Archive for August, 2014

Instead of threatening or demanding, try empowering.

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 | Marketing Strategies, Trust Marketing with No Comments »

hobbesSo, I have a cat named Hobbes (left).  She’s adorably cute and I’m smitten with her.  So smitten that all I want to do is hold and cuddle with her.  Unfortunately, this is NOT what she wants.  She is actually very much against being held.  In fact, she’s very much against being “made” to do anything.   She’s actually very affectionate and LOVES attention though.  She just has to CHOOSE it.  She’ll sit on my lap, if I put a blanket on it and sit still long enough.  She’ll cuddle up next to me on the bed in the mornings.  She’ll even meow at me for attention.

The hardest part for her is that she has asthma and I have to give her inhaler treatments (using a spacer…like for babies).  This means I have to hold her on my lap, put a muzzle on her mouth and then wait for her to breathe a few times.  Then I have to give her a minute and do it all over again.  Amazingly, she sits for this.  Why? Because I’ve given her space to CHOOSE it. From the very beginning I had a treat in one hand and the inhaler in the other.  I let her come up to me, sniff and see that there was a reward.  Eventually she would just lay down next to me, giving me permission to give her the inhaler.  It may take her 20 minutes to come around for it, but she does give me permission.  If I don’t give her space to choose, she doesn’t trust me…it’s as simple as that.

It’s the same for our clients.  They want to make a change (just as Hobbes wants attention).  They’re afraid, not sure what it entails and know that if they let you “get them” they will have to sit through some unpleasantness in order to get better.  Hobbes knows the inhaler makes her feel better.  That doesn’t mean she likes letting me do it…but she does LET me do it.  Because I’ve earned her trust.

You have to do the same with potential clients.  You have to earn their trust and show them that, even though change is uncomfortable, you are going to be there for them. You can’t do that if you are threatening them and demanding that they take action or else…worse.  My challenge to you is to empower your potential clients.  Empower them to make a choice.  Show them what the next step is and empower them to make it.  How do you do that?

1)  Provide your potential clients with a consistent presence of being a coach. No judgement, no advice, just compassionate, truthful information that invites them to take a step forward.

2)  Get their attention, up front, with what’s possible in a “short” time of working with you (not the end result…that can be too scary…reveal that later on in the process).  Hold what’s possible for them in everything you put together.  Share with them what it looks like.

3)  Be patient with them. Know that they aren’t going to buy the first time they meet you.  They are going to study you a bit, but the ones who really want to work with you will say “yes”.  All you need to do is empower them to make the decision.  It’s up to them to choose to make the change.  Empower them with the tools they need to do so…in your marketing.

It’s not necessary to beat people over the head with the worst case scenario of what could happen if they don’t do what you’re suggesting.  However, it is necessary to give them every opportunity to choose to change and educate them on the steps it takes to get there.

Find the Balance

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014 | Marketing, Marketing Balance, Trust Marketing with No Comments »


As a coach, I’m sure you know all about the work/life balance issue so many people need help with.  You may even specialize in that.  The world definitely needs to learn where that balance is.

Even if you know what “balance” means and have accomplished it in life, it can be difficult to find it when it comes to marketing. I mean, there are certain things that just HAVE-TO get done, right?  Did you see that “have-to” in there?  We all know that’s a sign of toleration.  Toleration means that we’re giving all our power over to some other force and not being at choice.

When I see this happening in marketing, it usually shows up as overwhelm.  Many times it means late nights and weekends working in the name of “marketing.”

I have a saying: There is no such thing as a “Marketing Emergency.”

If there is no such thing as an emergency, then there is no reason to use the excuse that you “have-to” get your marketing done instead of something else more important in life.

So, it’s time to check-in on the balance with your marketing. What are you giving up in the name of “marketing?” What are you tolerating?  What do you feel just can’t be changed in your marketing?  Where are you most overwhelmed?

Now, ask yourself the most important question;

What’s a new perspective?

This article is part of a series about how to use coaching concepts you already know to make marketing easier.  If you are interested in having the full collection of articles, you can download “The Coaches’ Guide to Easier Marketing” at

Overcoming mistrust about coaching.

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 | Coaching Industry, Marketing, Trust Marketing with No Comments »

hurdleSo, I get a voice mail message from Dad one morning that NPR is doing a segment on Life Coaching and it’s very “interesting.”  I figured it was just another interview with a Life Coach about the benefits of coaching (heard it a million times and I already know the answer), but I checked it out anyway.  I’m really glad I did, because it definitely WAS interesting.

Tom Ashbrook, of On Point Radio, led a very REAL 45 minute conversation about coaching.  For years, I have been saying that there is a “mistrust” of the coaching industry and this show brought it out front and center.  While coaching is gaining ground and credibility is becoming more widespread, there are still some stigmas attached to it.  These stigmas were brought forth side-by-side with the benefits of coaching in this segment about Who Needs A Life Coach? I highly recommend that every coach listen to the recording and take copious notes.  This is what you need to overcome in your marketing.  Here are some of the highlights that stuck out for me and suggestions for overcoming them.

1)  From the show -  ”That sense of epiphany and that sense, that your life is transformed, is easy to come by.”  ”Especially, if someone is already primed to be transformed.”  ”Being a friend is more important to me. [than being a coach]”  - Genevive Smith said after going through core training at CTI and being asked whether it made her more interested in having a Life Coach.

Mistrust that was brought out - First of all, I want to say that there were more positive things Genevive said about her training as well.  She does feel that some people can benefit from coaching.  Just not her.  This is something I hear all the time.  We’ve come far enough that people believe coaching can be helpful, but they just don’t see how it applies to them. I certainly wouldn’t trust someone with my money, if I don’t see how their service applies to me.  Would you?

One change you can make today: Define the challenges you solve - Get specific about all the challenges you solve for your clients.  From the challenges they know they have and will ask you to solve.  To the deep down challenge that they have no idea is there, but you know they must overcome before they get what they want.  Educate them on how the deeper challenge is causing their problem.  Let them know why YOU, specifically, are the one who is uniquely qualified to help them overcome that challenge.

2) From the show - Dr. David Ley (a practicing Clinical Psychologist) brought up; “The challenge is that in an unregulated field, there aren’t a lot of protections.”

Mistrust that was brought out - While Dr. Ley does agree that coaching can help a large group of people who aren’t in need of therapy, he brings up a big issue of mistrust.  While you and I know that there are organizations who have a Code of Ethics each member must abide by to maintain their credential, there are a lot of people out there who still aren’t aware of this.   I was actually surprised that credentialing wasn’t mentioned at all in the segment.  Especially since the picture on the show page is from the ICF.   There are a lot of people, who don’t understand the industry, need help and won’t seek it out because they don’t trust someone with no guidelines to follow.

One change you can make today: Share your code of ethics. If you are credentialed through a coaching organization with a code of ethics, share it.  I see a lot of websites that have some sort of button that acknowledges certification, but does NOT include a link back to the organization’s Code of Ethics.  Usually there is some sort of reporting process too.  Let them know that there are protections in place.  That you abide by a strict set of guidelines.  This is a great way to set it up that you hold a sacred and safe space for them to explore.   It doesn’t have to be a whole paragraph.  Just a button and a link that says “I am certified and I’m bound by these guidelines.”

3) Mistrust that was brought out - Tom Ashbrook did a great job of playing Devil’s Advocate through the entire segment.  The question that kept coming up over and over again was “Why would someone pay for coaching?”  This is what the biggest skeptics ask about any kind of coaching.   Why not just talk to a friend, a mentor, a spiritual leader etc…? Those are all free resources that anyone can take advantage of.   Why would anyone pay for something they can get for free?

One change you can make today: Debunk the agenda. I absolutely loved how they immediately created legitimacy for the coaching industry, on the call, by pointing out agenda.  Friends, relatives, mentors etc… they all have an agenda for you.  When I read coaching websites, I see the words “You hold the agenda.” or “I don’t have an agenda for you.”  Most people outside the coaching industry have no idea what that means.  Debunk this myth throughout all your marketing.  Give examples and/or stories of clients who DID go to a friend, relative etc… and point out how that agenda got in the way of your client.  Add in a sentence like “I’m sure you’ve gotten the advice…. and here’s why that didn’t work.”  Don’t just talk about agenda.  Show them what holding their agenda looks like and in everything you do (telseminars, e-mails, blog posts, social media etc…) show them that you have no agenda for them except to create the change they want.

While I don’t like to see negative publicity about the coaching industry, I do feel this interview shared both the skepticism around coaching and the positive impact coaching has been having as it becomes more mainstream.  Even Genevive admits that coaching isn’t going anywhere and I am in total agreement!  Coaching is just gaining steam and there’s still work to do in bringing more legitimacy to the industry.

What did you learn from the interview?