Topic: Your Coaching Practice
Most coaches become coaches with the primary goal of helping others; however, earning a significant income can also be a major motivator. Too many coaches focus so much on building their coaching skills that they forget to dedicate critical time to building their coaching practice as well. Clients are not just going to magically appear. Coaches have to diligently work on marketing in order to attract them.
There are coaches with fairly consistent practices filled to capacity with clients. If this is you, you might think that you must be doing a really good job of marketing, right?
Perhaps you may have laid the groundwork to get your practice to where it is today but what about tomorrow? Have you identified and accounted for the natural peak and fall your business takes at certain times of the year? Have you performed a SWOT analysis on your business? Do you have a marketing plan? Or even a business plan?
As coaches, we do a great deal of work on raising our self-awareness, creating a personal mission and a vision but what about the mission and vision of the business? Where is your awareness when it comes to your coaching practice? Do you track leads? Do you have a measure for how successful each of your different marketing efforts is? The whole idea of marketing tends to scare many coaches. This is because they think of it as a grueling task, something unenjoyable, and something that they HAVE to do.
In the introduction of Stephen Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, there is much discussion around creating paradigm shifts. This is a complete change in the way one thinks about or perceives a particular thing. I invite you to make a paradigm shift right now in regards to marketing. Rather than look at marketing as something you HAVE to do, think about it as something you LOVE to do.
Perhaps it would help to put this in terms that a coach can understand more easily. A very real goal most coaches have is to get more clients. To start off, the coach needs to examine where his/her business is right now. How many clients are in the practice? How many more would be desirable? Why?
The last question is the most important. What would having more clients achieve for you? How will things be different if you have these clients? In other words, what is your purpose? Knowing the purpose of attracting more clients is just the beginning of this new paradigm shift.
Secondly, one of the things that an awesome coach does best is to build quality, lasting relationships. Marketing is all about building relationships. Building relationships is truly the only way to attract new clients. Marketing is used to identify potential clients, introduce them to the world of coaching, establish a rapport and build trust in you as the coach as well as the coaching process.
If you are like me and most other coaches then I know your eyes light up when you talk about what coaching means to you. Coaches are very passionate about their work. It is fun to tell others about the world of coaching, what it has done for us and what we have seen it do in the lives of others. If you can communicate your love of coaching passionately then you are in fact MARKETING.
Did a paradigm shift just occur in your thinking? Are you starting to perceive marketing as something you love to do rather than a have to do? Good. Your next step is to learn how to communicate your newfound love and passion for marketing across many different advertising mediums so you can begin to leverage its power.
The first step is to really know your business. This means that you need to have a clearly defined niche, identify your target customer and start figuring out what appeals to them. It all starts with your business plan. Your business plan is a guide for how to run your business. It is a written plan comprised of goals, objectives and available resources to direct you. A good business plan should also include a marketing plan. A marketing plan is a guide on how you will communicate your products and services to your target market. Your marketing plan should include all of the things that you will need to do to get the word out about your business. From creating a web presence to article marketing to networking and more. Any activity that you plan to use should be listed.
Secondly, many coaches make the mistake of relying solely on providing coaching services for an income. The most successful coaches know that they must diversify themselves in order to meet their financial goals. This is where it becomes important to develop multiple income streams. Multiple income streams are additional methods, typically related to your coaching practice and niche, which generate more money.
Incorporating multiple income streams into your coaching practice also provides your clients with added value to their service which also increases the value of the relationship. By developing spin-off products such as books, cds and dvds; your client can take you home with them and continue to benefit from your expertise. Finally, since most coaches are solopreneurs, entrepreneurs who work independently with little or no staff, it is imperative that a mentor coach is secured. Mentor coaches can act as a sounding board for ideation and assist you in developing a realistic and workable business plan for your coaching practice. If you are serious about making money as a coach then you need to partner with a mentor coach today.