How to Attract Clients in a More Coach-Like Way

Some part of you already knows this… it’s a rare person that wakes up in the morning thinking “I need a coach!” That person is “initiated” into the value of coaching because they or someone they know has had a positive experience with coaching. But that’s a small percentage of all the people in the world.

So why are coaches working so hard to convince people to buy their coaching?

I floundered around with this fruitless approach myself in my first three years of my business. Then I realized, that selling coaching is a very sales-like approach and I didn’t want to do it anymore. It takes a lot of energy for little return and doesn’t build much momentum or ease over time.

Each new prospect has to be convinced. It’s like starting over with every sample session. And too many say they can’t afford it because they perceive coaching as a luxury.

It’s not very coach-like is it?

Think about it. We’re taught to work with clients holistically, focusing in on their agenda  — what is it that they want today. And then we use our skills, listening and asking powerful questions, to draw out their wisdom, help get perspective and work through obstacles so they walk away with the outcome they came for.

Coaching is client-centric. But selling coaching is not.

happy people reaching out

So, what would be a more client-centric approach to attracting clients? There’s a tried and true way. Every successful change agent, entrepreneur and professional has done this. They target a specific group of people, find out exactly what they want — that tangible outcome they woke up wanting this morning — and show how they can help them get there.

Here’s how it works:

Focus Smartly

Focus your time and energy on a group of people — one viable coaching niche — full of people who are

  • easy to find
  • factively seek support to get where they want to go
  • narrow enough that you’ll stand out in the crowd of service providers

Listen and Learn

Conduct a little casual market research to discover exactly what would motivate them to seek out professional services by asking:

  • What outcome are you hungry to achieve right now?
  • What would it do for you if you could make that happen?
  • What’s in your way?
  • What is it costing you to be where you are now?

Speak to their Heart

Make sure all your blogs, ezines and all of your messages speak to those people “where they live” about the specific challenges and outcomes they care most about (instead of about coaching). That’s how you’ll attract their attention and gain their trust.

Close the Gap

Offer well titled coaching programs, products and events that are clearly designed to help them achieve those specific desired outcomes. When you show them how you can help them close the gap between where they are now and where they want to be, they are naturally motivated to invest in their future with your professional support.

And don’t worry… you have all the skills you need already to help a targeted niche market reach those tangible outcomes and their full potential. You don’t need any expertise. Trust me, there are plenty of people out there who are eager to invest in professional services to achieve a specific purpose.

What about you? Have you ever come across a workshop or event that seems like it’s been designed for where you are right now? At those times, investing in your future is a no brainer. And you’ll tell others who are in the same place you are about it too.

That’s how you’ll attract clients in a client-centric way. It’s easier, more fun, less salesy and you’ll market much less.

There’s a new wave of coaches who have shifted their approach this way and are thriving.

It’s a mindset shift way. I want to invite you to choose Your Highly Profitable Niche.

You’re not a salesperson. You’re a coach. So it’s time to start attracting clients who want your support without having to convince them to buy your coaching.

What do you think about this? I’d love to hear your comments so drop them in below. And I will respond to you.

  • Joseph Smart

    Fantastic article! I have been struggling with this dilemma for a good few months now and this has really helped me think in new directions and not too feel bad that I am not a sales person. I am a coach!

  • Angela

    I truly truly credit you Rhonda with making me realize how incredibly important this is in business.  Now I run around telling everyone how much THEY need to do it!  Still working on my rebranding but it’s coming together soon 🙂

    • It’s such a powerful shift that has a cascade of great results for coaches and other entrepreneurs. I’m so glad you made this shift, Angela. Touch in when you re-launch.

  • Barbara

    Wonderful article Rhonda.  I have been a “pro bono” coach for as long as I can remember.  I have gone through a program, hired and worked with a mentor coach, have a company and domain name,  business cards and a Pay Pal account.  Sounds great you might say!  Well, I haven’t been able to take it to the next level.  The level of clients. The interesting thing is I AM a salesperson, but have never felt comfortable with that aspect of this business and your article meaningful to me because of that.  I love working with women, especially of menopausal age with all those related issues.  This is my niche.  I feel such joy when I hear someone say, “wow Barbara, I never thought of it that way!”  This IS one of my passions and I just need to find a way to jump start this career.  I know I can help so many women.

    • Are you still pro bono mostly Barbara? I can hear your passion for menopausal women and know they need help, but will they reach for professional support from a non-medical resource? I’ve found this to be one of those profitless niches. I’d love for you to prove me wrong, but you may need to choose a more viable niche to really make money at this. And it’s possible to choose one that includes menopausal women in it, since this is a passionate topic for you. You might check out my upcoming free webinar and see if that shifts your mindset to one where you can still coach about the topics you love but also find yourself in high demand because you’re offering something people will buy. http://idealcoachingmarket.com

      • Barbara

        Thank you for responding.  Yes, I’m still doing pro bono work. I have not taken this to the level where I’m getting paid.  You make a good point and although there are a vast number of women in this category, it does make me wonder if you’re on the mark here. I was told to focus in on one group and not to paint a broad spectrum by focusing on “women” in general.  When is the upcoming webinar?  I would love to be able to attend, if time permits. 

        • Non-viable niches will respond avidly to free things but when it comes time to invest, they back away — even if they love the results they’re getting. Lots of coaches have come to me with the same issue for this niche market and others. It almost always indicates that the market isn’t full of “seekers” — people who do invest in their own development. That’s why, if you want to have a sustainable business that’s both enjoyable and financially viable, you’ll want to focus on a viable market. And in this economy, no coach should be selling coaching. It hasn’t worked for a decade to sell the tools instead of offering help to achieve the outcome people already KNOW they want and are willing to invest in to get.

          So the webinar details are in the link I gave you. The webinar is next Tuesday. Hope you’ll be there Barbara because I’m sure you didn’t intend for your coaching to be a hobby. You’re undoubtedly too good for that.
          http://idealcoachingmarket.com

          • Barbara

            Thanks so much for your time and input. You’re right, about the charity or hobby comment.  Well put.  I will try my best to be present next Tuesday. 

  • This was an “eye brow raiser” kind of article!  I am recently certified and working in a funeral home until I can launch my coaching practice.  I am a Bereavement Coach.  I specialize in grief as my niche.  I see grief everywhere I go lately.  Divorce/Separation/Empty Nest/Job Loss/Health Loss/Business Failures/Loss of a Loved One –  I am targeting to start in group coaching and this article along with several others I have read, have helped me figure out which direction to take!  Thank you for being a means of support for those of us that are eager to begin the coaching journey!  I recently hosted a Brunch of Grief, and I did get a client to work one on one with.  She had no problem paying what I asked up front.  We did a session for 15 minutes and I simply stopped like I said I would and asked her if she would like to continue.  I had already explained that the session would come with a condition, she would either say yes or no.  Either would be fine.  She said, “Are you kidding?  We’re just warming up!  Yes I want to continue!”  I wish everyone the very best this year!  We are called to coach! I love my new business Coaching Family Dynamics!  Finally seems like I am allowed to see people resurrected instead of feeling dead inside.  Be proud of your role as coaches!  We are going to put a dent in the Universe and change people’s lives for the better!  Kim Wolfe

    • Thank you for sharing, Kaci! I’m so glad this article helped you position yourself and the value of your services to enroll your client. Congratulations!

  • CoachHindy

    Hi Rhonda,
    I haven’t started coaching yet, despite finishing my training 2 years ago. I’m standing in my own way. However, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this article. I’m not a sales person, and certainly not comfortable feeling like I have to “sell” the idea of coaching, and convince people they need this service. Choosing a target, and speaking to them makes sense, and your advice on targeting all your messages to that group is invaluable. I hope this helps me take those steps to get me out of this rut, and start helping people like I was meant to do. Thanks.

  • Nkeoma Agu

    Thank you so much Rhonda for reminding me to focus on a group of people. You just switched a light bulb on!

    • And thank you for reading Prosperous Coach Blog! Is there a topic you’d like for me to write about, Nkeoma?