Ep 71 – Are You A Highly Sensitive Coach?

I bet that by now you are longing for a haircut, dying for a latte or something like that and just really missing hugging your friends and family. We’re still in weird time on pandemic Earth right now.

Last week I didn’t post an episode. It’s the first time in 18 months of podcasting that I’ve skipped airing an episode except for Christmas Day.

And the last two weeks when I sat down to focus on my podcast I’ve been blank. Sure, I’ve felt a bit blank before when I sit down to create. I’ll take a walk and come back with a burst of creativity.

But this blankness has gone on for weeks. My pre-recorded, pre-published episodes have caught up with me.

Finally I realized that I’m deep in grief. At times of grief, business as usual doesn’t feel right. And there’s no bandwidth for generative thought.

I spoke to a past client of mine. (I’ve been reaching out to lots of people I haven’t been in touch with lately.) She encouraged me to share on the podcast what’s going on. Thanks, Kate. That was brilliant advice.

A Heavy Energetic Load

I’m an empath, which means I sense the mental or emotional states of others.

Usually, I sense other people’s energetic states and it’s a slow trickle — totally manageable. In fact, it’s useful to have this skill as a coach, as a human being. And I’ve learned tools to protect myself and release energy that isn’t mine.

But during this pandemic, sadness, grief, fear and anxiety have come rolling in tsunami waves. I wake up feeling as if I’m under water. It’s taking much more self care to rise above it. And daily self-care is a normal priority for me.

It’s amazing to realize that perhaps for the first time in human history, the whole world is feeling sadness, grief, fear and anxiety all at the same time. That’s a heavy load.

So why am I telling you this? I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. Sensitivity is a super power. Especially when used for self healing and doing good.

And that’s what this episode is about … being highly sensitive as a coach.

Not Fragile But Uniquely Capable

If you don’t identify as highly sensitive, consider listening to this short episode anyway because a significant percentage of human beings are highly sensitive and you might learn something new.

In 1997 Dr. Elaine Aron, wrote The Highly Sensitive Person. That was the year that I graduated from coach training. I remember reading it and feeling a deep sense of relief to finally be seen and heard in a different way.

Labeled as fragile much of my life, now I was able to reframe that as strong and uniquely capable.

Intensity Increases Sensitivity

For me, sensitivity is my nature. I was born with it.

I have early memories of being in my crib with the door shut to my room and being able to track each of my family members energetically, no matter where they were. And if they were in distress, I’d feel it in my body and dissociate from my body to go to them.

I was an unusual kid. And my parents really had no idea how to deal with me.

Holidays were particularly difficult because of the heightened energy – anticipation, elation, frustration, disappointment, and exhaustion. The camera would come out and I’d be crying while everyone else was smiling or faking a smile.

I became camera shy, associating trauma with cameras so there are few photos of me growing up.

The Field of Coaching Attracts Highly Sensitive People

According to Dr. Aron, approximately 20% of the population is highly sensitive. I suspect that number has climbed as population swells, as we move faster, eat less nutritious food, swim in a non-stop field of EMFs elevated by Wi-Fi.

I have a theory going that many highly sensitive people are drawn to coaching. I seem to attract clients – all coaches — who are highly sensitive. We recognize and understand each other.

What about you? Have you ever felt you were sensitive?

It comes in many forms. Some people are emotionally sensitive. Some are physically sensitive. Some are energetically sensitive which affects the emotional and physical body. And there are sub-categories within each of those.

Sensitivity is an Asset for Coaches

Did you know that being highly sensitive can be an asset in coaching?

Here are some of the ways I’ve found it to be valuable:

  • I can read a room in a small group even online in a training or mastermind.
  • I can sense subtle cues that help me choose a direction for coaching and mentoring.
  • Certain words and phrases clients say float into the air with emphasis.
  • What isn’t said is as clear to me as what is said.
  • My intuition is a reliable guidance system.
  • I can sense when I’ve given away my power and quickly correct that.
  • I can sense when my client’s have given away their power and gently notice it.

My guess is that hearing this you’ll realize you have some or all of these abilities as well. And by raising awareness you can fine-tune them.

But here’s a caveat, being sensitive doesn’t mean you’re infallible.

I’m not always right. Sometimes I sense something and think it’s one thing when it’s something else. So it’s important not to assume. If I detect something and I think it’s important, asking an open-ended question is always the best way to check in.

So that’s it for now. I’m switching to doing mini-episodes for the next few weeks and I may also replay favorites. One thing about podcasting is that there’s always gold in past episodes that many people miss if they don’t go back to binge listen.

Stay well, stay sane and keep doing whatever you can to let your target audience know your services exist.

In the Next Episode: Are You Stuck in the New Coach Swirl and Spin?

Ep 70 – Attract Motivated Coaching Clients Who Will Invest

This episode is part of my Coaching Business Checkup series. This series is getting deep and that’s because sometimes you find yourself working hard but not getting traction. And, this series addresses what’s usually missing.

Today we’re digging into something that’s rarely talked about by marketing experts.

In fact it’s something that’s only recently dawned on me, even though I’ve been acting on it for a long time intuitively.

The topic is about why you only want to attract people who do have the motivation and the financial ability to hire you.

Before I go further …

How are you holding up? I know you’re scared about how Corona Virus might hurt your coaching business dreams.

I want you to know something … during 20 years in my own coaching business, the economy has crashed big time twice and other disasters have derailed the normal flow of business.

Yes, there is an adjustment period. But in each circumstance, I was surprised how in tough times, people are often MORE committed to their personal and professional growth. There’s the sense that time is precious and shouldn’t be wasted. So, where before people were stuck in their ruts and not moving, sometimes a shake up like this can wake people up and inspire action.

That’s good news for coaches. Especially because we can easily work remotely with clients.

As much as you can, accept the reality of what’s happening, take responsibility for your own part in reducing the spread, and keep your focus on what matters most to you.

If building a coaching business is important to you, stay with it, despite your worries.

  • If you haven’t launched yet and have extra time, leverage that towards time consuming tasks.
  • If you’ve already launched and things are slow, innovate. Try new things but don’t start over. Stick with your target audience and niche but pivot in small ways.
  • And consider not doing it all alone. I’m here for you. A Strategy Session where you get my full focus on what’s holding back for 90 minutes is just a click away.

Now, let’s roll with today’s episode.

The Churn

In the first 10 years or so of my coaching business the name of the game was numbers. Everyone advocated developing a big list – we’re talking tens of thousands of subscribers who would see your emails, read your blogs or experience your other content.

The idea was to drive tons of traffic to your website and have a set of low cost to mid cost offers that would attract lots of buyers responding through scarcity.

This is called the CHURN.

There are many people marketing this way.

But, as you know, I encourage coaches to consider a simple coaching business model where they offer a one-to-one high ticket Signature Program.

That way, you can keep your marketing simple, your overhead low and profits high. You can market less and have a manageable little empire.

I realized that business model isn’t for everyone. But it’s a great way to start your coaching business. And I’ve come back to it, after doing lots of intense marketing and offering so many types of programs – an exhausting way to do business.

So, listen on if you want to keep it simple and earn well doing less.

And that makes it easy to attract only the most ideal clients for you.

The 4 Top Criteria of An Ideal Coaching Client

I’ve heard many experienced coaches say what I feel myself, which is we want clients who:

  1. Are 100% committed to their own growth.
  2. Willing and ready to invest resources – time and money – into their own transformation.
  3. Are coachable, self reflective, and know their own mind.
  4. Want a thinking partner and guide to get there faster.

Now, you may think that describes most prospects, but actually, it does not. In fact, only a small percentage of prospects will jump in with both feet.

You want to attract more of those people and less of the other type.

The reason why a lot of people opt for a short term, low cost self-study online program is that they aren’t 100% IN. They have a foot out of the game. There can be some excellent reasons for that by the way.

But my point here is that you want to spend your time with people who meet those 4 top criteria.

Think about it. Wouldn’t it be grand if the people you talk to in your Discovery Sessions were already excited, ready, willing and able financially to hire you?

With each year, I have more Discovery Sessions with the people who fit those 4 criteria because I have installed strategic and authentic language and mechanisms to encourage them and to also gently discourage those that aren’t there yet or never will be.

3 Ways to Encourage Readiness

  1. BE REAL – Convey your unique style in everything you do. Be consistent. In other words, be unapologetically you, vulnerabilities and all. Over time, your tribe will emerge because they appreciate you as you are.
  2. GIVE A PERSONAL TOUCH
  3. ENGAGE THEM EMOTIONALLY

These last two are connected. This is something a lot of people in this automated world skip in their conversion processes on their website and other places. If everything is click and done then lots of people will jump in who don’t really want anything but your free stuff.

Have you ever found yourself doing too many Discovery Sessions with people who don’t have the means and motivation to hire you?

You don’t need to waste your time that way.

There’s a perfect moment in the conversion process to give prospects your personal touch where you customize a response and show you’re a real person and you understand them. It’s worth the little effort up front because you’re enrolling them into a VIP high ticket Signature Program.

By the way, in case you’re just starting to listen to Prosperous Coach Podcast, I’m referring specifically to the Simplest Coaching Business Model. This includes creating a high ticket Signature Program to help your target audience overcome a BIG problem on the way to a BIG goal.

So, instead of having a button on your website inviting a Discovery Session – which is too much too soon (it’s like inviting someone to meet your parents on a first date) – instead invite prospects to that session through your free offer.

Don’t just give them access to your calendar in your freebie. Instead, send them to your Work with page on your website to fill out an application that pre-qualifies and pre-sells them. That application needs to be strategically written.

Do you see the value of this high touch moment? You want them to invest their time before the Discovery Session to warrant your time. It’s reciprocal.

That’s how you’ll know that they are serious about working with you. If they aren’t motivated to fill out the application they aren’t likely to invest in your VIP program.

That small investment helps them put both feet in and raises their commitment to the Discovery Session. They know up front what the purpose of that session is – to assess fit. It’s simple and it takes a bit of finesse to pull off this personal touch but it’s worth it because you’ll spend a lot less time with people who are never going to invest in working with you.

In the Next Episode: Are You a Highly Sensitive Coach?

Ep 69 – To Attract More Coaching Clients Plan Their Journey To You

Have you ever considered exactly how coaching clients will find you? That’s what this episode is all about.

Here I am in Week 2 of social distancing during the pandemic and I’m attempting somewhat of a structure for my life but definitely not business as usual. It does help to establish habits and a schedule as you can.

With so much suffering none of us can be in that default mode we had before. That said, I believe these times are an opportunity for learning new ways of managing our states of mind, taking extreme care and being community minded.

I hope you’re staying healthy. Many blessings to you.

Getting back to the Coaching Business Checkup series. This episode is all about mapping the journey your potential coaching clients will take to find you. Show notes can be found at prosperouscoach.com/69. And this episode follows on the topic of Episode 67, which was all about strategizing your coaching business model.

You can’t strategically map your customer’s journey until you’ve determined your business model. And you can’t determine your business model until you’ve chosen a viable target audience and discovered the BIG problem that motivates them to seek solutions.

See how it’s all connected? It’s all of a piece. That’s what strategy is all about.

What Is A Customer Journey?

It’s a plan with 4 main steps:

  1. Raise Awareness
  2. Provide Value
  3. Inspire Engagement
  4. Invite Them In

One step primes the next, which primes the next.

The secret to creating an effective customer journey (and anything for your business) is teaching yourself to think like your ideal clients.

What motivates them? What inspires them? What helps them trust you? What do they want? What turns them off?

No doubt you’ve been doing a lot to stay visible. Maybe you’re using a blog or podcast, social media and other methods to stay in front of your target audience.

  • But do you have a strategy for that?
  • Are you showing up where your audience is?
  • Are you showing up often enough?  
  • Are they connecting your brand with their big problem?
  • Is what you’re doing leading your audience to an outcome?

The first thing to consider is … what motivates your audience to seek solutions? Because if they aren’t out there seeking a solution you can help them to, how will you possibly grab their attention?

This goes back to their BIG Problem, which I talked about in Episode 65.

Using my business as an example, the big problem that motivates my ideal prospective clients to seek solutions is the agonizing question — “What’s my coaching niche?”

It’s the top of mind Big Problem for new coaches. For 14 years I’ve been raising awareness about that topic. Can I do more for my clients than help them identify a profitable niche? Absolutely! But I know that every coach struggles with this (I did!).

And I’ve made a long study in how to solve that problem.

What about you? How will you help your audience connect you and your brand to their big problem?

It takes consistency and congruence on your part for your audience to make that connection. It’s said that individuals need 12 occurrences of seeing your brand associated with their problem or goal to take a next step. In the current barrage of messages online, that could take a really long time.

Coaches often ask me how much is too much in terms of social posting, blogging, podcasting and other ways of building awareness. It’s definitely a squeaky wheel proposition because you can’t guarantee that any single person will see all of your posts, will listen to all of your podcasts or open your emails.

But don’t despair about this. There’s a point of saturation where your audience will start associating you and your brand as a go-to resource. And things get easier from there.

Posting what you had for lunch or endless memes on social media isn’t enough to build trust. You need to deliver enough value to inspire engagement.

What’s your prospective coaching client’s first point of contact with you?

9 times out of 10, clients who hire me have binge listened to my podcast. And/or they’ve found me through Coach Training Alliance, the coach training company that I co-wrote curriculum for and designed their certification program.

That leadership role has been a platform for my business. And it makes sense doesn’t it that leadership on a topic inspires engagement? That’s why publishing a book or being a guest speaker in a webinar (as long as it’s related to your niche) can raise your star.

How could you show leadership as it connects to your audience and what they care about?

What platform could you build or leverage that will help people find and trust you?

The last piece in this customer journey is when and exactly how you’ll invite your prospective coaching client to hire you.

Most coaches do this too soon. Their website has an offer for a Discovery Session right up front.

Why is it too much too soon? Because people are not ready yet to take that step. And that pushiness could turn them off and break the trust you’ve built. There’s a right time to invite that step.

There’s a tendency for coaches to be salesy in their website copy and features. Or they have everything automated so they don’t have to respond personally to prospects.

That’s a mistake.

When I teach my clients to create conversion processes for their website, we gentle ideal clients to the sales point.

If you’re using the Simple Coaching Business Model and offering a high ticket program as I suggest, you’ll enroll ideal clients if you respond personally to prospects at certain points along the way. It’s part of building trust. And it helps you have a business full of clients who fit you well.

So it’s time to consider … what is the customer journey that you’ve built to attract ideal clients to you? If you want help to create your customer journey or one of the steps that goes before such as choosing your niche, identifying your audience’s big problem or other crucial steps, let’s have a Strategy Session and get your business moving.

In the Next Episode: Attract More Motivated Coaching Clients Who Will Invest

Ep 68 – Calling All Coaches To Innovate And Lead

I’m taking a break from the Coaching Business Checkup series because … times are strange and business as usual just doesn’t feel right to me.

I found it difficult to get things done. My head was fuzzy and I didn’t know what to do with my time.

If you’re listening to this episode in spring of 2020 individuals in our earthly community are either anticipating the pandemic to arrive in their neighborhood or are already in lock down. It’s unsettling to say the least.

I’m an empath. You may be too. Many coaches are highly sensitive people and we feel more than our own personal condition.

And so I took more time to:

  1. Spend more time in nature and connect with earth. 
  2. Meditate more on what it is to be part of the global community.
  3. Reduce my consumption of news. 

If you find yourself weighed down these days, do things like this to let the anxiety flow through you rather than letting the heaviness stick around. It will help your immune system.

There’s no doubt in my mind that most human beings will rise to this with courage and capacity they didn’t know they had. Strife always unites us.

In this short episode, I invite you to LEAN INTO what drew you to coaching in the first place and to use it for the greater good now. 

It’s the perfect time to break out your powers of innovation and lead in a compassionate way. General ideas include:

  1. Respond with integrity and intention – leverage those things in a deeper way.
  2. Manage your states of mind. Be a model and help others do the same.
  3. Innovate in your coaching businesses so you can still earn well. (Coaches are lucky because we can do what we do remotely.)
  4. And, help others innovate as well.

A lot of people will have trouble earning. Some groups are especially vulnerable.

So consider what you can do that’s extraordinary, more than what you do now day to day.

Don’t isolate yourself emotionally. If you can, after you and your family are set up safely … do some simple things to care for others. For example:

  1. Reach out by phone to people in your outer circles.
  2. If you’re on social media, share in a light hearted way. Post things that warm people’s hearts and make them laugh. Share only the most useful things. Cut down on posting the serious stuff unless it’s truly useful.
  3. Think about the individuals that will suffer most in these times. What could you do to help these people stay afloat?
  4. Give extra to homeless people because there will be less traffic on the street.
  5. Think about body workers, independent restaurant owners and their teams – people whose livelihoods depend on foot traffic or clients showing up physically.

I have a friend who is an independent Pilates instructor. One of her clients cancelled a session but said: “I’m going to pay you anyway because I want you to stay in business.” I was touched by the intelligence and kindness of that action and will follow suite.

I also suggested that she continue working with her clients remotely. Yes, it’s weird to do Pilates on Zoom but it’s possible.

Who do you know that might need some ideas of how to manage physically, emotionally and financially?

Consider calling your favorite local restaurants and buying a gift certificate. Or, if you’re comfortable get take out from them. Tip higher than usual.

And, what can you do for your coaching business to keep it going and growing?

If you have a great idea, either for your own business or for helping others shoot me an email to moc.hcaocsuorepsorpnull@adnohR and I’ll post them on the Prosperous Coach Club Facebook group.

In the Next Episode: To Attract More Coaching Clients Plan Your Prospects Journey to You

Ep 67 – What Is Your Coaching Business Model?

This episode, called What Is Your Coaching Business Model? is the 6th in my Coaching Business Checkup series, which is all about how to strategize the most important parts of your business. If something isn’t working well in your coaching business, it might be a lack of strategy holding you back.

At the end of this whole series I’ll have a downloadable Coaching Business Checkup Assessment you can use to diagnose and treat what’s ailing in your business so you can fix it and thrive.

The show notes for today’s episode can be found at prosperouscoach.com/67

Just in case this business model idea is totally new to you, let’s define what a business model is and why you want one.

Why Have a Business Model for Your Coaching?

A business model is literally a design for the success of your business. It’s a structure you create that makes your business viable. In other words, it’s your plan for earning good money as a coach.

Essential, right?

Like many aspects of your coaching business, your business model can’t really take shape until you have targeted a viable audience and developed a smart coaching niche. Those decisions are the cornerstone … everything else you build for your coaching business comes from that.

Notice I said a moment reliably attract people to your offers. That takes strategy. It’s a far cry from what I did for so many years at the beginning, which was what I call the “I hope it works” approach to business.

Without a business model, you are leaving your success up to dumb luck.

No doubt, you experienced a lot of business models just living in the modern world but you might not have thought much about it. I’ll just name a couple to help you understand the concept

Let’s take Netflix. You get an account. Pay monthly. And for that low fee, you get access to their impressive catalog of TV series and movies to stream on demand.

That’s called the Subscription Model. It has 3 main parts:

Subscription service + Options the consumer wants + Delivered on demand

It is something you could create someday. More about that in a minute.

How about Uber? Their model is called Create the Marketplace, which operates on supply and demand

SUPPLY = people with cars who want to earn

+ DEMAND = people who want to get someplace now without driving

It’s very specific and innovative. And this is close to what a coach needs to do. You identify a BIG PROBLEM that a specific audience faces and create a hunger for your program which helps to solve that problem through coaching.

The Simplest Coaching Business Model

A while ago I aired an episode called The Simplest Coaching Business Model and it’s been a favorite with record downloads. This episode goes deeper into what’s involved.

By the way, thank you so much for going back to my earlier episodes! I can’t tell you how often I hear that people are binge listening to every episode. That’s a great way to learn a lot fast.

It’s a great sign that episode is popular. It means that coaches now are much more business savvy than I was when I started. So well done you. Keep that up!

For a coach, the simplest business model is to offer 1:1 coaching.

Here’s how I help my clients develop this business model with 2 important twists:

  1. Choose a viable audience
  2. Find out their BIG PROBLEM – the one that will prompt them to seek your services
  3. Develop a high ticket private program designed to solve that problem. That’s one twist!
  4. Create ways to continuously build awareness about you.
  5. Drive traffic to a website with an authentic non-salesy conversion process or two. That’s the 2nd twist!
  6. Invite ideal prospects to an enrollment conversation and enroll them.

What’s so great about this simple business model?

  1. It’s the easiest model to start with
  2. You quickly learn how to coach your ideal audience
  3. You can earn a 6-figure profit with relatively low labor and costs
  4. It’s a satisfying way to make a positive impact

And here are a couple of bonus things that I love about this model:

  1. You’ll only spend your private time with highly motivated prospects and clients
  2. And you’ll build a strong referral network that’s free

I’ll be talking more about how critical these two things are for your sanity in an episode soon.

There are other business model options that might help you scale up and reach more people in less time. However, consider that you could also keep your life and business simple. If you create a meaningful program with milestones that are important to your audience you can charge quite a bit for it. I covered this is Episode 66.

The Challenge of Scaling Coaching

Scalability is one of the biggest challenges in coaching businesses. To scale, people start thinking about “passive revenue”, a concept often attached to revenue streams such as:

  • online courses
  • selling books, ebooks and other products
  • membership programs

It sounds so good, doesn’t it? I’ll just create a few online courses and put it online and boom! Passive income! I’ll make money while I sleep.

Here’s the thing that I learned the hard way, there’s nothing passive about it. While the bulk of the content creation is done up front, the costs and labor to keep revenues flowing in are relatively high.

A good rule of thumb to remember is the higher number of people you want to buy what you’re selling the more marketing it takes. And it’s a style of marketing that’s highly promotional. It takes a team of people to pull it off. So not passive at all.

The Affiliate Marketing Model

Where people really excel at these scalable business models is when they are already well known in their industry. Think Tony Robbins, Brendan Burchard and Marie Forleo. They not only have a huge leads list of their own, but they also have other experts with huge leads list willing to help market the program or product for a kickback (also called an affiliate fee).

The affiliate fee is often 50% of the sale. And tracking all of that requires special programs and website.

The business model is called Affiliate Marketing and is composed of:

Email marketing with affiliates + a live or canned event + sales page + online or live course

There’s one business model being highly marketed to coaches right now, which I call the Evergreen Webinar Model. It involves:

Ads on social channels + webinars + online courses

This model is touted to be highly lucrative and I can see how it absolutely could be over the long run.

Experts selling the training to learn this business model often have testimonials like this …

“I just had my first $15,000 month!”

And that alone has us frothing at the mouth to sign up for the training.

But it’s important to realize that to earn that $15,000 in revenue in one month this individual may have invested up to or beyond:

  • $4500 on ads
  • $3000 on virtual assistants and web design
  • months of content creation
  • the cost of the training to learn this model $8 – $10,000

The way that business model becomes profitable is over time when costs per sale start to decrease. Just the continuous investment can literally kill a coaching business.

Yes, it could be an amazing business model later on. But, for a new coach who isn’t already well known and who doesn’t have a significant network of potential clients and marketing partners, it can be very difficult to pull off.

Membership Programs

Another costly option is membership programs. Back in 2006 when membership programs were trendy, I took nearly a year to create a comprehensive online course called The Coach’s Power Path. It was a vision I woke up with one day and truly thought I’d earn loads while helping hundreds of coaches.

In short, it was a colossal failure. I invested 10’s of thousands in that venture and never got close to earning it back, much less profiting.

I just didn’t realize how complicated it was — not only to create the curriculum and the entire back end of the membership site — but also to constantly market in ways that I really disliked. It was exhausting.

Later a marketing expert told me that most membership programs are loss leaders, which means it’s only a low cost offer to raise awareness and trust so you can offer people something higher priced and higher touch.

What About Group Coaching?

Group coaching is a much simpler business model than selling courses, membership programs and products. And, for many target audiences, gathering people with the same big problem or goal will greatly add to their transformation.

What you need going for you for this model to work is the 6 strategic steps I mentioned before for 1:1 coaching PLUS a developed network in your target audience. It could be your own leads list, a connection with a center of influence or a good sized following on social media.

That’s something you can build on your own without a lot of costs or any assistance!

I recommend groups for coaches who have a year’s experience or more in 1:1 coaching and that amount of time building visibility online.

So now, do you know what your intended coaching business model is? Have you strategized who you work with, what they want that they’ll invest in and how you’ll enroll enough of them to earn well? You’re on your way!

In the Next Episode: Calling All Coaches to Innovate and Lead

Ep 66 – How to Describe Your Coaching Program Without Selling Coaching

This episode, which is part of the Coaching Business Checkup series, is going to be short.

You’ve probably noticed that there are overlapping themes in this series episode to episode. That’s because strategy intentionally connects one thing to another.

Here are the repetitive themes:

Forgive me for the repetition but it’s not possible to talk about one strategic action or decision without mentioning what goes before it. Strategy is about connecting dots. It’s about congruence.

If you can remember these themes in all you do for your coaching business, you’ll experience a dramatic shift in your ability to attract enough clients who pay well.

Strategy – The Many Layered Cake

So I’ve been making a many-layered cake for you.

We started with the strategy of choosing a viable target audience full of seekers and then moved onto the central task of developing a smart niche — centering on a big enough problem your audience faces.

Now, if you are continuously visible out there speaking your audience’s language about their big problem and show that you have a solution without being salesy, they will pay attention.

That’s what will compel them to go to your website where hopefully you’ve got streamlined copy speaking about what’s most important to them there as well. And then you gently point them to a couple of conversion processes you have your site.

A clue … that’s NOT inviting them to a free sample session or Discovery Session.

That comes later when they are more ready for it. You don’t want to push people to next steps. Lead them instead.

You need to have everything ready for them before they arrive.

And when they arrive you want them to know they are in the right place.

That’s why your website should NOT be about the wonders of coaching.

Instead it’s about what’s keeping your specific audience up at night and what’s in the way of the big thing they want.

Okay, I’m getting off track from my goal here. You see how everything is interconnected and strategic?

This episode is not about how to create a client-winning website. It’s about something you create before the website …  your signature system.

What’s a Signature System and Why Should You Have One?

Why would I call it a system?

Because when humans perceive that there is a structure — a framework to get what they want — they relax. And trust builds.

Your Signature System is the way you describe what you do so that your audience can see clearly:

  1. That you understand them.
  2. That you have a structure they can lean into.
  3. That you know what you’re doing.

In a non-salesy way, your system is connected directly to their exact situation — what specifically has been in the way of them realizing their most urgent goal.

Do you see now why you need to know the big problem you solve before you can move to this step?

In your system you name the specific milestones that your audience has wanted to achieve but they’ve been stuck for some reason and unable to move forward.

Remember my niche and the big problem I solve for coaches? That smart & profitable coaching niche has been illusive and without that solved they can’t really move forward. It’s painful and frustrating.

Why Doesn’t Your Signature System Mention Coaching?

Because it muddies the water and distracts them from what’s meaningful to them.

Coaching isn’t what’s meaningful to them. It’s the big and small, tangible and intangible ways they’ll grow and benefit from working with you that’s important now.

When you share your system with them in a Discovery Session you want it to be so spot on that they feel like it’s exactly what they’ve been seeking and didn’t even fully know it until just this moment.

You’ve ticked all the boxes. You’ve covered all the most nagging challenges they’ve been facing.

Your Signature Program is based on this system. But that’s getting ahead of myself again.

For now, I hope you take in that you can articulate what you do in a non-coachey and non-salesy way that inspires investment through trust and context.

In the Next Episode: What is Your Coaching Business Model?

Ep 65 – Are You Solving a Big Enough Problem In Your Coaching Business?

This episode is part of the Coaching Business Checkup series.

If you’re not attracting enough paying clients to sustain your business there could be several reasons why. The episodes in this series are designed to help you isolate what needs attention.

But don’t let these errors move you to give up on your coaching business unless you’re truly done with the dream of being a successful coach and helping loads of people with your unique talents.

To Succeed You Have to Be Willing to Flail and Fail a Bit

I encourage you to be willing to make mistakes and realize they don’t define the possibility of your future success.

Jumping out there without strategy is a time honored mistake. Nearly everyone makes these mistakes if they are willing to risk success.

On the other side of this is the person who does not risk anything and misses out on the chance to learn from their mistakes. And those are the folks who may regret staying in the safety zone.

The Big Thing Holding You Back From Financial Success As A Coach

For this episode, I’m going to dig into the most common problem that holds coaches back from attracting enough clients and earning well:

There’s not enough people inspired to invest in your services.

You are no doubt talented, capable and truly effective as a coach. But that goes wasted if you can’t attract the attention of your audience and inspire them to invest.

What can you do about that?

Well, so many things! For now I’m focusing on one.

Let’s say you have chosen a target audience and they are SEEKERS — people who do invest out their own pocket to grow personally and professionally.

The next thing you do is to define your coaching niche, right?

And this is the place where you might be inclined to totally wimp out. I did when I started.

It’s partly because fresh out of coaching training there’s still this glow about the value of coaching that can blind you to effective ways to attract paying clients.

Have you romanticized the notion of coaching that you believe people know they want it?

Most people don’t think about coaching as a solution. That’s why coaching is a hard sell.

So, at this starry-eyed moment in time instead of niching down, you niche widely or niche weakly.

Niching wide is choosing a broad coaching audience and naming an overarching abstract outcome.

I help women create a more fulfilling life.

OR

I help business owners become successful.

Another way to wimp out in your niche is to only identify your track.

I’m a career coach.

I’m a leadership coach.

I’m a life coach.

I’ve seen many coaches list all or several coaching tracks on their websites. The lack of specialty does just the opposite of what the coach hoped — it turns potential clients away because they see a lack of commitment and focus.

An example of niching weakly is focusing on coaching topics as the specialty.

I’m a confidence coach.

I’m an empowerment coach.

I help you breakthrough limiting beliefs.

I don’t think people wake up in the middle of the night and say to themselves … you know what I need? I need a coach to help me breakthrough limiting beliefs.

Everyone has limiting beliefs. Any coach or mentor can help individuals past them. But it doesn’t inspire investment except for a few sessions at low prices.

These aren’t big enough problems to bring you a steady stream of clients who are ready to invest.

I niched widely and weakly at first! I didn’t know better. Now, I hope to save you some of my flailing and failing.

Fully Commit to Standing Out with Your Specialty

Notice I didn’t saying standing out with your coaching specialty? Let’s take the coaching piece out of the equation. That’s your toolbox — a skillset you’ll use to help your clients — not what people will buy.

If you intend to be a successful coach in the long run, commit to targeting and niching down strategically and then follow through with that in everything you do.

Don’t let your website copy be dumbed down by focusing on the wonders of coaching. Focus on your specific target audience and what’s keeping them up at night.

Make it so that there is absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind who you serve, the big problem you help them overcome and the big goal you help them reach.

Define Big Enough

When you’re looking for a dynamic profitable niche, you have to step out of thinking like a coach and step into thinking like your audience. (And this is the best way to create everything for your business and do all your marketing by the way.)

It takes a bit of mindfulness and practice. Here’s the question to ask yourself:

What specific problem will prompt my audience to go looking for solutions with their credit card ready?

Think about all the times you’ve invested in something that was pricey. What made you pay the big bucks for a service even though you knew you were spending a lot?

No doubt it was something that felt crucial for your future.

The Gap Between Pain and Pleasure

You’ve heard about pain points before. Some problems are annoying. Some problems are a hassle.

You’re looking for the problem that is acutely painful.

It’s the gap between what your audience wants and where are they are now. That great longing for something that’s been elusive because there’s a big, fat problem in the way.

The thing in the way is usually the individual.

Big enough problems fall within just a handful of categories associated with a fundamental want:

  • money
  • career
  • power
  • love
  • healing

Here are a few coaching niches. Notice how they fit into one of those 5 fundamental categories.

Helping HR leaders gain more impact and influence in their organization.

Helping moms with a long career gap find flexible work they enjoy.

Helping people with fibromyalgia feel better get their lives back.

Helping parents support their kids with ADHD to excel in school.

Helping wives of civil servants create space for a career of their own.

Do you see how these big problems and desired outcomes would inspire investment?

If you’ve chosen an audience and you think you’ve arrived at a big enough problem to solve, pause to ask yourself:

Would I buy high-ticket services to help me overcome this problem?

If not, dig in deeper.

And if you want help identifying your audience’s big problem and developing a smart business foundation that attracts ideal clients, you know where you can find me: https://prosperouscoachblog.com/work-with-rhonda

In the Next Episode: How to Describe Your Coaching Program Without Selling Coaching

Ep 64 – How to Strategically Choose Your Coaching Niche

In my last episode I listed off 10 Ways To Be More Strategic In Your Coaching Business as an overview to my next 10 episodes.

In this episode I’m focusing on the FIRST way to be strategic in your coaching business. In other words, strategizing this step is what you do before you do anything else — website, offers, social media marketing.

What is this #1 way to be more strategic? Choose a viable coaching niche, of course.

This episode and the other 9 to follow are all part of my Coaching Business Checkup series. I will have a free downloadable Coaching Business Checkup for you at the end of this series, so stay tuned!

One Decision That Rules Them All

MBAs and business experts agree that if you niche your business in a strategic way from the get go you’ll dramatically increase your ability to succeed and sustain success.

And that’s truer than ever in this information age where there are more entrepreneurs and companies flooding the Internet with marketing messages every day.

You can’t attract clients if you can’t attract attention.

And attracting attention is mostly about standing out in some way. Standing out in your niche – what you do for whom is the easiest way to stand out.

If you want your message to get through to people who could become your clients, then you want to speak to a very specific group of people about what they care about most.

Strange isn’t it?

The more specific and focused your message is on a unique target audience and the big acute problem they face, the easier it is to engage people and build relationships of trust. And then enroll them.

You know, coaching niches are my super power.

I decided to strategically focus on this big problem for coaches 17 years ago because all around me I saw that coaches were utterly confused, frustrated, and in many cases, paralyzed by the niche decision. For many it’s what had them give up for good on their business.

So for coaches the agonizing question — WHAT IS MY NICHE? — is the most acute big problem they have. And it’s related to attracting enough clients who will invest. That’s the other acute problem coaches face.

And I know that once that niche piece is settled it opens up ease in all the steps that follow – messaging, offers, marketing – it all becomes a more graceful and intuitive process once you know your niche.

It was a smart strategy then for me to focus in on coaches — my target audience — and on the topic that’s most painful for them. I could pull in my background knowledge in marketing and my experience writing coach training curriculum and training new coaches. It’s a good fit.

I wanted to tell you how I came to my niche to illustrate the strategy behind it. It’s not rocket science but it was a thoughtful process. And that’s what strategy is.

Many coaches miss this crucial step of choosing a smart niche. It’s partly because of a misunderstanding of what makes for a successful coaching niche. And partly, it’s fear.

Can you relate to that?

  • Maybe you fear that you don’t know enough to specialize.
  • Or, you might fear narrowing to one group and excluding others. (Although exclusion isn’t really necessary because targeting an audience is about ease in marketing not exclusion or limitation of who you can have as a client.)
  • Or you might simply fear making a decision and committing to it.

All of these are understandable fears.

But here’s the thing that I remind myself of when I’m fearful. Fear rises up when you’re at an important threshold. It’s how you respond to fear and still move forward on your dream that builds courage and confidence. Moving forward decisively is the way out of fear.

What is a Coaching Niche?

A coaching niche is the intersection between a viable target audience + their biggest problem/desire + what you bring to the table to help them get there.

Let’s break this down.

  1. There’s a specific group of people who are seekers. (They do invest in their growth.)
  2. They have a big acute problem that is in the way of something they really want.
  3. You can help them solve it and reach their goals with your toolbox of talents & skills

And so, once you’ve chosen that niche, you conduct a bit of market research and then create messaging and offers that fit their top challenges and goals bringing your supportive skills and tools to the table.

Now, let me illustrate how choosing a niche can be strategic using examples of niches my recent clients have chosen with my help.

Here are two that are directly related to specific subject matter expertise or recent professional background that the coaches could leverage in their niche:

One coach helps parents empower their teen daughters to develop confidence, integrity and resilience. She has a Masters in Clinical Social Work plus experience working with teens professionally, and 3 teens of her own. Her niche is a great fit.

Another coach helps executive assistants break through the limitations of their role and advance to the next level. She has 8 years of experience as an EA and a string of promotions that rewarded her ingenuity and excellence in her roles. Her niche is a great fit.

Another coach with over 20 years experience in nursing and health care is focusing on helping nurses heal burnout and work differently.

Leveraging your recent experience or expertise is the most powerful way to niche.

But not all coaches have subject matter expertise. Instead it may be that your current life circumstances could become an ideal niche. For example:

One of my clients stumbled unexpectedly into being a father and a husband. It happens. In the thick of that he realized it’s a common and difficult experience for young men. So he’s targeting that group to help them find grounding and maturity in the upheaval. A heartful niche based on a personal context.

Another coach decided to work with women re-entering the workforce after a long gap raising children. She knows first hand the challenges that come with finding flexible, meaningful work after a big career gap. And as a bonus we realized her Ph.D. in Industrial Organizational Psychology related to employee recruitment and selection processes was a bonus point of relevance and skill related to this audience. A super helpful niche!

A client who recently turned 49 felt called to remake her life from the inside out and create an intentional journey moving toward 50. So she’s targeting women at 50 to break free and rewrite the rules of their lives. This is a personally motivated niche.

It’s rare that targeting a specific age makes for a good niche but after market research it was clear that 50 is a point in time for women that’s rife with so many physical & emotional challenges and creative yearnings. And we were able to create a transformational program for women at 50.

So you can see there are different ways to approach choosing a niche. The main thing is to think it through strategically.

Remember, don’t just sell coaching to a general audience. Instead, create a program with milestones to help a specific audience overcome specific acute challenges on the way to an ultimate goal.

That’s how you’ll become known quickly and attract a steady stream of clients who pay well.

Coaching Niches That Lack Strategy

Topical niches can be powerful if they are closely linked to a tangible outcome that a specific group has. For example, I’ve known coaches who focus on helping business owners create systems or coaches who focus expertise in something like the Enneagram to help corporate leaders master leadership in a personalized way.

But some topics bomb as a coaching niche:

  • Stress
  • Limiting Beliefs
  • Overwhelm

I’m guessing those topical niches bombed primarily because these challenges are usually chronic problems. They are challenges that people are used to living with and so they aren’t inspiring people to actively seek and invest in solutions.

All coaches can help any existing clients with things like stress, limiting beliefs and overwhelm. But in marketing messages and on websites these topics tend not to inspire enrollment except for a short engagement at a low price.

It’s missing a specific target audience and their ultimate outcome as an anchor point. But even if you did attach one of these chronic problems to a target audience and their goal, it may not feel acute enough to the audience to inspire investment.

Similarly, big overarching goals or life skills can bomb for the same reasons above:

  • Self Care
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Law of Attraction

If you search for topics like these on the Internet you’ll find millions of articles on them. Great support for free but not likely to result in paid engagements with long-term clients. And if clients are short term for low fees, it means you have to work with a lot more people. And that means more marketing and enrolling moments for less income and profit.

Strategizing a smart niche for a viable audience isn’t a needle in a haystack kind of equation. It’s more like the beginning of a jigsaw puzzle where you try to find the opening move that quickly builds momentum.

If you’re stuck and struggling with your coaching niche, let me help you over this wall.

Let’s have a Strategy Session. It will focus you in and give you direction for everything else you create in your coaching business. It will help you stand out the crowd and build your brand & reputation.

I’ll send you some exercises to start then we’ll spend 90 minutes brainstorming on the call. I’d love to work with you. Sign up!

In the Next Episode: Are You Solving A Big Enough Problem In Your Coaching Niche?