Credibility as a coach doesn’t come from the place that most people think it comes from, because it’s not about our qualifications. Let me quickly add that I think professional accreditation for coaches is essential!
At The Coaching Revolution, we only work with qualified coaches because the marketing process we teach is very effective and we will not be responsible for the proliferation of poor coaching.
Do I think that every coach without a qualification is poor? No I don’t, but the problem is, that without a recognised qualification, I have no yardstick against which to judge a coach. Add in the fact that every single person I know who took a coaching qualification to formalise the coaching they said they’d been doing for years, realised that what they’d been doing wasn’t coaching. Every single one. I think it’s fair to say that that coaching qualifications are essential.
However, coaching qualifications only bring credibility amongst the coaching fraternity. Outside of our profession, no one really understands what we do. Worse yet, most people think they understand and they’re wrong. People tend to think that coaches are mentors or teachers and it’s quite hard to dissuade them of this idea.
To go back to the credibility piece – not one of our mentors has ever been asked for their qualifications by a client. Not one. Some work in the private sector, some work in the corporate sector but none has ever been asked to prove their qualification.
The question remains therefore, if credibility (outside the coaching fraternity) doesn’t come from our qualifications, how do we build it?
Credibility as a coach is built through demonstrating a solid understanding of the situation that your potential client(s) find themselves in. The situation – and associated challenges – they’re in, that coaching can help them to resolve. When your potential client realises that you are speaking about them when you talk about who you work with, and the kind of challenges you support people to overcome, they will find themselves thinking this coach is talking about me! How about that!
How though can you possibly talk about the situation your potential clients find themselves in when the answer to that question entirely depends on the individual? Let’s face it, the number of potential challenges that coaching can help with is massive!
This is where understanding how to market professionally comes in to play.
In the same way that no one really understands what coaching is, coaches don’t understand what marketing is.
Coaches think marketing is about humble-bragging (or not so humble in some cases!). They think it’s talking about the coaching process. They think it’s about sharing the fabulous outcomes of their clients. Or perhaps they choose to pick something that coaching can help with, and they talk about that instead; confidence, resilience, imposter syndrome, feeling stuck….. I could go on.
Quite simply, what I’ve described isn’t good marketing.
Good marketing is focused. It focuses on one demographic group as a target audience (or niche). If you look around you at marketing you come across everywhere – tv, radio, social media, print media, bill boards etc – each piece of marketing that you see has a target audience. Without a target audience, it’s simply ‘spray and pray’ marketing – which is the epitome of poor marketing.
Learning how to focus your marketing message is as important to your success as learning how to coach well. It’s essential.
Perhaps I can help? On Thursday 19 January, I’m running a professional development session at The Parcel Yard, King’s Cross Station in London. For £59 (including VAT) you can spend two hours looking carefully at where your credibility lies. By the end of the session, you will have a clear idea of where your target audience might be. Then, you can begin to build your credibility as a coach.
You’ll even get 2 x CCEUs! See you there?