The Everything Life Coaching Podcast, featuring JRNI Coaching founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux, is a deep dive into the experience and business of being a life coach. In this episode, we explore the consumer research behind why people hire coaches, and how you can use this information to inform your client acquisition strategies.
A good coach can often serve anyone, on any topic, with zero prior knowledge of the situation at hand. As life coaches, we know this and feel confident walking into a wide array of coaching engagements.
Coaching clients, on the other hand, are a completely different ball game!
Clients don't yet know that they have every single answer they need inside of them. They are unlikely to realize that the job of a life coach is to draw out their inner gold. They quite often come to the space of coaching freaked out, scared and stuck.
“Stuckness” is the #1 reason that people hire a life coach.
Stuckness, however, is not a generalized human condition.
When people hire a life coach, they are usually looking for help with a very specific problem. Yes, coaching will ultimately help any coaching client improve their game in many areas of life. BUT… there has to be an entry point first.
Let’s take a look at common reasons that clients seek coaching, and then compare those to the most commonly reported outcomes.
People hire a coach in order to:
- Change careers
- Set strategy for career advancement
- Get over a breakup
- Find a new relationship
- Make new friends or build community (when moving to a new city, etc.)
- Improve fitness and health
- Explore purpose, meaning and spiritual development
- Start or scale a business
- AND SO MUCH MORE
NOW - let’s take a look at the most commonly reported outcomes of coaching. According to the 2017 International Coaching Federation’s Global Consumer Awareness Study, clients who have partnered with a life coach report a variety of positive impacts across the board.
Outcomes from life coaching:
- Improved communication
- Increased self-esteem/self-confidence
- Increased productivity
- Optimized performance
- Improved work/life balance
Notice the disconnect between what folks come in for vs. what they get out of coaching?
If you are scratching your head on this one - we feel you! The truth is that coaching to achieve one specific outcome will by default improve your whole life.
How To Reach Clients
When marketing our services to prospective clients, we must bring an awareness of the disconnect between what a client thinks they want, and the full scope of what is actually delivered through the coaching partnership. Coaches choose to approach this phenomenon in different ways. Let’s look at a few of these now.
Coaching client acquisition strategies:
- Some stick to a specific niche area so that they are recognizable to their target audience. These coaches get really good at solving just one problem.
- Some coaches work under a broad umbrella that allows them to work with a spectrum of issues - like “relationships” in general. They might then coach around all of it: romantic partnerships, friendships, parent-child relations, community, etc.
- Some coaches build their practice around a technique set or theoretical approach - like Positive Psychology or Wellness Centered Coaching.
- And some really do tackle this space as a "jack of all trades", driven by networking connections and word of mouth. People come because they’ve heard from trusted sources that this coach is effective, and therefore want to work with them specifically.
- And others still break into the field by working for someone else, taking whatever clients are assigned. There are so many great coaching companies to align with out there!
So, bottom line… as a coach, what do YOU need to know?
Your clients will come to you as caterpillars and leave as butterflies.
Meet folks where they are at. Even though you know they are likely to totally transform, honor the issue at hand and validate it. Work the goals they are telling you that they want to work. There is no single way to approach change. Allow the process to unfold, from whatever point of entry.
Ready to Help People Enact Lasting Change?
If you’ve not yet earned your life coaching certification, come check out JRNI Life Coach Training. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, and fellow students dedicated to becoming a force for good in the world.