There is any number of LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ groups for Life Coaches all full of people either looking for or looking to offer free advice.
In my experience, some of the advice is good, some bad, and some very, very ugly.
In fact, on many occasions, I have been staggered by the stupidity of the help offered to new coaches.
I feel sure the people offering the poor advice mean well, but just have an ass from elbow recognition issue when it comes to running a Life Coaching business.
Without wanting to appear arrogant, I feel qualified to offer advice in many areas of building a Life Coaching practice online because I’ve been doing it so long.
I’ve had numerous failures and made a great many mistakes over the last 9 years or so, but fortunately, I have now got to the point where I have a full client load and actually understand what is needed to maintain and grow my business.
Unsurprisingly I’m far from being the only one. There are a lot of other coaches who have succeeded despite the odds and the intense levels of competition, many to go on to achieve 6 figure salaries and more whilst having a blast and helping others.
The problem is, you cannot easily tell who they are from the outside looking in.
Very few coaches want to portray their business as being anything other than highly successful because it doesn’t help generate new clients.
Unfortunately it’s relatively easy to give the illusion of success, but it’s a lot harder to actually achieve and then maintain it.
Fortunately, after working in this industry for so long and knowing so many coaches (often on a personal level) I have a fairly clear understanding of who the real players are and not to put to finer point on it, who are the ones that know their shit!
So I contacted a few and asked them;
“What is the one piece of advice you would give to newbie or aspiring Life Coaches?”
Below are the responses and they are responses that if I were you I’d take very seriously, because these aren’t wannabe successful coaches looking to impress you. These are people who have been there and done that.
These are the people who I shut up and listen to when they are talking, and I think we all know that doesn’t happen very often!
1. Michael Heppell – Best Selling Author of Flip It and the UK’s #1 Motivational Speaker
“Develop and use your intuition. There are dozens of coaching models, methods and principals but sometimes by forcing a round peg into a square hole won’t give your client what they need. If your intuition is crying out ‘Do this!’ Then do it. Your intuition is always right.”
2. John Strelecky – International Best Selling Author of The Why Cafe & World Renowned Public Speaker
“Imagine you’re in a closed ring boxing match and you’re getting your ass kicked. The referee intervenes and tells you you can have 60 minutes to enlist the help of a coach. Are you going to hop on Google and type in “Sports coach”?
No, you want a the best damn boxing coach you can find to help you. The reason your clients want help is that they feel there is an area or areas of their life that feel they are having their ass kicked in. They want a specialist, not a generalist and that’s where so many coaches fall down.
Think of the kind of people you can help the most and who you want to serve and then make them your niche. Be very clear with your marketing (like Tim is) as to who you do and don’t coach and stick to your niche at all times.
Be the person that if a reporter were looking to cover a story on your niche and went to Google it he or she would find you first and immediately see you as the go-to person.”
3. Jen Louden – Best Selling Author, Teacher and Ontologically Trained Coach
“Focus on mastery. Learning to be a great coach takes years as does learning to effectively market your business. Overwhelm can swallow you whole if you believe you need to master everything by next week.
You don’t and you can’t, and thinking you should be able to will drain you of energy and resiliency. Be realistic about your energy, your skill level, your talents.
Runaway from quick fixes and instead focus on how to effectively master what you wish to excel in. And please, remind me to do the same.”
4. Tony Teegarden – Helping You Turn Your Problems Into Profits Better Than Anybody Else
“My biggest piece of advice for new coaches is based on strong marketing principles: know EXACTLY WHO it is you want to market to – as well as that individuals wants and desires.
Knowing EXACTLY who it is you want to serve, down to smallest detail, is everything. I call this creating your customer avatar.
Far too many times I see new coaches trying to be everything to everyone and they end up just taking on anyone who comes along in order to help and get paid.
Getting paid shouldn’t be an afterthought – you’re running a business and unless you’re running a non-profit, you can’t run a business on good intentions.
If you try to be everything to everybody – you’ll be nothing to no one. And this is a sure way to NOT get paid at the level of transformation you provide.
Your perceived value is based on your ability to communicate to a precise individuals pain or desire. The more ambiguous that communication – the less value is perceived and the less you attract your ideal client.
You end up trying to competing on price and charge way too little for the outcomes you provide.
When you attempt to be everything to everyone you negate having “filters” in place that weed out prospects who are NOT best to receive your work. Believe it or not, EVERYONE is not an ideal client.
You’ll actually make LESS money and end up working WAY too hard if you don’t have this strategic communication in place.
Behavioral Specialist Wyatt Woodsmall brilliantly said – “When you can explain someone’s problem to them, better than they can explain it themselves, they will automatically see you as the authority and seek you out for the solution.”
Don’t just be another life coach – seriously, Tim already has that market cornered 😉
Instead – REFINE your approach. Become a midlife crisis coach for men or become a dating coach for women.
These are much more refined markets and allow you to speak much more specifically to your audiences needs than just being a life coach.
Most importantly – work on the communication of how you deliver people from where they are to where they want to be. This is how you’ll attract your most ideal prospects and charge much more appropriately so that the client is fully committed and you are paid highly.”
5. Peter Shallard – The Shrink For Entrepreneurs
“Niche is everything. No one would hire a “general sports coach” to train them on tennis, golf, skiing and scuba. The same goes for life coaching. Be specific. Be a specialist. Build a reputation for solving one problem better than anyone else.
You’ll still get to work with all sorts, on all kinds of issues… but having that one thing you’re famous for will bring clients to you in the first place.”
6. Barrie Davenport – The Life Passion Expert
“I would strongly recommend that new coaches start a blog in a very specific niche related to their coaching niche. Having an online presence where you share information and strategies with people all over the world will exponentially broaden your base of potential clients and open doors to so many opportunities.
You can coach groups, host online workshops and webinars, offering speaking engagements, and develop joint ventures with other coaches and bloggers. And if you start a blog, be sure you learn how to do it professionally so it well reflects who you are and the quality of your service.”
7. Mark Silver – The Heart Centered Business Coach
“I guess I would say, don’t be attached to your process, don’t fall in love with coaching, fall in love with who you want to help.
See them as clearly as you can, the problems they struggle with, the language they use to describe those problems.
Bring empathy and compassion to them, and be a safe space for them to step into getting help. And don’t try to sell coaching.”
8. Mark McGuiness- The Creative Coach (and poet!)
“1. There’s no substitute for experience. Becoming a great coach takes time, lots of client hours, trial, error, persistence, and plenty of what Seth Godin calls ‘emotional labor’.
The good news is that the experience will always stand you in good stead – once you’ve encountered the same challenge a hundred times, it won’t seem so daunting or difficult.
2. Being a great coach is not enough. You also need to become good at the business of coaching – finding an endless supply of the kind of clients you love to work with, and convincing them of the value of your work.
Again, the good news is, once you master this side of the business, you’ve set yourself up for a life in one of the most fascinating, fulfilling and rewarding careers imaginable.”
So there you have it and I’m sure you have noticed the themes running through most of the answers.
It seems most successful coaches, listen to their instinct and know how to niche themselves.
Who’d have thought that eh? 😉
So what’s your take, which advice resonates most with you as a new or soon to be Life Coach? Let me know in the comments.