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How To Build A Word of Mouth Coaching Practice

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September 9, 2021

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’re taking listeners through an interactive exercise to help build your coaching practice, step by step. Subscribe to get new episodes weekly!

The last time you needed to find a new dentist, or were looking for the next binge-worthy series to devour  on Netflix… how did you choose? Chances are, you asked around. 

When it comes to making a decision about how to invest our time and resources, most of us turn first to our networks for personal recommendations. That’s what “word of mouth” is all about: one person telling another about a great experience they’ve had, a book they loved, or a service they’d recommend.

Want to know just how powerful personal networks and word of mouth marketing can be?

Check out these statistics from Referral Rock:

As you're developing a marketing strategy for your coaching business, it’s critical to leverage your existing networks. But how do you do that, especially if you’re just starting out as a new coach?

In this podcast, John and Noelle conduct an interactive brainstorming session, and you’re invited to join along! Grab a paper and pen, and add your ideas to theirs as you work through the following prompts.

1) What is it that you want people to say about you?


  • They’re a great coach - helped me through XYZ
  • This coach does X - they could help your team/business with Y
  • Listen to THIS podcast
  • Read THIS book
  • Check out THIS blog
  • THIS online course changed my life!

2) How will the people who you'd like to recommend you KNOW that you want them to pass your information on to others?


  • You have a visible referral program
  • You tell clients, family and friends you are looking for new clients
  • You give gifts of appreciation with discounts to clients, family and friends
  • You offer an initial complimentary session or services for trial and people hear about it
  • You are in dialogue with current clients about the right fit

3) What is the action you want people to take after hearing about you?


  • Email, call or text you
  • Subscribe to your newsletter
  • Purchase an online course
  • Inquire about your services
  • Book a complementary coaching discovery call
  • Other?

4) Given the action you want folks to take, how will people who hear about you know what to do?


  • Refer to your website
  • Seek permission to pass off their contact information
  • Collect referral information and reach out to prospective clients yourself
  • Accessible Typeform or online survey to capture interest
  • Sharable newsletter

5) What about Business-to-Individual referrals? Think “captive audiences”! 


  • Business cards in coffee shops
  • Guest advertising in local spas, gyms, etc.
  • Guest speaking engagements 
  • Retirement communities
  • Special promos for professional/community/parent organizations

Word to the Wise: Consistency is Key

The business promotional actions you take aren’t just about the technology or marketing strategies. It also has to do with the way you live your life every day. Truly, the most important thing is to figure out the ways you’d like to show up IN your business, and then be that person... consistently.

We've all heard the stories of public figures who cultivate one "persona" online (approachable, warm, sincere, etc.), but show up quite different if you were to meet them in person (rude, dismissive, etc.) When it comes to establishing a sustainable coaching business, nothing will kill referrals faster than inconsistency.

A word of mouth business is built on a foundation of trust. Whether you’re on camera for social media, or casually walking into your neighborhood coffee shop, having consistency and being authentic are essential ingredients to your success in business (and life!)

What about new coaches?

If your existing client base is small, can a word of mouth marketing strategy work for you too? You bet... with one caveat! While word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to grow your business, it's not the only method to rely on - especially when your current client base is still developing.

Diversify your strategies for advertising your services, and focus first and foremost on delivering exceptional results for those early clients. Referrals can take a few years to build up a real head of steam. But trust us... as you cultivate a loyal following of highly satisfied former clients, that initial trickle of word of mouth referrals really does have a way of snowballing!

Hungry for more tips on how to create traction in your business and attract new clients? Explore these articles:

How to Find Coaching Clients: 11 Strategic Tips To Try

6 Ways A Strong Network Helps Your Coaching Business Grow

4 Secrets to Help You Sell Your Coaching Services More Authentically

Want to Become A Coach?

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