Marketing skills and what we need to talk about to progress in our professional careers, will differ to the marketing skills required and what we should be talking about when building a coaching business. But how?

Marketing Skills… When We Are Employed

When we are employed, those who are good at staying visible, progress.

We know the people I’m talking about – the ones who without any qualms whatsoever, make sure that their contribution to the workplace is both visible and acknowledged. To be clear, I’m not disparaging those who have this skill, the ability to keep what you do visible in an organisation is very important to progression.

We are used to having job titles that describe where we fit in the hierarchy. We know which aspects of our work responsibilities enhance our CVs – those of us who progress know very well how to blow our own trumpets, without being arrogant. It’s a very useful skill indeed. If you’re employed.

These skills could be described as ‘managing your personal brand’. They are considered, by those who are employed, to be marketing skills – you know, marketing your personal brand.

However, these are not the same marketing skills that you need in the world of self-employment. Marketing skills for finding clients are effectively the absolute opposite of this kind of marketing skill.

Marketing Skills… When We Are Self-Employed

The marketing skills we need for attracting clients are completely different from those we need to climb the corporate ladder.

Marketing for clients is not about making yourself visible as a great and highly qualified coach, it’s about describing outcomes. Specifically, it’s about describing the outcome that your clients can expect as a result of working with you.

You’re probably scratching your head and thinking how can I possibly describe the outcome of coaching? It depends on the individual client!

If I just read your mind, then you need to think a little deeper about how you market your coaching business, because you really do need to be able to describe the outcomes your clients can expect as a result of working with you.

Old fashioned scales used as a metaphor for the balance required in a coaching business

See these scales? They are a great metaphor for a coaching business and understanding this is critical to the success of your coaching business.

On one side of these scales go your delivery skills – every single bit of knowledge that you have that you could use in a coaching session.

Let me give you a couple of examples of what I mean:

  • Coaching qualification
  • Transactional analysis
  • Gestalt therapy
  • Any personality profiling tool
  • NLP – at any level

All the above (and honestly, this list is nowhere near exhaustive) live on one side of the scale. It doesn’t matter how highly qualified you are – all of it sits on one side of the scale.

What About The Other Side?

The other side of the scale is where your marketing skills live. Note that it’s far away from your delivery skills. This side of the scale is not about you at all. It’s about one thing and one thing only – what you can do for your client.

The things that need to go on this side of your business are:

  • Understanding exactly the problem that your client needs to solve
  • Describing succinctly how working with you will solve that problem
  • Being visible in places where the kind of client you can help is

It’s not about talking about how wonderful your coaching skills are. It’s not about using coach-speak to talk about what you do (honestly, nobody other than coaches has a clue what ‘holding space’ or ‘thinking partner’ actually mean!).

I work with qualified coaches to help them to grow their marketing skills so that they can build a financially viable coaching business comfortably, confidently and competently.

Should we talk? This is my diary.