Ep 175 – Should Coaches Know More Than Their Clients?

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Episode Transcript

This episode is an eye opener.

I don’t think there’s a new coach anywhere who hasn’t wondered … should I know more than my clients? Won’t they expect that I have expertise to guide them? Otherwise, why would they pay me … right?

I’ve heard coaches from all walks of life question their fitness to be a professional coach — whether the coach is younger or older, highly credentialed or not at all, has vast work experience or none. It’s what I call a garden variety doubt. It comes with the territory of offering services in exchange for fees.

Let’s look into this powerful question a bit more because the answer is a paradox. And paradoxes are full of possibility.

So, should you know more than your coaching clients? It completely depends on what you’re offering – what you’ll be doing with your coaching skills. And it’s also a matter of semantics – what is knowing anyway?

What Do You Want to Do with Your Coaching Skills?

After coach training I was like a convert. I clung tightly to every aspect of the doctrine and guidelines. I read, listened and watched anything I could find about coaching. I attended all the local ICF chapter meetings and conferences.

My coach training school taught me to create a Coaching Practice, not a business, so I had this vague vision of working with dozens of clients one on one in an office somewhere, much like a therapist does. I’d charge fees by the session. I’d hold professional distance.

I was tempted to apply coaching skills to every conversation. I annoyed my friends and family because I felt that I knew THE secrets to communication. And I do think the tenets of coaching are best communication practices but I hadn’t yet matured those skills with good timing and knowing when to stay silent.

I was, in those early years, what I would now call a pure coach – a traditional coach the way that the ICF and my coach training school intended.

But I was also a poor coach in the sense that I undercharged for years. I stayed in student mode and hoped for the best. I didn’t consider the marketing required to attract clients or any other aspect of running a business and so bumbled around feeling I hadn’t made it as a coach.

You’re probably much more savvy than I was because you know from the get go that you must build and run a financially strong business. How to do that is the next challenge and that’s where my passion is now.

I eventually realized there had to be a better way for me. Prosperous Coach Podcast is all about that better way.

By the way, over time, every coach finds their style and their place — or they drop their coaching business and go get a job.

I have become a non-traditionalist coach. I no longer feel that the pure coach model is for me. I still honor my coach training and use coaching skills but I’ve brought my full self into what I’m offering now, which includes expertise.

About a certain set of things that I’ve studied deeply, I know more than most of my clients and it’s why they hire me. But I want to make it clear, my clients and I collaborate. I guide and suggest while drawing their skills and wisdom out. It’s a hybrid approach.

Have you run across my episode called Do You Fit One of These Coach Archetypes? Check out episode 73 at prosperouscoach.com/73 or on your favorite app. Here I’m going to focus on the 2 archetypes that align most closely with the hybrid approach I’m introducing to you here — the teacher and healer archetypes.

In a nutshell, coach training advocates pure coaching and a pure coaching model. If you’re a convert and want to run a practice where your craft is your coaching skills, this may be your place.

However, some coaches make a style shift by following the call of their teacher or healer archetype within. This is someone who is a natural teacher or healer and has specific knowledge to bring to the table based on study that allows them to specialize and have a hybrid business.

Well, you say, coaching is not teaching and mentoring! It’s not consulting. It’s not healing or therapy. And I agree. Coaching is a specific process – a skillset applied to a specific model.

What I like about the teacher and healer approach to a service business is that it allows the professional to bring their full selves to their business. All that you’ve learned, all that you believe and all that you want to share with others can be integrated into your business.

You can guide, direct, educate, mentor and use your coaching skills too. It’s not for everyone but it might be for you if you feel called that way.

When I shifted my business to include coaching skills but not be exclusive to a coaching model I felt freed up. I felt like I found my space where I could deliver more value. And you know what, I no longer found it difficult to charge well for my services.

Does that mean I’m not a true coach? Perhaps. I still believe in the power of coaching. But my business is not about selling coaching. If you haven’t run across it yet listen to episode 7 at prosperouscoach.com/7 which is all about the inherent difficulty of selling coaching.

My switch to a hybrid approach to my business came partially out of the difficulty I found in selling coaching services plus the desire to share what I know, not holding that back out of deference to a coaching model.

Your Business is Your Business

Look, after coach training, you get to do with it whatever you want. There is no one right way. As long as it’s guided by your values and integrity and you are supporting your clients and delivering value for the fees you charge, go for it!

So, what will YOU do with your coaching skills?

Don’t worry if you’re not sure right now. Allow your business to unfold into something that serves you and your clients. I learned, after much trial and error that you can’t start a business with altruism as your only value and driver. A business has to be run with intention to thrive financially or it won’t be good for you.

Going back now to the initial question … should you know more than your clients? If you consider yourself to be a pure coach you only need to know coaching skills. And of course, the more you coach, the better you’ll get. But don’t wait to charge well until you’re a master.

If you’re going to offer a hybrid service that employs coaching skills while also engaging teaching and healing skills, then you do need to know enough about your specialty to offer real value.

You aren’t a guru. You aren’t a savior. You aren’t infallible. But you have studied intensely, either through course work or your own empirical study and your Signature Program and business are centered on that knowledge.

One of the reasons why I encourage my VIP clients to choose a target audience and niche related to their own life and/or work experience is to leverage their knowledge. When you take the time to think through exactly what your audience wants and what’s been in their way of achieving it, and then you create a program to help them bridge that gap, you can charge more and get it.

Are you a teacher or healer archetype? You are my ideal client. I can show you a simple business model where you can apply your knowledge along with coaching skills to a satisfying and profitable business that allows you to bring your full self to the table and help your people transform while you earn much higher fees.

My VIP Coaching Business Breakthrough program is a 5-month high touch private mentoring program where you and I collaborate to build your business from the ground up including identifying your ideal audience, developing your niche, messaging and offers, your web copy and lead magnet, a marketing strategy and more.

I’ll teach you how to enroll clients into your own high-ticket Signature Program, which is customized for your brilliance and what your audience knows they want and will pay for. To learn more and have a get-to-know-you-call with me about this program, fill out the application on this page.