Three Keys to YOUR Thriving Doula Practice

As a doula trainer and leader of doulas’ communities on social media, I am convinced that the three most significant challenges to having your thriving doula practice are client enrollment, client engagement, and client empowerment. And if you’re open to adopting a new framework for birth support, I know I can help you achieve these three Es with ease. You can learn new strategies for Enrollment, Engagement, and Empowerment in my upcoming Three Keys to YOUR Thriving Birth Support Practice 2-day workshop.

Strategies for client Enrollment

More than two decades ago,  years ago, my doula trainer told me that I shouldn’t quit my day job to become a doula because no one knows what a doula is, and I’d better think about birth support as a community service. She was right. No one knew what’s a doula 24 years ago, so I committed myself to promote the profession and became a doula PR speaker. In those days, the enrollment conversation relied mainly on telling potential clients the benefits of hiring a doula, or in other words, sharing the doula statistics. Since then, the profession has become well known, and nowadays, DOU-LA is a value in the dictionary and a popular hashtag.  

Potential clients want to share, feel heard, and be seen more than they’re interested in what you have to share. 

So what will help you enroll clients and have a thriving practice nowadays? 

  • Mirroring – Help to establish rapport – a non-verbal sense of intimacy, in minutes by matching the other person’s body language, intonation, and more.
  • Asking questions – Practicing curiosity about your potential clients is crucial for them to feel that you’re genuinely interested in supporting them toward their positive experiences.  
  • Excellent listening skills – Potential clients want to share, feel heard, and be seen more than they’re interested in what you have to share. 
  • Echoing back – Builds trust in your potential clients that you are fully present for them
  • Having potential clients’ goals be your north- Potential clients want to be sure that you have no agenda or judgments about how they should go through their childbearing experiences. They want their beliefs, values, and goals to be respected. 
  • Engaging – Wrapping the interview and leaving your potential clients with a call-to-action, one step forward that will bring them closer to achieving their desired experiences, makes them immediately appreciate the value in hiring you. 

So when you learn this new framework to get clients, it ensures you stand out and attract many potential clients that feel supported right from the interview. Additionally, these same strategies are the best to engage and empower clients once you’re hired. 

Client engagement elicits clients’ accountability so you don’t over-commit yourself, and then…you thrive

Strategies for clients’ Engagement

Going through the childbearing process can be overwhelming. It‘s a huge transformation to become parents, especially in light of the abundance of information expectant clients consume online. Therefore, engaging clients in actions toward clarifying and achieving their desired experiences is grounding and elicits their confidence. 

Designing a call-to-action begins with the question: “What would you like to do about it”? However, your clients usually do not know what the steps are toward achieving their goals. This is your moment to shine as birth support professional by suggesting some optional steps. Based on the clarity that has been achieved by the masterful coaching questions you asked during the conversation, you’ll wrap up the conversation by designing a step forward with your clients. It takes a level of mastery to design a call-to-action, or an area of practice, that your clients feel comfortable committing to and is tied to their challenge and brings them closer to their desired experience – their goals.

Client engagement helps you elicit clients’ accountability to their process so that you don’t over-commit yourself; hence, it is one of the keys to your thriving birth support practice. 

Strategies for clients’ Empowerment 

Birth support originated with the goal of empowering expectant individuals, birth givers, and new parents. However, since the origin of the field has been a reaction to the medicalization of childbirth and the deviation from mother nature in general, it came to be associated with many agendas of right and wrong, one of which is the superiority of natural childbirth. 

When we ask masterful questions, our clients learn what they know instead of learning what we know

I think that we can all agree that telling anyone what they should do is not very empowering. Nor is informing about “the better way.” So what is empowering? 

When you engage clients in actions, they are empowered. In addition, I suggest that when we ask masterful questions, our clients learn what they know instead of learning what we know. I suggest that expectant individuals are empowered to become the experts in their lives when we establish partnerships with them and let go of our expert position. And when we do that prenatally, we model for them what patient-centered care should feel like. 

When you can help individuals get in touch with what they know and their bodies know, they are empowered. And there are many coaching strategies to achieve this level of empowerment. Asking powerful and result-oriented questions is only one strategy. In addition, the new framework for birth support that I developed includes coaching exercises that help expectant and new parents find the answers from within and navigate the overload of information based on what’s right for them. 

When your clients are engaged and empowered, you spend fewer hours holding their hand in labor or physically supporting them in every step. Therefore, you can commit to more clients and be sure to avoid burnout and maintain a good life balance. Sounds like a new framework for your thriving practice? I invite you to learn these three keys by joining my upcoming Three Keys to YOUR Thriving Birth Support Practice 2-day workshop.


Neri Life-Choma
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coaching, DONA, doula profession, prenatal coach

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