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Top 12 Secrets: How to Write a Coaching Bio that Sells Your Coaching

Posted by Julia Stewart

coaching bio

For a new executive, business or life coach, writing your first coaching bio can be pretty scary, because you don't have tons of experience or credentials yet, so you don't feel powerful when talking about what you do. Even for experienced coaches, writing a coaching bio can be daunting and you may be looking for help with it. My friend and colleague, Barbra Sundquist, MMC, wrote a great post for this blog on How to Write a Coaching Bio in Twenty Minutes and it has become one of our most popular posts, because who wouldn't like to get this uncomfortable job over and done, quickly?

But what if your coaching bio could actually sell your coaching for you?

Bios are a powerful form of marketing and as you grow your business, you want to get even more power out of everything you do. In fact, it's ideal if you marketing brings you plenty of potential clients, especially if those clients are sales-ready. In other words, you don't want emails, texts, and/or phone calls from everybody on the planet, just they ones who are dying to hire you, right?

The following secrets, employed by search engine optimizers, copywriters, sales people and savvy coaches can help you attract potential coaching clients who may be ready to buy even before they talk to you – or who are ready to buy after a short conversation. You don’t need to use every secret in every bio, but great bios usually contain 3 or more of these secrets…

SECRET 1: Use the right words and phrases. The world’s greatest bio is worthless if nobody finds it, so your first job is to write for search engines, like Google, Yahoo and Bing, because people find coaches with search engines. Search engines change their search algorithms periodically and don’t share exactly what they are, but marketers have found that certain basic SEO (search engine optimization) practices can help you get found online. For example: Use keywords (words and phrases that people search for), especially long-tail keywords (very specific phrases), in your title, first and last sentences, as well as any highlighted lines (titles and bold text) and in hyperlinked text (text that you click to get to another page). An example of a long-tail keyword might be: “Life Coach, Jane Smith, White Plains, NY”. While you wouldn’t use exactly this phrase throughout your bio, with some creativity, you can use variations on it enough to get a search engine to send a searcher who just typed, “Life Coach White Plains NY” into the search box. People tend to search for coaches in their hometowns, so you can stand out quickly by including yours. (Bonus tip: People hire coaches, not companies, so list yourself by your name, not your business name.)

SECRET 2: Tell them what they want to know. Stop thinking of your bio as a biography of you and your experience/credentials and understand the only thing potential clients really want to know about you: "Can you help me?" Mostly share details about you that they want to know, i.e. Do you understand people like me? Have you been in my shoes? Have you helped someone like me? If your bio has lots of room, or if it has a second ‘details’ page, add more details about you further down. But for a short bio, just tell people what they most want to know: “I can help you reach your goal”.

SECRET 3: Write for your ideal client. Stop writing for everybody and write for just one person, instead. How? The simplest way is to pick an existing ideal client and write just for them. Before you do, ask that client what they most wanted to know before they hired you. Then show them your bio and ask them to critique it, so it says exactly what they would want to know. Does that sounds pushy? It's not, because your best clients are grateful to you. They are also high-functioners who love to give back. Don’t hesitate to give them that opportunity. And don’t worry that you’ll be excluding potential clients who are different. Most bios fail to grab attention from anyone because they are simply too vague.

SECRET 4: Use the magic word. While we’re talking about grabbing attention, here’s the simplest way to grab your reader’s attention: Use the word, YOU. Because our brains are wired to focus attention on what is most pertinent to us, personally. When a reader sees the word, "you", in a line of text, their brain naturally pays more attention. Think about it: the word, "you", probably grabbed your attention, just now.

SECRET 5: Customize it. One bio probably isn’t enough, so think of your website as more of a hub than a store front. I’ve had clients hire me without even a phone conversation, because they found me on specialty websites and memberships that mattered to them. The fact that I was interested in what interested them was enough to for them to say, “She’s the coach for me.” Use social networks, coach directories, and special-interest memberships as an opportunity to send potential clients to a landing page on your website to sign up for your coaching – but do give them a chance to talk to you, because usually they’ll want to do that before hiring you.

SECRET 6: Create curiosity. Great copywriters say that each sentence you write has but one purpose: to make readers want to read the next sentence. There are many ways to do this: Ask questions that your potential clients need to ask themselves. Use visual imagery. Use emotional words, or high-intensity words.

SECRET 7: Create trust. Multiple bios at several locations help your clients to research you. Create a consistent image, while tailoring your bios to each site. This also helps people to find you. Add your most important credentials, if credentials would matter to your potential clients. Graduation, certification and memberships from well-known coaching schools, or associations, can give you an edge. Someone who’s reading your bio on a coach directory, for instance, probably is getting to know you for the 1st time, so share what a stranger, who is searching for a coach, would want to know. On the other hand, someone visiting your website, probably already knows a little about you, so share a bit more. (Critical tip: Lying about your qualifications and credentials creates mistrust that can destroy your business, so don't claim credentials you don't have.)

SECRET 8: Let others do the selling for you. Most of us loathe bragging about ourselves, but hiding what’s great about us is a disservice to your potential clients. So let others do the persuading. This is what today’s consumers are already comfortable with anyway: reviews, ratings and testimonials. If you have the space, include some of your best testimonials in your bio. Even if your bio has to be short, try adding a short comment from a happy client. Coach certification can also help do some of the selling for you, because it's a stamp of approval from a trusted source.

SECRET 9: Be easy to find. Not only do you want your bios to be easy to find, you want your clients to be able to find YOU. Always add your webpage and contact information to your bios. Because a link to your website is SEO gold. This is reason enough to join every directory you can. It helps search engines find you and your website, which in turn, helps potential clients find and hire you. Coaches who work from home are often conflicted about how much contact information to share online. If this is a concern, here are some possibilities: Rent a post office box for your physical address. Get a business phone number or even a toll-free number. They’re inexpensive. In addition to your web address and email, share your city, business number and PO address, but never your home address.

SECRET 10: Be easy to see. Definitely add a photo of you, if you can. Don’t use your logo, except as a secondary image. Because people hire people, not logos. The best photo is a headshot of you, smiling. You don’t have to be young and beautiful, but in most cases, looking professional works best. It’s worth getting your photo professionally done.

SECRET 11: Let them know how easy it is to work with you. Most people have never hired a coach, before. They naturally feel a little confused about how to do that. Confused people don’t buy. Spell out a couple of easy steps, such as, “If you think you’d like to coach with me, contact me by email to set up a phone conversation. In your session, we’ll talk about your goals and how you can reach them. Usually, it’s a lot of fun. If I can help you further, I’ll tell you how, but there’s no pressure.”

SECRET 12: Tell them what to do next. This is critical. Tell people specifically what to do next to get started with you. In marketing, this is called a ‘call to action’. If that feels too directive, think of it as an invitation. Depending on where your bio is located, your call to action might be to visit your website. Or it might be to fill out a short form and email you, or simply telephone or text you. Decide what mode of contact would appeal to your ideal client and don’t be afraid to make a prominent call to action. You might even want to offer something of value to them, just for getting in touch. Examples: “Email me to receive a copy of my ‘Top Ten Easy Ways to Instantly Stop Procrastinating and Get Everything Done On Time’”. Or “Call me at this number to schedule a complimentary coaching consultation and, if you decide to continue, I’ll discount $50 from your first paid session.”

Want to see this approach in action? View a few listings on our new coach directory and notice which coaches grab your attention and make it easy for you to hire them. 

Join the Find a Coach Here Directory Today

Topics: Coaching, Life Coaches, social networking, Google, Coaching Bio, SEO, FIND A COACH

How to Coach Masterfully: Google's Top Coach Tells You How

Posted by Julia Stewart

I found this great video on how to coach masterfully at the Institute of Coaching's spiffy new website. In this 30-minute interview with Google's Director of Executive Coaching & Leadership, David Peterson, PhD., discusses what it means to be a masterful coach, how it is nonlinear, goes way beyond asking powerful questions, and how nearly everyone at Google is shifting to a coach approach, so those who call themselves, professional coaches, need to get really good at what they do to stay credible.Hence, the discussion on coaching mastery.

He also says that as the world moves exponentially faster, it's more critical than ever to be able to establish rapport quickly with clients, faciliate change rapidly and show results. A few years back, we posted a short video with then Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, in which he says, "Get a coach," was the best advice he ever received and how he believes everyone needs a coach. Apparently Peterson and his team really are getting those great results! Watch for more insights:

 

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Topics: Become a Master Coach, master coach, Google, Institute of Coaching, Masterful Coaching, masterful coaches, mastery, Master Coach Training, Google CEO

Best Coaching Blogs: Winning Secrets of Social MEDIA Butterflies

Posted by Julia Stewart

Online Social ButterflyBest Coaching Blogs 2013 is under way and already the social butterflies are pollinating hundreds of admiring voters. (If you haven't entered yet, you still have time to win, but sign up now.)

I'm going to share some secrets of Online Social Butterflies and how they win Best Coaching Blogs, each year. You see, mastering social media cross pollinates with mastering coaching. That's my evil, um... divine plan!

First, what's a social contest, anyway? It's a win-win online contest that leverages everyone's social reach (friends, contacts and followers on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+) to attract large audiences for popular voting. Ultimately, everybody wins because contest visitors discover more great coaching bloggers when they visit the site.

Wait! Does that mean coaching bloggers could lose potential clients to their competition? Nope! I'll explain, uno momento.

If you want to see Online Social Butterflies in action, follow the Best Coaching Blogs 2013 List on Twitter. You can pick out the front-runners without even visiting the contest, because they regularly tweet about the contest. Also, search for hashtag, #BestBlogs for related tweets.

Best Coaching Blogs invites coaches who blog on coaching topics to enter their blogs and each year, both new and established blogs win top honors. The winners actively 'play the game' by inviting their readers, colleagues, clients and social reach to come vote for them. People can vote as often as they like, so the contest measures more than just the number of people who like a blog, it also measures passion: both the voters' and the bloggers'.

Passion is a big deal in coaching. It's what ignites clients and creates success. But competition? Not so much. At least not for a lot of clients.

Cooperation, mutual support, acknowledgment, belief in others; that's the stuff of coaching. And it's also the stuff of social media mastery. Both realms, coaching and social media, require that we get our little egos (that part in each of us, that always wants to WIN!!) out of the way and make it all about other folks - without turning ourselves into robots or doormats.

Winning Best Coaching Blogs usually requires more than just a great blog, although great writing and content definitely help. Winning requires the right balance of competition and cooperation. I don't know an English word for that, so I made one up: coopetition.

Here are Some Winning Secrets to Coopetition:

  1. Start early. Be the kind of person who supports and champions others, as a matter of course. The more history you have doing this, the more people will want to do the same for you. Wait until you need something from them (like a vote) and it could backfire.
  2. Embrace your selfish reasons. Yes, it's totally okay to be for yourself. Just don't be that way, only. If you try to deny your agenda, people won't trust you. If you fail to express it, people will walk all over you. So go ahead and ask for people's votes. If you've been supporting them, they'll want to help. Even if you haven't, they'll respect your request.
  3. If you're already supporting others and clear with them about what you want, you're ready to play a fun game. In Best Coaching Blogs, that could mean leaving comments on competitors' blog entries that acknowledge what's great about those blogs. It could also mean voting for your competitors (!), or even telling the world why they should vote for your competitors (!!). You could even ask your competitors to vote for you (!!!). This can get icky and manipulative fast, though, so take care.
  4. Why is coopetition a winning strategy? Because being a model of coopetition is extraordinarily attractive. It seems like people who act that way should lose out, but they win, instead. The bloggers who do it best always attract more voters, readers and clients, rather than lose them. So it's about a lot more than winning a contest.
  5. Trust the process. This is hard for high achievers, but you really can't control most of the moving parts in this process; you can only influence them. Resist the urge to pester people, or to obsess about whether or not all your votes get counted. Not even Zuckerberg has total control of Facebook.
  6. Even in life, it's the folks you support who 'vote' for you and what you want. That's the coopetive advantage. In Best Coaching Blogs, it's the finalists who pick the top winners, so those who play the game well, immediately become the biggest influencers. But 'winning at any cost' is a losing strategy in this contest, as well as in life.
  7. How does this relate to coaching? People who can let go of their need to win, to be right, to never fail, and who can support and champion others, make great coaches. Entering Best Coaching Blogs is a 'game theory' approach to coach development. If you're interested in becoming a great coach, be sure to participate. Vote here through August 31st. Enter here only through July 31st.

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Topics: Coaching, Best Coaching Blogs, blogs, contest, Free, coaching success, Facebook, How to, twitter, Top Life Coach Blogs, master coach, Google, Masterful Coaching, LinkedIn

Google Business Blog Nightmare: Reality 2.0

Posted by Jeremy Tick

Google Business Blog

Guest post by Jeremy Tick.

 

Ten years ago I made a mistake.  I stopped doing business with my business partner.

My colleague had made a larger financial investment and felt he owned more of the firm. Because it was my sales and marketing that helped the business quickly grow I thought the partnership equal.  We could never agree on who owned what and tensions frequently arose. When this happened, he reminded me of my youth and less formal education.  The relationship became deleterious to both my confidence and my ability to produce and it hurt the business.  After learning that he withdrew a larger portion of our income for himself without my consent, I left.

As children we’re taught to ignore bullies.  As adults we’re taught that relationships are sometimes transactional and we need to move on.  I thought I understood both sentiments and responded accordingly.  But these are not the old days anymore – we live in “Reality 2.0.”

Unsuccessful in running the business without me, my partner closed it down.  Ten years later, however, he still maintains the company website with the caption on Google stating the business is out of business and “cannot be held accountable for any of Jeremy Tick’s actions.”  Embedded in it are links to my old resume, tax documents from 2004, and a slew of defaming blog posts, written by him, about me.   These posts attack my personal character, work ethic, educational and socio-economic background and psyche.  Despite my effort to end an unhealthy relationship the web won’t let me.   My former partner doesn’t have to do anything to maintain our connection: Google does it for him.  And I pay the price.

When I first learned of the blog’s existence I paid no attention.  It was 2004 and I had never heard of a blog.   But while earning my Master’s Degree these posts became of concern. Despite being in a top-notch school with significant real world experience, my resume didn’t get nearly as much attention as those of my peers.

I soon learned why.  It was now 2007 and ever more frequently people were being “Googled” by hiring parties.  Curious, I looked up my name and found the return search populated entirely by these slanderous posts.   Unbeknownst to me, the relationship was still alive in the eyes of the world – and that was the only thing that mattered.

Learning that most websites claim no responsibility for the content they house, I attempted to create alternative content to push the blog down in search results but it was so chock full of my full name that anything I created was secondary.  Some ‘THING,’ had more control over my own name than me.

But I’m not the only one.

Businesses suffer tremendously when unwarranted or exaggerated negative feedback is posted without recourse.  People are hurt when bullying occurs over social media.  These mediums, by their design, empower the abuse and further disempower the abused.  The repercussions of such acts are of far greater consequence than the costs: it’s easy to do, often anonymous and, as evidence has shown, it can hurt.

It’s sad that this vehicle with which we can do so much good can render us so imprisoned by our new ‘sensationalist’ behaviors.  ‘Business at the Speed of Thought,’ might not be so thoughtful.  But we can change that.  Through the speed with which we exchange information and the impact we quickly have on others, we can actively redefine what constitutes social norms, decorum, and common sense.  We must learn to exalt compassion, kindness and responsibility ‘online’ and not tolerate petty meanness and hate – just as we do not when ‘offline’.  We need to remember that some relationships live their course and come to an end, that just as in real life, some things are better left unsaid, even online.   Our impact on others, not because of a lack of proximity to them, but because of our new proximity to everyone, has become far more substantial.  With any new tool comes precaution for its potential harm.   We need to learn to use this one more responsibly.

So go ahead, Google me.  Besides learning what a crud I once may have been, you’ll learn just how accomplished and resilient I am - how despite the one negative check in my background, I’ve done some pretty cool things – probably because Google encouraged me to do so.  I dare you, Google me.  Just remember, don’t believe everything you read online.  

Coach for EntrepreneursGuest blog post by Jeremy Tick, Coach for Entrepreneurs. A business owner since the age of 24, Jeremy is uniquely familiar with the challenges faced by individuals at all stages of business development.  His work is dedicated to aid Creative Professionals in building meaningful brands and developing systems and structures for success with which to create sustainable profit. You can reach Jeremy at www.jeremytick.com and www.tickmanagement.com

 

 

Visit Jeremy Tick on School of Coaching Mastery

 

Topics: business coach, blog, blogs, blogging, blogosphere, coach, Google, business, Entrepreneur, black hat

Coaching Tip: Lessons Learned From Google Buzz

Posted by Julia Stewart

Google Buzz If you're active on social media, then you can't have missed the hoopla over Google Buzz, Google's foray into social networking.

Google gets it right so much of the time, that most of us were surprised when they messed up with Buzz. First off, after testing Buzz internally, Google made some assumptions about how customers would interact with Buzz. Those assumptions led them to integrate Buzz automatically with every Gmail account, instantly giving millions of Gmail users Buzz followers gleaned from their Gmail address books and linking private emails and chats with public social conversations. Whoa Nelly!! That's a major invasion of privacy!

In addition, Buzz links up blogs and social networking profiles, which is kind of a nice touch, but suddenly, millions of people realized that Google knows more about us than we thought and it apparently can't be trusted to use keep all that info private (see above). This prompted Karen Rubin of Hubspot, to comment that Google knows enough about her to build an exact clone. Eew.

Result? A lot of negative buzz on Buzz. And a mild sense of paranoia about what Google was really up to. Google has enjoyed a fantastic reputation for years and the Buzz snafu will hardly bring them down, but even big companies can spoil their success with too many missteps. (Re: Microsoft, AOL)

So what are the take-aways for coaches?

  1. All the data in the world doesn't mean you really know what your clients want. Nothing's better than asking and listening, no matter how smart and informed you are or how good you are at what you do.
  2. Just because your customers already love what you do, doesn't mean they'll love everything you do. You can build an awesome empire with one fantastic offering (like Google Search).
  3. Guard your contacts' identity info even more than you guard your own. People hate having their data spilled out where they don't want it and as a business owner, you are liable if someone's identity is stolen, because of your mistakes.
  4. Do Google potential clients and even connect with their social profiles. That's normal and expected these days, but don't collect so much info about them that you creep them out. Stalking is still extremely unattractive.

Bottom line? Be a coach in everything you do. Make it all about others and be sure to ask and listen. That's the foundation of great coaching and great coach marketing. It's why coaching is such a successful business (and why even Google's CEO says everyone needs a coach)

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Topics: become a coach, Coaches, coach, Coaching Tip, Google, coach marketing

Extraordinary Low Cost Life Coaching: Watch This How-to Video

Posted by Julia Stewart

Everyone raves about coaching, but it's too expensive, right? Wrong!

Find out how to try it for free. And if you continue, it's only $19 - $39 per month to experience the transformitive effects of working with your own coach. Watch this preview video to get started. Visit www.LifeCoachCompass.com to learn more.

[UPDATE: Unfortunately, in June 2012, MyLifeCompass.com announced it would no longer be a multi-level marketing company for life coaching. It was unclear where the company wold head next. Read more about why I quit Compass Coaching.]

Low Cost Life Coach video intro

 

 

 

 

Topics: life coach, webinar, IAC-CC, Kristi Arndt, Google, Julia Stewart, Google CEO

Do Your Coaching Clients Find You Via Google or Facebook?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Find us on FacebookFor several years now, anyone who knows anything about doing business online has known that you need good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in order for your website to get found.

This is changing. Online networking sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have become an excellent source of new traffic for any web site and especially for coaching websites. In fact, some internet marketing gurus have predicted that Facebook or YouTube could even overtake Google as the world's favorite search engine. (Wow!)

How can this be? Well sheer popularity for one thing. Facebook claims over 200,000,000 members (That's approximately equal to two thirds the population of the US and Facebook is grow a lot faster America!)

[2013 Update: Facebook now has over one billion members, approxiately 1/6 the total human population of Planet Earth.]

Popularity can be measured in more ways than just members. Last I heard, YouTube video viewings of Susan Boyle, the Britain's Got Talent sensation, are over 100,000,000. Imagine one tenth that kind of traffic to your coaching site!

But numbers aren't the whole story. Relationships are the real reason that social sites are a perfect fit for coaches. Any smart marketing guru will tell you that real value or web 2.0 means you can now listen to your potential clients instead of just shouting at them.

In other words, you can have conversations and ask questions before someone even thinks about wanting a coach. Do you know anyone who is good at asking questions and listening?

This is not to say that SEO isn't important anymore. It's simply slipped from the "end all and be all" of internet marketing to simply "extremely important". 

Here's one more important online trend in social networking. Social "micro-sites" are picking up where the gargantuan sites leave off. Micro-sites are perfect for "niche networking" and building a small fan base. That's where most coaches will find their ideal clients.

So in 2008, School of Coaching Mastery added Mastery Coach Exchange to its collections of websites. MCX, as we call it, is a social networking "micro-site" where coaching clients can find business and life coaches and communicate with them before they request a complimentary session. It's designed to help you learn the ropes, when it comes to social networking and building relationships with people who may become your clients.

MCX is not just for SCM students. If you're a professional coach or thinking about becoming one, you can join for free.

[May 3, 2013: In the end, Facebook won out. SCM took down its MCX site and now has a Facebook Page, instead. Join us on Facebook for inspiration, freebies and discounts on coach training.]

Topics: coaching clients, Google, Mastery Coach Exchange, LinkedIn, SEO, web 2.0

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