Ep 42 – What Exactly Makes a Coaching Website Client Winning?

Hello coaches! Today we are doing something a little bit different … I’m going to take you on a journey.

And, this is really about how your website can work on your behalf to bring you clients and future clients and get people on your list so you can connect with them and build relationships of trust with them over the long term.

I’ve been talking about websites for a couple of episodes recently in a new series that I’m working on called Client Winning Coaching Websites. This is the third episode in this series.

If you haven’t heard the first two, I‘d recommend that you go back and listen. But after you listen to this one.

Okay, so today what we’re going to dive into is what is it that makes a coaching website client winning.

And remember last week I talked about how so many coaches are putting up what I call an online brochure, which is really not geared for attracting and enrolling coaching clients.

As a result, the website just kind of sits there and does nothing. And it’s frustrating because no doubt you spent money on it and time on it and invested a lot of your heart and soul into it too.

There is a totally different way to do a website and if you’re about to start your website, I hope you’ll listen really closely because it does begin with some really early things. One is choosing a viable target audience full of seekers and developing a really smart niche that’s going to help you stand out in the crowd.

But also there’s the mechanical thing which is to choose a website template that is actually geared towards enrolling clients for you and a lot of them are not. That online brochure type is not.

Imagine the Customer Journey Online

Now, take a couple of deep breaths, close your eyes and think about when you’ve been online and something has jumped out at you and hit the mark about what’s important to you .

You have clicked and gone to a website. Then, because of the experience that you had there on the website, you made a decision to sign up on a list for get a free download. Or, perhaps even taken a stronger action and actually invested money into a program of some sort.

That journey is called the customer journey.

Create a strategized customer journey like what I describe below for your website tailored to your target audience.

The easiest way I could think of to illustrate this for you was to talk to you about your own goals and objectives as a coach.

As human beings, when are on the Internet, we are mostly in a trance moving through this thick, very busy, loud, marketing-heavy environment. We very quickly make decisions about what we’re going to pay attention to and what we’re not going to pay attention to. 

It’s mere seconds. We pay attention to is something that has a high degree of relevance to us as individuals.

Your top challenges and goals are floating around in your head in the background all the time. Something that you’re struggling with, something that you are challenged by, something that you’d like to change, something that you’ve tried to do on your own but haven’t been able to.

You’re looking for help … maybe even consciously yet.

Relevance is What Grabs Attention Online

What we’re talking about here is relevance

You have a set of things that are top of mind for you as an individual and every other person out there on the Internet has a set of challenges, goals, things that they’re thinking about in the back of their mind all the time. 

How does that relate to your website?

Be sure that your website hits one of those high points, one of those relevancy points for your target audience. 

And you can see the problem here is that if you don’t have a narrow enough target audience — if you don’t know exactly what makes them tick

  • what keeps them up at night
  • what it is that they really, really want
  • what is an acute problem they most want solved

… then you’re going to have a hard time creating a website with an online customer journey that will enroll your ideal clients.

A Model of a Customer Journey Relevant to Coaches

I’m going to take you on my ideal client’s journey because it’s quite intimate to me and  you. I serve coaches and you are a coach so the customer journey that I’ve put together that connects to my website is relevant to you.

My hope is that by walking you through this, you’ll have a model. You’ll see what it is that you need to do with your own website, for your own target audience. 

Okay, so there you are. You’re a new coach who finished coach training or are just about to.

But so far your business really hasn’t taken off and there are set of things that you’re struggling with as it relates to your coaching business.

You want to be a successful coach and to make a difference in people’s lives. One of the struggles is this whole niche thing.

I still don’t have clarity about my coaching niche!

So what do you do when you’re online with that problem? Well, you might search for answers about coaching niches. Searches are one way that your clients might find you.

Searching online you’ve found some articles about coaching niches and you start to read them and you’ve kept your Google page open because you want to go back to options. Some of the articles are helpful and some of them are not. Some skim over the surface.

But then you come across something that is unique, that isn’t something you’ve heard everywhere else and it speaks to you.

You’re inspired so you go their website.

Here’s How to Create a Pre-Qualified Coaching Client on Your Website

To continue the journey where it becomes clear how to do this …

  1. The first thing you see is their brand (same as the name of their company and domain). and it speaks to you.
  2. And then right underneath that brand name, you see a core message or benefit statement. And what it says hits the mark about specifically what you want and what challenges you, so you’re inspired to read more.
  3. You scroll down and you read the highly relevant home page web copy. It’s short and hits specific words that you’ve been thinking and feeling.
  4. It’s pointing you towards a solution — a free downloadable guide all about how to figure out your coaching niche. And so without a thought you are putting in your name and email address and you are downloading that pdf.
  5. You’re inspired to immediately open it up and everything you see in that guide makes your heart sing because here is someone who gets you, someone who understands what it is that you’re trying to accomplish, they’ve done it themselves and they have a system.
  6. And you are so inspired by this point that when you read how the guide invites a free Discovery Session with this person you don’t hesitate to schedule it.
  7. And in the meantime, while you’re waiting for that discovery session to happen, you are back at that website bingeing on more relevant content.
  8. By the time you get to that Discovery Session you are pre-sold on hiring this person! So when they offer you an opportunity to work with them, you sign up

What I’ve just described is it customer journey. It’s a model for you and what you want to create for your ideal clients — a unique narrow audience.

Mindfully and Strategically Design Your Coaching Client’s Web Journey

Don’t throw up a website selling coaching. Instead, mindfully, strategically making every decision that influences what your website is going to look like, what the copy’s going to say, what your free offer  is that takes your ideal clients on a meaningful journey of building trust and getting pre-qualified to work with you. 

By the way, don’t just offer a Discovery Session as your freebie on your website!

It’s too early for that. It’s kind of like going on a first date with someone who brings their parents along. Too much too soon!

Build your customer journey from the ground up.

I know it’s not an easy thing to create this customer journey. I know it’s not an easy thing to choose your coaching niche to make sure that you have a viable target audience that’s full of seekers — people who will invest in your help to get exactly where they want to go.

Specificity is the Secret to Creating a Client-Winning Journey for Your Coaching Clients

It is specificity in all things that snaps our head to attention.

Going back to the coaching niche example, see how specific that is?

We need to find for you what is that burning issue that is common for your specific narrow target audience. The pain is so acute that when your ideal clients see words about that on the Internet, they snap to attention.

Examples of a Brand and Benefit Statement

Now, I promised you in this episode that I would explain to you what makes a client winning coaching website client winning. And in a way I just have but I’m going to go over it now instead of the customer journey where you’re a part of it.

First, it starts with choosing a brand name that is really specific to the outcome that you offer. Here is my brand:

Prosperous Coach

See how it fits my target audience?

I’ll go into more details about brand names in a future episode, but just know that that’s an overview. 

Your brand —which is the same thing as your company name and your domain mirrors that too — is the very first point of client attraction on your website. 

You want ideal coaching clients to arrive on your website and think: yeah, this is for me

Which brings me to the second point, which is what I call a core message and a lot of people call a benefit statement — it’s a sentence that describes in specifics how you help your target audience. 

My core message is:

Helping coaches earn more and market less

by choosing a profitable coaching niche they’ll love.

I’m naming two specific things coaches really want — to earn more and market less and a top of mind challenge for new coaches — to choose a profitable niche they’ll love.

It’s short and it’s power packed. It’s not just a tagline like — Go. Fight. Win! — it says more than that. In seconds it tells web visitors if they have arrived at a place they want to be and it inspires them to delve further into your website.

That core message is high up in your website  right on the header right there with your brand. 

On many coaches websites that I see, the header just has a quote on it or it has some pretty image, but it doesn’t really tell the person who is arrived on the website: I have arrived at the right place.

When you go to website, aren’t you pretty quick to judge whether this website is valuable to you or not? 

If not, you bounce off and you’re on to something else because the internet is a vast place and if you are not spoken to at the heart level about your specific challenges, then you’re gone off that site never to come back again.

Next, what goes right underneath the header is some client winning web copy and there are a lot of tricks to web copy. Don’t write a philosophical essay and hope that people are going to read it because people have very short attention spans.

We are a distracted population, especially when we’re online, especially when we’re on our phones.

We are so easily distracted away from what we’re doing that we very often don’t read more than a sentence before we move on

 So your web copy on your homepage needs to be short, punchy and get right to the point in a way that is emotionally evocative. It can’t be formal language. It can’t be long, deep paragraphs. Maybe … 250 words max.

Your home page copy is meant to get your target audience to your first conversion process, which is your opt in  — a free downloadable guide, loaded with value that they can’t get anywhere else.

Don’t create a freebie that’s coachey, because there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of those kinds of articles and free things out there already. 

Dig in and create a free offer that’s so specific to your target audience and niche while it solves a really unique problem they have while it pre-sells them on enrolling with you without being salesy.

I’m going to go into more detail about freebies later on down the road,

Once they download your freebie, you want them to read it. The copy needs to be short and punchy and really to the point. Pull their eyes through that downloadable freebie and deliver AHA’s quickly. Enlighten them, inspire them, open their eyes, get them thinking.

You want them to read it all the way to the end where you invite them to your Discovery Session

By the time they finish reading your guide they are so primed that they click the link takes them to your calendar.

But you know people are all different. Some people are not going to immediately read that downloadable freebie. So you also need to have set up a set of follow up emails constructed in a very strategic way. They’re short, but they’re connective, they’re emotionally evocative, and they point attention to specific passages or pages of your freebie.

Lastly, your Discovery Session is your opportunity to enroll them as a client. There’s a non-salesy, non-coachey way to enroll them that doesn’t send them away wholly satisfied as sample coaching sessions do.

If you are working on your website right now and there’s something holding you back from getting it done in a client winning way, reach out to me. Let’s have a strategy session.

In the Next Episode, I’ll go into deeper information about how you choose and develop your coaching business’s brand and domain.

Ep 40 – Do This Before You Create Your Coaching Website

This episode is part of a brand new series called Client Winning Coaching Websites.

This series is especially for new coaches who don’t have a website yet. I want to help you do it right the first time.

This series is also for you if you have a coaching website already and it’s not serving you well. No one is going to the website, signing up on your list or contacting you for a Discovery Session.

There are good reasons for that and I want to help you get your website working for you.

So be sure to stay tuned for each successive episode in this series because I’ll be going into details. And I truly believe you’ll have some big AHAs about how to improve your website.

This episode is about first steps to take before you create your coaching website.

  • Before you hire a designer.
  • Or before you decide to buy a Wix or Squarespace template and do it yourself. A dubious choice!
  • Or, before you ask your kid or your best friend’s cousin to slap up a website for you.

All tough choices especially if you do that BEFORE you make these critical 3 decisions about your coaching business.

First, I want you to know that I am not a web designer. But I am an international business mentor for coaches with 20 years of experience.

And, because I’m the TEACHER Archetype, I tend to learn from my mistakes by studying and creating step-by-step guides for others. So, after I launched my 4th website, which is a client generating website, I decided to pass on what I learned.

I created a step-by-step online training program called Client Winning Websites & Blogs for Coaches.

It was a comprehensive training that sold well for a long time.

But, the world of the Internet changes so fast. I took the program off the market because there are constant subtle shifts in how things work, in Google’s algorithms and in online trends.

I didn’t want to be updating that product every 6 months. I’d rather be helping coaches in Strategy Sessions and in my VIP 5 month Coaching Business Breakthrough program.

Every coach I work with, I help them write client-winning copy for their website and manage the web design process because my website and my client’s websites are proof that you can turn web visitors into clients if you create a friendly journey for your target audience on your site.

I realized recently, why not repurpose and upgrade the material in Client Winning Websites & Blogs for Coaches into bite-sized insights for Prosperous Coach Podcast.

So, over several weeks I’ll cover in great detail what makes for a client-winning coaching website and I’ll share some examples you can see online.

3 Steps to Take Before You Do Anything Else in Your Coaching Business

Today’s mini-episode is about 3 the things you should do before you create a coaching website so you don’t waste time and money.

And that’s always my aim— to help you create a financially successful and rewarding coaching business from the get go, rather than getting stuck blindly following the masses of coaches who don’t create a sustainable business. There’s no reason why you should know how to do this without support from someone who has taken the less traveled road and found an easier way.

Okay… let me tell you a story … and see if you see yourself anywhere in this.

About 1 – 3 times a week a new coach reaches out to me. They’ve been referred to my podcast by another coach — and I’m grateful for that — or done a search for “coaching niche” and so they end up strolling around my website and filling out the application on my Work with Rhonda page.

By the way that’s called a funnel or conversion process. More about that soon in another episode.

So the coach writes in their application that don’t know their coaching niche or target audience but they’re working on their website, creating ads and coaching programs.

And I think … bummer. In my minds eye I see them throwing time and money away on a blazing fire.

It’s an honest mistake. When you finish coach training there’s this emotional rush to get a website up, to start doing all the conventional things all coaches think are necessary to attract coaching clients.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the power of websites. My own website sends me a constant stream of ideal clients who are ready to enroll with me. That’s a client-winning website.

But, creating your website before you know who you’re serving and the problem you help them solve is like:

  • building a house on land you don’t own.
  • dressing up a manikin in finery when you’re wearing rags.
  • buying a car before you can see over the steering wheel.

Developmentally it’s better to wait until your coaching business has a solid foundation.

It’s not just the cart before the horse. There is no horse in sight. It’s a cart with square wheels mired in a swamp. It’s not going to go anywhere or do anything until it’s dismantled.

That’s what it’s like to put up a coaching website before you know WHO you serve and WHAT acute problem you help them solve.

I want you to know I made this mistake and not just once.

When I started as a coach in 1997, over the first 3 years I threw away so much money on 3 different websites. They were pretty websites with what I thought was interesting copy. I worked so hard on them.

But they were all duds. They sat there in cyberspace collecting dust. I only got hits from friends, family and myself.

Your website can be command central for your coaching business. And I do think unless you have a regional business that having a good website is critical if you want to be taken seriously. It can be an incredible tool if it’s created right. In an upcoming episode I’ll explain the distinct difference between an online coaching brochure and a client winning website.

If you’re about to create your coaching website or you have one now and it’s not serving you well, be sure to stay tuned for each successive episode.

This one is about first steps. Before you hire the designer. Or decide to buy a Wix or Squarespace template and do it yourself. Before you ask your kid or your best friend’s cousin to slap up a website for you, make critical decisions about your coaching business.

These are decisions about your future. They’re big decisions and doable. Making these decisions will help you have crystal clarity about your value as a professional coach.

What are those decisions and why are they important?

You know what I’m going to say. Step #1 is for you to choose a viable target audience to serve before you do anything else.

Viable is an audience full of seekers, people who do invest in their own personal and professional growth. That viable audience is easy to find and connect with. They are eager to evolve and it’s narrow enough group that you’ll stand out in a crowd.

And standing out in the crowd is a big part of what makes it possible to attract clients online. Think about it, if you’re just another voice in the crowd, no one ever listens.

And there’s another step to take before you slap up some copy about coaching. Market research. And it’s not what you think.

It’s not asking a bunch of people if they’ll pay for your coaching. It’s more subtle and scientific than that. It’s how you’ll learn exactly what your audience wants so much they’ll invest in your help to get it.

And knowing that is how you develop a smart coaching niche.

Then, you’re ready to create a brand and get a matching domain, to craft an attention getting core message and offers.

And finally, to write web copy that’s streamlined and resonates with your target audience.

What’s next then? Hiring a savvy web designer who knows how to code and how to make a customized website designed to convert visitors into fans and fans into clients.

Very few designers have all those skills. Most just know how to make a website look pretty.

Here’s the thing … the people you’re going to serve are at the center of your coaching business.

Their problems and goals are where YOU come in.

Transformative coaching can’t happen without the coachee — the person you’ll serve with your coaching.

You and all coaches love people and want to see them thrive. Your coaching website might be their first connection with you. So why would you build a coaching website before you know your target audience intimately?

Look, I get it. The target audience and coaching niche decision are hard. Why else would I get so many hits on my website from ideal clients about this topic. It’s not all I do to help my clients succeed but it is the first decision. And that decision becomes your true north. It’s how you’ll know what to do next and next.

If you’re struggling knowing who you audience is or how to make your coaching niche stand out in the crowd, let’s get that settled in a Strategy Session.

Or, if you’ve got a coaching website up and it’s doing nothing for you, let’s have a Strategy Session so I can review it with you and share step by step how you can transform it to be a client-winning website from now on.

The Next Episode is: Some Coaching Websites Aren’t Set Up to Enroll Coaching Clients

Ep 39 – How to Assess if a Potential Coaching Client Is a Good Fit for You

Hello coaches, this is my fourth mini episode for you on the topic of Client Management that started with Episode 34. It’s part of my series called Smart Mindsets & Habits.

You know, my husband and I have been getting our house ready for sale. Now we’ve got a fabulous buyer and it is time to pack. That’s why the mini episodes. And coaches have been loving them. Thank you for listening!

Today, we’re talking about how to assess whether a potential coaching client is right for you.

Primarily, fit is assessed during the Discovery call. That’s the Discovery Session, not a sample coaching session. There’s a difference.

That’s a time where you ask really powerful questions to draw out what’s going on with your potential client, what’s in their way of the thing that they want the most. And then, you establish how you can help them in your signature program to achieve that thing they want most.

Fit Starts With Your Coaching Niche

Fit partially depends on your target audience and coaching niche.

You know me, I’m always talking about having a target audience, a specific narrow target audience for your coaching business, learning from them what it is that they want so much they’ll invest in your help to get it.

And, then, develop your coaching niche around that and what you bring to the table regarding the outcome they most want that you’re going to help them get.

When you focus on your audience and niche, there’s a lot of power behind your messaging and your programs as everything is tailored to them. I believe in it as the most powerful way to become highly successful in your coaching business.

Why does assessing fit depend on your niche? Let me give you an example …

I help coaches build the foundation of their coaching business so they can launch with confidence and succeed financially.

My ideal clients are primed to develop their entrepreneurial business and to do the work of building that foundation together.

I ask coaches about the kind of support systems they have in place, what kind of time they have available to work on their business with me. If they don’t have enough time or support at home, if they’re not excited about being an entrepreneur, then they’re not a good fit work that I want to do with them.

You’ll develop your own way of assessing fit based on your niche.

Are They Coachable?

Another aspect of fit is about coach-ability. If you’re a coach and your client isn’t coachable, obviously that’s not going to be a really powerful transformational relationship.

There are a couple of things that you can do to assess coach-ability:

Their level of self awareness. Pay attention when they talk about their challenges, habits — things that are holding them back about what they want.

If someone is not self-aware, coaching may not be the best process for them.

Coaching works well for people who they essentially know that they are at choice. If you come across someone who seems to be blaming someone or something for their life challenges, that is an indication that they may not be coachable.

Also, what’s their attitude about paying for support? Some people are not seekers — the kind of people who are willing to invest time and money and energy into their own personal or professional transformation.

If you get to the point where you’re telling a potential client your fees and someone does not value what you’re offering for the fees that you’re asking, that’s a strong indication that you’re not the right fit for them.

Are they fully present for that discovery call? If they show up distracted, late or they miss it entirely, they might not be the best fit.

Detach From Outcome

Finally, if you are desperate to enroll a client, that is not going to set you up for a positive, powerful experience with this client.

Everyone has felt desperate to enroll a client at sometime. When you’re new to coaching there’s such a strong desire to prove you can do this that sometimes it speaks louder than your highest self.

Attachment will hold you back from enrolling ideal clients that pay you well.

That needy energy is like a bad smell that surrounds you turning your prospect off. Chances are they will feel it even if they don’t know what it is. It will unbalance the power differential between you and your prospect. And you’ll miss your opportunity to enroll a client.

I suggest to coaches I work with that before the Discovery call they open up their hands and surrender the need to have this client hire them.

Detaching from outcome sets you up for success. Without that desperation hanging around you, you’ll be able to hear your intuition more clearly about whether this prospective client is a good fit for you. Intuition is always the best guide.

If you’re struggling to get out of your own way with enrolling … I have a bit of room left in my August calendar for Strategy Sessions.

Consider grabbing time with me to help you to take a leap in mindset or one of these areas:

  • I want to choose a viable, narrow target audience.
  • I’d like guidance to conduct market research with my audience.
  • I want to choose a profitable niche and stand out in the crowd of coaches.
  • I’d like to create a signature program my audience will buy.
  • I’d like help to make my website client-winning.
  • I want to create an irresistible freebie and opt-in for my audience.

That’s just a sampling of bite-sized takeaways we could work on together to help you take a leap. I’d love to work with you!

Ep 38 – Should You Send Gifts to Your Coaching Clients?

Hello coaches. I have been doing these mini episodes over the last couple of weeks on Client Management topics for the series called Smart Mindsets & Habits.

I’m getting some really positive comments about these mini’s!

Today’s topic is … should you send gifts to your coaching clients?

The first answer is that it’s totally up to you and you should always do what you feel is right. I think that every coach deserves the opportunity to try things out and see how they work for them. We’re not all the same.

That said, I’ll tell you that I have changed my tune about giving gifts to clients over the years.

When I first started my business, I got pretty precious about every aspect of my business. I bought all these beautiful little envelopes and cards and all sorts of paraphernalia with my coaching business logo on it. (That was the old fashioned thing that people said you should do and I bought into it.)

I would also send my clients birthday gifts and Christmas gifts. I put a lot of thought into them.

But over the years, I noticed that I wasn’t getting the reception that I really wanted to from giving those gifts. And I think that sometimes gifts are so personal. We all have such different tastes.

Giving a gift to a client can sometimes burden the client and burden the relationship. So my new thought about it is not to give gifts.

If you do give gifts, whether they are for birthdays or Christmas or a similar holiday, I would suggest that you keep them small and relatable and perhaps something that’s relatively generic, such as an Amazon gift card. That is unless you know for sure that a specific gift is going to land with your client.

For example, if a client mentions a book they want, just send it to them even if it’s not yet their birthday. Then you will have done them a great favor and they’ll feel that you listened to them.

I think that gifts that have your logo on it, such as a cup or a pen, come across a bit salesy and they might even do the reverse of what you want them to do.

Now there is a circumstance that I still give gifts that I feel really good about …

When a past client or a colleague refers a new client to me, someone who enrolls in my long term program, I like to respond in a personal way.

Recently one of my colleagues — a fellow trainer at coach Training Alliance, the place where I wrote curriculum — sent me a number of clients who all enrolled!

I called her and thanked her then said: “I want to treat you to something that you don’t normally treat yourself to.” She loves massage. So, I asked her who her massage therapist is and got his contact information. I called him and said: “I want to gift my friend with a number of sessions with you.”

I bought her four massages and sent her an email saying: “You’ve got four sessions waiting for you with your massage therapist.” She loved that gift.

Reward past clients for referrals. They feel special when it’s something personal that they really want.

Now, if you have something that you really want to put into the hands of your clients at a special time in their lives, then you should do that

These days, because I have so much expertise in helping coaches build a successful business, I have a lot of guides I’ve written that are primers. I like to gift those out to my clients throughout my signature program.

And because there’s a constant flow of extras coming to them, I think that there isn’t any expectation or real desire for any other kind of gift.

I hope you got value out of this mini episode!

The Next Episode is: How to Assess if a Potential Clients is a Good Fit for You

Ep 37 – 8 Powerful Coaching Questions to Ask Any Client Anytime

This mini episode is part of the Smart Mindsets & Habits series and a continuation of the Client Management Topic that started with Episode 34.

These are powerful questions that are standard in the coaches toolbox.

The right question can really help anyone zoom past obstacles and into a power zone of awareness and action on their own behalf.

That’s why questions are so valuable to coaches and in coaching.

So the first question unlocks a lot for your clients:

What do you want?

Well, sometimes people have a hard time answering this question, but with probing questions beneath it, you might be able to get them to it.

The second question is:

What’s holding you back?

As human beings, we do generally have a sense of this. We might be in denial about it, but we generally do know what we’re doing that’s either sabotaging ourselves or what we’re thinking, what we’re feeling that is lingering too long for us to be able to transform.

So what’s holding you back?

That question will cause your coaching client to go inside and really look at the truth with a capital T.

The third question is:

What is it costing you to continue holding back?

I don’t know if we normally as human beings think about what the costs are of our actions, of our thoughts, of our habits, but to ask someone that causes them to look at themselves from a place of self responsibility.

The fourth question is:

How could you show up differently?

Presumably you’re talking to them about a circumstance or a situation and this question allows them to wonder, Oh, I’m at choice here. How could I show up differently?

I remember this one time where I was going to be speaking in public at a pretty big event for coaches and I was just so nervous. I called my husband for support and he has asked me: How do you want to show up, Rhonda?

I paused and I thought about it. Well, I want to show up standing in my power, believing in myself and being open and vulnerable to my audience as well as delivering something that is actually valuable to them.

Those four answers just grounded me. They made me feel good again, made me feel ready again. And I realized that it was okay to be vulnerable with my audience. It’s okay that I was nervous and I didn’t have to try to obliterate that nervousness before getting on stage.

The fifth question is:

What is a new perspective that you could adopt right now?

Oftentimes when our coaching clients are telling us how they feel or what they think about something, it might be a gripe. It might be the raw feeling and there’s nothing wrong with that.

As a matter of fact, I invite my clients to share their raw feelings.

You can respond to that raw stuff with the question: What’s a new perspective you could adopt right now about that?

You’re inviting them to pick themselves up out of the situation and get a 30,000 foot view. Look at it from the other person’s point of view. Or from their highest self point of view.

The sixth question is:

What is the most meaningful action you could take right now?

So often when our clients are stuck, it’s because they’re unwilling to or afraid to take an action and when you put that word meaningful in front of action, it helps them think differently.

Meaningful to them could be journaling. Or it could be having a conversation with you or someone else. Meaningful to them could be deciding not to do it at all and to take a different direction.

The seventh question is:

What new habits will you put in place right now?

Habits are amazingly powerful in our lives and in the lives of our clients.

We all have bad habits. If you take any aspect of our lives on the life wheel, we’ve got bad habits in those areas, whether it be finances, or how we behave at work … how we feed or exercise ourselves.

We all have habits that can be improved and habits are amazingly powerful if we put the right ones in place.

That’s partially why I’m talking to you about client management because these are habits that we can have in place with our prospects and our clients.

 And the last question, number eight is:

What new skills or support systems will ensure your success?

We want to teach our clients and ourselves to realize that sometimes we have to learn something new or go get help in order to ensure our success.

I always ask my prospects about their support systems. I want to know do they have a family? Do they have a partner? Is that partner supportive of them building a coaching business? Do they have childcare? Do they have ways that they’re going to be able to segment parts of their day to work on their business?

With your own target audience around the niche you have, the ultimate outcome you’re going to help them achieve —be sure they have support systems in place and not just you. You don’t want all of the help and succor to be on your shoulders.

Going back to the skills too, of course everyone who is undertaking something new or trying to do something big.

Hopefully, you’re helping your clients achieve something big to get past or solve a big problem they have or to achieve a huge goal they have. Because if you’re doing that with your clients you may not be able to earn enough as a coach

New skills might something like developing a stronger intuition. It might be developing greater awareness of themselves, of their body, of what their mind or emotions is telling them. Or it could be something really nuts and boltsy such as taking training in order to succeed.

These questions are useful for coaches, for nearly any client at any time, so I hope you use them for your success!

The Next Episode is: Should You Give Gifts To Your Coaching Clients?

Ep 36 – Ten Big Questions for Intake with Your New Coaching Clients

This episode is part of the Smart Mindsets and Habits series. And it’s a continuation from Episode 34 about client management systems.

This questionnaire I’m about to take you through is one piece of a good client management system.

This episode and the next 3 will be mini episodes because I’m moving house! So you’ll get a bitesized idea in a short time. I hope you find them valuable.

By the way, Prosperous Coach Podcast just passed 10,000 downloads! That’s one sign among many that these episodes are landing well with coaches. Thank you for listening and sharing this with other coaches! We are growing a community.

If you’d like to be part of that community, join us in the Prosperous Coach Club on Facebook

Questions are the life blood of what we do with clients. Open ended questions are so powerful that a single one can evoke a positive shift.

It makes sense that the coaching client intake would include powerful open-ended questions!

Here are the 10 questions I have in one document of my intake packet:

  1. What are your strongest beliefs about yourself?
  2. What are your strongest beliefs about the world?
  3. What wisdom has come out of your greatest life lessons?
  4. When in your life have you felt the most generative?
  5. What does prosperity mean to you?
  6. How do you define your success?
  7. What is your BIG WHY for creating an ongoing business?
  8. How might you sabotage your own success?
  9. What do you want me to do if I notice sabotaging behavior?
  10. How can I best empower you?

The Next Episode is: 8 Powerful Questions to Ask Coaching Clients Anytime

Ep 35 – 2 Powerful Shifts To Enroll More Committed Coaching Clients

This episode is an ON AIR Coaching Session with David Smith.

David Smith is a Washington DC – based career coach. He is a Fulbright scholar. After 30 years in law, as a University professor and  overseas working for a think tank, he came to realize that his collective experiences provide insight into inside DC careers.

For two years he has coaching two different audiences:

  • people 20 – 30 emerging into international or policy based careers inside the beltway
  • people 50+ looking for their encore career

Two Problems Related to Coaching Client Engagement

David said he was looking for some wisdom. Specifically he was having two challenges in his coaching business:

  1. Sometimes clients disappear without notice.
  2. Younger clientele are difficult to engage into a longer term coaching relationship.

These classic challenges are related. And both are things that David can fix with a shift in his approach to enrolling.

I asked David to describe what he tells prospects about his offer.

He offers a Discovery Session and admitted to a common problem coaches have … over-delivering in the discovery call.

Shift #1: Stop Coaching in Discovery Sessions

Some coaches offer a sample coaching session to enroll clients. I used to do this myself and found that, much of the time, prospects would walk away from that experience feeling satisfied and uninterested in taking a next step.

I was so intent on showing my value that I over-delivered. And the prospect would say: “Thanks!” But she had no interest in taking a next step.

Can you relate to that challenge?

I remember feeling sort of demoralized by the lack of interest in coaching, something I felt so passionate about.

That’s because coaching is a hard sell.

People don’t wake up knowing that they want coaching. Instead they seek out solutions to specific problems.

So, unless you’re offering a sample coaching session that focuses on a very specific coaching niche — a specific solution to a specific problem — then your sample coaching session is going to feel general and not highly relevant to people.

Even if you have a specific niche, a sample session isn’t the most effective tool for enrolling a committed long term coaching client who pays you well. Because the tendency to perform and over-deliver is strong in that type of session.

When I shifted away from offering sample coaching sessions to offering discovery calls, I immediately started enrolling more ideal clients and earning more from coaching.

Here’s the thing … a Discovery Session isn’t meant to be a coaching session.

You can absolutely use the coaching tools of asking powerful questions and listening in a Discovery Session. But you don’t want to step into the Co-Creative Relationship with a prospect because they have not paid a fee for the coaching. That’s part of the client’s responsibility.

Instead, a Discovery Session is a get-to-know-you call. Ultimately, it’s about assessing fit between the coach and prospect.

David knew this. He just had not framed the Discovery Session that way to prospects. And, because he is passionate about helping his prospects he would “give away the farm”.

In your Discovery Sessions ask powerful open-ended questions to:

  • Learn basic information about your potential client, especially as it relates to your niche — the specific problem you solve for a specific target audience.
  • Connect the prospect emotionally to what they want most and what’s in the way of that outcome.

Then, once you’ve heard all you need to hear to fully understand what motivates your prospect and what’s been holding them back, share how you work with clients.

And this is where my second recommendation to David came in.

Shift #2: Offer a Signature Program Tailor Made to Your Target Audience

David has been charging for session-by-session coaching.

No wonder he was having trouble with clients “ghosting” and not responded to his check ins!

Part of David’s background was as a lawyer where most clients would pay an hourly rate. So it’s understandable that this is the practice David applied to his coaching business.

When I started as a coach, I charged for monthly coaching and I had similar challenges where clients would suddenly disappear.

Have you ever experienced something like that?

You’re going along, thinking you’re doing good work together and then suddenly the client doesn’t show up or respond to emails.

It’s weird. And it feels awful!

But then I realized that, monthly or session-by-session coaching isn’t positioned well. It’s not oriented around big enough outcomes for clients. So they aren’t motivated to keep it up.

More on that in a minute …

For now, what is a Signature Program and how can it possibly work with coaching?

It works better than you might think.

You can still let clients bring the agenda. You still use coaching skills to serve them. The difference happens when you enroll clients.

Instead of selling coaching when you have a Discovery Session, you’ll connect the desired outcomes and challenges your client is having to a structured program.

Milestones Are the Secret to Enrolling Long Term Coaching Clients

Let’s say you’re a coach and you want to be successful but it’s not working out the way you thought it would.

And then you hear about this podcast that supplies all sorts of helpful tidbits about mindset, habits, tactics and strategies to build your business.

You realize this person putting out these episodes could help you. So you go to her website, check her out and there’s even more free valuable information there. You fill out the form on the website. And you’re invited to a Discovery Session.

In that Discovery Session, you’re asked a bunch of powerful questions that help you articulate what you really want and what’s been in the way of that.

And then, you hear that there’s a program you can enroll in that would help you accomplish all the tasks you’ve been struggling to do on your own. It’s accomplishing those milestones in a step by step fully supported way that turns you on.

So you go for it. You enroll into that Signature Program because it’s clear there’s a structure and it’s thought through.

On the other hand, if in that Discovery Session you heard that you could have session-by-session or monthly coaching and no milestones or outcomes were clearly laid out as part of the value, you might just walk away.

Because you weren’t inspired.

It’s All Related to Target Audience and Coaching Niche

The reality is, you cannot create a Signature Program as a coach until you:

  • Have narrowed to a specific target audience.
  • You know exactly what they want so much they’ll invest in help to get it.
  • And you’ve made it your niche to help that audience achieve that goal or set of goals.

I invited David to eliminate one of his two audiences, because having two was keeping him from creating a Signature Program. It was keeping him from getting specific on his website, in his marketing and Discovery Sessions.

Even people who referred clients to him would be able to send him ideal clients if he would target only one audience.

An amazing bunch of things happen when you target a specific niche and make sure that everything you do — every email, social post, your web copy, your free offer, your programs — are tailor made for that audience.

You KNOW exactly what they want and what’s challenging them.

And that intel, applied to every aspect of your coaching business, makes the difference between whether you succeed and earn well or not.

It also would solve David’s two problems.

Once a client is enrolled into a Signature Program and they invest up front for the whole thing, their mindset shifts.

No longer will they think “Okay, I’ve gotta pay for another session with David.” Instead, they are thinking:“I’m on a complicated journey and David is helping me get there, step by step with ease and grace.”

David agreed he’d drop the older audience he was working with because his passion was about helping young people emerging into international or policy based careers.

David reported feeling great after our session. His mind was buzzing with ideas for his Signature Program and he sounded determined to make the 2 shifts that would solve his 2 challenges.

If you are challenged with attracting, enrolling and keeping ideal clients, consider having a Strategy Session with me.

One session could make the difference between being paralyzed and confused and surging forward in your business with confidence.

I would love to work with you!

Ep 31 – The Coaching Niche of Least Resistance

This episode is another ON AIR Coaching Session where I coach a coach to help her click on the certainty button for a unique target audience and then we formulate their coaching niche.

It’s clear from reviews that you really like these coach the coach sessions, so it’s my goal to do one every month.

Ellen Fowler has worked in the field of training, organizational and leadership development for over 25 years. Her experience includes work in the public and private sectors as well as academia.

She lived and worked in Ireland for 12 years, so she has firsthand understanding of the challenges of cultural diversity and radical life change.

She is also an ordained Christian minister. Ellen’s career has always involved working with individuals whether as a counselor, teacher, consultant or coach.

When I help coaches choose a profitable coaching niche, I always start by asking about their background so I can guide them to pull in experience, expertise, interests, gifts and passions into their niche.

Ellen’s background includes:

  • Itinerant minister
  • Training and organizational & leadership development
  • Change & diversity management
  • Teaching adults returning to the workplace on how to make their companies more efficient

Want to Be An Entrepreneurial Coach?

Then, I asked Ellen if she was interested in being an entrepreneur because it’s a certain type of person who does.

Ellen wants to run her own business because she wants it to be portable so she can travel. However, she feels a bit intimidated by the marketing side of things.

I was intimidated by marketing at first but when I learned to put the spotlight on exactly what my target audience wants, it became fun.

Two Potential Audiences That Seem Equal

Ellen had 2 main ideas for her target audience:

  • Mid-career professional women
  • Church leaders

I asked Ellen if it was okay with her if we focused on Church Leaders as a possible target audience first.

I made this choice for 4 reasons:

  • Ellen is an ordained minister and much of her career has been as a church leader. I felt that gave her credibility and gravitas with this audience.
  • Her faith is very important to her.
  • She’s currently coaching 10 clergy and staff from a church group in Pennsylvania and getting more referrals from that group. So she already has a toehold there.
  • She loves the work she’s doing with this audience.

Ellen shared that the work she’s doing with the Church Leaders is based on an instrument called Human Synergistics that she’s certified to use. It helps people identify effective and not so effective behaviors in the workplace and to develop action plans for changing those.

Is The Target Audience Viable for You?

I also felt that the audience — mid-career professional women — is not the most viable audience for Ellen because:

  • They are in corporations and hard to access.
  • They might expect their company to pay for coaching, and that’s an uphill battle to get a foot in the door with corporations.
  • There’s a lot of competition and marketplace noise for that audience already.

Passion and Fit Are The Best Coaching Niche Indicators

I asked Ellen:

What do you love about working with clergy and what do you enjoy about the Human Synergistics instrument?

As Ellen described how she uses Human Synergistics in her work with clergy, I heard her enthusiasm louder than her words.

Then, I wanted to check whether Ellen was earning well with this current gig with clergy because more and more it was sounding like a viable audience for Ellen.

Ellen explained that she felt blessed because the way she was connected with this particular group was that the church leader who hired her was part of the Human Synergistics training she took. He said:  “I’d like you to do some work for me.”

And he gave her carte blanche about what she’d do with the staff and how she’d price.

Right time – right place opportunities happen when you target a unique audience and focus your niche on their big problems.

So, I bee-lined to the bottomline question:

“Ellen, of the two audiences — church leaders or mid-career professional women, which is more attractive to you?”

Ellen said that she could go both ways. Her inability to commit comes down to how she’ll get in front of the audiences.

I spoke to the difficulty with gaining entry to corporations where with her background and current active church leader clients she already has a strong entry place.

I pointed out that if she were to have an international business, especially with her desire to travel and her experience in other countries, that the pond to fish in would be bigger. She could target larger churches and religious organizations with bigger coffers.

I explained that the Church Leader audience would likely mean more offline marketing than online marketing. I asked how she’d feel about that and she said:

“Oh, I like that!” More enthusiasm.

I pointed out that that’s the old fashioned way, right? Not everyone has to use social media channels to build their business.

  • Ellen knows this world.
  • She understands their challenges and goals first hand.
  • She’ll be able to speak their language.
  • They’ll be more accessible because she’s been in their shoes.
  • And she’ll have testimonials from her 10 current clients.

For Ellen, the other audience is less viable. Viability is determined by 5 factors:

  • Easy to find
  • Easy to access
  • Eager to evolve
  • Willing to invest
  • Narrow enough (to help you stand out in the crowd)

Ellen added another key reason that Church Leaders are more ideal for her that spoke loud and clear:

“The spiritual side of life is really a bonus for me.”

I asked Ellen to do a check in with herself. Is church leaders the audience she can get fully behind with your heart, mind and spirit?

“Yes!”

Beautiful!

Then we shifted to talking about her niche for a moment … I asked Ellen what is the number one challenge and what is the number one tangible desired outcome that church leaders want?

Ellen said the most acute thing is how to avoid burnout. There’s always somebody needing something and they’re often understaffed and overworked. They feel called to the work, so it’s a burden of responsibility. They get into it because they want to help other people transform.

Burnout can begin to wear away their faith, which is critical for their position.

She felt the Human Synergistic instrument is a so effective in uncovering what’s really going on for the leader and the team.

Each time that Ellen spoke about Church Leaders and working with them I heard passion and compassion — a depth of understanding and certainty that she could help them thrive with her knowledge and the instruments she’s trained in.

She said: “Thank you, Rhonda, for helping me think it through it. It’s been really enlightening.”

The Next Episode is: Would You Buy Your Own Coaching Program?