There is a strongly held belief amongst coaches that if your coaching is good enough, your clients will find you.
This belief comes from coaches being told this by some of the people who have trained them. Smart, highly experienced coaches (MCC in some cases I know of) who train other coaches for a living have told them this. It becomes a passionately held belief, one which they will defend indignantly if challenged.
Clients Will Find You…
“I’ve had very experienced coaches tell me this, and I believe them!” That’s been said to me on more than one occasion. (Most recently in answer to a post I put in my free community Build A Coaching Business – come and join us if you like?).
Truth bomb: It’s not true!
I can hear the sharp intake of breath as you read this – and I know you want to believe that it’s true, because if it’s true, then your clients will appear.
But they’re not appearing, are they?
If you wait long enough, the gnawing self-doubt will kick in. But, you’ll think, I was told that my coaching is good by my trainers. All the people I’ve coached so far have given me great feedback. Where are my clients?!?! ???
Why Do Experienced Coaches Say It?
With rank comes respect.
What I mean is that as coaches ascend the ladder of professional qualifications, they garner respect from the newer coaches just starting out, and what these more experienced coaches say matters. Newer coaches look up to them. The experienced coaches are great coaches and excellent trainers and so what they say is considered to be gold.
These experienced coaches come in a couple of guises (I’m describing them in general, don’t shoot me because you know someone who doesn’t fit either mould!):
- They have had a stellar corporate career before they became coaches and used their little black book full of connections – with whom they already had credibility – to gain coaching clients. Their belief is that their coaching spoke for itself. They often are oblivious to the massive advantage having that little black book gave them. When they say that if your coaching is good enough, your clients will find you, they believe it.
- They were invited back to their coach training school to coach and train newer cohorts. These coaches have few other clients, and very little marketing experience at all. Their personal experience is that they were repeatedly given trainees to coach, and their perception of this fact is that as their coaching skills grew, they were offered more clients (ie trainees) to coach. Therefore when they say if your coaching is good enough, your clients will find you, they believe it.
These senior coaches are not bad people, they truly believe what they say.
What I’m saying is that these august coaches are not marketers. In fact, they’ve done very little by way of marketing, and absolutely do not appreciate the help that either their little black book, or their teaching role gave them. They think their fabulous coaching skills have spoken for themselves and so they feel qualified to advise others on the basis of that. They’re not being disingenuous, because they believe that what they are saying is true.
The thing is, it’s not true.
They are dead wrong.
The problem with the idea that if your coaching is good enough, your clients will find you, is that it is a road strewn with mind monkeys.
What it usually means first, is that when reality kicks in, the crisis of confidence happens. There’s a whole cascade of thoughts which tend to go like this:
- My clients haven’t found me. So….
- My coaching isn’t good enough. So….
- I need to market. So…
- People that I took my coaching qualification with will see my marketing. So…
- They will know. My fellow coach-trainees will know that I’m a lousy coach.
Can you see how sad that thought cascade is? And can you see how very easy it is to get caught up in this whirlwind of thoughts?
Truth bomb: If your clients have no idea that you exist, how can they possibly find you?
What Should I Be Doing?
There are a few things you should do, but the first one is put down the association between fabulous coaching skills and countless clients.
Your coaching skills and your client acquisition skills are totally separate skills. You can be a great coach and not know how to find clients.
*Note – the reason that we only work with qualified coaches is because the skills we teach are very effective. We do not want to be in the business of equipping potentially poor coaches with great client acquisition skills. Yes, I know that a lack of a qualification doesn’t always equal poor coaching skills. However – and this is a biggie – we have a lot of coaching diploma students who told me that they had lots of coaching experience. They joined us to take our coaching qualification to formalise their experience. Without exception, these students have subsequently told me that what they had believed was coaching was actually not coaching at all.
Get some skills. Specifically, get some marketing skills.
If you’d like a helping hand, may I offer you a place on our free challenge that’s coming up? It’s called Nail Your Niche, because figuring out a niche is the first step to finding clients. If you don’t think you want to niche, may I suggest that you join us anyway? You have nothing to lose.
Let me share some of the comments from the last challenge.