Dr. Reba J. Hoffman, a former member of Prosperous Coach, has had a lot of wins in her coaching business. Recently she shared a client enrollment story that tickled me so much I had to pass it on.
Everyone who goes through the process of building a coaching business will encounter skeptics who just don’t “get” how valuable coaching can be. If any part of you feels inadequate or unsure of your value, it’s easy for prospects to find that button and push it.
But if you believe solidly enough in yourself and in the power of coaching, you won’t be put off by off-putting opinions about coaching.
When Reba ran into someone with a negative attitude toward coaching, she met it head on, with a very edgy, coach-like response that shifted the experience for both of them. Here is Reba’s story:
I was waiting for a delayed flight in an airport last month when a fellow passenger mentioned coaching. Unfortunately, not in a good light. He asked what I did and, of course, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to serve up crow on a platter. I told him I was a coach.
He looked at me thinking I was some sort of athletics coach. I told him I was a coach for women entrepreneurs. He guffawed. For the next few moments, we exchanged comments. I told him I would never recommend that he hire a coach. He said he’d never consider one anyway, but asked why I’d said that. I told him it takes a person with certain attributes, and that he probably did not possess them.
He was taken aback by that. Insulted really, yet intrigued at the same time so he couldn’t let it go. I told him the coach was powerless if the client didn’t possess those attributes. Now he was fired up. He asked me three times what those attributes were. Finally, I told him.
- They have a desire to change.
- They have a clear vision of what they want.
- And they have the courage to make the trip.
He asked how I could possibly know that he didn’t have the attributes. I told him he’d worked at the same job for over 20 years, didn’t like it, and had no plan whatsoever to change it. He stammered. It was like I’d punched him in the gut and knocked the wind out of him. He asked me how I knew. I pointed to his 20 year company pen he wore as if it were a medal pinned to his lapel. I told him I saw no creativity in his eyes, and that he slumped like he was thoroughly bored with his miserable existence.
OK… I know I took a chance… but we WERE beyond the security checkpoint…. surely they’d removed all weapons… right?
They called our flight. He asked if he could sit next to me. Thank God it was an airline that offered open boarding. We could sit wherever we wanted. So for the next five hours I told him how he could change his life if he wanted to… how he could pursue what he really wanted to do, which was not to work for an insurance company at all. He’d always wanted to open a bookstore / coffee shop combo. His father had insisted he have a “stable” job and was so proud of him when he landed employment with the insurance company.
At the end of the flight, I told him I gave him my card. I invited him to call and I’d refer him to a business coach friend of mine. He called that same day. Then, this gentleman invited me to dinner with him and his wife. She said she hadn’t seen so much life and hope in him in years. They’re going through the steps to open their bookstore!
Coaches may think that a naysayer cannot be redeemed, and just avoid engaging with them. Often that’s wise, but sometimes… if we take time to unearth what lies at the root of their disbelief, we have a client just waiting to be enrolled.
Obviously, we all have our own voice and our own style of enrolling clients. While this was a very unique and challenging approach, the result was powerful. The “moral” of the story is: Next time, don’t let someone else’s opinion of coaching prevent you from speaking what you know to be true.
If you can find that level of certainty and belief in yourself, maybe you’ll experience what Reba did – that you can attract a client just about anywhere.
Have you enrolled a client in any unusual environments or circumstances? Share your comments here.