In 2006 the Daily Show described a life coach as “a really expensive friend with limited credentials.” The whole “coach” thing has in many cases become a dirty word in the industry.
And to be fair, yes – over the years, we have seen many coaches:
- Charge exuberant prices that aren’t in line with the value they deliver.
- Make attractive but empty promises without the backing their claims with life experience, practice and years of devotion in honing their craft.
- Preach a change they haven’t given to themselves…yet.
I won’t mention who – because that’s not the point.
Here’s what’s important to know – if you are positioning yourself purely as a coach, then you are fighting an uphill battle to establish credibility and a reputation in the market. A market full of customers who are sick and tired of seeing and hearing the same thing.
That’s not to say that coaching isn’t of value, doesn’t work, or can’t work for that matter. If that was actually true then organizational executives and top entrepreneurs wouldn’t all be recommending coaches and mentors, and more importantly, wouldn’t be using them themselves.
In fact – if you are a coach, the statistics are also in your favor. An independent study (Global Coaching Client Study) conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC) on behalf of the International Coaching Federation found those who undertake coaching can expect appreciable improvement in productivity, satisfaction with life and work, and the attainment of relevant goals.
- 80% reported improved self-confidence.
- 73% reported improved relationships.
- 70% reported improved work performance, and;
- 99% of all companies and individuals who hire a coach, report being satisfied.
So how do you get around the stigma in the industry?
Simple – get back to basics. Stick to your core discipline (whatever that may be; marketing, sales, IT systems, customer service, project management etc..) where you already deliver value, then segue into coaching. Draw on the culmination of your life’s professional expertise, and leverage that for use in coaching.
If you are great at business consulting, position that first. If you are great at marketing and communications, then position that first. If you are absolutely an amazing corporate workshop facilitator and trainer, then stick to that. If you are great at sales training, then stick to that.
Because if you stick to your core discipline, your existing customers will:
- Already trust you and be more open to new suggestions.
- Already accept that you deliver value.
- Already see you as distinct in the market.
From that vantage, you can open the coaching conversation by simply saying…
“Well, one of the things that really gives power behind my service, is my study and integration of performance coaching techniques that works at the subtler levels of human performance, to impact business results. Would you be curious to find out how it can enhance other areas of your business too?”
And you’re in.
But isn’t that manipulative? Isn’t that misleading?
No – it’s sensible. It’s seamless.
On the condition that – you know that what you have on offer and can impact their life from a very deep place. It is up to you to own your value.
You already understand the deeper drivers of human behaviour.
You are likely already someone all your close friends and clients come to for a bit of “life advice”.
And chances are, if you are succeeding in your core discipline, then no doubt you would be effective at coaching already. After all – most working professionals will tell you, they are always trying to save their customers and clients from themselves.
They just don’t know it. But coaches do. They understand the deeper drivers of human behaviour, and how to solicit their other than conscious behaviours that are preventing them from getting the success they want in business and personal life.
And through a series of questions, guided exercises, and great facilitation of proven frameworks – can help them create sustainable results in all areas of their lives.
Once you get your existing clients results with coaching, branch out – ask for referrals. Facilitate the spreading of word of mouth. Then you can start marketing a bit more aggressively. But you first have to create the spark.
And that spark is – getting results for your clients. Beyond all the hyped-up promises and clever sales manouevres you can possible think of, results is what matters.
People want to know, “can I trust you?”, “can you help me,” and “will I get results?”
Once they know, that spark becomes a flame. One that can be self-sustaining. Follow your path of least resistance.
“What occurs naturally…(you know the rest).