#4: Put It Into Action – CE Planning


Welcome to Episode 4! I am your host, Dr. Moira. I hope you are enjoying our month of podcasts on focus and efficiency.  This week we wrap up our month with the Put It Into Action challenge.  If you missed Episodes 1-3 you may want to start with those before tackling our challenge.  All episodes are available and waiting for you on behealthyhive.com as well as all of your favorite podcast providers. 

For those of you just tuning in, the Coaching Hive podcast looks at topics and concerns that impact health coaches along their business journey to guiding clients to improved health and wellness.  The Coaching Hive empowers coaches to be focused with their learning intentions while maintaining forward business momentum.

Here at the Coaching Hive, our mission is to be effective, efficient, and have fun so that work becomes a joy, and you have dedicated time for the important things in life like your family, friends, and hobbies.  

This podcast is rooted in learning and efficiency. In fact, to be more effective and efficient, each month we will focus on a single topic.  That means 12 new learning topics a year AND time to dig in without feeling overwhelmed.  

Let’s review a little bit about how this podcast works. At the start of the month, we will introduce our topic and learn a bit about why it is important to you as a coach.  In the second and third weeks, we’ll dive a little deeper and explore the opinions and ideas of other coaches as well as the research on the topic.  In the last week of the month, I’ll offer you a chance to challenge yourself.  This challenge encourages you to experiment and put into practice what we’ve been talking about throughout the month in a very specific and detailed way.  I’ll even include a PDF to walk you through the “Put It Into Action” process.  You may be thinking, “But, Moira some months have 5 weeks,” and you are absolutely correct! We will always end our month with the “Put It Into Action” challenge.  When there are five weeks, we will tuck in a book discussion just before that challenge.

I love hearing about your successes and helping you find solutions when you get stuck.  I’m always here to offer ideas and encouragement every step of the way.  

Just like me, you might be busy; you’re listening to this podcast as you take care of other tasks.  These podcasts will always be child friendly, so go ahead and play it through your speaker while you fold clothes, prep your dinner, or make the bed.

Now that we have those details and reminders out of the way and you know where we’re headed, we can continue with our topic!

The Topic

For the past three episodes, we have been discussing the concept of creating efficiency and focus in our coaching business and in life in general.  This is something that, when we spend a little time on, can actually save us time in the long run.  It can be difficult to stop and tackle one task at a time, or to sit down and plan out how you want to move through a long “to do” list.

I get it.  It can seem like a waste of time to plan your “to do” list rather than just jumping in.  The opposite is actually true.  When you have a clear plan, it can be much easier to move forward efficiently and effectively.

This brings me to our “Put It Into Action” challenge.  At the end of each month, I challenge you to take the month’s concepts and intentionally use the information.  Are you ready for this month’s “Put It Into Action” challenge?  Here we go!

The Ideas

If you hold a license or certification in your field, chances are that you need to complete continuing education to maintain that certification or license.  This is certainly true for me as a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach.  Every three years, we have to complete 36 credits of continuing education.  

There are many ways we can work through continuing education requirements.  Some people choose the last-minute cram it in approach where they complete whatever opportunities are available in the quick time frame they need, others steadily work on their credits over time but without any real plan, and then there are some people who work steadily with a clearly thought-out plan.  Where do you fit?

Our concept of efficiency and focus fits in perfectly here.  Continuing education is something that requires efficiency and focus if you are going to get the most possible out of these credits.  That means doing some self-reflection, thinking about your business, coming up with a plan, and carrying out that plan.  What it doesn’t mean is that everyone’s plan or timelines must look the same.  There is a lot of room for flexibility, we simply need to demystify the planning process to create a meaningful Continuing Education experience.

As a person who has a busy schedule, and I’m guessing yours is busy as well, organization is key to staying focused and efficient.  This means that I have systems for everything, including how I complete my continuing education credits.  To give you an idea of how I tackle my CE credits, I’ll break down my process for you today.

The first step, when I enter a new CE cycle, is to block off time to get clear with my vision for my business.  Just like our clients need to have a clear vision of what they want for their health and well-being, we need to have a clear vision for what we want for our business.  If you have a specific amount of time to complete your CE credits, create your vision with that in mind. For example, if you have to complete CE credits every three years, think just about the next three years. If that is too big, break it down into chunks of time. 

You can start by asking yourself just a few simple questions. 

  • What is it that you would like to see for your business?
  • Who are you serving? What changes are they most likely going to want to make? 
  • What services would you like to offer?
  • What tools would you like to incorporate into your practice? 

Taking time here to get clarity about where your business is headed will be critical to making the most of your CE credits, money, and time. This doesn’t have to be perfect, it is just a starting place. 

Now that you are clear on what you want for your business, it is time to break that down into two categories of learning – I call them the NEEDs and the NICE to haves. 

When you think about your business vision, what topics, skills, or tools do you NEED to have in order to be successful. The ones that aren’t currently part of your toolbox? 

  • Think about the skills you still feel need polishing.
  • What tools do you wish you had training for?
  • What topics do you anticipate clients will bring up but you aren’t confident in just yet. 

Don’t worry about getting this list perfect. Chances are that you will need to revise this list over time. It is just designed to give you a starting place.

Now that you have the “NEED to Haves” in mind, spend some time on the NICE to haves. These are the topics that if you had all the money, time, and resources in the world, would be at the top of your must learn list. Don’t be shy, get them down. No erasing, no editing, just brainstorming. 

Ok, take a deep breath.  You’ve done a lot of exploration already and now comes some fun!  You have your business vision. You have the topics, tools, and skills that you’d like to explore. Now you get to do a bit of research. What avenues are available for you to complete CE credits? Begin digging in here. If you are new to the field or the world of Continuing Ed you can check in with your certifying organization.  Many organizations that require Continuing Ed Credits will have some options listed for you on their website or member portal. You can ask your colleagues who their favorite vendors are for Continuing Education credits and you can think about conferences that exist in your field. Make Google your friend and do some keyword searches. 

As you are doing this research, write down your ideas.  Don’t worry about the practicalities just yet.  This is just a list.  Once you have your list, go back through it; rank order the ideas.  Again, don’t be practical just yet. If your dream conference is on the list, but is currently out of your budget, go ahead and rank it #1. We will come back to that in just a little while. Really be honest with yourself here. There are no limitations to this list. 

Once you have your honest rankings, now it is time to create your plan.

The first part of creating your plan requires you to determine how you would like to divide up your Continuing Education credits. For example, if you have 3 years to complete your Continuing Ed credits would you like to: 

  • Divide them evenly across the 3 years?
  • Complete the majority in year 1, leaving wiggle room in years 2 and 3?
  • Complete half in year 1, and the remaining half spread across the remaining years? 
  • Complete more in year 3 and fewer in years 1 and 2?  Or some other variation.

This may be something that you have to experiment with. Personally, I like to get the majority completed early on so that if something goes awry with my plan, I have plenty of time to adjust and re- calibrate. It also means that as I learn early on, I can add Continuing Education credits to my plan that I didn’t know about. Just because I have a plan, doesn’t mean it is written in stone. It is a starting place and a way to help me get to that dream conference that might be outside of my budget right now. 

Using the list you’ve created of possible Continuing education opportunities, do a bit more research and find out how many CE credits can be obtained for each event, training, membership, etc. and begin planning. When you plan, think about not just credits, but cost, time commitment, and other factors. If you have a dream (expensive) conference you would like to attend, maybe plan that for a year or two in the future. You can save for the conference/training without breaking the bank. Remember to keep in mind your importance rankings alongside the practical considerations like budget, timing, and availability. 

Once you have done all of this work, take a look.  You know what?  You now have a workable plan for completing your Continuing Education Credits in a way that fits your needs, fits your budget, and fits your timeline. This is half the battle and will leave you feeling lighter and more confident as you travel through the process. Each time you complete a Continuing education credit, keep track of it. 

You can re-evaluate your progress every 6 months and make adjustments as necessary. Know that some CE periods may be more meaningful than others and that is ok. You can learn something from every single experience. Not all learning opportunities that are presented to you will award Continuing education credits and that is also ok. If that learning opportunity is helping you to serve your clients more effectively and grow your business in the direction of your vision it is probably important. 

At the end of the day, remember, be creative, be flexible, and stay open to the possibilities! Don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for you.

This is your challenge for the month.  Plan your CE credits.  Now that you have that in mind, I invite you to get started!  To make this easier, I have created a PDF Planner that you can use in conjunction with this podcast.  You may access this planner by going to www.hivechallenge.com/ceplanner and follow the prompts to download your copy of the planner today.
Once you have completed your planner, share your ideas with your colleagues.  If you don’t really know anyone with whom you can share your plan, send me an email at [email protected] to share your insights.  I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and learn what you have planned for your continuing education credits!

Take Action

Now that you are ready to jump into action with the PDF CE Planner found at www.hivechallenge.com/ceplanner you may be thinking to yourself that you want more of this kind of opportunity to work and connect.  If that’s the case, you are invited to join the Coaching Hive as a Found Member.  The Coaching Hive is a mentor-based community empowering coaches to take a focused approach to learning while maintaining forward business momentum.  Inside the Coaching Hive, we focus on one topic each month (it is different than our podcast topic) and in that topic we collaborate, we learn, we grow, and put our knowledge into action.  Each month, Coaching Hive members receive a new masterclass, they have access to a live Q&A session, a printable plan for the month, group mentoring opportunities and problem solving as a team, and a private community of like-minded coach looking to grow their professional relationships and problem solve.  Enrollment for the Coaching Hive will only be open for a few times a year and now is one of those times.  If this gets you excited and you are interested in learning more, check out the details on www.behealthyhive.com/enroll.

I hope to see you in the Hive soon and back here next week for another episode of the Coaching Hive podcast.  

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