The Secret to a Thriving Coaching Practice
By David Wood
Are you busy building a web site? Would you say brochures are the answer? Business cards? Advertising? Many coaches who try this route in the beginning, only grow their practice very, very slowly. They do what all the marketing books say. But why isn't their business booming? I'm going to give you the answer right here.
The Vicious Cycle
99% of coaches lack confidence. And rightly so! It can be very daunting to put on the hat of 'coach' and offer to change people's lives. Building a web site or designing a brochure are great down the track. But while you're still scared to coach - you'll subconsciously find a way of turning away clients.
Here's the vicious cycle: Having little or no clients which means no experience, which leads to a reluctance to extend the invitation for trial sessions, which leads to no clients, which leads to no experience, and so on.
The answer is quite simple - forget the money, forget your pride, and get your experience up - no matter what it takes. And the fastest way to do that? Coach 50 clients! Free, paid, 1 session, 1 week, 3 months - I don't care... just get those initial sessions.
Choose your target list of likely prospects, craft an invitation that feels comfortable to you, and do your initial, exploratory sessions - yes, with 50 people! Each client, fee or no fee, 3 months or 30 minutes, is "gold" to you. Here's what every client (or practice client) gives you...
- the feeling you are really a coach, not a fraud
- a practice that looks busier
- the potential for more referrals
- free training
- more and more confidence with each client
- possible revenue, either right away or down the track
- a testimonial
Coaches come to me with questions like: How do I get clients? Who would I call? What would I say? Will they think I'm selling to them? What if I get stuck during a session? How can I get clients without being pushy? Won't it be weird or uncomfortable coaching my friends and colleagues? How can I be credible when I don't even have a certification yet? Can I really make a living from coaching?
If you can relate to these questions, then you have come to the right place! I've been through these issues, and helped many coaches to solve each one. They don't just get more clients, they tap into their passion for coaching, and shine like they're a new person. It's important you have a thriving, successful practice; if you don't - what kind of role model are you for your clients? And the more you get out in the world and coach, the more not only society benefits, but the coaching profession as a whole.
If you're concerned about where to find your prospects, how to craft your invitation, and how to motivate yourself to get moving - then relax. Here's a link to the speech I delivered at the ICF conference - which explains in detail how to go from Zero to Fifty clients:
I'm really happy that coaches are getting outstanding results from applying these principles. Here's what you'll learn:
- How to make the shift from being timid about coaching, to being excited and expressed
- How to communicate coaching so that both you and your prospective client are inspired and even provoked by the possibilities
- How to obtain clients without pressuring or doing the 'hard sell'
- How to market your coaching in a way that feels easy and natural for you, and make a contribution to people at the same time
- How to make an emotional shift (not just a logical one) in your coaching practice. You'll experience a 'closed eye' exercise which will use a powerful timeline principle with you.
- Examples of live coaching during question time at the end.