The number one challenge facing many coaches can be summed up in four words: Fear of business development.
I have met hundreds of coaches over the years–I have had virtual tea with many around the world–and they all smile with a sense of recognition when I share my response to their question, “Do you have any guidance for me?”
I watch as it lands when I ask them, “How are you at business development? Who are your potential clients? How many potential clients do you meet with each week?”
I share with them what I see coaches, particularly new ones, doing. After they get their shiny new certification from an ICF accredited school, they sit behind their (often) new computers and wait for clients to show up. Often, they are so uncomfortable with the idea of sales or marketing, and they have old baggage attached to the concepts, that they would rather spend time doing the fun and comfortable tasks of building a perfect website (which in my experience is always a work in progress and will never actually be “done” so relax and put it up when it’s 70 percent there), or they take more courses to be a better coach. And they put themselves into debt, and heighten their stress level, in the process.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “I took this great course… or I took that great course.” Or “I need to take this course before I’m ready.”
Guess what–you are ready!
What they are really doing is avoiding the “discomfort of the ask.” When you become the product– your services are what the offering is– there is an incredible vulnerability that is experienced. It’s like a great artist putting their work out for sale for the very first time. It’s incredibly difficult and uncomfortable.
And it can be mastered! You can do it!
It took me about one and a half years to overcome the discomfort and to adopt an integral coaching approach (plus a business approach) to get my mindset right, my somatic practices in place, and then to adopt a business rigor and discipline to meet and enroll new coaching clients.
Guess what– it works!
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to use a coaching approach to mastering business development. I’ve put them into four buckets in the order they need to be asked– first to shift your mindset to open up new possibilities, second to shift your body language in order to support a new way of being, and third to set up the business rigor and discipline that is required and finally is the bucket of celebration.
How do you think about business development currently? How do you think about relationship building?
Do you have any self-limiting beliefs that may be getting in your way?
How could you reframe how you think of business development, and building relationships with potential clients that would support you to be more effective? How could you reframe it to go one step further– to enjoy it and have more ease?
Who could you get support from in order to shift these beliefs if you are unable to shift them yourself?
What can you do to support yourself to stay focused?
What will it look like – what do you envision – when you have a full schedule of coaching clients?
RIGHT BODY LANGUAGE
What will it feel like in the body when you have a full schedule of coaching clients?
What will it feel like when you have all the systems and practices in place to support you to reach these clients?
What occurs for you in the body when you are triggered when you are meeting a potential client?
How could you shift your body language, in the moment, to distract your mind and to feel more comfortable? How often are you practicing this each day?
BUSINESS DISCIPLINE AND RIGOR
How do your values provide guidance for your approach to business development? What do you want to model through your brand (what people say about you when you are not there)?
Who are your clients and where do they hang out? What is the best way to reach out to them? Face-to-face groups? Virtual opportunities?
What are your potential client’s challenges and aspirations that you can support them with? What questions can you ask them to understand their needs? How can you connect the dots to you and your offerings once you understand their specific needs?
Have you thanked your clients who refer other potential clients to you?
How many contacts do you have currently? (Phone, email, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook) How many have you reached out to since you have become a coach?
What percentage of your time do you spend meeting with potential clients? How can you make more space in your schedule to meet with potential clients?
How do your values provide guidance for how you would like to celebrate?
What are you grateful for about your coaching business?
What is going well? How will you celebrate your success?