So, 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?
I keep seeing headlines, posts, e-mail etc… that claim you can fill your coaching practice in 30 days or a week or less. These claims drive me batty, because not every coach can truly make this happen. Sorry to be the party pooper here, but it’s true.
I’ve watched countless coaches pay thousands of dollars on these programs only to come out with no more clients than they’ve been getting. It really pisses me off to watch coaches throw their money away because someone claimed there was a quick fix.
Allow me to dispel the myths and set you on a more realistic path.
Myth - It only takes 30 days to fill your practice.
Truth - It ultimately depends on where you are in your business and what you’ve been doing all along. Most coaches haven’t been consistently marketing. These 30 day programs give you some structure to help you market consistently for 30 days. So, if you’ve been marketing for years, then ok, maybe it can boost your clientele. However, if you’ve been on again, off again, it will likely take more than 30 days of consistency to start reaping the benefits. Marketing takes six months to a year to start paying off.
Myth - All you have to do is implement one marketing strategy and your business will take off.
Truth - Marketing is a process. People buy when they have a need and when they trust someone enough to hire them. No single marketing strategy can do that. However, consistently using several strategies, along with presenting something new/different will grow your business.
Myth - Any one marketing strategy will work for everyone.
Truth - Everyone has their own way of working within marketing. A strategy that works for one person may not match who you are and how you work. Therefore, it will not work for you. You need to match marketing strategies with who you are, where your target marketing hangs out and what they respond to most. This is not something that someone else can hand feed you. You have to do the work of digging in and figuring out who you are in marketing, before you know if a strategy will work for you.
So, the moral of the story is…some coaches are ready for the “boost your biz in 30 days” programs. While many more need to do some other work first, before it can really help them reach their goals.
What other myths are there? Leave a comment or connect with me personally on my website at http://www.coachesmarketingsource.com/contact.html .
Yes, you read that correctly. There is a new website that is offering, what they call, “Pair” coaching. You can find it at http://www.noomii.com. It encourages two friends to get together and life coach each other. They provide you with all the resources to do it (including a digital wizard for the of the wheel of life) and you go from there.
The purpose of the site is to provide people who couldn’t normally afford to hire a Life Coach, the opportunity to be coached. There is justification for a trained Life Coach on the site, but for the most part, they say anyone can do it and they’ll teach you how.
I have not signed up for this site, so I haven’t been inside, but from what I see the majority of what they offer is the opportunity to create a conversation with your friend around your dreams and goals. Then you hold each other accountable for achieving them. So, it looks like more of an accountability tool for friends than a true Life Coaching opportunity.
When I first read the concept, I’ll admit, I immediately had my own little saboteur jumping up and down going…”This is the fall of the coaching industry. It’s over and we can’t compete.” Don’t ya love it?! I then took a really good look at the possibilities here to see what might be useful for the Life Coaching industry.
First, they do intend to allow coaches to pay for access to the site (in the future). I’m not sure what their intentions would be there, but it’s mentioned on the site.
This reaffirms my opinion that we need to be offering more low-cost (yet high-earning) group coaching in the industry. Not everyone needs, wants, and can afford one-on-one coaching, yet the majority of potential clients out there think that’s the only way they can get coaching. A myth that we need to dispell. Creating more group coaching programs, would help.
The Noomii site can be a great tool for friends who are working with a Life Coach. It seems to me this would be a great “between sessions” tool that friends can use. There might even be the possibility of creating a group coaching program that uses Noomii as a tool.
Noomii looks like a great accountability tool. There are many people out there who hire a Life Coach, when all they really want is accountability. If that’s all they need (or want), then this is not the ideal client for most Life Coaches. So, I think it’s great that there is now a tool for them to use.
Oh, and I have to mention that this site brings some added visibility to the industry. People who may not have been exposed to coaching, now get exposed, get a taste and will be much clearer about what they want from a coach, should they decide to hire a professional. However, I have a small concern that some people will think coaching is ONLY accountability. As coaches, we know that it’s so much more than that. I look forward to seeing what happens these “friends” get stuck.
So, what do you think? How do you think this new website will affect the Life Coaching industry? I’d love to hear your comments.