Ep 134 – How to Feel Legit As a Coach

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Show Notes

This episode was inspired by a conversation with one of my VIP clients.

As an adult, when you’re starting something new – such as learning how to coach or building your coaching business — what’s the most natural way to feel?

Like an imposter.

Everyone experiences that feeling. Even the most impressive people with vast experience feel it sometimes. It’s human. And it feels worse if you beat yourself up for feeling that imposter syndrome.

You won’t likely feel confident when you’re new at something so don’t try for confidence right away.

  • Begin with courage to learn and do the new and difficult things.
  • Follow courage with allowing yourself to be new and make mistakes.
  • Soon, confidence rises. And you don’t even notice the shift because you’ve moved on.

There are many milestones to pass and thresholds to cross as a new coach.

  • Your first time to try a coaching model
  • Your first coaching session outside class
  • You complete coach training, perhaps certify
  • Your first paying client is super exciting.

And certainly, every successive paying client feels great too.

But what about while you’re getting the word out, building your network, learning marketing techniques and longing for those results? What will help you grow confidence before the money starts reliably flowing in?

Create Legitimizing Moments for Yourself

“Legitimizing moments” is a phrase that my colleague, Will Craig, used to say. He was founder of Coach Training Alliance and the co-author of the coach-training curriculum I helped to create. He often has a wonderful way of saying things. Thanks Will!

“Legitimize” is a legal term that means to make official, give approval or sanction. And the root of that word is the same as sanctify or sanctuary. Ahhh … sanctuary.

What will help you feel official even before you earn well as a coach? Create legitimizing moments for yourself.

This is where the conversation with my client comes in. We were discussing getting the word out about his services and ways to leverage his marketing efforts. I suggested two things that most coaches won’t think of:

Ask 20 friends, family members, colleagues or past clients to help your star rise by regularly commenting on and sharing your social posts, especially when you’re announcing a new blog, podcast episode of video. You can give them a free coaching session or take them for a meal or repay them in kind.

This helps you prime the pump and create social proof, much like a busker puts her own dollars in the hat. People who don’t know you will be more likely to engage and that inspires more engagement.

Another idea is to have a launch party. Invite friends, family and colleagues. It puts your network on notice that you’ve got a new career and have created a business that took a lot of effort and dedication. Later they will ask you how things are going, which will hold you accountable for your success.

Some of them may even refer coaching clients to you or become one of your clients themselves.

You may feel shy about asking for favors and sharing your accomplishments. It will encourage you to up your game. Plus, celebrating your own wins is not only infectious but also good for your mindset.

And that’s what my client noticed about these ideas. If others advocate for you, it not only gets the ball rolling faster but it also encourages you to step up and take yourself more seriously. It makes you official.

All legitimizing moments require you to acknowledge yourself and take ownership. Some other examples are:

  • Opening business accounts at the bank
  • Registering your business with the state
  • Setting up an LLC
  • Launching your website
  • Sending out a press release
  • Starting a podcast for your target audience
  • Submitting articles to publications your audience reads
  • Publishing an article on LinkedIn
  • Handing out your business card
  • Speaking at an event for your audience
  • Asking for referrals
  • Standing behind your set fees and getting them
  • Raising your fees

Each one of these things requires you to stand in your power, own your rightful place, give credence to your efforts and cross a new threshold.

I often say ACT AS IF you are already successful. Episode 32 was all about this powerful mindset. In a way, these things that create legitimizing moments do first feel like an act. But there’s nothing wrong with that.

The sooner you step up and pass these milestones, the sooner you’ll be earning well as a coach.