It’s not the best coach who will succeed in building a financially viable coaching business, it’s the best marketer. I understand that this is an unpopular and unpalatable truth, but it is the truth. Let me explain?

There’s never a shortage of really good, qualified coaches.

Seriously – if I wanted to find 100+ x ICF ACC (or any equivalently qualified) coaches to deliver coaching for me, I could find them within a week.

If I needed 50+ x PCC coaches, I could find them in a short timescale too. I could even find 20+ x MCC coaches if I needed them in a hurry.

There’s never, ever a shortage of really good, qualified coaches. The shortage is always in coaching clients who can – and will – pay a professional rate for your coaching. Ouch, right? That is painful!

However, that doesn’t mean that the coaching profession is saturated with coaches – far from it. The problem isn’t that there aren’t enough people to coach, it’s that in general, people don’t understand what coaching is. Worse, many of them think they know what coaching is, and they’re wrong.

A Couple Of Hard Truths

What this means is that we can’t attract clients by saying that we’re coaches. There are too many (frankly far too many) negative connotations and misunderstandings about what a ‘coach’ is for it to be effective to say ‘I’m a coach, come and work with me’.

The other no-no when it comes to finding coaching clients is trying to persuade people to work with you by describing the coaching process. No one cares about the coaching process. Actually, that’s not true, we care about it – we care very much indeed, but no one else does. The truth is that no one who isn’t a coach either cares or understands about the coaching process.

No One Cares…

This bald fact – that no one cares about the coaching process – explains why so many coaches who turn up to networking events and introduce themselves as a coach ‘who can help you reach your goals and overcome limiting beliefs’ fall flat.

First of all, very few people indeed have a goal, so why would they want to pay someone to help them reach it?

Secondly, until the instant we realise that something we have believed to be true isn’t true, it is simply our reality. A limiting belief is only revealed as one after the lightbulb moment. Therefore telling someone you can help them overcome limiting beliefs that they don’t actually know they have is futile as a marketing tool.

A Pyramid Scheme?!

A rather insidious side-effect of this fact that no one other than we coaches cares about the coaching process, is that there are many coaches who end up coaching other coaches. Coaches can get excited about finding and overcoming limiting beliefs, coaches can get excited about reaching goals, coaches can get excited about…… I rather suspect that you get my point. In short, we are easy to convince of the benefits of coaching, because we know what it is and how powerful it is.

(As an aside, I was once asked by a newbie if the coaching profession is a pyramid scheme. I was taken aback, but honestly, I can understand why she asked!)

However, when it comes to marketing your coaching business, it’s not coaching you need – it’s knowledge and you cannot be coached across a knowledge gap. What I mean is that it’s impossible to coach a useful marketing strategy out of a head that doesn’t have one in it! You may want to bear that in mind when you think of engaging yet another coach to help you build your business…

Just to put something into perspective for a moment, it’s not just the coaching process that people won’t buy. People won’t buy any other process either – clients buy outcomes, not processes. We don’t buy the process of getting insurance, we buy the peace of mind of knowing that if the worst was to happen, we’re covered. We don’t buy the process of building a luxury car, we buy how we feel when we’re driving it.

The Harsh Truth

The harsh truth is that it’s not the best coach who will succeed in building a financially viable coaching business, it’s the best marketer. The best marketer will be able to articulate valuable outcomes to their potential coaching clients, in language that those potential clients will understand.

Coaching skills and marketing skills are needed in equal measure to be successful. That’s an outrage! I hear you cry. You may think it is an outrage, but that doesn’t stop it from being true.

Marketing skills are equally important to coaching skills in building a coaching business. Coaching skills are your delivery skills, marketing skills are your ‘creating the opportunity to do that delivery’ skills. There’s no point being a fabulous coach if you don’t get the opportunity to coach, is there?

May I suggest a good place to dip your toe in the water of ‘how to market a coaching business comfortably and effectively’ might be by joining our next 4-day challenge Nail Your Niche from 5-9 September?

There are several reasons why you might want to:

  • It’s free
  • It’s run by The Coaching Revolution, which has a good history of teaching coaches how to market effectively
  • It’s only for qualified coaches (or those who are taking a qualification)
  • It’s coaching-profession specific
  • It won’t take hours of your time
  • It will explain clearly why you need to niche – even though you don’t think you do
  • It’s fun!

Will I see you there?