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How do you grow your coaching practice?

Posted By Kevin Oubridge, 28 June 2017

Your clients have the answers.

A recent discussion post in a LinkedIn group I’m a member of simply stated:

Getting started – pearls of wisdom sought.

The very first response said:

Get clear on what urgent problem you solve and who you solve it for.

It was beautifully clear with no messing, a genuine pearl of (marketing) wisdom.

It took me back to the ‘target, problem, outcome’ marketing message format I learned on a marketing course I went on some years ago – be clear who your target market is, the problems you solve for them and the outcomes they want.

It sounds simple, however, I found it the most incredibly difficult thing to get down on paper.

I wrote, rewrote and wrote again countless target, problem, outcome statements. Endlessly changing how we described our target market, the problems they typically faced and the outcomes they wanted. Nothing sounded right or credible and I had pretty much given up trying to come up with anything coherent when my business partner, Sue Burnell, had a brilliant idea.

Why not ask people we’ve coached what they got out of it?

OK, they might not have been a particularly homogenous bunch, including a friend who was struggling to decide on her next career step, a team supervisor in an insurance company and leader in an ICT company, but it had to be better than what we’d been doing up to then.

And it was, a lot better!

We found out exactly the problems each of them had, as well as the outcomes they were looking for through their coaching. All we had to do was put what they told us into the target, problem, outcome format and we had a number of possible marketing messages. It was so much easier than trying to conjure up their problems and outcomes out of thin air.

We were able to think about who we wanted to coach in the future with much more clarity about why. We quickly narrowed down our target market to where we’d enjoyed coaching most and had got the best results, meaning we were able to choose which marketing message we wanted to go with, which was:

We work with high performing leaders in global ICT companies, who are driving change for business growth and are dissatisfied with progress. We help them focus on what’s important so they can get where they’re going faster and with fewer mistakes for improved business results.

Anyway, we started using our target, problem, outcome message with potential clients – and to our amazement, it worked!

I can’t claim our coaching practice was an overnight success as a result of using it, however, we were more comfortable and effective in engaging potential clients in conversation and they were more taken by what we had to say.

It was a good start, and following that good start we could focus on the next step and then the next. It was a lot of hard work but we started to win coaching clients in global ICT companies and now have a thriving coaching practice. All because we asked people we’d coached what they’d got out of it.

Surely, that’s the sort of marketing any coach can do?

Kevin Oubridge

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