Ep 177 – Is it Strategic for ‘Coach” to Be Part of Your Professional Title?

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Episode Transcript

Now that you’ve taken the training, what you should call yourself? Should you be a life coach or something else? Should the word ‘coach’ even be in your personal title? That’s what this episode is all about.

So first, let me say that I don’t think your personal title is remotely the most important decision you need to make for your coaching business. In my mind, that decision is informed by WHO you serve and WHAT you help them accomplish. Those two things – your audience and their most desire outcome – are powerful concepts.

That first decision is the centerpiece of every other decision you’ll make for your business.

Still, just getting to be the one who decides what you call yourself can be fun. After all, how many jobs allow you to decide your title?

So first, let’s talk about something that might be hard for some coaches to hear …

Some People Poke Fun at Life Coaches

I’m not at all a fan of the personal title “Life Coach”. Here are 2 good reasons not to go with that moniker:

  1. Some people like to poke fun a life coaches. There are TV shows, films, articles out there that smirk at the concept. And I think … why set yourself up for that ridicule? Why climb the mountain to prove your value when just a shift in language could do that for you? Unfortunately, the phrase ‘life coach’ doesn’t inspire confidence.
  2. Life Coach is non-specific. If there is anything I’ve learned about success in business it’s that specificity grabs attention whereas generality does not. Life is everything. Calling yourself a life coach is like saying “I can’t decide how to specialize so for now I’m just an everything coach.” That will likely keep you from earning much. Specializing garners credibility so you can charge more.

It’s time to get more specific and creative than ‘life coach’ or other fill-in-the-blank coach titles.

You Are Not Limited to Your Certification Title

Just because the certification you received is a life coach or wellness coach or relationship coach certification does not mean you can get creative and stand out in the crowd with your title and all of your messaging.

Standing out in the crowd is important. If you’re on any social media channels regularly you’re going to see a lot of coaches trying to ply their trade. Most of them are selling coaching. That’s a hard sell. While some people know they want coaching, most do not. Coaching is not the top of mind benefits people look for.

If you haven’t already listen to Episode 51 – Why is Coaching a Hard Sell? I think it will open your eyes to a challenge you’ve already been trying overcome. In a nutshell use your coaching skills to serve paying clients but don’t push the idea of coaching because it’s not outcome people know they want. It’s part of your toolbox. Professionals don’t always need to point attention to their toolbox. Sometimes, it’s a disadvantage.

Your Coaching Audience is a Clue to Your Personal Title

When I help coaches create a strategic foundation for their coaching business, we start with choosing a narrow, viable audience full of seekers. Then, after some research, we shape the niche. A niche isn’t a great niche if it’s not contextualized to the unique group of people you serve.

I had the pleasure of working with a coach recently who targeted single Christian women to help them find their life partner. Her title is Faith-Based Relationship Strategist.

When a title is that specific it helps attract ideal clients. And that’s important. You don’t just want any client. You want clients who will help you become well known and in high demand. You want clients who will refer other clients to you that are more likely to want what you offer.

Your Coaching Niche is a Clue to Your Personal Title

The specific problem you solve with your coaching also helps you attract ideal clients.

Look at how these 4 titles makes it clear exactly WHAT these coaches do for their clients:

  • Stepparenting Mentor
  • Midlife Success Strategist
  • Writing Coach & Publishing Strategist
  • Post-Grad Transition Coach

This last is the creative title of recent client who decided to target Seniors of elite universities to help them achieve personal agency in the adult world. Yes, she’s doing life coaching with her audience but this title is more descriptive and confidence building.

Get Super Creative with Your Personal Coaching Title

I must admit, I lean toward titles that are more descriptive more than fanciful. But I truly admire coaches who get really creative with their titles. And I’ve noticed that creativity fits their personality.

  • A coach who works with people whose spouses have dementia calls herself a Dementia Hopeologist.
  • A coach who helps women at 50 escape the daily grind and live on their own terms calls herself an Escape Artist.

So, if you’ve got that out-of-the-box style, flaunt it!

Change it Up Anytime

One of the wonderful things about your business is you get to do what you want. You can change things as you go. You may wake up one day and realize you want to shift from being a Career Coach to an Encore Career Coach.

I’ve called myself a Coach for Coaches, International Business Mentor for Coaches and the Coaching Niche Success Strategist. A lot of my clients like the word ‘strategist’ because it carries more gravitas than ‘coach’. But it’s not for every coach, every audience or niche. Does your personal title help you attract your ideal clients? If not, it’s an easy change.