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Wendy Buckingham / Creator, Life Coaching Professionally
I subscribe to several coaching forums and how to find clients is the help most asked for by new and experienced coaches alike.
The replies to such posts often include assurances from coaches and/or marketing "experts" that "this course", or "failsafe method" has worked for the author and is the way to go. and offering (often, in the case of marketers, at considerable expense) to pass on the magic client attracting template.
The truth is that a marketing strategy that may work for one coach may be totally wrong for another.
Basically it's about that wonderful coaching tool, the Be Do Have model. Who do you have to BE to be able to DO what needs to be done to attract or HAVE those ideal clients? And many of us just can't be who we need to be to follow a particular life coaching marketing plan.
For instance, you may be an excellent coach but are basically shy. So you may struggle and get stressed out with with trying to BE the person who succeeds at a marketing strategy that involves cold calling or public speaking - no matter successful it may be for the person who recommended it.
Or a recommended strategy of masses of posting on social media just send you into confusion and overwhelm.
And, if you do decide to go down a particular path on the advice of a marketing guru that does not feel comfortable for you, it may not only cause you unnecessary stress but will not get the result that was promised. It's about choosing what seems to be a good fit and being willing to experiment a little until you find a what really works for you.
So before you sign up for a marketing program that promises the earth on how to get clients as coach, check it out thoroughly and make sure the methods are in line with your own personality, values and preferences.
You can read more about the Be Do Have model by clicking on the link in the related pages at the bottom of this page.
In many instances the fashionable word “coach” has just been adopted - even hijacked - by many marketing strategists who know zilch about coaching or the distinctions of creating a marketing plan for coaches.
I recently came across a new coach who was sold a marketing plan by someone with 25 years corporate marketing experience.
What he was offering sounded terrific, but although he may have been brilliant in the corporate world this did not equate with working well with a self-employed new coach. My new coach spent a lot of money for no results.
The trouble is that many of these well-meaning marketing experts come from a big business background and do not understand or appreciate the marketing needs of a solo service business person, such as a coach.
If the thought of marketing sends you into a spin another avenue you might like to explore is with coaching service providers. These providers can be either experienced and successful coaches who have a team of coaches they promote or organisations who provide coaching services to individuals and business. You can read how this works by clicking on the link in the related pages at the foot of this page.
You may need help getting clear on what is the best option for you to get the results you want for your particular niche. Here are seven suggestions for essential questions to ask so you go into any contract with your eyes wide open😳.
And have you worked with many coaches?
This will let you know whether or not they really understand what coaching is.
Different niches often require a different approach. For example a business or leadership coach may need an entirely different approach to a relationship or health coach. Your marketing person ideally needs to have a knowledge of the needs of your niche.
Genuine coaches don't guarantee results but some marketing consultants do. So find out what the conditions of any guarantee given and have it included in your contract with them (in writing😊).
Ask yourself and answer honestly if those conditions are realistic for you given your available time and what you feel you are capable of.
For instance, if one of the conditions is that you do a specific amount of social media posts a week, make a certain number of calls, or give so many presentations, is that going to work for you.
Now is the time to be honest with yourself about what you can realistically commit to.
If you find the marketing system is not working for you is there a refund policy. And if so ask to see it. Also look for any disclaimers around results not being achieved.
If the answer is yes, you may be wiser to choose this option even if it costs a bit more. Then, if you discover that the marketing program you have invested in is not what you need, at least you can just opt out of the program. This is why Q3 is so important.
I recently mentored an experienced coach wanting to invigorate her practice. She had asked for a refund when she realised that the ex corporate marketer she employed was an expensive waste of time when it came to helping her get more coaching clients. She was paying by instalments so she was able to salvage most of her investment.
However you approach payment, be wary of signing a contract that binds you to the full amount and preferably, pay by direct deposit rather than give your credit card details.
If they say they have a system, ask about that system – what does involves and evaluate whether you feel comfortable or whether it could cause you stress.
Also, ask whether they coach you through the process and help you meet any challenges you may have or will they just present with a system and tell you to go do it. That's the difference between a coach and a consultant. And again get what they offer in writing!
This can be a tricky question as obviously they are not going to put you in touch with coaches who won't say nice things. But it will give you a chance to see the coaches they come up with and what sort of clients they have. Often people give great testimonials for a training about getting clients, but rarely about whether it has really worked for them and they have actually got more clients.
I hope you have found this article helpful in navigating your way to a using a marketing person or system that will really work for you. I also encourage you to look at these Easy and Affordable Ways to Market Your Coaching on your own. One or more of them may be something you are drawn to.