The question of whether coaches should subscribe to a life coach directory comes up a lot in the Coach The Life Coach Facebook support group.
And it’s easy to understand why.
Marketing yourself successfully is hard and maybe people are using coaching directories to find a life coach.
It’s hard building a loyal social media following of people who trust you and want to engage with you.
It’s hard learning SEO (search engine optimization) and getting your blog posts to rank on Google so that potential clients can find you.
It’s hard to convert the people who do land on your website onto your coaching newsletter so that you can start to build a relationship with them.
And even when you do all of those things, it’s still hard to get people to want to part with thousands of dollars for your coaching services.
Not only is all that hard, but it takes time and requires determination and patience.
It also requires money, which is often in short supply for new life coaches.
But what if there was a virtual Yellow Pages, a life coaching directory where people can browse and choose the best coach to meet their needs – wouldn’t that be awesome?
No, probably not.
Is Using A Life Coach Directory A Good Idea?
Here was a question that was posted in the Facebook group a few weeks ago.
‘Hi life coaches! I’m quite new and slowly building my coaching practice and, I’d like to know which life coaches’ directory would you recommend joining?
I started looking and it got a bit confusing about which are the most effective in terms of gaining visibility. Thank you!’
Questions similar to that come up on an almost monthly basis and have been doing so for as long as the group has been going.
In all that time, I only remember one coach who had had a positive experience and her position was somewhat unique.
She was a full-time therapist and she would pick and choose which coaching clients she wanted to work with without the pressure of needing to fill open calendar slots or put food on her table.
In other words, she was using a directory to supplement what she was already doing successfully rather than needing it.
But dozens have said they tried it and failed with this response being typical and beautifully articulated.
‘I’m just finishing up my year on Noomii. Not worth it or for me, as a parent coach, it wasn’t worth it.
A lot of work to get added for referrals and it feels like your throwing your card into a fishbowl waiting to be chosen at the next raffle…’
I’m not saying no coach has ever acquired a decent client from services like Noomii, Thumbtack, Bark, Life Coach Spotter, Life Coach Directory or The Coaching Connector, of course they have.
I spent a number of years working for Yellow Pages and a lot of people earned a lot of money. from that publication.
Overall though, they were tradespeople, attorneys, insurance companies and other assorted businesses that sold on price or availability.
However, life coaching directories from everything I have heard (which is a lot) tend to promise a lot more than they can deliver.
As such, they’re probably not the wisest decision for any coach who wants to build a long-term sustainable online life coaching practice.
There are tens of thousands of all types of life coaches out there with way more slots available than there are clients looking to fill them.
We are in an industry where supply far outweighs demand – which is why most life coaches are struggling.
You Need To Stand Out To Succeed
If you are to succeed as a life coach you need to separate yourself from the competition.
You need to stand out from the crowd.
Directories are the antithesis of standing out from the crowd – they are the crowd.
You may or may not care for me, but the one thing you cannot reasonably accuse me of is being bland and blending into the pack.
Yet, that is exactly what life coaching directories encourage.
For the most part, everybody has the same space, the same size photo and the same opportunity to pitch their coaching.
Standing out in any meaningful way is almost impossible.
So guess what happens?
Yep, you become a commodity.
Or as the comment above beautifully described it, you become a business card in a fishbowl.
You cannot effectively communicate what it’s like to work with you in such an environment.
You cannot convey your personality.
And, you most definitely cannot convey the value you can bring to your coaching clients.
You’re just another life coach on a page full of coaches.
Therefore, you get into a race to the bottom on price.
Largely speaking, people who are scouring coaching directories aren’t looking for the best coach, they’re looking for the cheapest coach.
Unless your name is Walmart, cheap is not a marketing strategy.
Selling on price means you’re not in control of your own destiny because at any point in the clients’ buying process another coach can step in and say, ‘I’ll do that cheaper’
All coaches should be selling solutions and on the value those solutions will deliver.
I understand the temptation of using a life coach directory, especially if you have little money and/or little time.
But they’re a temporary fix to what for most coaches, is a permanent problem – finding clients
If you’re in coaching for the long haul I’d strongly advise your resist that temptation and learn how to market yourself in a way that will continue to bring you, clients, even when you’re not paying for leads or buying space in a directory.