Ep 43 – How to Brand Your Coaching Business

This episode is part of the Client Winning Coaching Website series.  

In the last episode, I detailed exactly what your website needs going for it to be a client-winning website — the type of site that helps you attract and enroll new clients.

Branding is the first thing people will see on your website and you want to leverage it by having it be on every page, plus anything else you create — a blog, a podcast, a business card, social profiles, letterhead. You get the picture.

What is a Coaching Business Brand?

It’s best known as your company name. You’ll have a logotype made for your brand. But branding goes deeper than that. It’s about the personality of your business.

Words are powerful!

When I first launched my coaching business, the brand I chose was Bubbling Well. That’s still my dba and what I use for the legal entity, copyright and other official things.

But, while the word is lovely, it only meant something to me. And it didn’t help my clients — who are coaches — to find me or understand how I can help them.

So in 2006, I changed my brand to Prosperous Coach, because helping coaches reach financial prosperity is my mission.

Branding a critical phase in your coaching business. It’s an opportunity to design a lasting brand that artfully describes your target audience and your coaching niche.

It’s best not to create your brand until you’ve chosen your target audience and designed your niche.

Every step leverages the next.

Here’s the secret … the narrower and more focused your brand, the easier it is to remember. 

Which of these brand grabs your attention most? And which do you think is most memorable?

Rhonda Hess Coaching
or
Bubbling Well
or
Prosperous Coach

You can tell that I felt the last one was most memorable. And indeed, it was somewhat magical when I made the shift how much easier it was to attract prospects who were ready to work with me.

3 Guidelines to Choose Your Brand

  1. It’s meaningful to your target audience.
  2. You love it!
  3. No one else has a similar brand / domain name.

The last point is more important than you might think because it’s better for everyone if your ideal clients don’t confuse your business with someone else’s. I know coaches who have received a “cease and desist” letter from someone who had the brand name first.

Brainstorm your brand while you’re online. Use a Google search first to see if your company name idea comes up that way. And if not, then use GoDaddy to see if the domain that matches your idea is available. If not, you’ll want to get more creative and unusual.

Let’s say you want the domain successfulmompreneurs.com and realize that someone has already registered it, DON’T simply choose a different suffix such as successfulmompreneurs.net. Similarly, if someone else has smartstartbiz.com, don’t opt for jumpstartbiz.com. In both cases your brand won’t stand out and you may lose clients to that other business.

Once you’ve landed on a good brand/domain, consider reserving not just the .com but also the .net, .biz, and .org.

Reserve the Domain For Your Own Name Too

Internet consultants recommend that you reserve your own name as well, even if it is not your company name. Your web designer can point the DNS servers of that domain to your brand domain. That way if someone can’t remember your brand name but they remember your name they can look it up and they will still arrive on your website.

3 Approaches to Choosing Your Coaching Business Brand

As with everything, there are several schools of thought about choosing a brand.

  1. Relevant to Your Audience

prosperouscoach.com

cultivatingresilientteens.com

impactfulleader.com

Audience oriented company names create a very memorable brand.

2. Relevant to the Top Problem You Solve or Your Niche

buildalifeafterloss.com

clientwinningwebsites.com

gracefuldivorcesolutions.com

yourbusinessunchained.com

These types of brands also help ideal clients find you online and reinforce the benefit of working with you.

3. Your Name

tonyrobbins.com

marieforleo.com

Names are not strong brands initially. It’s an approach best used if you’re already well known in your industry. For example you’ve written a popular book, do keynote talks or intend to do big events, press releases or use major media techniques like television.

Whatever approach you choose, go for a brand/company name that is:

  • 1 – 4 words max.
  • Easy to say and read. If you use foreign language or made up words, be certain the pronunciation is intuitive. For foreign language words, also be certain that you know what the word means, and it’s appropriate.

Leave the Words ‘Coach’ and ‘Coaching’ Off Your Brand

I recommend against using those words because it could work against you unless your target audience is coaches, which is the case with my business.

Hopefully you’ve listened to my episode called Why Coaching is a Hard Sell. . It’s true and one of the challenges we coaches face in enrolling new clients.

If you’re not targeting corporate clients, most people don’t know they want coaching so they won’t search for it or respond well to the word or concept.

Please know that I’m not implying coaching isn’t valuable. Of course it is! And it’s best not to wave it in people’s faces. It’s better for your messages, offers — everything you do — to be centered around solving a specific acute problem for a narrow group.

Once client’s enroll, coaching may be your primary tool to support them. But they don’t buy your tools, they invest in outcomes.

The Next Episode is: Craft a Compelling Benefit Statement for Your Coaching Business

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: How to Brand Your Coaching Business

Ep 41 – Some Coaching Websites Aren’t Set Up to Enroll Coaching Clients

Hello Coaches, this episode is the 2nd in a new series called Client Winning Coaching Websites.

Your website can help you attract and enroll clients IF … but only if … you create it and write copy in a specific way.

It requires quite a bit of strategy. I can help you with that.

In addition, it requires you or your web designer to choose a certain type of website template.

Not all web templates are set up for conversion. More about how conversion works in a minute.

The previous episode, which you can find at was about 3 things to do prior to creating your coaching website and meant to help you out especially if you’re about to create your website.

But it also can help you if you already have a website for your coaching business.

The main point to that previous episode was that, BEFORE you create your coaching website:

Bearing that episodes’ message in mind, today, I wanted to dig in a little deeper. Peel another layer off the website onion.

By the way, I was so excited to see that a record number of coaches listened to that episode. I’m honored. I think it struck a chord.

And I know how much you want to be successful in your coaching business. That’s my goal too for you!

Online Brochure Versus Client-Winning Coaching Website

Last week, a coach I recently met, launched his new website and asked a bunch of coaches, including me, to give him feedback. That was a brave thing to do.

As soon as I could, I checked out his site. What I saw was the kind of website I see most coaches put up at first. And, it’s what I did when I finished coach training school.

His site is what I’d call an online brochure-style website.

When the internet first became a place to do business, nearly every entrepreneur — consultants, coaches, other types of business owners — put up an online brochure.

At that time, online brochures were the trend … the way to do business.

But online brochures are not the best way to do business anymore.

The reason is that there is so much information online, so many websites and other types of marketing PLUS the internet has become a volatile place, meaning it’s changing rapidly.

And the competition online is fierce.

You Are Competing For Attention Online

You may think … but, Rhonda, I’m not trying to compete.

That’s what I thought when I launched my first website.

The truth is whenever you do anything online to attract clients — whether you put up a website, create and engage in social posts or put out a blog or podcast — you are competing … simply for attention.

So, in each of those cases, if you want to attract and enroll coaching clients, you need to be online in a strategic way.

An online brochure is NOT strategic in any way.

Bottom line, it’s not going to help you enroll paying clients.

What An Online Coaching Brochure Looks Like

Let’s talk about what a coach’s online brochure looks like. And while I’m doing this, I encourage you to pull up your own website and look it while I’m talking.

Or, if you can’t do that, listen to this episode again when you can.

A coach’s online brochure has 2 primary distinctions from what I call a client-winning website. That’s a website that is set up to attract and enroll clients for you. And it’s a beauty way to go.

In fact, over 50% of my clients find me through my website before I ever had a personal connection with them. They came to my website looking for answers I could give them and then were inspired to apply to work with me.

That means less work tracking down and enrolling clients the hard way.

Now, back to what an online brochure is.

1. It’s all about you, the coach, and coaching.

2. It’s missing a critical thing that client-winning coaching websites have, which is called a conversion process or a funnel.

You might of heard of that before. It’s an opt-in and an irresistible free downloadable gift that is crafted to build trust, deliver great value that you people find elsewhere and follow up emails that encourage next steps.

But that’s not the only kind of funnel or conversion process that you can have on your site. My website has 3. And that’s for another episode.

Is Your Coaching Website Set Up to Enroll Coaching Clients?

As you think about or look at your own website …

  • Is it primarily about you, the coach, and the type of coaching you offer?
  • Does your navigation bar, this is tabs on your site which might be HOME ABOUT CONTACT and something about what you do. It might say coaching or offers or work with me. That’s your navigation bar.
  • Also, are you offering a Discovery Session or sample coaching session as your only call to action on site?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any or all of these things, you’ve set your website up as an online brochure selling coaching and probably to a broad audience.

What’s wrong with that?

Absolutely nothing if your intention was to simply have an online brochure about your coaching where you can send people you’ve already met to verify that you are a professional. That’s the sole value of an online brochure.

But if your intention is to have a financially successful business with a website that attracts and enrolls clients for you, your current website isn’t set up for that.

Over the next few episodes I’ll go into what exactly makes a website client-winning. I’ll be talking about how you create smart conversion processes that are authentic and non-salesy.

What to Do If You Only Have an Online Brochure for Your Coaching Business

For now, if you’ve been wondering why your website is not helping you attract and enroll clients … it’s probably because the website template and your copy are set up that way.

And it can be fixed.

It’s part of a smart coaching business strategy.

Here’s the truth, strategizing wisely is not that easy to do by yourself.

Have you ever noticed that you can help others do what they couldn’t by themselves?

We are meant to live and grow as a village and have someone reflect our path back to us by uncovering our wisdom. And also in that village are people who have been where you want to go who can guide you and shorten your learning curves.

I know a ton about how to be successful as a coach, but even I have a hard time strategizing my own business and getting it to the next level without the support of someone who already has done what I’m trying to do.

So don’t beat yourself up if you’ve created a website that’s simply an online brochure.

Just reach out for help.

A Strategy Session is so helpful when you’re trying to accomplish something specific that you’ve never done before.

Here’s what one of my Strategy Session clients said about her strategy session with me:

“My strategy session with Rhonda was a real breakthrough in the process of finding my target audience. Not only do I have a new idea of whom I’d like to serve, but I also have a new sense of confidence that I’ll be able to reach them and provide an offering they will value.” 

— Kate Minogue, Switzerland

Thank you, Kate!

In your Strategy Session we’ll have 90 minutes of VIP mentoring together. Before we meet, I’ll send you some fun prep assignments customized to your specific challenge and goal so that we can make the most of our time together.

I have just 2 more openings for Strategy Sessions in August. And that’s it until later in September. Grab one of those openings so you’re set for the surge of energy that September always brings!

Let’s get you past that stuck place and taking leaps in your coaching business!

In the Next Episode: A Walk Through a Client-Winning Coaching Website

Stay tuned to this series because I’ll soon be interviewing the best website designer I’ve ever found for coaches. She’s smart, coach-like in her approach and knows her stuff.

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!

In the Next Episode: Do This Before You Create Your Coaching Website

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 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!

In the Next Episode: 10 Big Questions for Intake with Your Coaching Clients

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?