Too Soon To Celebrate?
What prevents coaches from succeeding, and what can we do about it?
This article was published in Choice Magazine in September 2013. Click here to read the PDF of Too Soon to Celebrate?
What’s to celebrate? That according to ICF, no more than 10 percent of coaches are thriving as coaches? That doesn’t seem like a cause for celebration – it seems more like a serious concern that needs to be addressed. Let’s briefly step aside from the celebratory cakes and clinking wine glasses to examine what possibly could be hindering the success of so many driven, well-intentioned coaches, and discuss what can be improved upon. Let’s address the top five coaching struggles and identify some key strategies for improvement.
1. Conveying the Message
What many coaches fail to ask themselves on an ongoing basis is the question: What is it about my coaching that distinguishes me from the masses? What kind of experience do I offer? And the biggest question that is often overlooked: What am I selling? The first step to successful coaching is knowing how to articulate your process and journey. It is important for a coach to explain not where their client will end up, but how their client will end up there. This means outlining the steps of your coaching process and establishing your credibility as a coach. It means demonstrating the value for what you are selling. I have often encountered coaches who are at a loss for words when asked about what they offer and what makes them unique. Expressing your recipe for success is just as essential as exemplary coaching.
2. Get Back in the Loop
Many coaches struggle with a lack of consistency when it comes to delivering ongoing mind-blowing services. This unpredictability originates in the flow of information between a coach and client. When a coach speaks with a client, say, on a weekly basis, much information is disclosed. But so much is left out. The coach cannot hear a client’s immediate response to an event, and only a certain amount of information can be covered in one phone call. Now if that coach were to have direct contact with their client once every day, the amount of data being divulged would greatly increase. This is where journaling comes in. Clients who journal on a daily basis have direct, immediate contact with their coach. Their coach can respond, triggering a back and forth ongoing conversation. Then when this coach reconnects with their client by phone one week later, conversations are rich with data. The coach can draw from a bank of information about a client’s beliefs, values, experiences and outlook. Powerful coaching comes from understanding deep, personal information about a client. Journaling can provide this rich data.
3. Give your Client Evidence of Improvement
Phone calls between a coach and client can be lifechanging and effective. They can help a client move forward, influencing their productivity and helping them overcome their insecurities. Yet, there is one thing that phone calls can’t do, and that is track the progress of a client throughout the coaching period. Journaling offers proof of progression, capturing the development of a client’s thought process. During the coaching process and for years to come, the client can reread their journals and realize, ‘wow, I have really come so far.’ Journaling is tangible evidence that a coach has had an impact on a client’s life. A telephone call can be forgotten over time, but journaling offers lasting proof of improvement.
4. Money, Money, Money
Instead of worrying about what to charge a client, coaches need to focus on the quality of their services. Once a coach has conviction about the value of his or her coaching, it won’t be difficult to charge higher prices. If a coach delivers high-quality, impactful coaching, new clients will realize the value of the service. From there, the coach can increase costs slowly or quickly, with confidence that what they offer is worth what they are charging. For many coaches, this means clearing up their money mindset and realizing that the price they charge is reflective of their service value.
5. Be the Ref of your Referrals
After delivering outstanding service to a client, the best thank you a coach can receive is a terrific referral. Yet so many coaches struggle to generate a referral-based client roster. Knowing how to get an A+ report card is a must in the coaching industry. The best way to ask a client for feedback is to schedule a time to chat after coaching is complete. Then, a coach can turn the tables and ask for input about growing their business. Do they know anyone who would benefit from their coaching? Could they write a referral in print? What this conversation does is enrol a client in having a vested interest in their coach’s success. During this role reversal, the client becomes the coach, and he or she can offer helpful advice for the future. The best way to get a good referral is for a coach to commit to their own success as a coach, and then to simply ask for feedback. The rest will follow. By focusing on improving in these key areas, we will all have much to celebrate in the coming years – most importantly, our success!