It’s something we all have mind monkeys around, isn’t it? How do we go from our previous (often stellar) career to establishing credibility as a coach?
What if you don’t have a previous career?
How do you become credible then?
1) Will A Qualification Help With Credibility?
Your coaching qualification is essential for your credibility. Coaching credentials are important – albeit not from a marketing perspective – because the world is full of ‘coaches’.
I struggle to think of a job title that covers more than the word coach does. From those who coach sports, to those who know a lot about something and teach others that thing and call themselves a ‘something’ coach. There are an awful lot of coaches around!
An additional problem with the word coach is that everyone understands it. That would seem to be a good thing, apart from the fact that what the general population understands the word coach to mean, and what we’re talking about, are two different things.
Your coaching credential sets you apart from those who just use the word coach to describe a massively varied selection of job functions. It clearly demonstrates that you take your work seriously. It also offers comfort to your clients that you are following a code of ethics and that you have qualification-worthy skills.
Coaching qualifications are not cheap but I have yet to meet the coach who thinks the coaching course they took was a waste of money and/or effort.
2) Your Experience
Don’t underestimate what you have done in your career before you became a coach. You are the sum of the knowledge and experience you have earned over the years and those things lead you to becoming a coach.
People find coaching in various ways, but we have all been impacted by the superpower that is coaching. Impacted to the extent that we went and took a qualification in coaching. Even the thing that lead you to coaching is valuable experience.
Some people who come to coaching later in life, when they’re approaching retirement, use their little black book of contacts to find coaching clients. They already have credibility with these contacts and the move into coaching is smooth and seamless. These coaches are very, very unusual. (They often don’t understand why other coaches struggle to find clients too, but that’s a whole other subject!).
Your work, employment and life experience is also valuable and not to be dismissed. For example, if you’ve run a small business for years, that counts for something. It means you understand the ups and downs of small business ownership. Another example might be if you’ve been a stay-at-home mum, you are an absolute whizz at organisation, stress management, and time management – that also counts for something. You understand the ups and downs of stay-at-home mums.
3) Your Niche
Choosing a niche isn’t just important, it’s critical to your credibility. Those coaches who talk about how they can help everyone with anything, in their marketing aren’t actually credible to anyone. The reason they lack credibility is that no one from outside our industry understands that actually, we can coach anyone. The fact that we can, doesn’t mean that we should try to (say try to because no coaching business that’s marketed as helping everyone do everything will succeed).
Marketing is an entirely different skill set, and uses an entirely different language from coaching. Having a niche, and a target client within that niche sets you up as an authority with that kind of client.
The work you will do to find both your niche and your target client within that niche means that you are completely under the skin of said client. You will understand what their problem is, how it impacts their lives, the things that they have done to try to solve their problem and even why those things haven’t worked. In short, you will have become an authority in that niche. People who fit the profile of your target client will think you are amazing! How is it possible that you understand them so well? You’ve done the work is how – you may even have lived experience, which will also add to your credibility.
The testimonials you get from people within your niche, and those who fit your target client profile will also add to your credibility – there’s nothing that offers more comfort to a potential client than reading testimonials about how great you are from someone who is like them.
Becoming Visible To Increase Credibility
Becoming visible as a coach is exactly what you need to do to begin coaching for a living. However, you don’t need to become visible to the whole world, you just need to become visible to those who fit your target client profile.
If you become visible to them, describing the exact problem they’re struggling with and offering help and support to get rid of that problem, you’re going to have credibility with them, and that’s what matters. You need credibility with your chosen niche and target client – it doesn’t actually matter what the rest of the world believes to be true.