Episode 9 – Season 2

Published: November 1, 2021

Charlène Gisèle, Corporate Wellness Consultant | What does a wellbeing consultant do?

Charlène Gisèle, Corporate Wellness Consultant | What does a wellbeing consultant do?

Charlène was a London Litigator before she set up a Primal Health Coaching and wellness business which aims to transform High Performing Executives’ health both at a physical and mental level and increase cognitive and physical performances.

Lovingly dubbed ‘the Solicitor’ by her clients, Charlene promotes greater life satisfaction and wellness using her skills as a Primal Health Coach and a biohacker.

In this episode, we discuss what does a wellbeing consultant do? We have never covered this on the Workplace Wellbeing Podcast which seems kind of important – we have interviewed several wellbeing consultants and employers are increasingly looking for their help, so in this episode we dig a bit deeper into what they do.

Charlène and Ian Discuss:
– The definition of a wellbeing consultant
– What is biohacking?
– Biohacking that is appropriate for the workplace
– What skills should you look for in a wellbeing consultant?

What is Inspiring Charlène:
Her clients.

How to get in touch with Charlène:
LinkedIn: https://charlenegisele.com/ 

Transcript

Welcome to the Workplace Wellbeing Podcast, the podcast for wellbeing professionals that looks at best practices in organisations that care about their people, and which keeps an eye on the growing number of suppliers in the wellbeing space.
The Workplace Wellbeing Podcast is sponsored by fastP.A.Y.E a financial wellbeing solution that facilitates flexible salary advances. It also provides access to financial education, a benefits assessment calculator, and a host of other financial wellbeing tools. fastP.A.Y.E is part of the work tech group that includes ShopWorks Workforce Solutions, and SolvedByAi.
ShopWorks offers Scheduling and Time and Attendance tools that improve your workforce management processes. Whilst SolvedByAi provides unique artificial intelligence products that deliver optimum staffing levels and improve employee retention.

Ian Hogg
Hi, and welcome to the workplace wellbeing Podcast. I’m Ian Hogg chairman of fastP.A.Y.E. Today I’m joined by Charlène Gisèle. Charlène’s previous life was as a London litigator, before she went on to set up a primal health coaching and wellbeing business, which aims to transform high performing executives health both at the physical and mental level, and increased cognitive and physical performances. Lovingly dubbed ‘the Solicitor’ by her clients, Charlène promotes greater life satisfaction and wellness using her skills as a primal health coach and a bio hacker. Today I want to discuss what does a well being consultant do. It is something that we’ve not yet covered on the workplace wellbeing podcast, which seems kind of important. We’ve interviewed several wellbeing consultants and employers are increasingly looking for their help. So I’d like to dig a bit deeper into what they do. Hi, Charlène, thanks for joining us.

Charlène Gisèle
Thank you so much for having me on your podcast, and I’m really honoured.

Ian Hogg
No, you’re welcome. Listen, I think a good place to start. You’ve done some journey started off as a litigator. And now you’re into well being Why don’t you take the listeners through a bit about your background and how you ended up getting making the transition.

Charlène Gisèle
The first part is not very original in the sense that as far back as I could remember, I wanted to be a lawyer. So that I did just that. And I became a litigator in the City of London, and I was so thrilled. It was my dream job. And perhaps that’s one of the reason why I did it so intensely. And after a few years, I hit a wall and burnt out. And it was, it was quite a sad reality for me, because I was so passionate about the law and the legal industry. But I felt like there was something else perhaps that I needed to learn. And I had a bit of a call to adventure if you want to call it that. And I decided to go on a quest for wellness and see what I hadn’t gotten right the first time around in my career so that I could do what I wanted to do but in a sustainable manner without hitting burnout.

Ian Hogg
Oh, good backstory. And until now you own a primal health coaching business. And we’re here to discuss what a wellbeing coached us. But I guess there’s a few types of you know, we’ve had different coaches ranging from financial to mental wellbeing to sort of performance management. And perhaps you could start by expanding on what your definition of a well being coaches, and particularly how you see the scope and objectives.

Charlène Gisèle
I think that’s a great question. Thank you for asking. My vision of wellness is very much a 360. And that’s the reason why I called my programme 360 Sustainable Wellness. Because I believe we need to look at the person at a holistic level, we need to look at the person’s mental wellbeing emotional wellbeing psychological wellbeing physical wellbeing, but also behavioural. A lot of things that we do in our daily basis really can be had change and modify and compound into great transformation when we make incremental changes, but we can’t leave blind spots, we can’t just look at somebody’s mental health and leave to the side their physical health. So, I really believe in looking at the whole person in every single aspect of their life.

Ian Hogg
Okay, and so if we are looking at the sort of area you look at its mental and physical wellbeing and you separate that from, say financial and maybe management coaching, or do you think that your 360 includes all of those things? So it would you would have if somebody had financial problems, you would help coach that.

Charlène Gisèle
I believe that there is a very strong correlation and I’m also a qualified and certified business consultant and the reason I wanted to be that too is I found, as you rightly mentioned, there is often a link and a bit of a bridge that need to be gapped between a person’s mental state and financial state. Often times, if someone is deeply unhappy or facing depression or lack of motivation, vitality or energy, there may not be in the best energy mindset to thrive in their career, and they may not be able to make the best financial or business decision. So, I’m not a financial advisor in any way, shape, or form. But as a business coach, I’m able to facilitate transformation that would serve my clients highest purpose for their career, and their professional life.

Ian Hogg
Yeah, no, I get it. And I think sometimes people work, they don’t look after their wellbeing because they’re so focused on trying to earn money to pay for whatever their objectives are, that, you know, it’s that they need to sort of solve that problem first. So, they can then focus on their own wellbeing.

Charlène Gisèle
Absolutely, you’ve nailed it. And it’s very hard for someone who would be facing depression or anxiety to be performing at a peak level, right? We talk a lot about peak performance in the context of athletes, and Olympians and sports. But I do really believe that corporate peak performance is also reality that we must address and focus on.

Ian Hogg
Yeah, and I mean, you mentioned in the introduction that you know, you you are a biohacker, so some of our listeners won’t have heard the term and others might have heard it but not understand it. So could you expand on what biohacking is how you use it? And maybe a bit is there any science behind it?

Charlène Gisèle
Biohacking is a term that comes from the Silicon Valley. And it’s very much the integration of the technology to support our biological optimization. So, it’s very much about optimising your external, and internal environment. So, if I give you some very quick concrete example, a biohacker typically will be tracking their sleep, they will be tracking their daily movements, they will be tracking the way they breathe, their heart rate, and they will be leveraging the power of technology to align with a more natural way of being that we perhaps have lost in the modern age. A lot of the biohacking tools and techniques are really designed to mimic the way our ancestors once lived. But we cannot necessarily do in a modern age. For instance, we know that most workers in the city are sun deprived, so one of the great biohacking tool is using red light therapy to compensate for that sun depravation.

Ian Hogg
Yeah, I know I get it. I mean, I suppose it you know, some of us that bit old school, you know, some of the stuff you’re talking about, there is a bit like having a personal trainer, my personal trainer would tell me to lose weight, you know, look at my diet and look at my fitness, you know, might encourage me to do more cardio or whatever, is there overlap with that sort of approach, or does expand into to other areas that maybe a personal coach, fitness coach wouldn’t look at.

Charlène Gisèle
There is an overlap definitely Ian because metabolic health is key to what a PT would look at. I think biohacking goes further and really looks at the brain and the cognitive performance. So it’s very much about optimising your whole biology, and looking at your external environment. So I’m not sure that a PT would necessarily look at your circadian rhythm. And whether you sleep in dark rooms, or whether you have an optimised environment or will check the level of the air pollution or contamination of your water that you drink. That will be more the realm of the biohacker pretty much looking at everything that goes inside and outside of you.

Ian Hogg
Okay, and one of the things you know, that almost as the simplest technique that comes up on the podcast regularly is people need to take a break from their work and get up and go for a walk, you know, or get some fresh air and are those sort of biohacking techniques I if might you would would have by hacking coach tell me that, you know, you need to break the day up and get out and get some fresh air or how do you see those?

Charlène Gisèle
I am a firm believer that the most powerful bio hacks are the ones that you have at all time. What do I mean by that? I mean your breath, right? We talked about movement and movement is key and it’s very important to nail your 10,000 steps a day. But I think sometimes the breath work is overlooked. The power of our inhale and exhales is extraordinary. And very often when I work with my corporate clients, I noticed that they breathe in a very fight and flight mode, meaning very shallow breath, very rapid breath. And a lot of the work that I do is actually teach them how to breathe well, again, it’s one of those things that sounds so basic, because we breathe all the time. However, it’s one of those things that we perhaps haven’t been educated to do well.

Ian Hogg
Yeah, it’s a, it’s a sort of a reflex reaction that, I suppose you, you’re suggesting people get into bad habits with their breathing. And they actually, you know, override the reflex a bit and actively think about it.

Charlène Gisèle
And, actually, so many of my clients do what I call email apnoea, meaning when they get an email that is triggering a bit of a stress response, they go, and would hold their breath, and would then have a very shallow shoulder driven breathwork, instead of tapping into soft, long belly breath. And in those moments, I would cue them and encourage them to, you know, have a very long and smooth inhale and very long and smooth, exhale, even just a one minute. Breathing break, if I may call it so can make a huge difference in focus, attention, and alertness.

Ian Hogg
Okay, so this is great. So I’m getting to understand now so that one minute breathing break is a part of sort of biohacking and looking at what the problems, what other sort of techniques work best, you know, so breathing, going for a walk, getting some steps in?

Charlène Gisèle
Regular and intermittent fasting and the avoidance of being constantly on the carb overload rollercoaster, so really looking at reducing any processed sugar, really reducing any processed food in general that really drives your insulin, and is really going to damage your metabolism over long term views. If sugar is one of the most addictive substance, you know, we often talk about all those big, bad boys of the substances, and we overlook sugar, which is really common, especially in the corporate world with a grab and go culture, because of lack of time. So very often when I work with my clients, one of the second thing, if not first, as I address the breath, first is I address the nutrition and make sure that choices are addressed, and a lot more whole food, a lot more cooked options, and a lot less ready-made meals.

Ian Hogg
Yeah, I think so we should take the biscuit. I mean, our office, we got a regular purchase of biscuits, because they’re easy, they don’t go off, and you’re supplying something for the team. But we do have fruit as well. But the biscuit seems to go quicker. We should, we should look at it.

Charlène Gisèle
Yes, definitely, replace it with some really nice filtered water, and perhaps having a walk and talk with the team. So you can combine some steps together and breathing some fresh air. And often, you know, biscuits is eaten out of habit rather than hunger. And a big work that a biohacker coach would do with you would be to really educate you on distinguishing between physical hunger and emotional hunger 70% of the time when my clients, they actually thirsty rather than hungry.
Ian Hogg
So that’s an interesting stat. And when you talk about clients, so it’s a lot of people listening to this will be sort of, you know, in a position of, you know, responsibility for delivering wellbeing in a workplace. Do you tend to work with individuals where you’re trying to get with that individual? It’s almost like having a personal coach? Or do you tend to work with employers or both?
Charlène Gisèle
I actually work with three types. So my first one is with my private clients, so directly with corporate executive lawyers, partners, bankers, architects, and I work directly and I coach them on a private basis. I work with business, FinTech and law firms. And when I work with them, I roll out my corporate wellness programme via workshops, seminars, or webinars. And I also work with companies and event managers to be a keynote speaker for their events or their conference or retreats.
Ian Hogg
Okay, cool. That’s helpful. And if we were, could we if we could just focus on maybe for the employers point of view. So, if, if I was looking to, you know, I considered that I’d been given too many biscuits away and probably felt that we could do with it bit of a boost in sort of the primal health coaching and, you know, increase sort of people’s physical performances. How would you start work for coming to my business now with, you know, sort of 50/60 people, how would you start?
Charlène Gisèle
Great question, so I would roll out my 4 signature workshop programme, the whole programme is called 360 Sustainable corporate wellness to optimise high performance. Why sustainable is because I’ve really aligned my programme with ESG framework, because I believe that sustainability is not just about the environment, sustainability is also about performance within the corporate world. A resilient workforce is sustainable workforce. My first workshop is really focused around how do we alleviate the return to work anxiety, hack resilience, and improve performance sustainably. And this is a workshop where we talk about anxiety, what it is how to overcome it, give tools, techniques and strategy for your team to be left feeling health confident and having a boost in their health esteem.
I then work on the post pandemic sustainability. So burnout prevention with a really heavy focus on what are the signs of burnout, how to overcome it, how to prevent it.
My third workshop is around harnessing the power of innovation. So it’s very much an introduction to biohacking, and understanding 360 corporate wellness in a new virtual age.
And finally, my fourth workshop is around bulletproof immunity. We talk about immunity a lot. How does that relate to the corporate world? And what can you team do on a day to day basis to improve and bulletproof their metabolism to amplify sustainable performance.
Ian Hogg
Okay, so when you talk about that being bulletproof, you’re talking about your sort of your physical rather than mental because I think, you know, sometimes we end up having debates on this podcast where people are looking to sort of improve their resilience, which I always you know, he’s like, make yourself mentally bulletproof. But are you saying it’s physically bulletproof? You know, make sure you have your vitamins and, and make sure that your, your, your immune system is working perfectly?
Charlène Gisèle
It’s a great question. So, the first part of my workshop, the very first one about alleviating anxiety and hiking resilience is very much focused around the mental aspect. The fourth one, once we’ve looked at the mindset is focused on the physical aspects. So, my programme covers both the mental and the physical.
Ian Hogg
Okay, no, I get in some ways, I think probably the men nowadays, I think we probably all understand that trying to make people mentally bulletproof, is probably tougher than then making them physical bulletproof.
Charlène Gisèle
Absolutely, I love that you said that, yes. And that’s why this is the one that I address first. And I tackle as my first workshop, because, you know, where the mind goes, the body follows.
Ian Hogg
Yeah, no, no, I get it. And, and how are you finding, so it sounds to me like you, you, you focus on very high performance people, you know, they’re there, they sound like they’re high achievers, even to be in the sort of roles that you’re talking about bankers and, and, you know, lawyers and fintechs. And the companies you deal with legal and fintech, they tend to employ largely graduates, you know, people have achieved a certain amount just to get there. And, you know, that, that you could describe those as sort of knowledge, knowledge businesses, do you find you target those because they are more open to what you’re selling, you find you get a sceptical approach outside that, or do you know? Or do you find that, that you target them just because you know that you just match up exactly with what they are looking for.
Charlène Gisèle
That’s a really great question, I believe that there is a natural inclination for me to want to serve who I used to be. And what I mean by that is, when I left the corporate world, I left very much on a mission to serve that world again, in a different way. But I became the coach that I wish I had. And it really is something that I care about at a deep level that I can, you know, serve the legal community, the corporate community, because I relate to them I understand them I’ve been in their shoes I know that pain point. So there is a natural mash if you want to call it that, between the world that I work with now and the world that I used to belong to.
Ian Hogg
No, good got it. And you find even in those sort of knowledge businesses where you’d like to think that the people running them a well educated Do you think that they’re they’re all pretty much open to you know, improving well being and investing in it because you know, taking someone like you it’s an investment and or is there still a level of scepticism amongst those businesses?

Charlène Gisèle
I’ve noticed a great shift. Particularly in the past two years post pandemic, there’s been a lot more interest because health has been put on everybody else for from absenteeism, sick leave, or very expensive for a business. So yes, hiring a corporate wellness is an investment, but definitely not an expense. And what I mean by that is, the ROI is actually outstanding. Because if you can get your employee to stick and to stay, and to be well, and not to take time off, and not to burnout, and not to leave, and not to join another firm, you’re actually running a much more profitable business. So I’ve noticed a shift. And I think as well, the ESG framework, really, really helped driving that shift, and putting the individual and individuals wellness at the forefront of everybody’s mind.

Ian Hogg
I also think there’s another trend, which is well as the pandemic is, post pandemic, we there seem to be shortages in, in all sorts of skill sets. And one of the things we’re finding from our customers at fastPAYE is retention is completely escalated up the, you know, strategic priorities, because people are struggling to replace, so you have to hold on to the ones you that you’ve got. And so I could see that an investment in well being supports that agenda, you know, and I don’t know if you’re seeing that at the moment as well?

Charlène Gisèle
Absolutely it does foster a culter. And you know, it promotes camaraderie, when I do my workshop, they’re very interactive, it’s not everyday that you get to, you know, do a live demo of breathing with your colleagues. And it’s very appropriate. You know, it’s not like asking people to go downward facing dog, which could be a bit problematic, if you don’t want to do that, thanks to your colleagues, doing a bit of mindfulness or doing a bit of anchoring or doing a bit of breath work is absolutely corporate appropriate. And I find there is power in that delivering some low entry points to low beginning approach to wellness, so to speak, because when I am speaking to my corporate executives or corporate clients, they’re some of the most intelligent and most sophisticated people out there, and they are so such wonderful experts in their field. But they often are not that well educated when it comes to health and wellness. And that’s not me pointing fingers at all. I just mean that that’s not something they’ve been focusing on in their career. And that’s completely fair. People that are running a business are experts in their field are not, you know, running a Wellness Spa, neither should they be. So it’s great to be able to enrich them and empower them with knowledge that is actually going to serve them my whole purpose and mission is to give tools, techniques and blueprint for people to go away from the workshop feeling empowered, and confident in their health.
Ian Hogg
Excellent. And if I was, if I was doing if we come back to, you know, what does the well being consultant do? Sort of a related question is, what sort of factors should I be looking? What key factors should I be looking for in a wellbeing consult? How do I choose one?

Charlène Gisèle
Such a great question. It’s a very, I think it’s a it’s a very important question, because sadly, as with all profession, perhaps, but noticeably with consultants, and coaches, I sometimes notice that there are quite a lot of charlatans and quite a lot of self promoted or self claimed coaches. So one of the first thing that I would do, as a business looking to hire someone is what is their credential? Which coaching school? Did that get that certification from? Are they also business consultants? What business are they worked with? What are the case study? What changes and transformation? Have they been able to implement? How savvy are they with technology? And how able are they going to be to support our business in a hybrid mode? Are they able to speak confidently in front of a very sophisticated panel? Do we want to put that person in front of our CFO CEOs, board of advisors? Now, those questions I think, are very important to ask. And I believe that having an expert that has previous experience in the field that your business is in is very powerful.
Ian Hogg
Yeah, and then that comes back to you focusing on the sort of legal profession having been a litigator.
Charlène Gisèle
I’m working with a large litigation law firm, just in a couple of days, and it’s been a natural match. Because being a litigator, I can relate to the pain point of fair litigator and it just you know, there is natural banter and a natural understanding and common commonality in the topic that we can talk about that it’s just something that you can’t make up. It’s natural much?
Ian Hogg
No, no, excellent. No, I think it’s in there. That makes perfect sense to me. They’re excellent sort of criteria for choosing someone. And thanks for sharing that. And if we’re sort of moving towards the end now, Charlène, so if, if somebody wanted to get in touch with you, what was the what’s a good way to contact you?

Charlène Gisèle
My website and social media. So my website is www.chrlenegisele.com. And I have the same name on Instagram and LinkedIn, very active on both platforms.
Ian Hogg
Okay, find it. Make sure that’s in the programme notes. And there’s one question that I asked everyone. And you’ll have heard this on the series one, but can you tell me what book or media is giving you inspiration at the moment on why?
Charlène Gisèle
My inspiration are the students the next generation, whether they’re business students, bank students, law students, politics, students, economic students, I am so driven and passionate about training of future generation of corporate executives early so that they know the tools, techniques and blueprint to embrace sustainable wellness. I love working with law firms and banks and architects. And sometimes it’s hard to make those shifts, because the person that I’m working with as 30, 40, 50, 60 plus years of having done that habit over and over and over again, whereas if we train early or future generation, that can be really really transformational, because those habits can be implemented and become part and parcel of how they run their life and how they become sustainable high performing executives.
Ian Hogg
Fine, that that’s an excellent inspiration and much better of a real life one than maybe a book or or podcast even. But listen Charlène now that that’s been excellent company. I feel we could go on for longer. I think it’s a there’s a lot to be discussed on that subject, but it time limits us. But thank you so much for your input. I’m sure the listeners are going to value that and I’m sure someone will get in touch to to learn more. Thank you very much.

Charlène Gisèle
I appreciate that Ian. Thank you for inviting me. I was really honoured to be here. Thank you

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