It’s very easy to get swept along into Life Coaching for many people.
Most of the training companies sell it as a relatively easy way to make money (it isn’t), and the opportunity to get paid whilst helping others is an alluring prospect for people looking to make a difference.
But of course there is a lot more to having a successful Life Coaching practice than owning a computer, having a phone and a stack of good intentions, hence the reason most Life Coaches earn significantly less than $20k per annum.
Today I’m going to share with you 10 questions that I believe every Life Coach should ask themselves to make sure they are in a position to be successful in the long-term.
1. Am I Prepared To Be Authentic And Stand Out?
You’ll probably not be too be shocked to know that a number of Life Coaches don’t like me.
And the reason they don’t like me is because I’m prepared to say what I think and really don’t give a damn what others think (within reason).
And the reason I don’t give a damn is because:
a) I’m only interested in the results I help my clients achieve
b) I deliberately want to polarize people by letting them know who I am and what I stand for
My blog acts as a filter and I rarely get inquiries from people who are polar opposites to me. And that’s the way I like it because I get to work with clients who are for the most part, fun, up for the process and want to enjoy the journey.
I could make my blog and newsletter vanilla by dropping the humor, the swearing and the controversial posts, but that wouldn’t be me.
I’d get frustrated and bored, my readers would probably get bored even quicker, and I’d end up appealing to nobody.
If nobody dislikes you, you are probably doing something wrong and definitely not pushing the boundaries.
2. Am I Cool With Rejection And Even Looking Foolish From Time To Time?
You will have prospective clients tell you they love what you have to say and are desperate to work with you, and then you will never hear from them again.
You will have other prospects tell you flat out that they don’t want to hire you.
You will publish lots of blog posts to begin with that nobody comments on. You will struggle to get people signed up to your newsletter and you’ll have days when you wonder what the hell you have to do for people to take notice.
Presuming you adopt the easiest approach to gain traffic and clients by writing guest posts, you will have some turned down, some ignored by the blog owner and some published to the sound of crickets chirping in the comments.
Can you deal with that?
3. Am I Prepared To Ask For What I’m Worth?
This is probably one of the most difficult aspects for new coaches. They don’t want to price themselves out of the market so they pitch their prices way too low.
They try to be Wal-Mart by under-cutting everybody else, and guess what happens?
They either get the type of client who shops at Wal-Mart. Clients who just want the cheapest coach who will make them do the least amount of work. Or people don’t hire them because the low cost has led to a belief that the person in question cannot be very competent.
There is absolutely nothing wrong in wanting to be affordable, but the cheaper you are the trickier clients you attract and the lower your perceived value is.
Trust me on this one, I’ve been there and done that and if I were to think of my 20 most difficult clients my guess would be 80%+ were either pro bono or people who had hired me on a special offer.
4. Am I Professional Enough To Turn Down Clients Who Aren’t Right For Me?
I had an inquiry this week from a guy who obviously needed an entire team of people in white coats to help him out. He was in no way shape or form ready for Life Coaching, but he wanted to pay me $1,000.
It’s not easy saying no to a nice chunk of change like that, but it’s an absolute necessity.
It’s both arrogant and unprofessional to allow clients to hire you when you know in your heart of hearts they need therapy or medical intervention.
And in case you were wondering, yes I have done this in the past and I was very wrong to do so.
5. Am I Happy To Put My Ideas Out There For Public Scrutiny?
Blogging is an absolute necessity for any coach who wants to do most of her marketing online.
Blogging allows you to build credibility and authority in the eyes of potential clients and it also helps you gain traffic. Until that is you write a post that sucks and a few people jump on it.
If hitting publish gives you palpitations and every negative comment has you running for cover, then you either need to adopt another marketing strategy or do some work on yourself to toughen up.
6. Can I Shut Up And Be OK With Awkward Silences?
There will be times on client calls when clients get upset or just need time to process information. A great deal of those times will require you shut up and just be present.
If you always feel the ned to fill silence, then you’re going to fail. Good sales people are great at this and so are the best interviewers.
If this scares you, practice it until it doesn’t, but do not rush to fill the void every time because you’ll beak rapport and miss out on important information.
7. Does The Thought Of A Client Having A Meltdown Freak Me Out?
This doesn’t happen a lot, but it can happen and you need to know how to deal with it.
I once had a client hurl a 5 minute streak of abuse at my down the phone after I told him I was charging for a missed session (bear in mind one of the reasons he had hired me was to make him accountable as he had his won business and nobody to answer to).
I let him go and on and I just started laughing after a while because I find it hard not to when somebody seems to be working their way through a thesaurus in an attempt to offend me.
He went quiet and asked me what I was laughing at, so I explained the absurdity of him wanting to be held accountable and then going nuts when I tried to do so.
He said he admired that I was able to laugh about it and then promptly fired me and refused to pay for the missed session Win/win.
And of course you will get emotional meltdowns to deal with and they can be even trickier. If you get all anxious about seeing other people get upset, you’re in for some tough times ahead.
8. Do I Understand How Sales Works?
The sales process can be very complicated and there are lots of areas that won’t concern you. However, you need to know the basic formula that every single sale from a Snickers bar to a Boeing 777 passes through.
AIDA is the acronym and it means the following:
Attention: You have to get the attention of people. This is actually not that difficult. I have had a draft post written for about 12 months entitled ‘Jesus Was A Socialist’ .
I’ll probably never publish it because I don’t want to have to deal with the fallout, but it would most definitely get peoples attention, but gaining attention is the easy bit of any sale, you just need to shout loud enough.
Interest: As I say attention is easy, gaining interest isn’t. Interest is when you engage people and they stick around to know more.
Desire: This is where the potential client has seen or heard enough to know they want to hire you, but it’s not enough without…..
Action: Be aware that desire doesn’t always lead to action. This is where it’s easy to assume you have a new client only to realize they have no money, no real ability to commit or any other number of reasons that you may be unaware of.
You should know with every prospective client where they are in your sales funnel and then how you can help them the most effective way to become a client.
9. Am I Prepared To Learn SEO and Marketing?
I have banged on a lot about this on this site and I won’t stop any time soon because it’s so crucial to your success.
The failure for me to make a decent profit in my first 4 years was entirely down to not wanting to be bothered with such matters. I just presumed I could pay people or get by on a wing and a prayer.
Needless to say I wallowed and almost quit coaching. A few chance conversations and some research made me realize that the problem wasn’t a lack of prospective clients, the problem was my inability to reach those perspective clients effectively.
10. How Badly Do I To Be A Life Coach?
On a scale of 0-10 with 10 being I’ll die trying, and 0 being send me the clients as I take a nap. How committed are you to making your practice succeed?
10 is excellent, but please don’t really kill yourself, it’s not that important. 9 is great, but think what would be needed for it to be a 10.
8 and below probably means you’ll be an ex-coach in a few months time. There are simply way too many coaches sat at 9 and 10 who are prepared to take your clients off you to not be fully committed.
I hope that has give you some food for thought, but more importantly I hope you apply these questions to yourself and get the right answers.
If you have a question or questions that you think should have made the list, please let me know in the comments.
Image: ‘Question MArk’ Courtesy of Leo Reynolds