I’ve had a couple of conversations with coaches recently about their ideal client and what they worry about, that have got me thinking.
Ideal Client And What They Worry About
You probably know that The Coaching Revolution teaches qualified coaches (or those taking a qualification) how to find clients who will pay a professional rate for their coaching.
The process that we teach involves figuring out what kind of client is your ideal client and what they worry about. An ideal client is not only one who can – and will – pay, but also one that you love to coach. The kind of client who sets your heart alight with joy.
It’s A Chunky Piece Of Work
Working out who your ideal client is is a big piece of work. The level of detail you need to go to is high and the reason that you need to go into this kind of detail is so that you can connect with your client on an emotional level.
Specifically, the thing you’re looking to deduce is what keeps your client awake at 3am. What is it that is circling endlessly in their mind and keeping them from sleeping soundly?
Your Ideal Client Needs To Become Your Best Friend
Your ideal client needs to be someone you know incredibly well. However, they are not real people. They are a fictitious person who will be made up of your knowledge and experience of the kind of client you want to work with. This idea of a fictitious person confuses many coaches. These are the kinds of questions I get asked about creating an ideal client avatar (ICA):
- How am I supposed to know what job they have?
- Do I know what they earned?
- Am I supposed to understand what’s keeping them awake?
- Why do they have to have a name? (The very best question on this topic was one from an Australian coach who asked me ‘is this a bit like your porn star name? The name of your first pet and the street you grew up on?’!!)
The reason you will know, is because you’ll do the work. You’ll spend the time reflecting on the kind of client you want to work with and you’ll grow your ICA into someone who is very real to you.
You Can’t Get Others To Do This Work For You
One of the things I find both bemusing and (frankly) lazy, is when I see posts on social media from coaches who clearly can’t be bothered to put the work in and who ask questions like these
- Are you a working mum?, what are the main problems you face?
- if you’re a business owner, what keeps you awake at night?
- if you’re coming up for retirement, what are you worried about?
The reason that I think these posts are pointless is that the answers people give won’t get you the information you need to create your ideal client avatar.
Let me explain one by one.
Working mums come in all shapes and sizes. From those who have small, home-based businesses, to high-flying professionals and everything in between.
Which of their answers is useful to you? Only the ones that fit your ICA.
‘Working mums’ isn’t an ideal client. At best, it’s the very loosest description of a niche.
Similarly, business owners come in many different guises too.
From the kitchen-table business owner, to the multi-million pound turnover business owner and again, everything in between. The things that worry the kitchen-table business owner are different to those that worry the large business owner and so their answers aren’t helpful to you in creating your ICA.
At best, business owner is a loose description of a niche.
From the person who is retiring on a final salary pension, to the person who is retired due to ill health again, there are many different versions of a retiree.
Again, the answers that these different types can give you simply muddy the waters of your clarity on your ideal client.
YOU Have To Do The Work
The simple fact is that you have to do the work yourself. Asking other people for the answers to your ideal client questions isn’t productive.
If you’d like some help with what you need to consider, may I suggest that you read my book? Not only does it go into incredible detail, it also comes with access to downloadable worksheets and support with completing them.
In addition, you might like to join Coaching Republic. It’s our free community for coaches who want to build a successful coaching business.