Dreaming of becoming a coach?
One of the common questions that people ask me is “How do I become a coach?”
They see people growing their following on Instagram, having 10K months, being able to travel the world AND feel really good about the work they are doing in the world.
But it can be overwhelming to know how to start. There are SO many options.
Should you start with growing an instagram?
How do you get an email list?
And how does showing up sharing inspiration actually convert into making money as a successful coach?
Those are probably the questions you’re asking, and soon you will have it all figured out!
Everyone can benefit from having a coach.
But not everyone will benefit from having YOU as a coach. Nor should you think they will. The fact is, your knowledge, skills, coaching style and experience make you the perfect coach for only a very specific person – sometimes known as your dream (or ideal) client.
Positioning yourself and your coaching program as the perfect solution to his or her problems is what will help you demand a much higher rate than the coach who tries to serve a wider audience.
Your clients will value your advice much more – and be more likely to act on it successfully – when they know they are part of a carefully chosen subset of a larger market.
So how do you attract that ideal client? The obvious first step is to find out who he or she is. Ask yourself:
What her family situation is – is she married? Does she have children? Does she live in a house or apartment? In the city or in a rural area?
What her socio-economic status is – is she wealthy or working class? From a privileged or more humble background? Does she have a job? Own her own business?
How old she is – Is she just out of college? An empty nester? Retiree?
What are the exact problems you are uniquely positioned to help her solve? For example, if you’re a branding expert with a background in jewelry design, you’re the ideal solution for an up-and-coming jewelry maker who has trouble differentiating herself from the crowd. The pain point you’re answering for her is “How can I stand out in a crowded market and sell more jewelry?”
Once you know the answers to these questions (and there are many more you can ask yourself – this is just a small sample of what you need to know about your dream client) you will better know exactly how to reach your ideal client. You’ll know:
Where she hangs out – forums, Facebook and LinkedIn groups, local meetups, and more are all gathering places for like-minded individuals. Chances are if your dream client is spending time in one particular group, there are others there who will also benefit from your coaching.
Where she’s going – Your dream client has goals, and if you can discover them and create a plan to get her there, she’ll gladly pay you a premium for your coaching services.
If you’re just starting out, it can seem daunting to identify your dream client, her needs, and where she spends her time. As you work with more and more people though, you’ll be better able to refine your message – including your email marketing, sales copy, social media outreach, and more – and you will naturally begin to attract exactly who you want to work with.
Developing Your Coaching Funnel
Just as with every aspect of your business, your coaching programs should offer several levels of commitment, from free to high-end VIP days or mastermind retreats. Doing so helps new potential clients move from “getting to know you” to “raving fan” more easily, and helps ensure you always have a positive cash flow in your business.
You probably already have many of the pieces in place already, so start your funnel planning by listing out all the products and services you currently offer, such as:
· Self-study programs
· Free webinars or masterclasses
· Free call days
· Current coaching offers
· Ebooks and other resources
It helps to think about all your options in terms of cost, since the lowest-priced products (those on the free end) will be what leads clients into your funnel.
So, for example you might host a free monthly call during which anyone can ask you questions related to your area of expertise. That would be the top of your funnel.
From there, you can create offers for people to reach out to you on free call days, where a potential client can pick up the phone for a short (10- to 15-minutes) one-on-one session with you.
During that call, you should (if it’s a good fit) make it a point to offer one of your paid programs, leading her further into your funnel.
It’s very likely that the first time a client pays you, it will be for a low-cost, self-study program, ebook, or other similarly priced item. It’s rare that a potential client will love your free offer so much she’ll jump right into your highest-priced program without first getting to know you a little better.
With that in mind, you’ll want to make sure your mid-priced products and services deliver spectacular value. The information must be rock-solid (naturally) but the delivery should also be smooth, and the design should be professional. You want your new customer to know that you can deliver a top-quality, polished product.
From self-study courses, the next step is to move your clients into an actual coaching program, whether that’s an entry-level email coaching, or a group or one-on-one offer. You don’t have to have all three in place, but if you do, then the next logical step is the lowest-priced program.
If you map out your funnel and notice a huge gap between offers – for example, you have a $27 ebook and your next product is a $1500 mastermind retreat, it’s probably time to create some intermediary offers. Those might be a more content-heavy self-study program, a one-on-one coaching offer, or anything else that is a logical next step.
The key is to keep increasing the engagement – along with the price – so you can move people smoothly through your funnel.
Today’s Most In-Demand Coaching Program Formats
Whatever your niche, whoever your client, a coaching program can be a profitable addition to your current product lineup. If you’re not already offering some kind of coaching, you can quickly get started by creating one of these top offers for your clients.
The simplest and perhaps least time-intensive coaching program you can create, email coaching allows your clients to reach you by email with any questions they have. Typically, coaches request clients to limit their emails to one per day, and generally only during the week. In return, the coach agrees to respond promptly with a thoughtful and thorough answer – typically within 24 hours.
Email coaching is popular with students because it’s low cost, doesn’t require a meeting schedule, and can easily fit into her busy day. Coaches like the format because it allows them the flexibility of answering when it’s convenient (within reason) rather than blocking out time for phone calls.
With a lower price tag than individual coaching and the added benefit of being able to bounce ideas off other group members, this style of coaching is fast becoming a favorite among both coaches and clients.
Group coaching sessions generally take place on a regular schedule – say once per week or twice per month – with all members getting together via webinar or conference calling service. Sessions can be free-form or planned out ahead of time, but the group is typically static. For example, in most group coaching programs, there is a start and end date, and all members join for the duration of the program.
This is probably what most people think of when they consider starting a coaching program or even hiring a coach of their own. In this style of coaching, the coach and client work together individually.
They typically meet for a 30- to 60-minute phone call or in-person meeting on a regular schedule. During that time, they’ll discuss what the client’s goals are, what he or she has done to achieve those goals since the last meeting, and what he or she will do in the coming days or weeks to move forward.
Individual coaching sessions might take place weekly or monthly, and can be combined with either group or email coaching as well, for a more comprehensive program.
Whatever style of coaching program you choose, keep in mind that your business and your coaching is as individual as you are. There is no one-size-fits-all program for everyone, so tailor your new coaching program to fit both you and the clients you hope to attract.
Creating High-Value, Big-Profit VIP Days
Coaching programs come in many different formats and styles: email only, phone and email, mastermind groups, and any combination that suits your style and your client’s needs.
But one coaching format stands out from the rest for being the most valuable: VIP days.
A VIP (very important person) day is just you and your client, fully focused on the client’s needs. VIP days happen in person, so the investment on your client’s part is not insignificant. Frequently there is travel involved (the client typically comes to you), and your charges can easily reach five figures, depending on your level of expertise.
For a large expense such as this, you have to be sure you’re offering truly high value.
While it may seem obvious, the single most important aspect of your VIP day is access to you. That means your client must have your undivided attention for the duration of her day.
How you structure the time is up to you – it can begin with breakfast and end with dinner, or it can run longer or even shorter, as long as you clearly set the time expectation in advance.
But for the time you’ve promised, your entire focus must be on your client. You should not be taking other phone calls, answering emails, or checking Facebook on your cell phone. This is your client’s day, and she deserves your attention.
It’s a good idea as well to create some kind of framework ahead of time. Otherwise, you may end up sitting across from one another, wondering what to do next.
Typically, VIP Days begin with an application. This helps your potential client clarify what she hopes to gain from the experience, and it helps you know she’s ready to take action. The last thing you want is to accept a VIP student, only to find out she doesn’t yet have the prerequisites (e.g. a website, email list, product, or other necessities) in place to move forward. It will only be a waste of everyone’s time, and she’ll end up frustrated and unhappy with your program.
From the information given in the application, you can map out a plan of action. The details are completely up to you and your client, but for a business coach, it might include things such as:
Solidifying the branding
Identifying (narrowing) the market
Reworking sales copy
Creating new, high-end products and service packages
Creating a marketing plan
Building out an editorial/marketing calendar
Depending on what systems are already in place, you can easily spend the day in just one of these areas, so be sure to find out from your client what she feels is the most important piece.
In addition to your VIP day, it’s generally a good idea to follow-up in the coming weeks as well. Touching base with a 20- or 30-minute phone call after two weeks or so will help your client stay motivated, and also keep her accountable for taking action.
VIP days are typically the biggest and best coaching package you’ll offer. They can command $10,000, $20,000 or more, for a single day of work. Do them well, and you can create a 6-figure coaching program with just a few clients per year.
You Don’t Have to be an Expert in Everything to be a Great Coach
There’s a misconception that many people hold on to, and it’s keeping them from sharing their expertise with the very people who need it most.
Do you feel like you don’t know enough, aren’t experienced enough, or like you need a “certification” to be a coach?
While there are some (usually those selling the high-priced certification programs) who will tell you that all of that is true, it’s really not. The fact is, everyone, in every level of life and business can use the help of someone who has “been there and done that.” So even if you feel your experience is limited, you’re far ahead of someone who is just starting out.
Not only that, but those “newbies” or even “intermediates” really will not benefit from hiring a top-level coach, elite coach – even if they have the money to spend. The techniques and strategies will be beyond their capabilities, simply because someone just starting out won’t have the background to understand more complex theories.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re a new online business owner. You know who your market is. You’ve created a digital product. It’s beautifully designed and ready to go, but you have no clue how to actually market it.
Would it make sense for you to hire a coach who helps plan million-dollar high-profile launches? You might think so (we all want a million-dollar launch, after all) but the fact is, you don’t yet have the infrastructure to pull it off, no matter who your coach is. You don’t have a huge email list; you don’t have a ready list of influential JV partners; you don’t even have an affiliate program yet.
What you need right now is a coach who can help you build those things, and that coach might just be someone who was in your place just a year or two ago and has solved the problems you’re currently facing. What you don’t need is a top-end, elite coach who flies in for a VIP day at a cost of $20,000 plus.
Position Yourself in Just the Right Place
As you can see – not everyone needs or wants the coach who knows everything. Your dream client is the one who can benefit from your expertise, right now, just the way you are. So don’t make the mistake of thinking you don’t know enough or have enough experience to be of value to someone else.
Remember this: Even a grade-school student is an expert to a toddler. There is always someone working her way through where you were just a short time ago, and she’s the perfect client for you.