want to serve, what impact you want to have it, it’s difficult to take that step and get out there and say, here I am, I’m ready to coach. And I’m so excited, but it shouldn’t keep you from getting started.
Nik: Yeah, you have to start somewhere.
Moira: It certainly sounds like you did that. And you jumped in, you made a pivot, then you did your pitching and you have really said, you know what? It may or may not be the exact outcome I want, but I’m going to give it a try. And I’m going to see what I can learn from it,
You know, and be willing to take people in, to take risks. You’re in business as a coach. And there are certain aspects of business we cannot run away from, especially if we want to have a successful coaching business. Yes. What a great way to put that we are a coaching business. It’s not that we are just coaches. Yes we are.
But if we want to really have that entrepreneurial spirit, we’ve got to remember it is a business and we have to make decisions with that in mind as well. So when you think about your coaching journey up until now, and your kind of the evolutions that your business has taken over the years, how do you feel that your trainings and your continuing education and all of these added little components have helped you grow and get to this point?
Nik: Oh wow. The phrase is set up for success. It was 2016 when I took my coaching certification. So now we’re in getting ready to hit that. Five-year mark August. We’ll make it five years. Oh. So I have to celebrate you. Oh, we got you. We’re going to do something virtual, but you have to remember that that’s going to be August this year.
So five years is a long time of trial and error. And I will say in such a wonderful way, learning from every experience has led me to where I am. And you know, I’m so thankful that I passed the boys certification because you know, I’m in a place where the board certification. If you could only imagine, I’ll just share this real quick.
I won’t run on a tangent with this, but you have no idea what finally becoming the board certified health coach has done for me, especially in the diabetes space. I have a very close connection with the state of Maryland health department because of the CDC I’m connected to the CDC, which means the feds are in my inbox on a regular basis all the time.
But when I’m in these meetings, our quarterly meetings that consist of our managed care organizations, as you know, the insurers who pay us to support their patients, I’m in there with, with various agencies from a public health perspective. And when I say I’m a board certified health coach, the room lights up, I’ve seen doctors chime men and go, wow, this, this is excellent because they recognize the power of behavior change coaching. And to be able to have access to an organization like ours, who had that level of experience has really made an impact on in our state and in this capacity. So the past five years have truly been a growing experience for me professionally. And it has put me in a position of being considered a credentialed person.
You know, I have some credibility in the space that I’m in and that feels amazing because it also makes me an even stronger resource and support to our clients.
Moira: It really does. And it boosts our own confidence. When we can say I’m a nationally board, certified health and wellness, It works.
Nik: We have major insurers on board now. So I’m excited to partner with them and give them an opportunity to give us a chance and see what outcomes look like. I’m excited about them being a part of the growth and seeing what we are actually able to do in print on paper, through evidence. That’s going to be fun.
Moira: It is, it is so amazingly fun. How many people get to say that, right? That their job and the people that they get. It’s just fun.
Nik: It’s fun every day.
Moira: I mean, yes, it’s satisfying and yes, it’s, it’s world changing, but it’s fun too. And I don’t think you can discount that.
Nik: No, watch the, the evolution of what we’re doing to be a part of it at this time is incredible. Five years ago is not a long time. And look at where we’ve come from a health coaching perspective. I look at whoa, where it a bit where we’re looking at, where I’ve landed thus far, and we’re still working towards doing more.
Moira: You are on fire. So, you have shared so many great insights and about your experiences and lessons learned. I’m curious to know if you could share with me just one or two tips for new coaches or coaches who are deciding if this is the right path for them. And they’re feeling a little bit hesitant perhaps about what the next step is or oh is this, right for me? I wonder what’s one, one or two tips that you might share with, with our new coaches.
Nik: The top tip would be focus on who you really want to support. Okay. Take some time and dive in. And I will tell you that tip would have saved me a lot of money and passively a lot of time. Now I love the idea of done for you and you know, PLR so that you can focus on coaching your clients. But realistically, with us as coaches, one of the key things that we have to continue to do and will always be a part of giving people a chance to recognize what we do is how we communicate. And if people clearly understand what we do, who we support, how we support them, that in turn is going to help us to really grow our coaching business. And if you’re thinking about becoming a coach, it’s because you have this love for people you want to help people and you want to help them in a way that’s going to carry them through life. So ask yourselves, who are these people?
What do they look like? Why do they need me? Where are they? And how can I take all of my amazing experience and skills and certifications and credentials, and couple it as a health coach to support them and boom, there’s your program. Anything that doesn’t fit in that mix is going to distract. You shifted your focus and Rob your packets and lead you to frustration because you’re trying to mimic and do everything.
Every other coach has attempted to do focus on who you want to support, and it will get you to where you want to be. That was so perfectly stated, wow. Where someone Would have said that five years ago.
Moira: Well, someone is going to hear it now and it will make a difference. So you continue to make a difference by coming and speaking on podcasts like you’re doing today and sharing the word with your community and being involved in those meetings with the CDC, with insurers, with the health systems, you are getting the word out there in a big way, and congratulations. It is important and you are serving your purpose and really serving our community as a whole.
Nik: Thank you so much for that. It means a lot. And I appreciate this space. This is what we need. So I commend you for taking time out, to help get the work that you do. Moira is actually going to expand this access to coaching.
Moira: I hope.
Nik: Oh, it’s incredible.
Moira: Because I agree with you. Coaching is so needed and getting the word out there and getting it to be understood is so important. And we’re heading there. We’re on the track, right?
Nik: Right there we are there.
Moira: We just got to keep going.
Moira: Well, I want to thank you so much for sharing your words of wisdom and being so open and honest about your experiences with coaching. I know it hasn’t always been easy, especially in 2020 when things radically shifted. And I appreciate that you came in today and were willing to be vulnerable and talk about some of those changes that you had to make.
I know that our listeners are going to want to connect with you. You have so many wonderful experiences and gosh, your offerings are amazing. So how can we connect with you?
Nik: Yeah. So Instagram and Facebook, we can easily be found. Our handle is the same Amani Nicole Wellness. To connect with me individually. Well, Hey, I’m Nik Sweeney, and that’s my LinkedIn handle. And of course, you can always visit to see what we’re doing virtually online at Amaninicol.com.
Moira: Perfect. And I will put all of those links in our transcripts so that they are easy to just click on. You don’t even have to go search. I will make it super easy for everyone. I cannot wait to see what’s in store for you as this keeps growing.
And you find these new connections in the community and ways to support everyone, whether it’s through your for-profit or your nonprofit work, there are big things coming, and I am so excited to see where you go with all of It.
Nik: Thank you so much. And we will definitely keep you posted.
Moira: Wonderful. I cannot wait.
Wasn’t it truly amazing to hear about all that Coach Nik has been working on in 2020 and now into 2021. When we hopped on to Zoom to talk, I knew immediately that this was going to be a special podcast, and I hope you heard that enthusiasm, motivation, and joy as well. My question for you is how will you connect with your fellow coaches and your community members this week? I invite you to reach out and share your ideas on social media or with an email to me at moira [at] coachinghive.com.
Until next week, thank you so much for listening.
Would you like to connect with Coach Nik?
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/AmaniNicolWellness/
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/amaninicolwellness/
- LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/niksweeney/