Ep 101 – Authentic Marketing Is Alot Like Coaching

This episode was inspired by a recent conversation with a coach …

I’ve never met a coach who loves the idea of marketing. And most coaches tell me they hate the idea of selling. And that’s why it always surprises me when I see coach’s websites, emails and social posts worded in a salesy way.

I made up that word. Salesy is when you make your marketing about you and what you do instead of your target audience and what they want. Salesy is about pushing and convincing prospects to buy your program way before trust and connection are established.

For example, imagine …

  • a coach’s website whose brand, domain and messaging is mostly about them and the wonders of coaching. That’s salesy.
  • or social posts that spout the tenets of coaching. That’s salesy.
  • or a lead magnet — also called a free offer or freebie — that delivers a bit of coaching guidance about limiting beliefs, balance or imposter syndrome — addressed to no one in particular.

These approaches shout “hire me for coaching” but coaching isn’t something most people know they want.

Listen, I did ALL of these salesy things when I started as a coach, so I totally get why coaches do this. None of us knew any better.

No One Likes to Be Sold

So then how will you convince people to hire you without selling coaching? First, let’s shift that to a more powerful question:

How can you EARN the attention of IDEALclients and INSPIRE them to hire you WITHOUT selling coaching?

Let’s break this down. I ask the question this new way for 3 main reasons:

  1. Earning attention comes way before asking for the sale.

In our fast and full marketplace with so many marketing messages flying at everyone, earning attention is a true art. Before you throw out social posts or throw up a website develop a smart strategy.

Attention is earned when you show up consistently focused on what’s most important to your target audience. Speak their language. Build trust and connections.

The word ‘coaching’ or ‘coach’ is not present at all in that effort.

  • It’s better for you and your prospects if you DO NOT TRY TO CONVINCE them to hire you.

Think about a time when someone tried to convince you of something. How did that feel? If someone tries to convince me of something I am turned off and will quickly get excuse myself.

If I’m online I’m bouncing away so fast it will make your head spin!

Convincing someone is to try to hard sell them. It’s the stereotypical car salesman joke – relentless high pressure. Human beings are wary of pressure. Inside them the walls go up.

As a coach you want to run your business with integrity. You want to feel good about what you do 100% of the time. You want to put out positive energy.

Yes! So let the pressure off. Let go of any whiff of desperation to enroll a client. Instead SERVE your target audience faithfully. Serve as a form of marketing. That’s called generosity marketing.

Generosity marketing is about connecting to your target audience with respect for them and for yourself. You repeatedly show them that you understand them because you’ve taken the time to do that.

Show your vulnerability. Be real.

The amazing result is that over time you build trust and your ideal clients will want to hire you totally without you exerting any pressure.

  • Lastly, it’s far better for you if you DO NOT SELL COACHING at all!

Coaches may think I’m crazy when I say this … at first. But then they shift their mindset and a big AHA happens. It’s such a relief not to push the idea of coaching on anyone.

Coaching is a Toolbox Not An Outcome People Know They Want

For a moment … open your mind and think about what coaching really is. It’s a highly effective set of skills. It is part of your toolbox. It’s a process.

However, and this is critical, coaching is NOT an outcome. It’s not an ultimate desire. Coaching is not something people readily know they want.

Selling coaching will feel for you like pushing a large boulder up a steep mountain with lots of false summits. Again I know this because I tried to do it for years and failed.

So if you’re thinking of naming your business with the word coach or coaching in it. Don’t. If you’re thinking that your website should have a whole page about what coaching is and why they should want.

Don’t. There’s a better way.

My 99th episode was called What Coaching Clients Want Vs What You Think They Need. I invite you to listen to that after this if you haven’t already.

With big hearts wanting to help, coaches often feel people need coaching and then decide to spread the word about how great coaching is. When it doesn’t result in eager clients it feels so disheartening.

Why aren’t more people hiring you and staying with you longer?

Authentic and effective marketing is about listening to the words your target audience uses to describe their most urgent challenges and their specific urgent goals. Then you relate back what they’ve shared and provide a pathway to their ultimate desired outcome. Authentic marketing is a respectful and patient process.

In your toolbox are freshly minted coaching skills and other talents. Your paying clients will appreciate you but won’t be focused on your toolbox. They will be focused on their results — a testimonial to your value.

In the Next Episode: You Can’t Succeed in Your Coaching Business Without This

Ep 100 – How 5 Coaches Leveraged Their Coaching Niche Into a Smart Podcast

Today feels special. I’m airing my 100th podcast and celebrating my 2nd year anniversary of podcasting!

Thanks to you — binge listening and sharing Prosperous Coach Podcast with other coaches — my show has hit 60,000 downloads and listenership is growing fast!

I’m so grateful to you and to the podcasting community, which is filled with some of the kindest, most generous people I’ve met. They genuinely want every podcaster to thrive. And so I have!

And I’m here to tell you that podcasting revolutionized my coaching business. Coaches reach out to me ready to enroll because they already trust me from listening to my podcast.

That’s why I recommend podcasting to my clients. For coaches — who are willing to choose a narrow viable target audience full of seekers and taken the time to research what those people want so much they’ll invest in support to get there — podcasting is a great fit.

Think about it … if you speak directly into the ear of your target audience every week about a top-of-mind issue and how to shift it, can you imagine how that would help you attract serious clients who are ready to hire you?

It’s HUGELY impactful. It builds credibility fast and helps you reach an international audience for your niche.

Of course you have to stand out in the crowd. Podcasting is growing so fast and for every topic and target audience you can think of there’s at least one podcast already out there.

Helping coaches stand out is exactly why I encourage you NOT to sell a certain type of coaching. Instead to target a unique audience with BIG problems they want solved and gear your messaging and offers around that.

So today, as I’m celebrating my own success with your help, I also want to celebrate 5 other coaches who have just leveraged their coaching niches into a podcast. I’m so impressed with every single one of them.

They are all past or current clients in my 5 month VIP Coaching Business Breakthrough program where we started from scratch to develop strategic messaging, offers, web copy and their content strategy – podcasting – all customized for their unique target audience.

As you’re listening to this episode today, notice these 3 things:

  1. How narrow and specific each coach’s target audience is.
  2. How compelling and unique their message is.
  3. And how they are NOT selling coaching (even though they are trained and certified coaches who use coaching to help their audience reach their top goals.)

I recommend you check out their awesome websites and listen to their podcasts, which you can find on their website and also on popular podcast apps.

Then please help them by sharing their podcasts with people you know who fit their audience. Someday someone will do the same for you.

Shawna Warner and Cultivate Resilient Teens

Let’s start with Shawna Warner who just launched her podcast a few weeks ago. In Shawna’s business at Cultivating Resilient Teens.com she helps parents empower their teenage daughters to build confidence, integrity and resilience for all of life’s adventures.

I wish I’d had Shawna’s help when I was a teenager!

Shawna has a Masters in clinical social work and was a social work intern in schools. That and her personal experience raising a teenage daughter who has thrived into an awesome young adult are reasons she chose her audience and niche.

I listened to one of Shawna’s podcast episodes just the other day about 3 Simple Steps to Quiet Your Daughter’s Inner Critic and Boost Her Self Confidence and I thought, “Yes, I’m listening to that because who doesn’t need help quieting their inner critic and boosting confidence?”

The episode was so valuable AND I want to point something out that’s critical for you if you’re still considering your niche …

Sure, you could put out a blog or podcast or video about quieting your inner critic without specifying such a narrow niche.

Wouldn’t that be even better because it doesn’t limit you?

NO. It’s smart to narrow your audience and niche.

There’s so much information out there for general audiences and most of it is ignored. But when you target a specific audience like Shawna did and you contextualize everything you put out there to fit your audience’s specific circumstances, it not only has more impact but it gets more attention.

It’s a big mistake to think you want to have a bigger more general niche and audience. The more narrowly you niche the more likely it is you’ll succeed.

If you’re a parent with a teenage daughter you’ll snap to attention when you see Shawna’s podcasts, blogs and social posts. That’s why targeting works.

Congrats Shawna on your fantastic coaching business and new podcast! I love all the value you give to parents and their teen daughters!

Mona Abow and The Boundless Mindset

Next, let me introduce you to Mona Abow of TheBoundlessMindset.com. Mona helps ambitious women of color become an empowering force and a launch a lucrative business they’ll love. Beautiful message, right?

You might be wondering if it’s smart to choose narrow to a group such as women of color who are launching a business. It is!

If Mona targeted ALL aspiring business owners she’d have no traction because that marketplace is already saturated. By narrowing to women of color she makes those individuals special and they are. They have a unique perspective and challenges. They have specific desires and goals.

Mona has blown me away with how she’s quickly leveraged her audience, niche and podcast using Instagram videos and daily posts. Check her Insta feed out. I can’t resist watching her videos.

And just this week I stumbled on a promotion she’s doing for The Boundless Mindset Business Accelerator Course. She’s taking applicants now.

Mona just launched her business and podcast July 2020 – only 4 months ago – after graduating from my VIP program. Was I doing things like that 4 months into my coaching business? No! Mona is unstoppable.

You’ll love her beautiful accent and tips when you listen to her podcast called The Boundless Mindset.

Here’s another brilliant coach who just launched her business and podcast in September 2020 …

Barbara K. Andersen and Happy UN Career

Barbara K. Andersen helps United Nations professionals take ownership of their career and get recognized for their contributions.

Talk about narrow niches!

As I was helping Barbara develop her niche and business model, she educated me in the unique universe of the UN. It was clear that here was an underserved group when it comes to career coaching and support to balance their work and home life.

So many coaches decide to help people with topics like balance and career. But they miss the strategic step of narrowing the audience and contextualizing their message and offers to that audience’s world. Without that specificity it will be much harder to earn well as a coach.

Barbara and I have no doubts about the trajectory of her success with this audience. She brings so much to the table with decades of experience in the UN. She has a ready network and allies who already know her value and professionalism.

Find her podcast, Happy UN Career on her website and in podcast apps. If you know a professional working for the UN, turn them on to her podcast. The podcast will do the job of attracting Barbara’s ideal clients. And you know – what comes around goes around.

Deanna Bryant and Revive Your Midlife Marriage

Deanna’s coaching business and podcast is called Revive Your Midlife Marriage and she already has 12 highly engaging episodes out after just launching in September of 2020.

If you’re a married woman in midlife you have to listen in! You’ll love her southern buttery voice, excellent marriage tips and jazzy theme music. I listen every week.

Deanna has a compelling personal story that helped us solidify her coaching niche.

Married women need help! Deanna was smart to narrow her audience though. Midlife marriage has it’s own set of unique challenges for women.

Danielle Jernigan and Thrive After Postpartum

This soulful coach is just about to finish my VIP program and launch both her business and podcast of the same name Thrive After Postpartum.

You have to see her beautiful website and gorgeous headshots. And I think her podcast is destined to become an important cultural movement. Watch for it in November 2020.

Danielle helps black women reclaim their bodies, reinvent their identities and live a more empowered life after postpartum.

Postpartum is a misunderstood and potentially life derailing time in a woman’s life and particularly for black women who have long been socialized to believe that strong black women don’t need support.

As coaches, we know that everyone deserves support.

Danielle made several intelligent and strategic decisions for her coaching business:

  1. She chose a specific time of life that’s rife with challenge for her niche – postpartum – one where she could also integrate her personal story
  2. Then she further narrowed that niche by targeting black women, a unique audience with unique desires and challenges.
  3. She went further to identify specific areas where she supports these women based on her passions, studies and training.

Those 3 choices make Danielle’s niche potent. And when you hear Danielle in her podcast, you’ll think so too.

Shawna, Mona, Barbara, Deanna and Danielle each gave me permission to talk about their businesses with such lovely words that made my day!

I love all my clients and I’m very proud of them. I wanted to share these 5 brilliant coaches and their brands, niches, websites and messaging because they launched a podcast, which takes courage, perseverance and a desire to serve.

I’ve been helping some of my VIP clients get their podcasts developed and launched because I believe in the power of the medium. It’s not for every coach or for every audience but for some it will be worth the effort.

My podcast has not only been worth the effort for me but I truly LOVE my podcast. I enjoy creating it and giving back to coaches. And I’m grateful for how it attracts my ideal clients – new coaches who want to build a strategic business that’s meaningful and prosperous.

In the Next Episode: Authentic Marketing is Alot Like Coaching

Ep 99 – What Coaching Clients Want Versus What You Think They Need

This episode is short and part of the series called Smart & Profitable Coaching Niches. If you’re new to this podcast and struggling to determine a strategic coaching niche, this series is for you. Check out all the episodes in this series at prosperouscoach.com/niche.

There’s something I hear nearly all new coaches say … they say “there’s a real need for that niche” or “that audience really needs help with this”. If I’m their business coach I encourage them to think differently.

Shift from Tracking Needs to Tracking Wants

In the world of attraction, wants are more compelling than needs with few exceptions. So instead of thinking about a person’s or a group’s needs, think instead about their wants – the desire that compel them to action.

All people have needs. And as newly trained coaches we have a heightened sense of this.

But not all people are seekers — people who do invest in their own personal or professional growth. Seekers are people with urgent WANTS. They want something and they are willing to pay well for help to achieve it.

Coaches are seekers. But that’s just an example to help you realize what a seeker is about. I don’t recommend new coaches target other coaches as clients. It’s a much over marketed to audience.

You want an audience that helps you stand out in the crowd of coaches and other people trying to attract attention.

So choosing a niche starts with choosing a viable audience — one that’s full of seekers, is narrow enough to help you stand out and has a BIG problem they WANT to solve.

It may seem like semantics or that I’m splitting hairs but bear with me …

A seeker tends to be social in the sense that they care about people and want to effect positive change in the lives of others. A seeker likes to grow and develop from the inside out. They place a high value on personal evolution – becoming better is some way such as more intelligent, more successful, more aware, more intuitive, more authentic … happier.

Seekers tend to look outside themselves for teachers, helpers, support systems and guides to what they WANT. That’s you. You could be their support system on the way to what they most want.

So if you think – “Aha, there’s a need. I could fill that need!” You may be leading yourself astray. Because needs often run in the background and don’t drive a person to seek.

It’s the big desires that drive a person to seek and invest.

I’m not sure who said this but you may have heard it and it applies:

Sell them what they want and give them what they need.

Your marketing – which includes all of your messaging, your content, your website, your  emails, your social posts – will go further to attract attention if they hit squarely on what a group WANTS rather than what they need.

That doesn’t mean that needs don’t play into the decision to hire you. But first and consistently focus on the big wants – the ultimate desires.

The Next Episode is: How 5 Coaches Leveraged Their Coaching Niche into a Smart Podcast

Ep 98 – How to Handle Difficult Coaching Clients

This is part of the series about Managing Coaching Clients. Find the show notes for this episode at prosperouscoach.com/98 and the whole series at prosperouscoach.com/manage.

This subject isn’t talked about much in the coaching world. But it is a real thing. I decided to be brave and broach the subject with you because I know, as a new-ish coach, you’ll appreciate the straight talk.

What I’ve discovered having conversations with therapists, lawyers and other coaches is that all professionals that serve people in a fairly intimate way, especially one to one, are likely to have difficulty with some clients.

I’m talking about the kind of difficulty that can ruin your day and raise dread for future conversations if you let it.

I’ve had my share of upsetting coaching sessions and coaching relationships over 20 years as a coach. I’ve flubbed up so many times, was inarticulate and cloddy in my attempt to clear the air.

Some situations have resulted in significantly improved — even excellent relationships. And some have ended the coaching relationship altogether.

You might be surprised that sometimes the best thing to do is part ways, hopefully respectfully.

Over time, as I’ve enrolled clients into longer term VIP and higher ticket programs, there’s been an increasing need to attract clients who are the right fit. I put a fair amount of energy into assessing fit.

And, I’ve made errors in judgment. What I mean is that I thought I’m a good fit for them and they are a good fit for me but I was wrong. This is a delicate balance because coaching or mentoring is an honored role and trust must go both ways for it to work well.

In the past, some of my clients have put me on a pedestal – not something I want or encourage. Perhaps it’s because I have a podcast and speak authoritatively or because I have decades of expertise and I’m helping coaches to launch their own business … there can be a perceived power differential. I did an episode about this which you can find at prosperouscoach.com/89

I prefer a collaborative relationship. More and more I verbally encourage my clients to self-advocate and to give feedback throughout our professional relationship.

I’m a highly sensitive person so if I let it, a difficult client relationship can literally make me sick. My body is a sensitive instrument that alerts me quickly if energy is off. So, true to my teacher archetype I’ve been studying this challenge and creating a process for myself.

I hope it will be helpful to you or that it sparks your own creation of a process you can rely on.

Avoid Labeling and Instead Reflect

So first, it’s best NOT to think of any human being as DIFFICULT. That or any label will bias your experience with the individual and inadvertently give you permission to turn off self-awareness.

Every coach knows this … it takes two to tango. There are two personalities in the room and each brings their communication weaknesses and crystalized beliefs, which are unhelpful.

Every coach knows this too … the only person you can change is yourself. So that’s your locus of control.

As soon as you realize something is off between you and your client, reflect on your own beliefs and behaviors first.

What is YOUR part in the difficulty?

4 Steps to a Clean Perspective About Your Coaching Relationship

#1 Separate facts from interpretation

This is a tried and true coaching technique. Jot down what has really happened, what was actually said and done by both of you. Separately write down your interpretation of that – your feelings and what the voice inside your head tells you is so. Look at this dispassionately and realize how far your interpretation goes to escalating the drama.

#2 Release your ego and attachment

It’s likely that whatever is going on is not directly about you. So release beliefs like “They don’t respect me.” “They don’t like me.”

#3 Raise compassion for you and them without assigning a story

Realize that your client has many things going on in their life that could affect coaching sessions. And realize that you too bring baggage to the table.

#4 Think through your next step

There are a few different things you can do when energy is awry with coaching clients, including doing nothing, saying nothing. With some of my clients time is the healer. We get to know each other, recognize and respect our diversity and find common ground without any kind of intervention. It’s just a matter of learning each other’s ways and making micro adjustments.

But sometimes intervention is needed.

Could it be very light? For example with one client I realized I wasn’t receiving feedback and she wasn’t celebrating her wins. There was a sense of dampened experience so I simply encouraged her to celebrate her wins and share her feelings. Soon, feelings of all sorts rolled out and the logjam was broken. She was real with me and took excellent care of herself. The energy shifted beautifully.

It’s important to remember that your clients are highly intelligent. Each individual is differently skilled. You and they may be compatible through difference rather than similarity.

It could be that a more earnest discussion may be needed. Invite your client to a conversation outside of session. Be direct while also owning your part. It’s not easy but you can do it. It might sound something like this …

“I’ve noticed this and also noticed it’s affecting me this way. I’m wondering if you’ve noticed anything and if it’s affecting you too? That will get the discussion going. You may be amazed at what comes out.

Encourage honesty. Share your truth without blame. If it feels possible, work towards specific agreements and encourage creative options.

For example, an option would be to take a short hiatus in the work for an agreed amount of time and both consider if the relationship and program is a good fit. If you come back together, make sure new agreements are in place that allow for honest feedback and healthy interaction.

If you decide to end the professional relationship, negotiate a partial refund.

I know this sounds very hard to do. But, as with all relationships, allowing dysfunction to go unspoken only causes more heartache.

I choose to believe that difficulties with clients are a wake up call for me. I clearly needed a nudge for some reason. Most often it’s about giving my power away. That may sound funny but when we give our power away it causes all sorts of upsets.

I’m not talking about power in the sense of lording it over someone but rather personal power in the sense of maintaining self-respect, integrity and self-love. A big life lesson for me is learning to stand fully in my power rather than second guessing my intuition or letting my desire to help others become a power leak.

I believe I’m not alone in this life lesson. Coaches are heart-full helpers and often over givers. I hope this helps you in some way with your clients. We are all creative, resourceful and whole even within a challenging relationship situation.

The Next Episode is: What Coaching Clients Want Vs What You Think They Need

Ep 96 – Can You Want Too Much for Your Coaching Clients?

This episode is part of the series called Manage Your Coaching Clients, which you can find at prosperouscoach.com/manage.

I clearly remember a moment in the first few years of my coaching business where I was sharing with my mentor coach some feelings I was having about a client.

Then she asked me a powerful question:

Do you want more for your clients than they want for themselves?

That woke me up! I began to examine my motivations and set healthier boundaries for myself with clients.

Have you ever sensed that you might want too much for your clients?

Most new coaches fall into this trap on some level.

The trick is to let go of your desire to effect change ON your clients. In other words, don’t try to fix them or heal them.

Build up within yourself the belief that your client alone drives their desire and ability to change and grow. They have to want it!

2 More Powerful Questions

You can never know the path of another person.

If you try to anticipate and course correct for your client’s potential mistakes, are you keeping them from valuable experiences that may bring success more quickly?

Or, if you jump in to solve their problems and salve their hurts too vigorously, are you diminishing your clients personal power and inflating yours?

You can only answer this if you stay aware during your sessions and regularly examine your own motivations for what you say and do with your clients.

The real beauty of coaching is the co-creative relationship. Both coach and client focus collaboratively to draw out and utilize the client’s wisdom toward high payoff actions.

You, as a coach must trust that your client is creative, resourceful and whole. In other words they are fully capable of taking care of themselves.

But know this … you don’t have to hold back a well-placed and well-worded challenge to your client to shift their mindset or take a more powerful action. That’s excellent coaching! After you do that, let go of attachment.

In fact, I think that having a coaching business and working with clients is a never ending life lesson in letting go of your attachment. It’s a key to happiness!

3 Symptoms and Causes to Watch with Coaching Clients

Let’s explore the symptoms, causes and side effects when we want too much for our coaching clients.

Symptom #1: Over-delivering

Cause: You’re to find solutions for every issue raised, rather than focusing on one coachable moment that will move the client toward a perspective shift and the takeaway stated in their agenda.

Side effect: The client is overwhelmed.

They are overwhelmed by your desire to help them beyond their current level of commitment to help themselves. How are big problems solved? One small integrate-able step at a time. Support your clients to make leaps in their perspective and to make more progress on their own between sessions.

Symptom #2: You feel drained after a session

Cause: You have stepped outside of the co-creative role and pushed your energy onto the client in an effort to correct, fix or “save the client from themselves.”

Side effect: The client progresses slowly and you lose confidence.

At its best, coaching energizes both the client and the coach. Focus on listening closely for the client’s wisdom, using intuitive responses and questions to invite powerful shifts. Take it easy!

Symptom #3: You do the client’s work for them

Cause: You abandoned the co-creative role to influence the client from a consultative, teacher or parental role.

Side effect: The client is disempowered. You overwork for your fee.

A caveat here … I’m a trained coach and as I’ve gained expertise I’ve shifted my business to a more consultative approach. I mentor my clients and advise them on coaching niche development and all things coaching business related. I use coaching skills continuously with clients but I no longer characterize my sessions as coaching sessions because I do teach and guide during them.

If your business model and your offers deliver consulting on a specific expertise, teaching or training and you’re up front about that when you enroll a client, then you’ve covered the practical side of this. You’ve made a business decision.

But there’s still what goes on in your mind as you utilize coaching skills.

An excellent way to teach in your coaching business is through products, training programs public speaking and other forms of content — such as blogs, podcast episodes and videos —all designed for your target audience.

If your intention is to coach then as much as you can use powerful questions to draw out what your client thinks first. Provide short cuts and resources only after you’ve thoroughly drawn out and endorsed their own ideas. Never do their work for them just because you can.

In all of these cases, what’s being unknowingly sacrificed is the co-creative relationship — the very thing that makes coaching so powerful for clients!

In the Next Episode: What If Your Coaching Clients Has Strong Emotions During a Session?

Ep 95 – Is Coaching a Seasonal Business?

Recently I overheard a coach saying that her business had been doing well and then over the last two months everything came to an abrupt halt.

Prospects weren’t showing up. People stopped opening emails and engaging on social media. And her income slowed way down.

She was ready to give up on her business. And I thought to myselt, “Don’t do that! Instead accelerate and expand your efforts to attract ideal clients.”

Hearing her anxiety made me remember when I was a new coach. But here’s what I realized down the road. That daily pain I felt about fluctuations in my business came down to one mistake …

Taking things personally instead of responding strategically.

Do you know what I mean? If you are feeling blown around in the wind and like you have no control over your coaching business, it’s time for a mindset shift.

You Control Your Results in Your Coaching Business

Here’s the truth … you do have control over your business. Yes, you may need to may small incremental adjustment to help your coaching business thrive, but YOU hold the controls for the most part.

Think about it …

You control how often and how effectively you’re getting in front of your target audience. This is the first place to look if you’re not earning enough as a coach.

You control your fees, what value you deliver and can even have a significant influence over how attracted your audience is to what you offer.

If you haven’t heard it already, I have a whole series called Coaching Business Checkup with 9 episodes that go step by step into the most strategic things you can do before you launch your coaching business.

There’s also a downloadable self-assessment to test what’s working and what’s not working in your coaching business.

The Seasons of Your Coaching Business

All that said, there is one thing you can’t control. You cannot control a seasonal slow down.

But you can shift your mindset about how you respond it and even plan for it.

Depending on your target audience and the flow of their lives there may be a few times each year when paying clients will be less likely to hire you.

Typical slow down times relate to the school year:

  • Spring break
  • Late summer
  • Christmas and New Years

And then there’s events like major elections, such as the Presidential election coming up in the US.

Short-term stress leading up to and just beyond an election may mean people are less grounded to make big decisions. The stock market often dips then as well.

But don’t think that long-term stress has the same effect. It does not.

That’s why I don’t recommend that you hold off on launching your business or keeping it going during the pandemic.

Recently, I published an episode called Should You Launch Your Coaching Business at a Better Time. Find that at prosperouscoach.com/91. Give it a listen because there’s more insight in there about how we fool ourselves into thinking certain times aren’t good for running a coaching business.

How Can a Smart Coach Respond to Seasonal Slow Downs?

Plan both practically and emotionally for these slower times.

First, manage your money to prepare for a temporary doldrum. And work on your mindset so you don’t feel blown around and out of control.

For example, a typical response to school year related slow downs is to sit around and wait for things to improve.

A more decisive approach would be to plan vacation for those times.

But a different and more savvy approach is to use those slower times to plan and create more ambitious campaigns that you can launch when the slow down passes.

Just after the first week of September and the first week of January are the classic times in Western cultures when adults swing into action to improve their lives.

If you are extra active during those times you stand a good chance to win significant market share. By market share I mean attracting attention and inspiring people to hire you.

Look I know that phrase might make you wince. But truly, we all are vying for attention, including coaches and any other type of marketer, which is simply a person who has something valuable to offer and wants to let people know they exist.

That’s all marketing is. It’s communication. And it can be done in an authentic and non-salesy way.

To grab attention target a narrow audience and create a stand out niche so you’re not just another voice in an ocean of voices but rather a unique voice for a unique group with a highly valuable message that they want to hear.

The way I respond to shifts in the market place? Never stop publishing valuable content weekly and have smart systems in place to continually attract paying clients no matter what’s going on in the world.

This is a big part of what I help coaches to create in my 5 month VIP Coaching Business Breakthrough program.

So, as I say all of this about seasonality, consider not taking my word for any of it.

Do your own assessment of peaks and troughs in enrollment for your business. Give yourself a few years to track the flow and make micro adjustments in the way you do things.

But know this … most experienced business owners and marketers will tell you the key to success is consistency.

Stopping and starting your marketing in cycles could actually cause the slow down.

One last thing to contemplate … the pandemic has shifted normal peaks and troughs.

For me, April and May, normal robust times, were slow. Then surprisingly July and August of 2020 were my biggest enrollment periods ever in 20 years and it’s continuing with no slow down!

My theory is two things created this shift:

  1. Family vacations were cancelled, and
  2. The strong desire to break out of status quo during a global crisis

Isn’t it fascinating how the human mind works and what drives us to real change?

As a business owner your goal is to learn to be agile and move with the flow instead of against it or just let it push you around. You can do it!

In the Next Episode: Can You Want Too Much for Your Coaching Clients?

Ep 94 – Maybe You Don’t Need a Coaching Niche

When I help a new coach develop their audience, niche, brand, messaging, web copy and more … part of what I’m doing is helping them to become an entrepreneur – the CEO of their own business.

My goal with helping them niche first is not to limit them but rather to help them leverage and have a powerful springboard to launch. I know that if they stand out in the crowd they have a greater chance of being a financially successful coach more quickly.

There are coach mentors out there that say you don’t need a niche. I have a theory about that. I imagine that those people are what I call PURE COACHES. Hopefully, they have found their own success without a niche before they tell other coaches that they don’t need one.

Which Coach Archetype Fits You?

I’ve published a previous episode called Which Coach Archetype Fits You?  Youcan find that at prosperouscoach.com/12. It’s worth a listen.

By observing successful coaches over 2 decades I cam up with 5 main archetypes for coaches … the Teacher (that’s my archetype), the Healer, the Icon, the CEO and the Pure Coach.

The first 4 archetypes are born entrepreneurs:

The 5th archetype, The Pure Coach, wants to coach anyone about anything. Their goal is to coach and not necessarily to earn well of have a say of how they earn well.

A side point here … I think a lot of coaches that are still in coaching training school or just out have this in mind at first. I know I did. I was enamored about the idea of coaching and I had little understanding of how I’d get clients or earn well as coach.

Like a lot of coaches I tried to sell coaching by the session or by the month to everyone. I didn’t know that coaching is a hard sell in most circles. I had a few clients and my first year I made a total of $5000.

That did not satisfy me and I wasn’t going to give up. So I sought another way.

I realized that I had a lot to learn so I studied my way to success.

Lo and behold I love running my own business. And I don’t even mind marketing because I get to do it in a non-salesy way such as with this podcast where I can teach and provide value while I let you know that I’m here to help you launch your coaching business.

The Pure Coach

The Pure Coach is someone who is not driven by a desire to put their own ideas or messages out there. They don’t care about having creative control of their own business.

In fact, for a Pure Coach being an entrepreneur might be torture.

A Pure Coach tends to become a devotee of a certain coaching model or a certain set of principles taught by someone else.

Think … John Marshall or Tony Robbins.

  • The Pure Coach wants someone to funnel clients to them rather than attract their ideal type.
  • They don’t want to market or publish content EVER!
  • They would be happiest applying someone else’s approach to work with each client for however long.
  • They would be fine with someone else setting their fees and setting the rules.

I don’t know a lot about getting a position as a coach within an organization as I’ve never done it and never had the desire to do it.

However, I’ve had a few Tony Robbins coaches come to me thinking they should “graduate” from that to having their own business so they can earn more. They are being paid a cut of the whole fee and it doesn’t feel like much.

They wanted my help to niche and build their solo business.

For some, we quickly found out with a little coaching that they really did NOT want to be an entrepreneur. It’s not for everyone. It’s a certain kind of risk and reward.

I want you to know that I LOVE entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs. I also love coaches. And I want coaches to find their way to financial success and feel proud of their work. It doesn’t have to be my way. And I do have a way that works.

In the Next Episode: Is Coaching a Seasonal Business?

Ep 93 – Bring Your Full Self to Your Coaching Business

Having a coaching business may be the only income-producing role in your life where you get to bring your full personality, values and life experience together to serve others.

You get to be authentic and vulnerable.

Sure, you put your best foot forward whenever you can. But you don’t have to pretend or puff yourself up.

You don’t have to build a persona but rather draw from and OWN all that you are.

Human beings tend to forget to OWN their intrinsic value and earned wisdom.

Truly, if you’ve never had a paying client before you can be honest about that.

In fact, I suggest to my clients to say with their first coaching prospects “I’d love it if you’d be one of my first clients!” It takes the pressure off. And your prospect will appreciate your honesty.

But you say it with enthusiasm for the person you’re enrolling and what you offer, right?

Build Your Coaching Business On Your Values

I took my training at Coach U, one of the first coaching schools, which was created by Thomas Leonard, who is often called the father of modern coaching.

He was known for an abundance of short pithy exercises. I received by mail 10 pounds of notebooks full of his exercises and curriculum!

His concept was that anything you did with a client you should first do yourself. In other words be just one step ahead and make sure your come from is authentic.

One exercise was meant to identify core and business values. Maybe you’ve even seen this exercise or a derivative of it out there somewhere in the coaching sphere.

I’ll never forget that exercise because I learned principles about myself that have never sent me in the wrong direction — that is, whenever I let them guide me.

For example … I realized that money is not in itself important to me. However EARNING is a core value. It’s important to me to deliver great value in exchange for my income.

See I crave independence in thought and action and the ability to choose what’s right for me moment to moment.

Those values made me a perfect candidate for entrepreneurship … for developing my own coaching business.

Sometimes, I’ve gone astray from my values trying to implement something that I saw other coaches do.

Sound familiar?

Through trial and error and a desire to serve myself while serving others I’ve found what fits me better.

Over the years I’ve made adjustments in my business to find my sweet spot – the way I love to work, when I want to work and who I want to work with. All of that is possible by making micro adjustments.

It takes time to find your sweet spot.

With my VIP clients we do much to uncover the clues to their sweet spot. But I also know that it’s a journey that’s worth the exploration.

And this is part of what it means to bring your full self to your business.

I think that being an entrepreneur and running a business is a spiritual journey.

If you have a big message you can put that out in an honoring way that fits your target audience. It could be that you launch your own podcast or get on a stage with that message.

Or it may be in a more quiet way where as it fits, you bring that message to a client in session.

How else can you create freedom in your coaching business to fully be yourself?

Look … you can dress the way you want. Let your freak flag fly. And you don’t need to worry about what people are going to think because the name of the game is attract YOUR people, your tribe.

I’m not a good fit for every coach. And you don’t need to try to be a good fit for everyone in your audience. This is the secret of niching that a lot of people don’t know … you want to become known for serving a micro audience because it helps you thrive.

Decide The Size of Your Coaching Empire

You can morph it as you go. I encourage my clients to start with 1:1 services and then build from there, as they feel called. But you may never need to do anything more elaborate than 1:1.

Beware of doing what everyone else says you should do. Just because there’s an exciting online training program about creating an online training program don’t feel you have to go there.

The reality is you can earn more with less labor and costs with 1:1. It’s the simplest coaching business model. I learned that through trial and error too.

I have adapted my business to fit who I am now. I’m on Prosperous Coach version 6.0 in 20 years.

Some jobs allow for some of that personal growth but most can’t allow you to do that fully because they have a internal structure, a hierarchy and proscribed ways of doing things.

NOW with your coaching business you can make and control all of those decisions.

Bring it! Bring your expertise, work experiences, life wisdom, skills, passions & interests to your business. It doesn’t have to be THE focus or your niche but rather something you bring to your client in the moment.

Consider What’s In Your Coaching Toolbox

Let’s say you’ve studied yoga and meditation. That doesn’t mean you have to be a yoga coach or meditation expert. Instead look for the opportunities with your target audience where that insight or practice will help them achieve their goals. Make those thing part of your toolbox instead of your specialty.

Now don’t get me wrong. I still believe it helps to target a narrow audience, to find out what they want so much they’ll invest in your help to get it. This is your niche. And niching helps you stand out, grab attention and grow your business faster than if you just do the life coach, career coach or wellness coach track thing.

Targeting and niching is about building a pipeline of clients. It’s about EASE and speed so you can earn more and market less.

How you work with your paying clients is up to you. And that’s where your uniqueness, your message and your style all come into play.

And play it is!

So, how will you make your business YOURS?

How can you bring your fully authentic self to this?

For a clue, think about how you’ve been limited in a previous role or business. What are the ways that you chafed against some boundary or rule? 

How could you give yourself freedom of expression while you serve?

Your coaching business is the opportunity of a lifetime to bring all that you are and all that you know to the table.

In the Next Episode: Maybe You Don’t Need a Coaching Niche