Why You Need to Build a Solid Client Base Before You Expand

Finding Your Ideal Time + Strategy to Grow Your Coaching Business

 

A client base consists of the regular clients you have kept as well as people with a high prospect of becoming regular clients. They are your main source of income and interaction as an entrepreneur. Building and maintaining a strong client base is imperative in succeeding as a coach. You need strong relationships with your regular clients in order to grow as a coach in every facet.

 

Many people fail in entrepreneurial ventures because they overlook the importance of creating a strong base of customers or clients. While coaching is a much more personal profession than most of those businesses, it still shares a few of the same aspects of them. As a coach, you do not have the time to cater to the volume of people most businesses do. The intimate nature of your profession requires a higher investment of time and energy. Without a stable base of income from regular clients, your work will become financially unsustainable.

 

The elements you need in order to succeed as a coach all require that you first build a strong client base as proof of your value. These factors are part of two overarching categories: building and maintaining value.

 

Building Value

Creating value for your services in a quantifiable way can seem intimidating. It becomes much more manageable when you have a reliable client base. The two most important pieces of your business that you will gain are:

 

  • Financial Stability
  • Time Management

 

Having financial stability is the most obvious reason to start with a strong foundation of clients. Creating your own business is always risky and you need to have concrete data on your income. With a consistent number of clients, you will be able to accurately assess your projected income and expenses. It is necessary to have a strong sense of fiscal responsibility in order to feel secure and give your clients your best.

 

Being able to accurately determine the time you spend on each service for your clients will give you a better grasp on time management. This is key in keeping organized and running a business that is professional and smooth. You give yourself the best chance at success by using the data from your work with regular clients wisely.

 

The quantifiable data from both of these factors will also give you the ability to have specific answers for the questions prospects ask. Both the monetary cost and the time commitment of your services are set and exemplified through your existing clientele.

 

Maintaining Value

Along with building the quantifiable value of your work, a secure client base will afford you the ability to maintain and grow your business. Your regular clients can help you:

 

  • Illustrate Consistency
  • Build Your Image
  • Establish Authority

 

Your interactions with regular clients can further exemplify the consistency of your work. Having a solid client base will speak to the value of your skills and your consistent ability to deliver results. Constant interactions with your regular clientele on visible mediums such as social media further cement you as a trustworthy coach. It emphasizes your commitment to your work which is enticing to prospects.

 

The regular clients you have speaks to your niche. These people are evidence of the kind of coach you are and what you specialize in. Retaining the trust of the same clients over time maintains that your services are highly valued. Your clients choose to continue working with you because of the quality of your work. This builds your image as a legitimate and desirable coach. When a strong body of people consider your expertise so highly beneficial, your standing as an authority spreads.

 

Building and maintaining value as a coach is impossible to do without first creating a solid client base. Without one, you will be unable to fully ground yourself as a professional coach. The sustainability of your business will become jeopardized early on if you don’t take the necessary steps in obtaining quantifiable data and qualifiable authority. Your client base can help you expand your business and potential as well. They will give more evidence on your expertise through social media, spoken word, and testimonials. These are invaluable in breaking down the skepticism of prospects and establishing you as a skilled and trustworthy coach.

 

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The Importance of Coaches Mentoring Coaches

Mentorships are not as pervasive in the professional world as have been historically. They are invaluable experiences which provide a wealth of knowledge. Mentors are able to provide an experienced point of view otherwise unattainable without years of work. Coaching and mentoring are wholly different from each other.

 

While coaching focuses on attaining results in a timely manner, mentoring includes the improvement of the mentee in a broader way. Developing your skills as a coach that stands out from the rest will benefit greatly through mentoring. Whether you are mentoring another coach or being mentored, you can benefit from this process.

 

A paper published in 2008 hypothesized that multiple outcomes were related to mentoring. The researchers compiled and assessed articles and the websites of nationwide formal mentoring programs. To be included in the study, the reports needed to demonstrate a wide range of strict criteria. Some examples of these are:

 

  • Comparison of mentored/non-mentored on an “individual-level outcome (e.g., academic success, drug use, work attitudes).” (authors, pp. 5).
  • Involved academic, youth, or workplace mentoring.
  • Focused on one-on-one mentoring.
  • The primary intervention must be mentoring.
  • Quantified the results using a statistic which “could be converted to a product-moment correlation coefficient (e.g., d-statistic, t-statistic, 2×2 contingency table, chi square with 1 df).” (author, pp. 5).

 

The study, “Does Mentoring Matter? A Multidisciplinary Meta-Analysis Comparing Mentored and Non-Mentored Individuals” discusses various conclusions which can be drawn from the collected data. The findings are compared with those drawn by previous studies focused on mentorships. Finding similarities in the considerable relationships between mentoring in the workplace and attitudes toward career, work, and career outcomes. The results of the study alone found:

 

“…in terms of workplace mentoring we find that larger gains may be likely in terms of enhancing helping behavior, situational satisfaction & attachment, and interpersonal relationships whereas smaller gains may be likely in terms of enhancing job performance and deterring withdrawal behavior” (authors, pp. 11).

 

Mentorships can improve a wide range of categories, ranging from behavioral to career outcomes. The relationship developed during the mentoring process can aid both the mentor and mentee. In coaching, three main components can be honed for both parties.

 

 

  • Exchange of Information & Ideas

 

 

A close relationship between two individuals who are in the same field of coaching can lead to innovation and improvement. Both parties will have very different experiences and skills depending on who they have coaching and their reason for coaching. Whether you are the presiding authority or an eager student, the nature mentorships will  boost your success as a coach. Exchanging knowledge and ideas with another person is exciting, especially when it is with someone who shares the same passion as you.

 

 

  • Better Equipped for Change

 

 

The different experiences gathered from two people alone can give strength and guidance to changes in the working environment. Understanding how both experts and fledglings of your profession drive the workforce will give both parties a leg up during times of transition. The larger pool of information formed in a close mentor-mentee relationship can bring clarity on the changes and what can be expected after.

 

 

  • Direction & Revitalization

 

 

Having another person who is as deeply entrenched in coaching as you are will help clarify your goals. They can illuminate the direction you want to gear your career towards as well as reminding you why you became a coach in the first place.  This renewed dedication and clarity will fuel your productivity and improve the quality (and value) of your services.

 

Bibliography

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2352144/pdf/nihms45732.pdf

 

What to Do When You Are Burnt Out?

Five tips to help you get back into your zone of genius.

 

You have been working so hard. You have hit a lot of highs and a lot of lows as well. You have been working late nights and rising early in the morning. This business is your baby. It is your way to no longer have to answer to anyone else. It is your way to be able to give people that freedom from a 9-5.

 

It is your gateway to financial freedom. However, you can’t seem to find the drive you did last month. You can’t find the reasons to answer potential clients emails. You have taken a few days to yourself but you don’t want to head back to work right away. You feel like you are stuck in rut. Maybe your budget is not where you need it to be, maybe you are not driving any sales, maybe you just are in a really bad funk and are incredibly burnt out. What do you do?

 

 

  • Pick three days to take off.

 

 

Take three days to yourself to reconnect. Do a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Or a Saturday, Sunday, Monday. Whatever you decide, just make sure you do it for three full days. Gather your cell phone, tablet, computer, TV, whatever, and turn them off. Take the next three days to yourself to decompress and allow yourself to be found again. Clear your schedule, no matter what is happening. You are not checking emails, your social media stats, what your friends are doing. It needs to happen. It is time that you put yourself first again.

 

  1. *warning: tough love alert* Start putting yourself first again. Even before your business.

 

After you have placed all your electronics away. Make yourself some tea-decaffeinated. Make yourself dinner for you and your significant other if you have one. If not then, then less food to make. Pick up the book you have been dying to finish. Read at least three chapters. If you are the type of person who needs some of white noise to fall asleep, then I suggest listening to some calming music before bed. It is helpful and it is designed to help you sleep. Write a note to yourself before you go to the sleep the things you have been dying to do and make a plan to do them. Write out all your frustrations about your life and your business that you need to fix. Take the note and put away in a drawer that you normally go into. Go to bed early and enjoy your sleep.

 

  1. Take the next three days to truly decompress

As stated in the last point, plan out the next three days completely for yourself to reconnect with yourself. Stretch your whole body once you wake up. Make yourself breakfast each morning along with a cup of tea. Try to cut back on the amount of coffee you drink during this decompress. Take the morning to read your book. Make yourself lunch as well or take yourself out to a new place you have been dying to try for lunch. DO NOT USE YOUR PHONE WHILE BEING OUT IF YOU TAKE IT OUT WITH YOU. If you need it, then use it for the necessary items and keep the phone in the car. Plan the rest of the afternoon to do something you have been dying to do.

 

Do something different to exercise your mind. Allow it to take up most of your afternoon. Once coming home, make yourself some food or order that pizza you have been dying to eat but I did not want to break your diet for it. Start that new Netflix show or watch a feel good show that always makes you laugh. Suggest: Black Mirror, Crown, Orange is the New Black, The Office, Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, Grey’s Anatomy *yell at the TV about what Meredith should be doing instead of worrying about Derek*, and there are many others to enjoy. Read more of your book. Once you are getting ready for bed, stretch your whole body again. Write about what you did differently as you would do each day; describe how you felt, what you saw since you did not use your phone that much. Continue the process for two more days.

 

  1. Take a deep breath

 

You are at the end of the third day. You should be feeling slightly decompressed unless you cheated and looked at your business and what you needed to do. Once you climb into bed, reread what you wrote the night before you started and see if you can come up with a better solution to all the things you need to do for your business. Read all the notes you wrote over the last few days and see how you are feeling.

 

  1. What did you learn?

 

Ask yourself this question once you step back into the office and feel ready to step back into the office. What did you learn about yourself? Did you learn that you need to lean on your time more? Did you learn a new solution for an issue at work? Did you learn that you need to schedule time for yourself more? Did you learn that your team needs time to decompress as well?
Simply, there is nothing wrong with realizing that you are overwhelmed and need a break. There is nothing wrong with saying to yourself “I need to be alone for a few hours from my own life.” You owe to yourself, your friends, your employees, and your business to take the time out necessary for yourself in order to continue to shatter all those ceilings possible.

 

The Most Common Things Clients Want From Their Coaches

Understanding the Value of Your Coaching from your Clients Perspective

When people look for coaching services there are a multitude of reasons that motivate them. It is difficult to quantify how and why clients seek out the aid of a coach. Due to the wide breadth of areas that coaching can take root, the aspects that both prospects and clients want from coaching vary wildly. Prospects have very different reasons from clients on why they seek coaching. The qualities they look for in a coach also change depending on their desired results.

 

In April of 2009 the International Coach Federation published a study titled “ICF Global Coaching Client Study” in which key questions were answered using data from a range of participants. Forty-one clients participated in five focus groups in order to measure their opinions in regards to coaching. The data accumulated from an online survey was also used where 2,165 clients participated. The survey focused on answering questions about the characteristics, desires, and demographic of clients as well as their evaluation of coaching from experience.

 

In ascertaining the most common things prospects and clients want from coaches, there are two main categories that influenced the clients from this study. These were: seeking coaching services, and the importance of coach attributes.

 

Seeking

 

The study ascertained the top 3 factors that influenced clients to seek coaching as well as which factors were seen as the most important overall. They chose from a selection of 15 areas commonly addressed in coaching. This data was then quantified and compared through the percentage of responses.

 

When selecting the top three reasons the clients sought coaching the most important categories were as follows:

 

  1. Self-Esteem/Self-Confidence (41%)
  2. Work/Life Balance (36%)
  3. Career Opportunities (28%)
  4. Business Management (25%)
  5. Relationships (25%)

 

The categories which were deemed as most important were:

 

  1. Career Opportunities (15%)
  2. Business Management (14%)
  3. Self-Esteem/Self-Confidence (13%)
  4. Work/Life Balance (10%)
  5. Work Performance (8%)

 

The study expounds on why clients sought professional coaching over methods such as therapy and counseling.

 

“A key differentiator for the industry is that coaching is seen as an ‘action plan’ rather than an exploratory process… some focus group participants indicated that coaching offered them an ‘action plan’ rather than an opportunity to explore their ‘issues.’” (authors, pp. iii).

 

Motivation based mainly in the areas of personal growth and career are prevalent in both above lists. Clients seek out coaching in order to create a plan and execute actions in order to attain results.

 

Selecting

 

Reasoning behind the selection process of a coach was also examined in the study. The clients were asked to rate the importance of 24 attributes when selecting a suitable coach candidate.

 

Data concerning the information sources used for this process revealed that:

 

“By far, the top information source used by almost half (46%) of clients in general is personal referral/word of mouth. The next closest source is the coach’s Web site which was used by only 20% of clients. When asked to indicate which information source was the most influential, personal referral/word of mouth was again the most often cited at 38% of respondents.” (author, pp. V).

 

The most important coach attributes taken into consideration during the selections process were:

 

  1. Personal Rapport (83%)
  2. Personal Compatibility (80%)
  3. Effectiveness of Coaching Process (78%)
  4. Coach’s Confidence (74%)
  5. Level of Coach-Specific Training (56%)

 

The highest rated categories for somewhat important attributes are:

 

  1. Years as a Coach (50%)
  2. Cost of Coaching (50%)
  3. Other Relevant Experience/Background (45%)
  4. Sense of Humor (42%)
  5. Level of Formal Education/Schooling (41%)

 

The majority of attributes considered as “very important” were in the personal category of the coach. Somewhat important attributes ranged through all five categories, centered more on the background, experience and method of the coach.

 

Clients seek coaching in order to create real changes and attain results in their personal and professional lives. They coaches they chose where people who they deemed as having high personal efficacy and expertise. Prospects and clients alike seek these attributes the most in a coach. They value personal referrals more due to the intimate nature of coaching.

 

 

 

Bibliography
http://coachfederation.org/files/includes/media/docs/ExecutiveSummary.pdf