Who Is A Successful Coach?
Anthony Robbins, Brendon Burchard, Rich Litvin, Jim Rohn, Robin Sharma – all are successful coaches. These are names that those of us who are interested in coaching hold in high esteem. It may well be that seeing or reading something by one of these guys is what turned us on to coaching in the first place. Coaching, and the idea of becoming a coach, can become a complete passion, nay obsession with some people. I know, I was one. The other two ‘revolutionaries’ who along with me created The Coaching Revolution, are the same. We understand the transformational nature of coaching and we are passionate about it.
But I Have A Great Qualification…
Some people get the opportunity to take a coaching qualification via their employer. More and more organisations are recognising the benefit of coaching, both for their employees and their business. Others take coaching qualifications under their own steam. Whichever of these you’ve done, I have some sad news for you. Just because you have a qualification doesn’t mean you can automatically translate it into a business. It takes more than a shiny certificate to be a successful coach.
I’ve Bought Into A ‘System’
There are organisations out there who profess to help absolutely anyone become financially successful coaches. They’ll tell you that they can help you succeed whoever you are and whatever your background (as long as you have the £X,000 to join them of course). They’ll tell you of the 100s of coaches who are already succeeding using their methods, that if you follow their system, you too can be a successful coach.
I have another sad truth. If you dig deep enough, you’ll discover that the ones who actually have succeeded had several things critical things in common and even more sadly they are the tiny minority of the 100s of coaches.
So, What Does It Take To Make It Work?
So what do they have in common, these few who are successful? What are the secret ingredients to becoming a financially successful coach?
1 – They have some experience of business development, not necessarily masses, but at least some. If you have no sales experience (because that’s what ‘business development’ is) then you need to be prepared to learn and to put yourself into situations that are so far outside your comfort zone that you can’t see it with a telescope. If you want to move from an employed to a self-employed situation, you have to be able to generate the income yourself. Obvious to some, but not oddly enough, to all.
It is possible to transition from employed to successful coach, but don’t kid yourself it’s easy.
Don’t be put off by this. Selling is a skill, not an innate talent, and like all skills, it can be learned. Not having a ‘business generation’ background doesn’t preclude you from becoming a financially successful coach, but honestly, those who don’t have who then go on to success have to work harder in areas that are not coaching.
2 – They are great at having meaningful conversations. Now, those of us who are coaches are thinking ‘Sarah, that’s what coaches do, we have meaningful conversations!’ and you are quite right. However, the meaningful conversations that I’m referring to here are those which have a sales focus, conversations that lead to an individual or an organisation saying ‘yes, I’ll pay you to coach me/us’ (note the use of the word ‘pay’). Those conversations are a different sort from our usual coaching conversations.
3 – They take action, business development action, every single day. You’ll hear the stories about word-of-mouth marketing being the best kind, which ultimately it is. However word-of-mouth marketing isn’t developed by giving coaching away for free in the hope of a great testimonial and believe me I have seen literally dozens of coaches do this. The reason they do it is that the work of coaching is more comfortable to them than the work of business development.
What Is ‘Business Development’ For Coaches?
Let me digress for a moment to explain what I mean by business development work (actually, what I don’t mean by it).
We are experts at negotiating with ourselves. We are particularly experts at negotiating with ourselves when we are justifying something that we don’t want to do.
One such area of this is business development.
We negotiate with ourselves about, for example, how valuable some free coaching could be to us as a marketing tool; it gets our name out there, it helps the non-paying client to achieve their goals (a win/win surely?), and most of all, I’ll get word-of-mouth advertising, won’t I?
How NOT To Do It
Let me deal with these one by one.
It gets our name out there. No, it doesn’t really. Unless you are coaching a really high-profile individual (like Oprah Winfrey type high-profile), the sphere of influence in which your client operates is usually small. It is also full of people like them, who don’t want to pay (or can’t pay) for coaching.
It helps the non-paying client to achieve their goals. No, it doesn’t really. People do not value things that are free. It is a fact. They may grab onto the bright shiny thing, but I promise you, when it gets hard – which achieving goals always does – they walk away because they don’t have a financial commitment. Sad but true. (I can hear you thinking ‘ah, but that’s not true because Fred Bloggs, whom I coached for free achieved his goals’. Good for Fred, but I assure you, he is the absolute exception).
I’ll get word-of- mouth advertising, won’t I? No, you won’t really. To expand on the point I touched upon above, the people we coach for free may well bring us other individuals to coach, but they will be of a similar ilk. They’ll be too poor to pay, or they won’t believe they should pay, or best of all, they’ll want to see some success and then pay you out of that. This won’t pay your mortgage.
I recently saw a brand-new coach offer to coach people to earn a million pounds in 2018 in return for £100k of that million. Insanity, and probably more relevantly, bankruptcy.
So, What Do I Have To Do?
Back to the original subject; what do successful coaches have in common?
4 – (to continue with the list started above) They are usually fantastic coaches, but being a fantastic coach isn’t enough. There are loads of fantastic coaches who simply can’t make it work financially and end up going back to work for someone else.
5 – They are strong public speakers, however being able to deliver a stirring presentation isn’t enough either. There are some fantastic marketing presentations out there. I have seen some absolute crackers, however, without the skills to turn that motivational presentation into paying clients, it isn’t going to work. Sticking an advert onto the end of a presentation to a group is called ‘selling from the stage’. Selling from the stage is old-hat in the UK. It still works in other parts of the world and to be honest, it can still work here, it’s just not a reliable source of work/income. The best way to use a great presentation is as a starting point to get yourself into a situation where you can have a meaningful conversation.
The things that successful coaches have in common are, in a nutshell:
1 – Persistence, they don’t take a no personally, nor do they take it to mean no forever. They have the resilience to say ‘next’, but to retain the information of the ‘no’ for future use.
2 – Formula, they understand what it takes to gain clients and they actually take the required action to book the next conversation or the next presentation every day. Every. Single. Day.
3 – A Mentor, they understand that the best way to learn is from someone who has done it before. Let me stress that I mean someone who has actually achieved what you’re trying to achieve, not someone who can teach you a system that they haven’t successfully applied.
4 – Resilience, they know success isn’t going to happen overnight, yet still manage to stay focused and motivated.
If you’ve read this and you are still thinking that coaching is for you, then why not get in touch? The Coaching Revolution consists of coaches who have been there and done it and can help you to do it too.