Coaching Business

Four Key Topics to Brand Your Coaching Business

Key branding issues for your coaching businessI make no claims as a branding expert.  When that subject comes up, I try to look at people like Walter Landor, who helped companies from Coca Cola to Shell Oil to Levi Strauss define their brand for the public. He would say things like, “Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.”

As new coaches come into Ultimate Coach University and create their businesses, some key branding questions often come up.  They are simple and yet profound questions.  If branding is the something created in the minds of others, how will you approach this task?  Here are four core ideas.

1.  Who is your Ideal Customer?  This is your core question.  Start with your customer’s demographics.  Then work out from there to understand their values in action. This might be a business group (direct sellers, lawyers, salon owners, etc.) or it driven by the group’s characteristics such as entrepreneurial drive, introversion, or leadership development.

Once this image starts to come together, your opportunity is to become the expert for these customers.

  • What do they want that they don’t have? Don’t think about what happens in the coaching; what do they have afterwards?
  • Will these customers be better after coaching than before they started?
  • Will they know it?

2. How will they find you?  You have an image of your ideal customer.  How will they be able to find you?  Your goal is to have their mental image match the one that you are creating. Your passion and excitement need to be obvious.

  • Is your value statement clear as well as front and center?
  • How compelling is your mission or brand statement?
  • What visual images are you making available?
  • Is your headshot saying what you want?
  • What action shots or Pinterest options are available?
  • How well does your simple graphic represent you?

3. How will they know the real you? The answer is very simple: others will tell them.  Let’s face it; with information access at an all-time high, what others say is the most trustworthy source of information.

  • How often do you do a Google or Bing search for your name?
  • Who’s talking about you on Facebook?
  • How do you ask new customers, “How did you hear about me?”
  • One great suggestion: Ask your clients, “What is the one thing you would tell others about our coaching?”

4. Can you tell someone without blushing, stalling, or talking more than 30 seconds?  Seriously, you have to get comfortable talking about yourself and your business.  Have conversations.  Don’t just spew a prefab statement.  Tease, talk, entice, and solicit questions. You are not a megacorp.  You are having one-to-one conversations.

  • How will you practice your conversational skills?  Who with?
  • How can you describe the opportunity you are creating?
  • What question will you ask to continue the conversation?
  • How will you ask for a follow-up?

This is by no means a complete list.  Branding is creating a promise in the minds of your potential customers.  Your job is to have a solid idea of the promise and a solid idea of how you will communicate it.  The rest is strategic.

Please share.  How are you focusing on your branding?

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Watch David Rock Coaching

Have you ever wondered why your brain seems to operate differently at work than it does when relaxing with friends and family? Maybe you’ve been curious about how sometimes it’s hard to focus or collaborate with others.  You are not alone.

Dr. David Rock is one of the thought leaders in the human-performance coaching field. Since the mid-90’s, he has trained over thousands of executive, personal and workplace coaches in more than 60 countries.  Two of his more recent books are Coaching with the Brain in Mind: Foundations for Practice and Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long. David Rock works in the area of NeuroLeadership (in fact, he coined the term) and believes that coaching is a powerful tool for discovering what goes on in the brain and is a key for performance improvement.

This 10 minute video is a sample of David Rock coaching an executive.  From a rtechnical standpoint, he leaves a lot to be desired.  Most of his questions are closed and require either a yes-no answer or a choice among alternative he provides.  He’s quick and seldom leaves time for reflective thought.  On the other hand, the client finds some really powerful insights.

Watch the video and then make your judgment:  good coaching or bad?

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Ten Tips for Selling Your Coaching Proposition

DSA2012_InspiringEntreprenuersLogoEarlier in May, Ultimate Coach University joined the Direct Selling Association as a supplier.  It seemed like a natural fit. One of UCU’s majors is coaching direct sales.  We thought it was time to go to the direct selling companies and let them know about us.

This week, the Direct Selling Association had their annual meeting and Dana Phillips and I had the opportunity to attend.  Here are some of the things we learned about going to the marketplace.

1. Ask experienced people for advice.  At an early reception, I had the chance to ask several people, “what do you know now you wished you had known your first year?” Their advice was invaluable.

2. Know your value proposition. Everybody knows the difference between training and coaching, right? How about the difference between mentoring and coaching?  It only took about two conversations before my head was working fast and furious to make a clear, quick distinction.

3. Be brief.  UCU does a lot of things.  Most people don’t care about anything except the piece that fits them.  The longer it takes to find out their itch, the less likely you will be the one to scratch it.

4.  Drop names.  Normally this is not a behavior I engage in.  Here, however, I was advised (see #1 above) to mention names.  It’s a great way to help people understand what you do.  This was a big AHA moment for me.  It was like a shorthand for telling an anecdote or a story.

5. Carry business cards and find a reason to use them.  Dana did this much better than I.  She would ask, “Do you read blogs?” (Who is going to say no?) When they answered yes, she gave them her card, took theirs, and wrote on the back, “blog” as she was telling them she would subscribe them to ours.  The process was simple, painless, and a first step beyond a convention conversation.

6. Start conversations. It’s to your benefit to start conversations.  Nothing happens until there is talk.

7. Ask more questions more than you tell. Be curious (just like a coach) and ask powerful questions (just like a coach).

8. Listen like a coach.  The better you understand and engage in good listening behaviors (paraphrase, summarize, restate, etc.) then the better you will be at finding out their need.

9. Take notes.  You will talk to a lot of people in a short time.  Your short-term memory is a weak system for keeping information sorted and available.

10.  Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. We create a spreadsheet with names, contact information, next steps, and desired outcome.  Something will happen every day until to create business.

What did I forget?  If you’ve had an opportunity to talk to people about your business, what do you do to make sales happen?

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What Coaches Earn

When potential students talk with us about coming to coach training, one common question that comes up is about coaching income.  Attempts to measure coaching income produce a wide range of answers. Most studies put the average rate as somewhere between $100 and $300 an hour. What I find fascinating are not the numbers but the story behind the numbers.

Fulltime Coaches Earn More Per Hour

The ICF Global study conducted a few years ago found that full time coaches earn $82,671 per year while part time coaches earn a little over $26,000 a year.  The majority of coaches earn a part time income from coaching (meaning they are part time coaches and earn other income from training, consulting, etc.)

The 2012 ICF Global study found a similar picture. The median income (half of the coaches are above this number and half are below) was $25,000. However, the average annual revenue is $47,00 per coach (total revenue divided by number of coaches). What this means is that the high end coaches earn a significantly higher hourly rate than lower paid coaches.

Coaching Specialization Greatly Affects Income

Some of the earnings results from the Sherpa Coaching Survey provide a clear picture.  According to their 2012 survey:

  • Executive Coaches:  $325   (defined as coaches who work on behavioral issues)
  • Business Coaches:  $235   (commonly called consultants, help clients develop knowledge and skills)
  • Life Coaches:  $160   (advisors on personal, wellness and life issues)

The annual earnings also highlight the differences:

  • Executive Coaches: $106,000
  • Business Coaches:  $71,000
  • Life Coaches:  $55,450

Coaching is a Growing Business

According to the ICF Survey, over half of the coaches expect their income to grow.  Additionally:

  • The number of coaching clients is growing
  • The number of Coaches is growing
  • The number of sessions is growing

I think these trends indicate a healthy future for coaches and their earning potential.  However, future coaches can’t just blindly enter the profession and expect to earn a sizable income.  What do you think?

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