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 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

Ep 90 – Test Your Coaching Niche with 4 Powerful Questions

This episode is part of the Smart & Profitable Coaching Niche series. And … it has eye opening questions to help you test the viability of your coaching niche. So test your niche with those questions, which you can find in the Show Notes for this episode at prosperouscoach.com/90

By the way, there are 14 episodes in that niche series – lots of intel for you —so if you’re having trouble choosing a viable target audience and developing a niche that solves a BIG enough problem so clients pay you well, check that whole series out.

It’s easy to miss the earlier episodes if you are new to listening to Prosperous Coach Podcast.

I decided to take a break from the Client Management series because there’s a louder cry out there in the coaching community for help to choose a coaching niche.

I have several clients who are still enrolled in coach training and they tell me that the other coaches are really struggling with all the business steps especially the niche part.

What usually happens is coaches create a website first, which is really just an online brochure about coaching and not super effective before they think to choose a unique target audience or find out what those people want so much they’ll invest in help to get it.

It makes me wince because I know that website is likely a waste of money and effort. Audience and niche come before any other actions – before websites, blogs or social posts.

When coaches ask me in a Strategy Session:

“Is this a good coaching niche?”

What they really want to know but don’t know to ask is:

Will focusing my energy this way repay me with a consistent flow of clients who are willing to invest?

That’s the 6-figure question!

Choosing your niche is a critical decision to get your coaching business right from the get go. It’s the true north for your financial success.

Without that direction and focus your messages and offers will be vague and won’t capture attention. Which means you won’t have that consistent flow of paying clients.

What is a Coaching Niche?

It has 3 critical parts and most coaches miss two of those.

  1. Choosing a NARROW target audience.
  2. Knowing what they want so much they’ll invest in your help to achieve it.
  3. Applying your special talents and skills to help that audience overcome BIG problems as they reach that goal.

So a viable and profitable coaching niche is the intersection of those 3 things. If you’re missing one piece then you don’t have a profitable niche.

Do You Really Need a Coaching Niche?

Of course, I’ll say YES emphatically! Ultimately, there are 12 smart reasons to niche and they boil down to this:

  • Ease
  • Reach
  • Profitability

We choose a niche so we can market less, earn more and help more people transform. It goes a long way towards making you credible early on in your coaching business.

If your intention is to build a solid long-term coaching business that you can rely on for a satisfying income, it’s worth it to choose wisely now before you invest time, money and energy on your branding and marketing.

A smart niche helps you to:

  • Quickly become a coach in high demand through momentum.
  • Leverage your efforts and contextualize your messages and offers, instead of being all over the place.
  • To command higher fees.

Test the viability of your current coaching niche with these 4 powerful questions.

Stand Out in the Crowd

POWERFUL QUESTION #1:

Does your coaching niche help you stand out in the crowd?

If yes, give yourself 2 POINTS.

If not, consider narrowing your niche before you go much further.

There are more service entrepreneurs than ever before. And they are all vying to get attention online and offline. People only pay attention to the messages that speak specifically to their most important desires and problems. Everything else is ignored or deleted.

Think about it … isn’t it true? If you’re on Instagram or Pinterest or Facebook you’re scrolling like mad until you see something that speaks directly to you. You don’t give attention to 95% of what scrolls by.

As a coach, if someone is talking about coaching you’re listening because it’s high up on your list of favorite topics. But if you’re talking about coaching to a general audience and not contextualizing that message to fit their specific problems and goals, then no one will pay attention to what you’re saying except for other coaches.

You, just like everyone else, are out there seeking SPECIFIC information. Let’s say you see messages about coaching niches right at the time when you are struggling with that challenge.

BOOM! Your attention magnifies and you are reading, engaging, possibly even clicking through to take action such as sign up for a guide, listen to a podcast episode or enroll!

For that reason, it’s critical to go beyond identifying your coaching track — such as relationship, wellness, business coaching. This is all the further into considering their niche that most coaches do.

You can do far better than that!

Refine your niche in 3 additional ways:

  1. Choose one narrow audience that’s easy to find.
  2. Zone in on one specific hot problem or urgent goal that audience faces.
  3. Customize all your messages and offers to help them achieve that outcome.

That’s how you’ll:

  • Get noticed.
  • Build rapport quickly.
  • And continuously enroll clients that are eager to develop themselves.

New Coaching Client Accessibility

POWERFUL QUESTION #2:

Can you easily find hundreds of your prospects in your audience right now?

If yes, give yourself 4 POINTS.

If not, your niche audience probably isn’t viable.

Having a viable niche feels like you have access to a deep and reliable well full of potential clients. You’ll never go thirsty for clients.

Some niche audiences are “overdrawn”. For example, the large group of Entrepreneurs or Small Business Owners is barraged with messages from all angles.

If you want to serve entrepreneurs or business, give yourself the advantage of narrowing to a specific industry or type of business owner or specific problem and outcome. Pick a unique topic critical to that group that hasn’t been claimed out there yet. You’ll differentiate yourself from all of the other providers for entrepreneurs and they’ll be willing to co-promote with you.

When I started coaching coaches, which was a natural thing because I wrote curriculum for a popular coach training program, I just offered myself as a coach for coaches. But there were so many other people offering that who had more experience and a higher profile than I did that I wasn’t getting enough tractions.

And then I realized that even though I can help coaches with every aspect of building their business and do, if I spoke more often about the challenge of choosing a profitable coaching niche I would stand out. And I have for 2 decades now. Imagine the cache of that?

That’s what you want to do with your chosen unique audience.

Targeting a narrow audience gives you a boost, especially if there are already events, associations and publications designed for them.

Know What Your Audience Wants

POWERFUL QUESTION #3

Do you know exactly what your target audience wants so much that they’ll invest to get it?

If yes, give yourself 3 POINTS.

If not, dig deeper before you launch your coaching business.

With a bit of fun market research it’s easy to find out exactly what your target audience wants (instead of what you think they need). That’s different! When your messages and offers reflect their top goals, you earn their trust. They feel understood and want to work with you.

You know this … people reach for professional support when they have a big goal to achieve or a painful problem to solve or both. The more acute their problem or goal, the more they are willing to invest.

A niche like Women in Transition doesn’t usually pay off because it’s trying to cover too much ground. Imagine how narrowing to one specific type of transition — first time pregnancy, re-entering the work force, or menopause — would help you standout with that audience?

Reality Check on Your Coaching Niche

POWERFUL QUESTION #4

Would you invest in what you’re offering if you were your target audience?

If yes, give yourself 1 POINT.

If no, your current niche might not earn well.

If you, in all your years, would not have invested your time and money in the solution you’re offering, it won’t inspire your audience either. For example, if your niche is Stay at Home Moms, you may have already realized that they love you and your free stuff but they aren’t likely to take a greater step. That’s because, first and foremost, they spend their money on their kids.

Refine that audience or choose a better one. You can do it!

How Did Your Coaching Niche Test Out?


8-10 POINTS = You’re on track for a profitable niche!
6-7 POINTS = Test your niche in the marketplace to see if it pays off or refine now for the best bet.
0-5 POINTS = Choose a better niche for long-term success.

Hey, if your niche didn’t do well on the coaching niche test, consider having a Strategy Session with me. It’s a private 90 minutes session with me, the Coaching Niche Strategist. I’ll send you exercises before we meet and then we’ll dig in during the session.

In the Next Episode: Should You Launch Your Coaching Business at a Better Time?

Ep 89 – Do You Shrink or Inflate Your Power with Coaching Clients?

This episode is part of the Client Management series.

In the last episode, I covered 7 RED FLAGS to watch for with clients and also how you need to watch your feelings for indications of losing your integrity in sessions with clients.

Well, this session is one way you can lose your integrity and disempower your client.

What do you do when a client comes to a session resistant, as if their arms are folded across their chest? Coaching seems to bounce off them.

Or worse they seem to have the expectation that you’ll fix or figure out things for them, but aren’t willing to be part of the solution. What’s going on there?

Power dynamics.

For coaching to happen, both coach and client must show up co-creative, resourceful and whole. In other words … standing in their personal power.

How can you do your part to encourage that?

The Helper in You May Overdo it

Most coaches I meet genuinely want to help others. In fact, it’s often a driving force in their lives to give.

Are you familiar with the Enneagram? What’s your number?

I’m a 2 – The Helper. And I’ve gone many turns around the spiral learning to become ever more conscious about the heavy shadow side of that noble desire to help and give. Do you feel me?

Wanting to help and give all the time can actually disempower others.

While it’s an obvious choice to become a coach if you like to give and help, that very impulse needs to be monitored.

So, for me learning how empower clients begins with “right sizing” myself. My intention is to show up as powerful as I am without inflating or deflating myself through my thoughts, words and actions. Because I know if I’m not right sized it will upset the power dynamic and disempower my client.

Think about it … in your last coaching session were you RIGHT SIZED?

It’s not a set it and forget it sort of thing. It requires centering before beginning any session and then tracking yourself

5 Ways to Empower You and Your Coaching Clients

1.  Hit the reset button before sessions.

  • Take 5 minutes of quiet to breathe and reconnect to your Highest Self.
  • Value yourself intrinsically.
  • Own your gifts, talents, and skills (as different but not more than your clients.)
  • Show vulnerability without being self-deprecating.
  • Get your needs met outside the coach/client relationship.

2. Let your clients take full responsibility for their role.

  • Charge fees that pay you well.
  • Never adjust fees to get a client.
  • Treat clients as resourceful adults.
  • Don’t do your clients work for them.
  • Set time boundaries and ask clients to honor them.

3. Promote original thinking and self-starting.

  • Verbally appreciate your client’s unique abilities.
  • Praise self-awareness, intuitive action and insights.
  • Reward initiative with enthusiasm and ask about their next steps.
  • Challenge them to do more than what’s comfortable.

4. Spark their wisdom without manipulating.

  • Let go of assumptions of what you think they know or don’t.
  • Ask their opinion about how to best coach them.
  • Ask a lot of direct open-ended questions. Let go of impulses to lead.
  • Own your opinions as just that … opinons. Don’t make them wrong for theirs.

5. Listen for their truth.

  • Validate their feelings without taking them on.
  • Separate your story from their story.
  • Ask questions to help them separate facts from interpretation.

What are other ways you’ve found to empower clients and stay out of the trap of fixing or saving them?

In the Next Episode: Test Your Coaching Niche with 4 Powerful Questions

Ep 85 – How Can New Coaches Be Perceived as Credible?

You’ve heard that you need to build the know-like-trust factor with your target audience before they’ll hire you. It’s true.

Imagine that your ideal clients reach out to hire you already feeling a deep connection with you and wanting what you offer. It raises their willingness to invest at a high level and fully dedicate themselves to the work.

But how can you convey credibility as a brand new coach?

That’s what today’s episode is about.

To answer that question, let’s turn this around. Shift your perspective on the problem. It’s nearly always the best way to solve problems.

What inspires YOU to feel that a resource is trustworthy?

Some people say things like credentials, years in business, reviews or testimonials. Absolutely. Those things help.

But there’s something that grabs attention and builds trust even faster …

Coaching Prospects Trust Coaches Who Understand Them

I hear constantly from clients, prospects and fans of my podcast that they feel like I’m speaking directly to them. Someone wrote me today saying: “I’m beginning to think your podcasts are written for me.”

That is your goal.

People will trust you if they feel understood by you. And this is the territory where brand new coaches can get real traction.

As a new coach you’d be unlikely to have loads of credentials or relevant testimonials. You haven’t had the chance to build up social credibility online. And, you don’t have ‘word of mouth’ going for you yet.

So instead, put your attention on KNOWING your audience inside and out.

I just received an email from a company that wants to promote my podcast. It took me all of 5 seconds to decide to toss that email. Not only did they not even use my name, I could see that they had not bothered to research me at all. It’s arguable that they know little about the challenges and goals of podcasters.

That’s a stupid and wasteful way to develop a business.

I get countless requests to connect on LinkedIn from supposed experts pushing out blasts to all coaches promising to help them get a steady stream of clients. It’s clear from what they write that they don’t understand coaches. They haven’t bothered to look at my profile. They searched “coach” and then put out the same basic message as thousands before them – all of whom I summarily blew off.

Don’t ever market like this. You will LOSE CREDIBILITY so fast. And essentially it’s spamming. Never spam.

Do Your Homework Coach

Do your homework! Your future and current clients are your most important asset. Treat them with great respect and speak to them with relevance.

Here you are — a coach – someone who loves people and wants to help them achieve something grand. Well, before you throw up that website selling coaching take the time to choose a specific target audience, research that group lovingly, then speak their language.

This concept of speaking your target audience’s language and contextualizing all of your copy and offers to fit them like a glove is the crux of everything I teach new coaches.

That’s because it quickly builds credibility. And in today’s market place you absolutely need credibility to grab attention, inspire a belief that you can help them, and motivate their investment in you.

Narrow Your Audience and Coaching Niche to Build Credibility

You can only show that you know your audience in your social posts, content, web copy and offers if you have already narrowed to a specific unique and narrow group of people who are seekers – people who naturally do invest in their own personal or professional growth.

The broader you are in your audience or niche the less likely you’ll be able to build trust quickly. Many typical niches coaches choose such as helping people get unstuck, transition, do self care or build confidence don’t inspire investment because there’s so much free stuff out there on those topics.

So the WAY you narrow and the way you articulate your coaching niche do matter. It’s an art. And it’s a strategic process that deserves your time.

So what undermines credibility?

Shoveling out there the same stuff that many coaches do.

For more information about how NOT to undermine your credibility consider listening to a few of my past episodes. Why is Coaching a Hard Sell? And also listen to the whole Coaching Business Checkup series.

What will you do this week to narrow your audience if you haven’t already, to research them thoughtfully and then SHOW that you understand them in all you do?

In the Next Episode: When and How to Stop Coaching for Free

Ep 82 – The Mindset Shift That Helps You Charge More with Coaching Clients

This will be a super short episode. And it’s part of the Smart Mindsets & Habits series.

I feel so honored that when I work with my clients I get to see them shift their mindset in ways that will help them succeed faster at this game called entrepreneurship.

By the way, thinking of building your coaching business as a game is one way to take the pressure off and enjoy the journey.

So the specific mindset I’m digging into today is about OWNING your right:

  • Own your right to be in business for yourself
  • Own your right to earn well
  • Own your right to live the life you want

That may sound odd. Let me explain.

My Early Coaching Business Was An Albatross

When I was new to my own coaching business I treated myself like I didn’t deserve to be in business, like I didn’t deserve to earn well and have the life I want. Here’s what I did:

  1. I overcomplicated my business model by offering too many options.
  2. I undervalued myself and charged way too little to sustain my business.
  3. I over-delivered in every way.
  4. I was too accommodating with my schedule.
  5. I allowed late payments.
  6. Ultimately, I didn’t think through what I wanted and plot a strategic course to get there.

Bottom line … I was operating unconsciously in my coaching business. I was driven by a mindset that doesn’t go well with being the CEO of a business. Big mistake.

A few years in, I realized that I had created a monster — a business that was complex, running me ragged and paying me poorly.

Its part of the reason why I now teach coaches to create a Simple Coaching Business Model and to strategically grow their business from the get go.

The Big Takeaway for Coaches

So here’s the secret I want you to come away with from this episode … ACT AS IF

Act as if you are already in high demand.

There are 7 ways I can think of that will help you do this:

  1. First decide what you want your life to be like.
  2. Strategize every step of your business development to fit that vision.
  3. Only offer times on your schedule that you truly want to work.
  4. Only offer exactly what you want to offer and not what you think you should offer.
  5. Create a low overhead, easy to manage business.
  6. Treat yourself with the respect you want your colleagues, prospects and clients to have for you.
  7. Charge prices that will help you reach your financial goals right NOW!

Imagine the difference between a business where you act like you deserve all the perks that come with being your own boss and a business where you act like you don’t deserve that.

I’m not saying you need to be mercenary. Simply honor yourself. Do what is right for you.

Is it a bit scary to charge for your services in a way that pays you well.

I shared in Episode 58 that you can plan for profit from day 1 and in Episode 60 how to strategically price your services. When you charge prices that feel like a big investment to your clients they will invest energetically into their own growth. It’s a win – win. Whereas charging low fees is a lose – lose.

You don’t want to lose. You don’t want your clients to lose. OWN your right to be successful at your coaching business.

It’s time to build this muscle … how will you ACT AS IF you deserve what you want today?

In the Next Episode: Overwhelm is a Bad Habit Coaches Need to Break Now

Ep 80 – Competition, Comparison and Shame in the Field of Coaching

This episode is part of the Smart Mindsets and Habits series. The last episode was about the crucial role of courage in success and how it comes before confidence.

I received a lot of sweet comments about that episode along of the lines of “Thanks, I needed that!”

Yes! Every coach needs encouragement, especially in the early days. Have you ever noticed the word ‘courage’ within the word ‘encourage’? I encourage you to encourage other coaches too.

Now I want to talk about adverse affects on your confidence as a coach. Namely, petty competition, comparison and shame. One leads to the next.

Shame is the Dark Secret in the Coaching Industry

I’m going to get right to the elephant in the room … the toxic result of comparison.

Have you ever felt a sense of shame when you compare yourself to other coaches?

It’s okay if you have. And actually it’s healing to acknowledge it.

Just thinking about it my body can produce that hot pit in the stomach feeling — the distinct sense memory of shame.

Teddy Roosevelt said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” So true.

I don’t much do the comparison thing anymore. But I know the territory intimately.

Here’s the way I experienced it:

As a new coach I’d bounce around the Internet looking at other coache’ websites. Immediately, I’d feel there’s so much I need to do better and overwhelm surged in.

A little aside here … I had no idea whether those website were helping the coach at all. Chances are most were dud websites even though they are pretty and flashy. I’ve learned a lot about what makes for a client winning coaching website since then.

When I used to attend monthly local ICF meetings I’d brace myself for the continual display of superiority by some coaches there. It felt like a room full of peacocks and I didn’t have anything to display.

Don’t get me wrong, I met wonderful coaches there too — people who, two decades later, are beloved colleagues. But the atmosphere was rife with competition rather than camaraderie.

Later in my career, as part of a circle of joint venture colleagues who were helping each other promote programs, the competition was even more fierce. There was a thick sense that we were all vying for the same thing and there was only so much to go around.

Social media amps up competition and the knee jerk to compare yourself with others. From the number of followers to the quality of reactions to the images … if you let yourself go there, you can compare yourself into a little dark corner and never come out.

I see so many coaches give up because of comparison and shame.

On Instagram … I see so many women coaches dressing up for the camera and sexing up the space. What’s up with that? And what does it have to do with running a successful business?

Okay, I’m being brutally honest here. I’m exposing the gritty feeling on purpose. And I realize that this says a lot about my own insecurities.

Still, I’m not the only one that’s noticed this – an inherent and ugly thing that can go on in circles of coaches that feels so out of place.

And I hear from my clients that they can’t find positive groups of peer coaches that they trust and feel comfortable with. That breaks my heart because it’s an echo of how I felt. And I know how critical support is when you’re launching and growing your business.

A Healthy Response to Competition

Look, if you don’t feel that icky shame that comes from competition and comparison, I’m glad. My guess is someone taught you how to have a healthy response to competition.

So let’s talk about that. Imagine navigating in the coaching and marketing world without torturing yourself. What would that look like?

Well, I’ll tell you. It’s NOT an internal hardening but rather a softening.

5 Internal Shifts to Move Past Comparison and Shame as a Coach

  1. Believe there is enough for everyone.
  2. Acknowledge that YOU bring something unique to the world and the world is better for it.
  3. See the competitive field as a place where everyone wins simply by showing up.
  4. Realize that other people’s apparent success is not necessarily the way it is or how it feels inside of them.
  5. Recognize and own your place on a developmental journey while you grow.

5 External Shifts to Move Past Comparison and Shame as a Coach right now:

  1. Narrow your target audience and coaching niche so you stand out and won’t compete with all coaches.
  2. Actively generate an atmosphere of camaraderie and support in all coaching groups.
  3. Be transparent and vulnerable with other coaches.
  4. Give other’s social media love by engaging and sharing generously.
  5. Find like-minded coaches to hang out with.

I call all coaches to love each other up now.

When I decided to start podcasting, I was so blessed to find and be invited into Facebook support groups. I was amazed at the loving and generous nature of podcasters. I’m so grateful to my colleagues in these groups and I daily pass forward what I know and celebrate the successes of others.

That’s what need to happens more and more in the coaching world.

What can you do today to foster an open and supportive environment with other coaches?

The more we all do that, the more successful we’ll all be.

For a follow on episode to this one go to: How Shame Crushes Your Momentum in Your Coaching Business

Ep 76 – Will You Exclude Some Coaching Clients If You Narrow Your Audience?

Today’s episode is short and sweet. It was inspired by something that came up in Prosperous Coach Club, my Facebook group.

Several new coaches were having trouble drilling down to a narrow and viable audience to serve because they didn’t want to exclude anyone.

I had that concern myself in my early days of coaching. I waffled and stayed general for far too long. I didn’t realize how much easier it would be if I did narrow my audience.

But as time passed and my income from coaching remained small I became keenly motivated to do anything I could — including things I was afraid to do — to change that.

With hindsight I know without a doubt that finally narrowing my audience catapulted me to success so that now I reliably attract ideal clients and earn well – even during the pandemic.

Now I fully understand that my choice to narrow was a strategic choice.

I’ve been talking a lot about strategy in my current podcast series Coaching Business Checkup. That series is all about assessing what pieces of strategy might be missing if you are having difficulty enrolling enough clients to quit your job and pay for your lifestyle.

4 Ways Strategic Choice Makes Your Coaching Life Easier

And because I’ve been a business coach for coaches for a long time I also know this. When you target an audience and discover their big problem then gear everything –messaging, offers, web copy, social posts – to speak directly to your audience 4 wonderful things click into place:

  1. You have clarity. It’s as if the fog lifts and you can now see your path.
  2. You grow confidence. You understand your value and believe in yourself.
  3. You know what to do. You have pinpointed focus and direction.
  4. You have leverage. Now everything you do builds momentum.

So, the best reason to narrow to one specific audience is to make your life easier.

Stand Out in the Crowd

Look, if all you want is a coaching client now and then and a bit of spending money, then you can afford to be a generalist.

But if you want your coaching business to be a going concern, as they say, and feed you and your family for years to come, then being a generalist and selling coaching won’t do that for you.

Why are you listening to my podcast? Because you’re a coach and this is specially designed to help coaches. I know coaching. I know business.

There are lots of other mentors helping any type of business owners out there. But isn’t extra helpful when someone understands exactly where you are and where you want to be and what’s in the way?

That is the power of narrowing and specializing.

You’ll Help More Coaching Clients

By choosing a narrow audience you are setting a powerful intention for your own good.

But the beauty is that your intention also makes it easier for serious prospects to find you. That’s another benefit for you but it’s also a benefit for your clients.

Don’t you want to help more people? If so, then make sure your voice, your topics attract attention. In this marketplace specificity is what snaps people to attention.

Specialize Doesn’t Exclude Anyone

And here’s what I also know because of hindsight. Focusing your niche on a specific audience doesn’t mean you can’t work with people outside of that audience. You can!

I’ve worked with all types of business owners over the years even though my website, my blogs, my podcasts are all focused on coaches.

So for ease and clarity your social posts, your content, your web copy and freebie should all be focused on supporting your specific audience. And that means it will speak to them. It will touch me. They will feel special and follow you.

And you’ll find it easier to create valuable content, to post on social channels and get engagement, to draw the right kind of prospects to your website. Because focusing makes all of that easier.

If you stay general or just focus on a coachey topic for your niche people won’t take you seriously. That’s the bottom line.

The more you stay broad, the less you’ll be noticed.

One More Way to Look at This

Are you still resisting this idea of narrowing?

Think of it this way … if you want to go on vacation but can’t decide where you’re going and how you’ll get there because there are soooo many choices and you don’t want to leave any out, chances are there will be no vacation for you.

You are stalled from something you really want.

And that same indecision is keeping you from having a successful coaching business. I lovingly challenge you to be strategic about your niche and everything your business. Take the risk to specialize and become known. You will love it and so will your clients!

In the Next Episode: 7 Ways to create a More Valuable Coaching Client Experience