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9 Steps To Design, Price, and Sell a Coaching Program | Creating a Powerful Coaching Engagement

People get all tied up in knots about how to price and design their engagements with clients. This is especially true when moving beyond a 1-1 coaching format. I often get questions about what to do if a company wants you to coach their entire leadership team, two co-founders, or some other type of engagement. So I’ve created a simple outline for the process that I use. 

 

9 Steps for building a powerful coaching engagement

  1. Consider what would serve the client, no price tag or considerations for time.

  2. Consider what options might exist in that realm of service. What’s the most invested client engagement and what’s the minimum?

  3. Once you’ve created the package, consider your own time, the value of the engagement, the context of affordability and possibility for the client(s).

  4. Craft a package focused on benefits and resting firmly on the thing that would serve the client most.

  5. (If needed) compare those options to previous investments, the market rate (which is incredibly variable), and how it feels energetically for you. You might then ask a few other coaches to look over your proposal to uncover what exactly you may be missing.

  6. Create the conversation with the client inside a context of what they want to create and the commitment required from them. This is centered around what they want to create, the impact of taking no action, and what’s in the way of them creating what they want. 

  7. Be with them fully as their resistance and challenge to commitment arise.

  8. Support them to make an empowered yes or no around that commitment, while standing for the structure and commitment required to make the change they want to make.

  9. Throughout keep your attention on two things   
    1.  A willingness to say no to your client if what they want won’t really serve them or be enough to create the change they are seeking to make.
    2. Trust yourself and your instincts as a coach because that’s all you got. 






Case Study: How Claire reinvigorated her practice and created $14k in new business all while planning a wedding, getting married, moving houses, and becoming pregnant.

coach case study claire

The Catalyst –

Claire is a life coach that left a successful career to follow her dreams of fulfilling work and adventurous travel. She coaches people who want to change their careers and/or follow their dreams. She joined the Embodied Coach Mastermind in November of 2020 here’s her story – 

What were you doing before the Mastermind?

Before the Mastermind Claire had always been serious about being a good coach. She had trained 1-1 with a powerful coach I know in the UK. She had been a part of 3 other programs I’ve run for coaches in the past and had even begun to train herself to train with and work with other coaches. 

And yet Claire seemed to be stuck in the cycle I see a lot of coaches stuck in. She would have a pretty full roster of clients that would fade away over time, followed by long stretches of few to no clients. These fits and starts were not only tiring they really impacted Claire’s confidence. After all there were other (less good) coaches around her with thriving practices. 

What hesitations did you have about joining the mastermind?

The Experience – 

What did you like best about the Mastermind?

On our first call Claire had been deeply moved by her connection to her essence, but she wasn’t getting that out into the world. Like many of the other programs I had done with Claire she was engaged, inspiring, and radiant as a member of the community 

But something wasn’t quite right. Even though I worked with her before, the action oriented stance of the Mastermind started to reveal that despite showing up as a good student, Claire was taking enough action outside of the classroom. I knew we needed to shift something. 

The Breakthrough –

How did you benefit from the Mastermind? 

I can still remember the call where things shifted for Claire. It was a Friday accountability call and she was talking about why she hadn’t sat down to work on her business like she had committed to. She was talking about her limiting beliefs and how she needed to shift them when I stopped her. I said to her 

“When I just got to commit and get to work. That’s when you’ll really start to shift your beliefs and start to see things in a new way.”

After that things changed for Claire, she created a structure for herself and most importantly she empowered it by showing up to it consistently. She used the group to keep her accountable and to inspire her to get back into action when she got stuck. 

It was so simple, but it was just this simple step that had such an incredible impact on her as a coach. 

Pretty soon Claire started signing clients, and by the time the Mastermind was done she had created over $12,000 in new business. 

What specific results have you achieved as a result of being in the Mastermind? 

  • A client for 3 months @ £2000 
  • A client for 3 months @ £1750 (has committed to next 3 months too) 
  • A client for 6 months @ £2500 
  • A client for 3 months @ £1000 
  • An ongoing client @ £200 a month 
  • An ongoing @ £50 a month

This is what is possible with both a commitment to coaching, some simple structure, and most importantly a willingness to empower that structure on a regular basis. 

Conclusion –

Would you recommend me and the Mastermind? If so, why and to whom?

Claire created something that’s so hard to create. She shifted something that she had struggled years to shift. And it wasn’t because of some crazy hack, or sales funnel. It happened because she applied herself in a new way, she made a commitment and worked through what showed up in the face of it. 

Claire embodies the truth that very often the biggest results aren’t the dollars (or pounds) we earn, but the changes we make in ourselves. That’s the real reason I love doing the mastermind, because not only do people create the foundation for a sustainable practice, they step into their calling to become a coach, and to me that’s the thing that can start to change the world. 

You can learn more about Claire at Clairelifecoaching.com

I’ve only got one spot left in the upcoming mastermind so if you’re ready to make a change, nows the time. Let’s Talk


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Should I coach my best friend?

If you’re a coach for any length of time the question about who you should and shouldn’t coach will come up. Eventually, you’ll either want to coach a close friend or family member or they’ll want to work with you. But can you or should you do this? 

Recently a coach posted the following question in a community forum I’m a part of: 

What are your thoughts about coaching close friends/ having them participate in programs you facilitate?

 

And here was my response. 

 

I think this is dicey at best (This is coming from someone who coaches their own father soooooooo….. 😱😱😱😱😱) 

 

I think it’s 100% possible but you need to get very clear on a few things:

 

Priorities – If the friendship/relationship is the priority how will you deal with it if the coaching impacts the friendship. What’s the bail/pull the chord agreement? 

 

The last time I was in business/coaches a close friend we agreed beforehand the friendship mattered more to us than our business. Which made a HUGE difference when he wanted to bail suddenly. I could have held it against him, but I reminded myself of what we had said. I let the business go and kept the friendship and our relationship was even stronger as a result. 

 

Confidentiality – How will you handle information inside/outside the container? Can you ask questions or reference things you know about them as a friend? Or can you only talk about things that get brought up in the group? If it’s the latter how are you going to navigate that? 

 

If things get brought up in the group can you talk about them inside your friendship? And how are you going to make sure things stay sealed? 

 

I’m very clear with my father that I won’t bring up coaching things outside of our coaching, but sometimes things do come up when we spend time as a family. For me, the line is to reference things only in an energetic sense, but never directly. Luckily he generally talks about things like business with us in a family setting as well, so I trust us in how to navigate that boundary but if he was more private it might be more challenging. 

 

Roles – What roles do you currently play in one another’s lives. How will you discern between the coach/client role and the friend/family role? 

 

When I’m in sessions with my dad I refer to him as Al, I call his wife Peg, I’ll even mention his children. I use these named protocols two separate the two types of ways we relate to each other. I developed this technique when I worked for his company many years ago. It isn’t perfect but it helps. 

In addition when he wants to discuss personal issues during our coaching time (like the next time I come to visit) I ask that we bring those things to our weekly family call instead. I’m not saying there’s never any overlap, but I work to be constantly attending to the container so it’s as clean as possible. 

 

I think this is esp. important if you’re very different as a coach than as a friend. In my relationship for example I tend to be more empathetic and offer witnessing more than I would in my coaching relationship. Sure I hear my clients but if they loop, if the same pattern shows up again I point it out and challenge them. If I did this in my romantic relationship without checking in first it wouldn’t go very well.

 

If your friend expects you to show up as a friend and you show up as a coach how is that going to go? 

 

Consider how it impacts the space: Will you be able to be in the space and be impartial with your friend? Can you make sure not to use any inside jokes or inside language with them? How are you going to share the fact that there’s a different relationship in the space? 

 

When I run strategic planning sessions with my father’s company I presence the fact that we’re related to one another, esp. when a new team member is in the room. I feel confident about my ability to treat him the same way I’d treat any CEO. but I do know this is harder in group coaching when I have a close relationship with a few of the members. 

 

When I run Half Day Dojo’s and dojo alumni show up I have to be careful not to talk to only them, because it can leave other people feeling like they’re on the outside of the group. So I do my best to treat everyone the same. I might check in with someone I know well, but then I move my attention on to the group as a whole. 

 

Ideally, you need to let people know that there’s a relationship there and how you’re holding it. People will almost always pick up on it if you don’t. 

 

Are you getting supported? – Since coaching a friend may bring up your own stuff, how are you going to get supported so you can show up cleaning in the relationship or space you’re creating? 

 

I could never coach my own father or have a friend in my groups unless I was working with a coach. If you’re going to take this on, bring it to your coach (and if you don’t have one get one), talk it out and see what you would need to be a strong stand for them. 

 

I also bring these kinds of questions to my close coaching peers. It’s this kind of thing that the Pilea consultation groups are great for. Because you can discuss how other coaches handle this while also attending to your own boundaries. 

 

Final thoughts – 

So should you coach a family member or close friend? 

In most cases, they will be better served by referring them to another coach. Because the relationship is cleaner and the work can be more direct. But if you really want to do it, make sure you really consider the issues above. 

 

Yes, you can do this but it requires a lot of attention and work before, during, and after the engagement. It should only be done with the support of a coach and a group of peers and being able to be very clear an why you’re choosing to work this way. 

 

For me and my father, this arrangement works great for us. We both like being in charge in a way and both get a lot out of working together. Because in a coaching relationship the coach is in charge of the container and the client is in charge of the process it balances our relationship in a way nothing ever has. When I worked for him and disagreed with his choices I would get frustrated and annoyed especially when it impacted my day to day work. And I doubt he would enjoy working for me for the same reason. 

 

By coaching him I can give him my best insights, offer my best questions, and then let him choose what he wants. My role as a coach works for our relationship, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it for anyone else. But my hope is that what I’ve learned from working with him will help you work with your clients as well. 

 

Love, Toku

 

Additional Resources

SHOULD I TRY TO SELL COACHING TO MY FRIENDS?

https://samuraicoachingdojo.com/should-i-try-to-sell-coaching-to-my-friends/

Case Study: This coach set a goal to have a $25k quarter and made it happen.

Jonny Roman specializes in helping his clients navigate through the dark waters of life and remove the fears and blocks that stand in their way. He joined the Embodied Coach Mastermind in November of 2020. Here’s his story:

The following was pulled from Jonny’s feedback form at the end of our engagement as well as my own observations of his growth. 

 

The Catalyst:

When I joined the Mastermind I had just completed one coaching program and was wanting another opportunity for support.  My business was doing pretty good overall, though it certainly had its challenges.  That pandemic didn’t negatively impact my business that much. But I think the biggest challenge was in my own trust in myself and my work as a coach. That’s the biggest piece I think I wanted to shift. I was still experiencing a fair amount of stress as I pursued my business and when I saw clients on my calendar.

My biggest hesitation was that I didn’t know much about Toku at all.  We had essentially had one conversation (maybe two? I can’t remember).  And I remember thinking, this is kind of a leap of faith I’m taking here.  I hadn’t had any prior experience with you other than a few of your materials I had read. So that felt like a big hesitation on my part.  But I had a sense that it was going to be a good fit for me.

 

The Experience:

I loved the container.  I loved the small, intimate group. I enjoyed having a weekly Friday check-in. I enjoyed watching Toku coach and learning from him and his coaching style. I appreciated a lot of the peel-back-the-curtain approach Toku had with showing us the inner workings of his business.  I appreciated the “new” (new to me) approach to business.  I appreciated the heart-centered masculine examples that were present throughout, with Toku, Lee, Chris, and Kelby.

I would definitely recommend the mastermind to other people. I think there’s a lot to learn from you, Toku. I think you have a really great style of coaching. I enjoyed learning from it.  I would recommend it to a coach who is interested in up-leveling and learning more nuances about having a thriving coaching business.

 

The Breakthrough:

Because of the Mastermind, I know more about my metrics than I did before and tracked them more.  For example, I created a 4th quarter goal of $25,000 and actually hit that goal, which felt pretty amazing!  

The business was the result of how I showed up, how I held myself, how I thought about myself, my coaching, and trusted myself more. And I can tie that to work we did in the Mastermind like learning about my Essence, learning new ways of coaching and being coached.  All of which was very helpful. 

 

“I created a 4th quarter goal of $25,000 and actually hit that goal, which felt pretty amazing!”

Jonny Roman, Sustainable Transformation Coach, (Duluth, Minnesota) 

 

The most important thing people should know about the Embodied Coach Mastermind? 

It’s worth it. I really do feel like I came out on the other end of this growth in a number of ways.  My financial advisor/coach feels like she can see a direct result between me starting the mastermind and my relationship with money and my ability to make money shifting.

I really enjoyed my experience.  I would even consider doing it again.

 

Toku’s Reflection:

When I met Jonny he was clearly a talented coach. He had a master’s degree, had been coaching for a few years, and had an ability to listen and be with his clients in a powerful way, but Jonny didn’t see himself like that. 

I noticed how he would get caught in overthinking vs getting into action. He didn’t really realize how powerful he was, how far he had already come, and how ready he was to step into the next phase of his evolution as coach.

It was amazing to watch Jonny step into his true power as a coach throughout the mastermind. He raised his rates, signed new clients, but more than anything else he developed a deeper sense of confidence. 

Perhaps the coolest thing to see was how Jonny stepped into fatherhood in the midst of the Mastermind. Even though he missed a couple of calls he stayed engaged and it was incredible to see his shift of perspective after becoming a dad. One thing I love about the Mastermind is that it’s not some program where life is out there and the work is in here. We really get to be in each others lives as we change, that part is so rewarding for me and I think for other members of the community as well. 

 

You can learn more about Jonny at JonnyRoman.com


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Case Study: This coach found his confidence and signed 9 clients in record time.

Chris Rollins is a former HR Senior exec who works with people leaders who don’t invest enough in their own well-being, growth, and development. He’s committed to supporting HR Leaders, especially in the LGBTQ+ communityHe joined the Embodied Coach Mastermind in November of 2020, this is his story – 

The following was pulled from Chris’ feedback form at the end of our engagement as well as my own observations of his growth. 

The Catalyst:

When I met Chris he was coming off of a very successful career as a Senior HR exec in New York City. I could tell he had worked a lot of long hours and that he really cared about people. He had already made the decision to become a coach but he was struggling with his choice to leave his well-paying job to start a new career. 

And it made sense, my impression of Chris was that he always excelled at what he did, but that coaching was a new kind of challenge for him, because it asked him to be even more intimate with the people he worked with. 

 

Here’s what Chris had to say about why he decided to join the mastermind – 

“When I joined the Mastermind I was about 6 months into deciding I wanted to start a coaching business and only had one paying client. I wanted support and guidance on how to successfully build and grow my business.”

My biggest hesitation that I was “nervous about the cost during a time when I wasn’t bringing in any clients and I was in a scarce money mindset”

 

I remember on a call with Chris early on how big the commitment was. He’d never invested this kind of money into a program or coach. He had already made a commitment to leave his job and even though he had some runway I could feel how nervous he was to make an investment and risk that he wouldn’t see a return. 

I worked with Chris to get clear on what he was committed to and what he’d need to do during the mastermind to make sure he got his money’s worth. I wasn’t worried he’d create results but it was important to make sure he was fully invested in the process. 

 

The Experience:

Chris was one of the most dynamic members of the 2020 embodied coach mastermind. He was engaged on the calls and took a TON of action between them. He took on the 50 conversation challenge with verve, set up a community call for LGBTQ+ HR reps, and spent extra time with other members of the MM community. 

I knew right away that Chris was going to make the most of the opportunity and the results were pretty apparent. Even though he was one of the newest coaches in the group, his energy and commitment inspired so many of the other members to take risks and try things. That’s one of the things I love about the ECMM is how much the community of coaches really pushes and inspires one another. 

On his feedback form, Chris said that his favorite part of the mastermind was “the weekly accountability calls, the essence exercise*, and the peer support.” And I could see why, not only did he give a lot to the community, but because he was so engaged the community gave a lot back to him.  

*The essence exercise is one of the central pieces of work we do inside the mastermind and one that many of the members reported had a BIG impact on them as coaches and people. 

 

The Breakthrough:

Again Chris really impressed me with how fast he grew. When he started the Mastermind he only had one client and was thinking of charging a $100 – $200 a session to work with his clients, but by the end of the mastermind he was charging as much if not more than many of the more seasoned coaches. 

I think this was mainly an impact of his commitment to action and his willingness to trust himself. 

 

Here’s a little about Chris’ experience in his own words:

“The mastermind gave me more confidence in myself as a coach, and more confidence to get clients. I also have a much deeper awareness of who I am and how I want to be showing up in the world – many thanks to really embodying my essence words”

“While enrolled in ECMM, I enrolled 9 clients for a total of $23,700 and signed my largest client for a 6 month $5,500 contract.”

 

“The mastermind gave me more confidence in myself as a coach, and more confidence to get clients. I enrolled 9 clients for a total of $23,700, My largest client was a 6 month $5,500 contract”

Chris Rollins, People Leader Coach, (Tampa, Florida) 

 

Conclusion:

The Embodied Coach Mastermind is designed to support coaches who are committed to changing. It’s amazing to see how the support of an incredible community with the guidance of an experienced coach can really impact people. While I’d love to take all the credit for the results in the mastermind, it was having people like Chris and others in the community that really makes the experience possible. 

Chris has continued to grow his practice after the mastermind and is even in conversation with a BIG company in the career transition case to launch a company wide coach program for their members. Chris already had the tools and raw talent to become a successful coach, but the other coaches in the mastermind and our work to draw that talent out really let him hit the ground running when he launched his practice. 

 

Here’s what Chris had to say about doing the mastermind in his own words – 

The most important thing people should know about the Embodied Coach Mastermind? 

“It will change the place you come from when thinking about your business. Life will become easier”

“I would recommend it to any coach who is just getting started up or to coaches who’ve had some success but want to create more consistency.”

“You’re awesome! Thanks for making me a part of the beautiful work you are doing in the world.”

 

No coach should have to go it alone. With guidance and a community of coaches around you, your success might be much closer than you think. 

You can learn more about Chris at ChrisRollins.me


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What For—Meaning’s Purpose

Things don’t have meaning in and of themselves. Flags are bits of fabric with colors. When you don’t know a language the words are like little squiggles. Until we give things meaning they have no meaning at all.

There’s also no grade, there’s just an action and a result. No one is giving you an A for reaching out to a client or writing a blog post. It’s just you again. Mostly we do JOBS and HOMEWORK because we are scared of getting in trouble or we want a good grade. But when you play the entrepreneur game there’s really no one to get you in trouble. You’re in a class by yourself and you’re teacher and the student. You can get away with not doing any work, after all, are you going to get YOU in trouble?

This can feel like nothingness, unless you give it a meaning. A meaning is a what for – it’s a why you’re doing it, that you make up. You decide the meaning, you do the thing in alignment with that meaning, and you measure the results. Then you can choose again.

The hard part is there is NO meaning outside of what you’ve created, the powerful part is that you create the meaning. This is a power only gods and goddesses have. Use it well.

Being Selfish vs. Standing Up For Yourself: The Lens of Life

ACA Laundry List – Trait 7 – “We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others” 

Growing up our parents guilted us for saying something wasn’t fair. They used us for their own devices (in a dysfunctional cry for love) and told us we were selfish for feeling sad or upset. It bent the lens that we saw life through and we learn to see what was unfair as fair, and what was fair as selfish. 

As we heal we often bump up against this bent lens of life. We peer through the lens and we see our boundaries as unreasonable demands and we see our unreasonable demands as justified acts of anger. As we heal we learn to look around the lens. 

We learn to trust our guts when we’re being fair and we learn to realize when we’re caught up in our own stories and being angry little kids with those we care about. We learn to clean up when we make mistakes and learn to set boundaries that we know are right, even when our guilt feelings tell us we’ll get in trouble if we set them. 

The Fool

According to Jacquelyn Small – “The Fool represents an inner attitude of Divine Innocence, willing to have total faith in the process of living. He casts himself totally — and with gay abandon — into all with which he comes into contact, and redeems whatever he meets.

This quality of Divine Innocence is a form of continual humility in all our relations, which prevents any adversity from causing imbalance. Anything adverse The Fool encounters is brought to the heart of its positive quality with a sense of awe; it is transformed.”

In some ways, the fool is the antithesis of humiliation. The fool can not be humiliated no matter how much someone tries. Because the fool embraces the joyous innocence and silliness of life. The art of silly walking is one way of embodying the archetype of the fool. While we fear feeling humiliated or appearing foolish, The fool takes on the mantle of foolish and wears it like a crown.

It is a way of making art from humiliation and discovering a kind of deep resilience that bolsters us in even the darkest storms. 

Should I Try To Sell Coaching To My Friends?

Most new coaches start by coaching their friends. After all, your friends are ‘soft’ targets. They are willing to let you ‘try’ coaching on them, respond kindly when you’re awkward and have probably complained about something that you’re sure you can ‘fix’. 

But a lot of people feel awkward talking to their friends about coaching much less trying to sign them as clients. They’re afraid they’ll come off as pushy or salesy and of course their afraid of alienating their friends and looking bad. 

Then again I know a TON of coaches that built their businesses by serving their friends and colleagues first. In fact having a solid pre existing network is one of the KEY reasons many coaches achieve success quickly. 

So should you try to sell your friends on coaching? 

While it’s ultimately up to you here’s a few simple things to consider:

 

1) How long has it been since you talked to them? 

A coach in my mastermind group recently asked for some tips on offering coaching to a friend after being turned down by a guy he knew from college. The first question I asked was: When was the last time you talked to this person? Five years was their lovingly innocent reply. 

If I call out of the blue after five years and then offer to sell you coaching I immediately put myself in the category of someone selling an MLM product. I get that you’re excited about coaching but please don’t do this. 

If you want to connect with a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while go ahead, but do it lovingly. Do it to connect. If then after you’re reestablished a connection you want to share about coaching with them go ahead. But don’t call people out of the blue to ‘connect’ when you really are only connecting to ‘sell’ coaching to them. 

Connection first, coaching later. Always. 

 

2) Is your desire to coach them genuine? 

Sometimes you might feel desperate to get a client. Like if you could just get one person to say yes your life would be easier and if you get one more no you’re sure you’re going to fall apart. When this happens anyone around you can start to seem like the ‘fix’ for your coaching insecurity. 

If this is where you’re coming from enrolling your friends is probably a bad idea. In fact, trying to enroll anyone from desperation and scarcity is a bad idea. 

I remember early on in my journey as a coach I sat down with a good friend to ‘sign them as a client.’ I was more awkward and pushy than a used car salesman with a quota to meet. They were polite but clearly turned off. And the more turned off they were the more pushy I got. They continued to be polite, but eventually ended the conversation. I still cringe thinking about it. 

On the other hand, I’ve also coached friends in a really powerful way. I went slow, I was curious, I made sure they really wanted to move forward. When I did this the conversations went well even if they decided not to hire me in the end. 

The big difference between these two situations was in who I was being and in how genuine my desire to coach them was. If my desire was genuine and I was able to be loving and curious things went well. If my desire was to make the sale things did not go well.

So before you enroll your friends first pause and see if you can find a genuine desire to coach them. If you do then go slow, if not then take a beat and really consider why you’re doing what you’re doing. 

 

3) Is the friendship more important than the sale? 

I have a close friend whom I’ve collaborated with on a few projects. Some of the projects were a success others a failure. The friendship has survived largely because we knew what was most important. 

If your friendship is a priority make sure you’re clear on this. Ideally, it’s something you should talk about before you dive into exploring a coaching and client relationship. 

If you’re willing to risk the friendship in service of the coaching relationship, be clear about it. If you’re willing to jettison the coaching to maintain the friendship, know that before you get started. 

 

4) Can you be clean and unattached? 

It’s awkward if someone has a crush on you and you don’t like them back. Most of us don’t enjoy feeling like we’re the cause of someone else’s heartbreak and confusion. So we tend to avoid situations where other people are too attached to how we feel about them. 

The same is true for coaching. 

 – If you’re attached to signing your friend as a client because you’re ‘desperate’ to make some money or prove your worth… 

 – If you’re attached to signing your friend as a client because you KNOW you can help them with the terrible problem that plagues their life… 

 – OR if you’re attached to signing your friend as a client because you’re longing for more intimacy in your life… 

STOP. Do not pass go and do not collect $200. 

Hire a coach and do some work on yourself then go back to enrolling clients. 

 

5) Have you enrolled them?

If you’re like most coaches you’re out there trying to ‘convince’ people to try coaching with you. Convincing is hard. Convincing means to cause someone to believe firmly in something. But coaching isn’t really about getting people to believe something. 

Coaching is about enrolling. Enrolling is different. Enrolling is about getting people present to a new possibility. If I enroll you in a coaching conversation you’re present to what’s possible in that conversation. You’re OPEN to there being something you might get. 

Convincing on the other hand is closed. You’ve CLOSED your analysis and have concluded that coaching is or isn’t valuable. When you try to convince people to work with you, they very often become convinced you’re a pushy salesperson. 

So no more convincing. 

Instead enroll them. Get them present to what’s possible. Open them up. Don’t close them down. 

Here’s the Bottom Line

As a general rule, you shouldn’t try to sign your closest friends as coaching clients. But friends who are a ring or two out from your inner circle can be totally valid prospects especially early on as a coach. 

You might enjoy coaching some of these people for free as a way to get more experience, but if you’re going to sign them as a client you need to make sure you’re doing your best to be generous and unattached. 

I still recommend new coaches be open to coaching and enrolling their friends and colleagues. It’s where I got most of my first clients and I learned a lot about the process of what it takes to coach and sell people on my services. 

Whether it’s your friends or not, the key to growing your coaching business rests on your ability to be bold in your efforts while being generous with your heart. 

Niches: Simplified

There are a lot of experts in the coaching industry that will tell you the KEY to success is choosing the correct niche.

But even though this advice seems simple and straightforward it can be incredibly difficult to choose a niche. Should you choose a niche that’s the most profitable? the most authentic? the most interesting?

All of this wondering what to choose and which niche is right for you can lead to feelings of doubt and uncertainty.

Can you relate?

The thing about coaching niches, and company names, and logos, and business branding is that they all sit on top of a deeper question. A question that’s incredibly hard for most coaches (and people to answer)

Who am I? As a coach, as a human, as a practitioner?

Who am I?

Every coach who’s trying to discover their niche runs into this question like a brick wall. But this question doesn’t have to stop you. Instead it can inspire you.

Here’s how I work with this question as a coach and how I advise new coaches just starting out.

 

1. Understand you are not one thing –

And you never will be. You are so many things all at once. Brave and terrified, beautiful and flawed, clever and kind of a dolt.

Your desire for simplicity and clarity make sense when you’re trying to choose a niche. That’s the point of a niche. It’s a simple handle people can grab a hold of. But that’s all it is. It’s a handle attached to a mug filled with the infinite nature of the universe.

If you try to make the handle infinite no one can grab onto it. So don’t try. Just figure out what part of you is easiest to grab a hold of.

I became an executive coach because when I was a personal trainer my favorite clients were startup founders and executives. That’s why I chose it. Because those kinds of people seemed to like that kind of handle.

 

2. Realize you are always discovering who you are –

Before I was an executive coach I was a mindfulness based personal trainer, then I was a dharma trainer, then I was a mindfulness and happiness coach. I’ve been all kinds of things.

I’ve built and taken down half a dozen websites. I’ve changed my company name three or four times.

In the beginning you don’t really know who you are and what’s going to work. Most coaches feel this and refuse to take action. They want to wait until ‘they’re more confident’. But that’s incredibly hard to do. Because the more you think about who you are the less you know.

The best way to find out who you are (as a coach) is to go out and be something. Just say you’re a divinity coach, or a process coach, or a transformational coach and see what happens. If people respond, if you find you can feel more and more comfortable with it as you tell people, then keep going. If it doesn’t resonate with people or it feels like sand in your mouth. Say something else.

You will change a lot in your first few years as a coach so don’t worry about getting it right on the first try. Let yourself take some time to practice and learn.

 

3. Get that there’s no magic bullet –

No niche will make you immediately successful. No coach you hire will do that either. Nothing is a magic bullet. Sure having a pre existing network really helps. So does having some innate or learned sales or enrolling skills. But beyond that, building a coaching practice is about being in the business of connecting to and serving people.

It’s primarily a relationship business and relationships take time and skill to build.

You may think that if you can just get the right niche you’ll have it made in the shade. But this bigger question “Who am I?”, takes time to figure out.

The right niche can make a big difference. But knowing who you are deep down in your bones makes an even bigger one.

So don’t rush it. Let yourself stumble a bit and figure things out as you go along.

 

4. Accept that most people will simplify who you are and what you do into what they can understand –

A coach once told me that there were only really 3 kinds of coaches – Executive, business, and life coaches.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve explained to people what I do and they say back to me “oh so you’re like a life coach.”

Niches are great because they help people understand who you work with. They make it easier for clients to refer other people to you. But in the end they are only ever a vast simplification of what you do and who you are.

You do this with people all the time. Your friend Brian is the new dad, your colleague Susan is the former indoor cycling coach, and your neighbor Veda is a dance teacher.

Yes Brian became a new dad after years of trying and a few miscarriages. Fatherhood has changed him in powerful ways. Yes Susan left cycling after a challenging period and has been inspired to help others who struggle with their emotions. Yes Veda teaches a form of modern dance influenced by kundalini yoga and tantra. But those details are hard to explain and remember. So you simplify them.

Other people will ALWAYS relate to your work from a simplified version of what it truly is. And they will relate to you as a simplified version of all that you are.

That’s what we do. We simplify. That’s what a niche is, it’s a simplification that makes communication easier.

You are not simple, but your niche can be.

If you understand that it isn’t everything, it isn’t all of you, it’s just a sliver of the infinite that you are.

The good news is that “A sliver of the infinite is still infinite.”*

So don’t spend so much time worrying about your niche or caught trying to answer the question of who you are as a coach.

Work on answering the question, “Who am I?” everyday but never finalize your answer. Instead keep discovering and creating. Once you get enough of a hit to simplify then do it. But don’t ever stop searching and learning.

Because that’s what will make you a great coach and an interesting human being.

 

Niche Resources –

My friend Greg Faxon wrote this dope post on life coaching niches – I think it’s really good.

I also really love this infographic my friend Adam Quiney made –

* I think this line comes from Michelle Masters of NLP Marin