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Marketing for Coaches: How to Lose Friends, Respect, and Clients

Posted by Julia Stewart

finding life coach clientsIf you're a relatively new business or life coach, then the question of where to find coaching clients is probably nearly an obsession for you.

 

And that's as it should be. You're in a huge learning curve and your future business depends on your ability to learn quickly and keep moving forward.

 

This blog post will help flatten your marketing and sales learning curve and save you from bumbling ineptitude. 

 

As you can imagine, my coaching clients and students frequently ask me how to find clients.

 

Most don't ask where. You need to know 'where' before the 'how' question can even begin to help you.

 

So here's a list of places 'where' you may find clients, preceded by a few places where you almost certainly won't.

 

Where you WON'T find clients, but you may lose respect, friends, or worse:
  • Friends and family: don't invite your best friend to coach with you for a fee. You're violating your relationship with her and will likely offend her and possibly lose her friendship. Do offer to coach her for free, if you like - and if she's interested. Mattison Grey calls this the Friends Channel. Don't talk business unless you're both on the Business Channel.
  • Other people's tribes: you may belong to communities of interest that are led by other thought leaders. Maybe all the members are on the Business Channel, but your fellow members may view you as just a peer. Don't presume they're open to becoming your clients, unless they've already expressed curiosity about how you can help them and even then, have the conversation in private. Otherwise, you'll be seen as inappropriate and tribal leaders may view you as an interloper. Better to start your own tribe.
  • Your coaching school: don't try to build a coaching business by coaching other coaches, especially your classmates. You may see yourself as more developed than they are, but it's unlikely they'll agree. If you SPAM them with invitations to coach, or worse, invite them to coach with you in class, you'll just look self-serving - not attractive. Do invite your classmates to trade peer coaching with you, gratis.
  • Social aquaintences: the folks you meet in church, at a homeowners meeting, or in line at a store may or may not be open to coaching with you. Let them ask about it. If they're just being social, just be social with them. If they seem curious, go ahead and share more - probably in private.

 

Places where you CAN find coaching clients:
  • Friends of friends of family: go ahead and offer some free coaching to your family and their friends. If they like it, ask them to refer friends to you for coaching. Sometimes it's as easy as that.
  • Friends of friends of friends: the closer someone is to your social circle, the more likely they are to be concerned about confidentiality, so ask friends to refer people for free coaching sessions. Ask those people for referrals. The third tier is a better bet.
  • People who join your tribes: start a Facebook Page, LinkedIn Group, or live networking organization. Serve your members. A lot. Invite them to complimentary sessions. The more they perceive you as a contributor to their lives and success, the more they will want your coaching.
  • People you meet at networking events: live networking is powerful when you know how to use it. Everyone there is 'selling' something, so the trick is to notice those who want what you have. Invite them to a free session.
  • People who read your blog: one of the easiest ways to build a tribe is to start a great blog. Easy, but time consuming. If you love to serve and love to write, your blog can become a powerful attractor. Use it to invite potential clients.
  • People who hear you speak: lead live workshops, online webinars, or teleclasses. Educate, entertain, and serve. Your listeners may fall in love with you. You can invite them to work with you, but don't be surprised if they ask YOU to coach them, first. When you're in the right place, doing the right things, sales practically take care of themselves.

 

So there you have some powerful DOs and DON'Ts for attracting coaching clients without offending people. As always, it boils down to Servant Entrepreneurship. If you want much more...

 

Get Paid to Coach. Join Coach 100.

Topics: business coach, blogging, coaching clients, make a living as a life coach, make a living as a coach, Facebook, Life Coaches, marketing and sales, LinkedIn, Social Media Marketing, Marketing for life coaches

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.

Vote for Best Coaching Blogs

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

How to Attract Coaching Clients Via Social Networking Sites

Posted by Julia Stewart

The Essential Guide to Social Media Marketing for Solo ProfessionalsIf you're a business of life coach, or any type of solo professional, then attracting coaching clients via social networking sites can be incredibly valuable.

If you're new to social networking and social media marketing, it can be pretty overwhelming. The great news is that you only need some essentials to get started. From there, it's pretty easy 'to learn as you go'.

The first step of course, is to join and build a following on social networking sites. From there, if you know how to do it, you can easily attracting paid coaching clients. I share two brief stories about how two coaches filled their coaching practices quickly with clients by leveraging their social networking relationships with Coach 100 in the new eBook, The Essential Guide to Social Media Marketing for Solo Professionals. To Get the free eBook, click the big button below. To learn more about how to attract coaching clients via social networking and many other approaches, join Coach 100. More info below. But first, here's one section from the new eBook.

How to Build Your Following on Social Sites

  1. Start by following others. Makes sense, doesn’t it? People like to connect and they’ll be more likely to connect with you, if you make the first move. Don’t be shy. This is a lot easier than asking somebody to dance at a high-school mixer. But here’s where it gets similar to school: the more popular you are, the more people will want to connect to you. Get the ball rolling and eventually momentum will start to help you out.
  2. Consistently Add Fresh Content to Your Social Profiles. Social networking doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes per day, but do be consistent. Try setting aside ten minutes per day to share something relevant. An easy way to do this is to share great blog posts from blog sites that are related to your specialty. Most blogs today have social sharing buttons built right into the interface (see ours above). You can amplify your shares across numerous social sites by taking advantage of their sharing options. LinkedIn has this built into posts. Just click a box to share something from LinkedIn to Twitter, for example.
  3. Self-Promote Minimally. Even on sites where self-promotion is well tolerated, such as Twitter, the rule of thumb is to post something promotional once out of every seven tweets. Exceptions are made for commercial accounts, such as Starbucks or Amazon, that people follow specifically to receive discount offers. If you’re running a high-end solo business, such as coaching, you want to primarily engage in conversations and add useful content, with an occasional offer to buy your book, attend your seminar, or try a sample session. Be even more judicious on Facebook, which is primarily social, unless you have a (free) Facebook Page for your business.
  4. Be Somebody People Want to Follow. That’s one reason why a head shot of you is so important to your social profile. People generally follow people, not companies. Let your personality come across. Are you philosophical? Share deep thoughts and/or quote other famous people (and share the thoughts of people you follow – which is a great way to get them to follow you back). Love humor? Make an occasional wisecrack or share the jokes of famous comedians you follow. Care about social issues? Update your accounts with links to important online petitions. All of this pays off when your clients like what you like. The better you know your market, the more you can hone your voice.
  5. Be conversational. Reply to people who message you. Retweet or share their comments. Join in the conversation. This can be as simple as ‘liking’ what somebody says on Facebook or as involved as participating in a lively conversation in a group on LinkedIn.
  6. Focus on the social networks that matter most to your clients. You can’t be everywhere, even on the internet. If you have a business-to-consumer service (as opposed to business-to-business), then LinkedIn may not be ideal for you. If your clientele are older, then maybe the latest hot new social site (currently, that’s Pinterest) isn’t important yet for your business.
  7. Invite your website visitors to join you online. Add ‘Follow Me’ buttons (you can get them free from Twitter, for instance, or Google to find 3rd-party buttons) to every page on your site (See our 'Follow Us' buttons to the right). This encourages your visitors to talk about you in a potentially viral venue. Likewise, be sure to add social sharing buttons to all of your blog posts (if you have one – recommended). All the major forms of blogging software (like Wordpress) have them available. Finally, you can add social conversations to your website by adding social streams from Facebook, Twitter, etc. (scroll down to the right to see one of ours) The more ways people can find you and talk about you online, the more people will find you and talk about you online. Trigger the viral nature of social networking and your customers will market for you!

To get indepth instructions on how to build your coaching business with social media, along with many other approaches, join Coach 100. There are three levels to choose from, depending on your experience and how much you want to spend. Each one provides a proven system for attracting paying coaching clients and filling your business.

To get the free eBook, The Essential Guide to Social Media Marketing for Solo Professionals, click below.

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Topics: Coach 100, coaching clients, Free, Facebook, Business Coaches, Life Coaches, twitter, Attraction Principles, coach marketing, LinkedIn, Social Media Marketing, Free eBook Social Networking

Dear Coach: What if the Law of Attraction DOESN'T Work?

Posted by Julia Stewart

Law of AttractionI don't want to ruffle your feathers, but if you teach the Law of Attraction, don't you ever doubt whether it really works?

I'm not against the Law of Attraction. It's a great way to draw people's attention to the subtle ways that events seem to line for us when we are sure of what we want. Most importantly, it offers a good excuse for practicing faith.

For example: Recently a relative of mine told me she had a job offer that she really wanted to take, but it was a 9-month teaching position that paid about 1/4 less than her current job. I said, "If you really want it, there's probably a way that you can do it. So the question to ask is not, 'Should I do it?', but 'How could I do it?'". She knew there were lots of part-time temporary positions for her skill set, so she took the job on faith and within a month, her new employer offered her a summer teaching position that made up the lost pay. You could say she attracted the outcome she wanted. You could also say she realistically assessed the situation. Both explanations accurately describe her outcome.

My problem with the Law of Attraction is that tends to confuse people. And no matter how you explain it, confusion stops people from getting what they want. Most people who grew up in the 20th Century (I bet that includes you) were taught that hard work, strategy, education, research, expert advice and goal setting would help them get what they want. Then they hear that the Law of Attraction says all they have to do is think about what they want and they will get it. Does that mean they can throw out hard work, strategy, education, research, expert advice and goal setting? No. All those things include thinking about what it is you want, so keep doing them if they work for you.

Another example: Several months ago, I was musing that perhaps it was time to find a new coach. I'm fortunate to have some of the best coaches in the world as friends who will coach me, as needed, so quality of coaching wasn't an issue, but I fantasized that perhaps it was time for someone who was a spiritual teacher, whose training was different from mine (so they could surprise me now and then) and maybe someone who owns a coaching school, so they could relate to some of the challenges I'm working with; all of that would be nice. A week or two later, Lama Tantrapa called me up out of the blue and suggested we start coaching each other. When stuff like that happens, I've learned to just say, "Yes."

Sometimes things seem to happen like magic, but that doesn't mean that all we ever have to do is set our intentions. As Lama says, "The road to hell is paved with intentions." It turns out he found me via LinkedIn. Was it the Law of Attraction or a good social media strategy that brought him to me? Yes.

I belong to the local Science of Mind church. It's pretty much ground zero for the Law of Attraction. But even they say that LOA doesn't work for everybody. Children who grow up in the church seem to create more of what they want just by thinking about it, perhaps because they don't have competing beliefs that confuse them.

Third example: The other day, I ran into the pastor of my church at the Post Office. She told me how she broke her toe by slipping in the bathroom. She said she had broken another toe on the same foot so many time that it was crooked and she had been considering having it broken by a doctor to straighten it back out. In other words, she had been thinking about breaking a toe and she then broke one. Be careful what you think about! Was it LOA or a freak accident? Whatever story you tell about it, she still has a broken toe.

It's hard to prove causation. Scientists tend to point to correlations and avoid making up stories about causation. When we observe events like thinking about something and then experience what we thought about, we're observing correlation. But humans are story-making machines and we love stories about causation. Correlation feels  confusing.

Choose the stories that work for you. And let coaching clients do the same. Confusing them with the Law of Attraction may stop them from getting what they want, even if it works for you.

I'm here to say that the Law of Attraction is nothing but faith. 

Or maybe it's just correlated with faith. But faith is huge. And at the opposite end of the scale is doubt. All healthy humans have both.

Imagine faith and doubt connected by a line. Faith pulls us forward and doubt pulls us back. However, there is often hidden wisdom underneath doubt, so explore it, rather than try to eliminate it.

Confusion on the other hand, erases the line. Doubt carries wisdom and connects to faith. Confusion is full of missed connections and blurred vision, kind of like the words in the image, above.

Whether you have faith in science, Jesus Christ, hard work, the Law of Attraction or all of the above, that faith will help to pull you forward. Uncover what's behind your doubts and erase your confusion if you can (by creating clarity) and you'll be pulled forward with less effort. It's not a guarantee of outcome, but rather something that correlates with success. 

"No one should spend their time trying to think positive thoughts. We've all got better things to do." - Thomas Leonard  

Some of the most successful and honest thought leaders out there, like Bill Harris, who appeared in The Secret, and Thomas Leonard, who 'founded' the coaching profession, don't ascribe to the Law of Attraction. Thomas actually developed a very different approach to attracting what you want called, The Principles of Attraction. Coaching is about getting what you want and there are many ways to do it. 

Here's a secret: In my experience the Principles of Attraction, combined with the Law of Attraction is even more attractive. Consider trying both together.

What are your thoughts on Attraction? Feel free to share them in the comments section, below.

Want to learn about the Principles of Attraction for free?

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Topics: Coaching, coach, Thomas Leonard, Law of Attraction, Attraction Principles, clarifying, clients, LinkedIn, Center for Spiritual Living, Bill Harris

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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