Marketing is a dirty word
The imperative mindset shift for promoting our coaching practices
If you want to get a coach paralyzed, scared, frustrated, and de-energized, just tell them that it is time for them to market their coaching practice. Marketing is a dirty word in the coaching world – and rightly so. We want to coach. We don’t want to sell. We got into this industry because of our respect and belief in the potential of our clients. The last thing we want to do is to convince anyone to buy our services.
Coaching is based on the premise that the client knows best, that the client leads the process. Getting into this mode of telling people what they need – in this case, coaching – goes against everything we believe in. This perspective of marketing is a complete contradiction to who we truly are.
Coaches want to support. Coaches want to open the space, to make an invitation, so clients can have the freedom to make their own choices – better choices.
If we use this coaching mindset even when promoting our practices, we will see that there is no place for marketing. I would even dare to say, there is no need for marketing.
I spent seven years of my professional life working as a senior graphic designer for a boutique marketing company in the New York metropolitan area. I worked for companies of a wide array of industries and sizes – from multinationals to mom-and-pop businesses. Even though I loved (and still do) the creative aspect of the job, I absolutely despised the mindset of having to convince people to buy more, especially to buy things they did not really need.
People know when they have a need. If something is missing, I don’t need to tell them. They will feel it and will have the impulse to search for it. If something is uncomfortable, they will seek comfort. If something is not working, they will try to find a solution.
At the same time, I also know of the tremendous benefits of coaching. I have seen how individuals and organizations grow and transform through the power of coaching.
This is a perfect match that requires no selling. There is a need in the marketplace. More than ever people are crying for support to reconnect with their humanity and to bring this humanity to their workplace.
If we keep that in mind, we will see that the only thing a coach needs to do to be successful is to simply put themselves in front of their potential clients. No need to sell. No need for a brilliant marketing proposition or dazzling campaign. No need to convince anyone. We just need to be visible. And by that, I mean, to let people know and understand the support we can offer.
Don’t get me wrong here, visible does not mean passive. There is work to be done. We need to be very clear about who we are and what we do. We need to be able to clearly articulate the power of coaching. We need to be able to demonstrate this power, and what I sometimes think is the biggest hurdle for new coaches, to truly believe in it.
But once we have that message, better yet, once we live that message, the only “promotion” we need to do is create opportunities to share it.
As coaches, we have no need to market our services – no need to sell. As coaches, we share. We invite. We let people know we are here. We open the space so clients can willingly step forward.
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As a mentor coach, I am always giving feedback to my students and mentees helping them develop their coaching skills and prepare for their certification with the ICF. ForCoaches is a place where I can publicly share some of my insights and experiences. What does it mean to be a truly effective coach?