Marketing isn’t a nice to have or an add-on skill for coaches who want to have their own businesses, it’s an essential skill. It’s as essential in fact, as your coaching skills.
I was chatting to a coach recently who was explaining that she hasn’t been massively successful with her coaching business. In fact, her accountant told her that really, it’s a hobby, not a business.
I find that I have to scratch my ‘coaching itch’ by having coaching conversations in a more informal way, with people that I meet she told me.
A Few Observations
First of all, there are two skills that are essential if you’re to run a coaching business. One is coaching of course – your delivery skills. The other is marketing skills – which is the skill you use to create the opportunity to actually do the delivery.
Without both skills in equal measure, any coach is going to struggle to create a viable business and you’ll be stuck either having informal coaching conversations or coaching for ‘mates rates’ neither of which are satisfactory.
Secondly – about these ‘informal’ coaching conversations. Our professional bodies have rules of ethics that dictate that a coaching conversation isn’t happening unless both parties are aware that the conversation is a coaching conversation.
What that means is that these informal conversations aren’t coaching conversations at all. What they are really, is the way that this particular coach convinces herself that she is still using her coaching skills. I realise that this seems harsh of me, and I really don’t mean to be unkind. However, it is the truth. An unpalatable truth, yes, but still the truth.
Thirdly, a decision to not learn how to market in a professional and effective way is a choice to not grow a financially viable coaching business. It’s really interesting to note that we have had several people with marketing degrees and whole careers in product-based marketing join The Coaching Revolution. Without exception, they’ve said I know how to market a product to a consumer, but how do I market me as a coach?! What that tells me is that marketing yourself as a coach feels different from other forms of marketing.
Good Marketing Is Comfortable And Effective
Good marketing is both comfortable and effective. You don’t have to be loud, shouty or braggy – you just have to be clear, concise and focused. It’s the focused bit that can get coaches all hot under the collar.
The first step to effective marketing is to know who you are marketing to. It’s not possible to market to everyone, you simply will not be heard and so you have to choose a particular audience to market to. This particular audience is called a target audience or a niche.
The word niche can bring coaches out in hives! They worry so much about the concept of focusing their marketing because they feel that it will mean that they are losing out on everyone else as a potential client. The truth is the opposite. By focusing on a particular group of people, it becomes far easier to help people understand why they might want to be coached. This, in turn, means that they become interested in talking to you about having some coaching.
Marketing Skills – Nail Your Niche
If you – like many (most?) coaches – struggle with the concept of a niche, because it feels wrong to you, may I invite you to my next 4-day challenge?
It’s the only challenge that’s for qualified coaches (or coaches who are taking a professional qualification) and it starts on 5 September.
It involves a short video lesson each day, and a whole bunch of thinking on your part. There is the opportunity to have your questions answered each day and I can promise you that by the end of the challenge, you will a) have had fun and b) get to learn with a whole bunch of other qualified coaches c) understand the importance of having a niche.
Join me? Click here to enrol.