The demand for coaching is growing. As more and more people set their sights on bigger and bigger visions for themselves, they are recognizing the value coaching brings to helping them achieve their goals - faster.
You want to be an expert coach. But how do you set yourself apart from the rest? How do you succeed?
There are 15 things you need to do and I´ve laid them out for you here:
You cannot possibly guide someone if you do not have the skills in the particular industry you are working in. A non-athlete, for instance, would have difficulties guiding a pro athlete. Someone who is tone-deaf cannot possibly be a vocal coach. Take an inventory of your skills and strive to constantly improve them. Remember that no matter how long you are in the industry and how much of an expert you consider yourself to be, there will always be something new for you to learn.
What kind of customers do you think will benefit from your expert coaching? Think of the kind of people that you will be able to attract and work comfortably with. There’s a sea of potential prospects out there for you to choose your clients from.
Consider a niche that is accessible to you and is easy for you to penetrate.
There’s a difference between coaching and teaching someone what to do. There are specific skills that you have to learn to be an excellent expert coach. Among these are listening, questioning, challenging constructively, encouraging and motivating, and holding clients accountable.
There are online resources and mentors where these skills can be learned and further honed.
Labeling yourself as an ‘expert’ is too broad. You have to establish the extent and scope of your expertise. In a 1995 study, for instance, the experience level for an expert coach for gymnastics was defined as having a minimum coaching experience of 10 years, having developed two national athletes or one international athlete, and being recognized by the national athletic association. Another study also indicated the necessity of including track record (i.e. minimum 70% win-loss record), number of titles won, and trainings or clinics conducted.
The same could be said for every other kind of coach under the sun. Ask yourself: how many years experience do I have? What kind of results do I have to show? What kind of official training do I have under my belt? How have I shared my knowledge with others in the past and how did it help move them closer to their goals?
Find your reason and purpose for being an expert coach. You cannot be an effective and successful expert coach without your big why. You need to be genuinely passionate about helping people learn and get better. This will sustain you as you progress in your career.
There are stereotypes of what a successful person should be like. You do not need to blindly conform to these. Define what being successful looks and feels like for you. This definition will become your vision. Aspire to achieve it! Everything you do in your coaching career should be aligned with your vision of ultimate success.
The work of a coach involves working closely with your clients. You need to have a clear image of the kind of client you will be able to deal with most comfortably and effectively. Focusing on clients that fit this profile will increase your chances of success. From the marketing point-of-view, this allows you to customize your strategies to appeal to your ‘target’ client.
Go beyond the basic demographics when you define your ideal client. Figure out what their deepest fears, frustrations and desires (FFDs) are. What´s keeping them up at night? What is it they want more than anything else in this world?
Think about what´s holding them back and keeping them from being their best. Consider that would nudge them forward and push them to go beyond what is already expected of them. You have to get inside the head of your ideal client, if you want to devise strategies that will transform your clients´ lives for the better.
When you promote yourself, you have to immediately make an emotional connection with your potential clients. They have to realize how relevant you are to them and how you can help them.
While we often think in terms of "I", when it comes right down to it, it really is ALL about THEM; what they want and what they need.
Make it easy for your potential clients to find you online. Have a website that is clear and easy to navigate. Choose 1-2 social media platforms and get active on a consistent basis. This is an ideal way to boost your visibility and get seen by more people - prospective clients, existing clients and your peers.
If you are just starting out as an expert coach, it’s a good idea to actively market yourself until you have as many clients as you can efficiently handle. Use marketing techniques that give you the most exposure among your target clients. At this point, it’s wise to allocate your marketing budget only to those strategies with a higher probability of attracting qualified leads.
As in any business, your expert coaching practice can only benefit from streamlining and systematizing your processes. Have a system of doing things that you follow every time - most particularly, regularly recurring tasks. This way, you will be able to evaluate your productivity and your results. Tweak what isn´t working and, once you have a system in place, consider outsourcing that task to save you both time and money.
Coaching is personal. A great expert coach understands this and is willing to be around for the long-haul. Although an expert coach generally looks at the present and guides a client in understanding his issues and finding solutions to his problems, long-term partnerships allow clients to maximize their true potential and achieve their goals.
There is no formal course of study on coaching, but there are online trainings and resources where you can learn about the practice of coaching. The best way, however, is to learn from someone who is himself an expert coach. Mentoring provides you with valuable feedback as you learn by doing and helps you hone your skills more quickly than you otherwise could.
Give yourself space to do what you need to do. Most people have the tendency to succumb to limiting beliefs and negative thoughts and emotions. Overthinking and self-doubt are just two of the internal struggles that hold you back. Give yourself a break and trust your capabilities.
Have a good plan, prepare for it, and then put it into action. That´s when the magic happens.
The practice of expert coaching is here to stay for as long as there are people who are striving and taking steps to improve various aspects of their life. Anyone who wishes to become an expert coach can certainly do so with the right mindset, experience, training, and mentor.
William Holt is the go-to coach and trainer for executives & professionals wanting to transition to coaching as a way of sharing their professional expertise with the world. He is also the creator of the Holt Coaching Method as well as the founder and leader of the LinkedIn Group - Executive Women´s Growth Forum.
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