Ep 141 – 5 Questions to Test Your Coaching Business Integrity

This episode is inspired by my own breaches in integrity over the 2 decades plus that I’ve been a coach and some I see other coaches stumble with as well.

If you took coach training, hopefully you were provided with some standard ethical guidelines that need to be followed with your clients. Things like:

  • Keeping your coaching client’s contact info and what they say confidential unless they give express permission for you to share some part of it.
  • Setting personal and time boundaries with clients.

Beyond that, no one talks much about ethics and integrity in coaching.

Coaching is not currently a regulated field so it’s doubly important that you, as the professional coach, regulate yourself. That helps all coaches and the future of coaching.

Complaints about coaches hurt the field of coaching. And we really don’t want this field to be regulated, as it would greatly change the coaching industry for the worse.

What It Really Means to Be a Professional Coach

Have you realized that YOU are a PROFESSIONAL? Take this in.

Own the fact that what you do is a professional service and you are a trained professional offering serious and consequential experiences through your coaching.

When I say serious and consequential, I mean that you could hurt someone just as easily as you could help them.

I don’t think you should fear the possibility of hurting someone, but it’s wise to consider it often. More and more I craft what I say to clients both verbally and in writing.

When a client pays you for your services it automatically changes the power differential. You have a bit more or maybe a lot more perceived power than your client. You can equalize that by:

  • The respect you show your clients. Acknowledge always that they are resourceful, intelligent and whole human beings who don’t need you to survive. They can take of themselves.
  • Encouraging them to take full responsibility for their feelings, thoughts and actions.

I even have a sentence about this in my Coaching Agreement — part of my intake packet (also called a welcome or onboarding packet.)

As a professional you have an obligation to improve and maintain your integrity – your professional boundaries and more.

A Make or Break Factor of Your Coaching Business Success

Beyond being the right thing to do, I’ve come to think of integrity as a make it or break it factor in coaching business success.

I’ve seen how the way coaches conduct themselves affects their ability to earn well.

For example, if a coaching relationship is damaged by a breach of some sort that’s not addressed quickly that bad energy can float out and infect your business. People may not want to work with you even if they don’t know why.

Your integrity is about your core values in life, business, relationships — everything. It’s a set of principles that guide your words and actions – and even your mindset to help you to be your best self and do well at everything you do.

5 Powerful Questions to Check In With Your Integrity Level

To raise your integrity in your coaching business, look at all of these areas:

  1. What you do and say with clients
  2. What you do and say with potential coaching clients – including your marketing practices, social media posting, the words on your website, how you enroll clients
  3. Your business habits and timeliness
  4. How honest you are with yourself about what’s going on with your business.

Consider checking in with yourself every month or so. Ask yourself …

Am I operating from my integrity?

Am I conducting all aspects of my coaching business in an honest and authentic way?

Do I feel good about what I’m saying and doing with coaching clients?

Do I feel good about how I market and all the content I put out?

If you can say without a doubt ‘yes’ to these questions, you’re doing well. Here’s a different powerful question that will help you uncover the blind spots:

Am I regretting any decision, action or conversation I’ve had in the last few months?

If yes, take the time as soon as possible to look closely at this and take action to correct it. With clients it could be something that’s nagging at you but that you avoid dealing with.

Maybe you charge too little for your services and you’re feeling resentful?

Do you have a client you know is not a good fit for you?

Did something come out of your mouth in a session that could have been said better?

Look, this is human stuff. No one is infallible. Everyone makes ethical mistakes. However, coaches should be held to a high standard. It means, bringing awareness to this and consciously choosing your words and actions.

Ep 138 – A Coaching Skill You Might Not Have Learned Yet

This episode is about a coaching skill you might not have learned in coach training school. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s a relationship skill.

A few weeks ago one of my VIP clients emailed me asking if she could coach me in our next session to get more practice. It totally took me by surprise. No client had ever asked that before.

And I felt conflicted about it so I gave it some careful thought before responding. It wasn’t without risk. How might it affect our mentoring relationship?

I decided to say ‘yes’ if I could think of a good topic. It had to be something real for me because making something up would not give her practice. And it needed to be complex enough to truly challenge her.

And then I realized my topic was staring me in the face. I had been deliberating about a very serious decision. Something that involved my health, finances and it affected my partner too. Suddenly I felt gifted by the Universe because I really did need an objective person to share this dilemma with.

Into the Co-Creative Relationship

So in our next session we jumped into the co-creative relationship.

My client’s coaching was near to flawless. In fact, it was some of the best coaching I’d ever experienced. I came away from the conversation feeling clear about my next steps and leaning towards a decision that would honor my values and needs.

After coaching, we both stepped out of the co-creative role. She asked for feedback and it was easy to give her praise about a dozen things. There was only one thing that I thought needed correction.

Because I’d been working with this coach for a few months already, this thing hadn’t affected my ability to be coached well. But, I knew that it could be an issue for her with a new client if she didn’t make changes. It could even affect her ability to enroll a new client.

During our coaching her voice was a bit flat. Technically, she was masterful. Asking all the right questions with excellent timing and moving me through to my decision without advising or manipulating.

Voice Matters

But energetically, I didn’t feel enough human connection in the coaching. And this is important! It was not about the words she spoke. It was about the lack of feeling conveyed in the words through her voice.

Voices are amazing things. They have the power to communicate beyond words.

I first learned this in college when I took a voice and diction class. At the end of the semester my professor clapped his hand on my shoulders and looked directly into my eyes saying: “You must do something professional with your voice, Rhonda.”

That had impact I can tell you. But I didn’t become a singer or actor or broadcaster. I became a coach.

I’ve used my voice a lot of the last two decades. Never so much as with my podcast, which has given my voice more range in multiple ways. It’s impacting more people than ever.

Just the other day in a Discovery Call a prospect said to me: “You sound just like your podcast!” It seemed that was reassuring to her. And I felt a kind of connection that I don’t think couldn’t have come from her reading a bunch of blogs I’d written.

Back to my client – the excellent coach … I suggested that she raise the energy of her voice. Inject it with human connection. Just a subtle shift would make a big difference.

And she immediately knew what I meant. She recognized that in concentrating so much to use the coaching model and ask the right questions that her attention wasn’t on the energy she was conveying.

And she also noted that she could relate to the dilemma I brought in my agenda, which she said threw her off a bit, though I could not tell.

You can convey so much with minor modulation in your voice. Changes in the timbre of your voice, speed, volume, enunciation, and word emphasis add meaning beyond words.

Imagine that you are in session with a client. How can you convey softness in few words without sounding parental or overstepping a boundary? Could you hear the warmth in my voice just now?

How can you shine a smile or convey humor through your voice? I literally did smile as I said that.

How can you call attention to what you’re saying without becoming loud?

Did you notice that I slowed my words down just then and put a bit more emphasis on certain words? My mouth worked a bit more to put more meaning into the words.

If you’re meeting face to face with clients, you might not need to inject more humanity into your voice. It can also come across with a gesture or look on your face. You shine light through your eyes.

I’ve always preferred to coach over the phone. I’m an introvert. Plus I like to take notes. And I know there is intimacy in speaking directly into my client’s ears and they into mine. From my client’s voice I can read body language. I can tell a lot just by the tone, speed and little elements in their voice.

You can too. All it takes is attention to this. Now maybe you already modulate your voice for meaning. Or maybe you could use more subtlety in your voice. I think you know instinctively what you need to do to be an even more masterful coach.

4 Ways to Choose Your Coaching Niche

stand out in the crowdCoaches are more business savvy than they used to be. Now, every coach knows that when you land a smart coaching niche, all the doors of opportunity open up and prosperity flows in. It solves so many problems:

  • It’s easier to enroll clients without being salesy.
  • It clues you in about how to connect with future clients.
  • With many niches, you can charge more and clients will stay longer.
  • You can move beyond your region into international coaching.
  • All your efforts can be leveraged for a bigger impact and result.

And, if you choose wisely, you quickly become a coach in high demand. That means you earn more, coach more, and marketless. That’s the way I like to do it.

Enrolling Coaching Clients Requires Mindset Mastery

Recently, I posted 10 powerful questions for enrolling clients and it sparked excitement from some coaches that haven’t found sample coaching sessions effective and concerns from others about the potential for manipulating prospects with the questions. Thanks for the great discussion!

https://prosperouscoachblog.com/enroll-coaching-clients-mindsetSuccessful client enrollment is part competence with an enrollment process and part mastery of mindset. I explain in my previous post why, after more than a decade of coaching, I prefer the process of enrollment questions over giving a sample  session.

Are enrollment questions manipulative? No, not in themselves. But if the coach asking those questions is attached to the outcome of getting a client the questions could feel manipulative to the prospect. The coach’s attachment to outcome is the potentially troublesome factor.

Is Your Website Freebie Hot or Not?

I’ve launched a lot of websites. Sorry to say, several were duds. But I learned a lot from those duds, and now my website continually transforms web visitors into clients for me.

While I was failing my way to success, I discovered the #1 most important part of a website – the freebie (also called a “pink spoon”). This is the immediately downloadable free offer you have in your opt-in box on your home page.

What’s that you say? You don’t have one? Or… it’s not building your list fast enough? You’re not alone. I review a lot of coach’s websites for them and the free offer is often buried somewhere, or it seriously lacks pizzazz! That means it’s not doing the work it could of bringing you pre-qualified clients.

If you want to continually transform your web visitors into fans and your fans into clients, put up a free offer that’s irresistible. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.

Here’s how to tell if you’re on the right track with your freebie.

Assess the Sizzle of Your Freebie and Opt-in

Before you begin, open a browser to your website. (If you don’t have one yet, open the site where you were last compelled to opt in.) Make the size of your browser about the size of an average laptop. Now, without scrolling, look at what you see as if YOU were your target audience. Give yourself the points only if you can say YES to each question, then total the points and score yourself. Here we go…