Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Coaching is a beautiful calling. Everyone who does this work, loves it. New coaches love their training and immediately recognize the power of a coaching relationship in assisting others to make important changes in their lives, careers and businesses.
For clients, once they try coaching, they love it too. Many studies have shown that over 96 percent of the people who try coaching are very happy with it. Most clients will stay with their coach for over six months and some never leave. When you take coaching into organizations it routinely generates returns on investments of 500 to 700 percent.
Further, more and more clients are becoming aware that certain types of changes are very difficult to accomplish on their own. These bigger, “adaptive” changes are rarely achieved through books or “one-size-fits-all” or “drive-by” training solutions. Rather these types of changes benefit from individualized attention. The support of a good coach can facilitate crucial shifts in perspectives and an overcoming of limiting beliefs. A coaching relationship can provide the feedback, accountability and support needed, over sufficient time, so that new knowledge and intentions can be translated into new behaviour. This is what coaching excels at.
So if coaching is such a valuable and effective service, why do so many coaches struggle to fill their practices? The simple truth is that coaching is still a relatively new service that most people have never tried, and people are hesitant to purchase things they don’t understand.
This will change in time. It has improved noticeably over the past decade. However, if you are currently trying to build a successful coaching practice, I encourage you to minimize your pain by:
- Not trying to sell generic life coaching, business coaching, career coaching, executive coaching, etc.
- Identifying an existing niche–a specific group of people with an existing set of challenges.
- Finding out what the people in your niche are struggling with–the acid test is to find what percentage of them are actually spending money now to find solutions or achieve specific outcomes.
- Finding out how you can easily create relationship with them. In person? Through writing or talks or workshops? Online, through social media, newsletters or by optimizing a website to the keywords they type into Google? Remember to market in the vocabulary they speak about the challenges they face and the outcomes they seek. (Coaching is just the way your deliver your solution.)
- Making it easy for them to experience coaching, understand its benefits and how it contrasts to the current solutions that are not working well for them.
- Communicating why you are the best solution provider. Ideally you want to highlight three compelling reasons/strengths.
Yes, coaching is a beautiful calling, and a great service to the world. Wherever you are on your journey, please take good care of yourselves. Do your homework, get well-trained, pay attention to the marketing, and know that there are many who have faced the same challenges you face.
They did it. You can too. Keep believing, and know you are not alone on this path.
Steve Mitten CPCC, MCC served at the 2005 ICF President and runs ACOACH4U.COM