your coaching practice is not a waxing salon

May 03, 2016


You do WHAT to your fur?!

It’s a bright Spring morning here in Blightly. Which means it’s probably time to consider the annual deforestation process.

To be honest, I’m thinking of not bothering.

The older I get, the more I resent the suggestion that my body needs to be sand-blasted, plucked and depilated into submission, before I am allowed to enjoy being outside.

Especially when the equivalent hair-removal products for men are aimed at prepping him for operating heavy machinery, going into space, and looking suitably moody while a supermodel rubs his chest as if there’s a genie hiding in there.

He gets to go on adventures, she gets to avoid being called The Hairy Godmother by small children. *sigh*

Anyhoo. Back to your coaching practice.

Much like waxing, nobody needs coaching.

But it’s so easy to fall into the trap of believing we need to behave like a waxing salon, and manufacture a need.

Marketeers call this: ‘playing to pain points’. Waxers would say: ‘remove the family of spiders crawling out of your bikini bottoms and finally get the man/job/house of your dreams!’

For the coaches I mentor, this feels horrible.

They are superb practitioners: full of integrity, highly trained with a heart-felt belief in this work. And they don’t want to do anything that would irritate or patronise prospective clients, so they tend to shy away from any kind of marketing.

And man I have SO been there!

My past, current and future coaching clients are smart women I deeply respect. So I’ve overthunk, held back and worried far too much about how to talk to my people.

But here is the big realisation that has utterly changed how I approach marketing:

Nothing, in our respective coaching businesses, is about us.

  • Our clients are investing in themselves – addressing their needs, overcoming their challenges – they are just doing this via our coaching work. The value of our work is in helping them to make their desired transformation.
  • Our coaching clients already exist. Can you picture one of them? She’s at home, she’s at work, she’s going for a walk (or she’s sitting on the sofa wishing she was the kind of person that goes for spontaneous walks). She knows something needs to change. And she is willing to take action – if only she knew what to do. She’s willing to spend money – if only she knew who to give it to.
  • Our job is to ensure its completely bloody obvious how our coaching can help her make the change she already want’s to make.

This realisation has led to a subtle but vital shift in the conversations I have about my coaching.

Mostly there is a massive feeling of relief – it’s not about me!

I feel way more excited and confident, I’m experiencing loads of sparky creative inclinations and most importantly I’m having fun.

Plus: in the last six months I have tripled my income (based on the same period last year).

In service of my dear colleagues, I’ll be talking a little more about my learnings around the business of coaching. I hope you’ll stick around!

Does this make sense to you fellow coaches? I’m fascinated to know what holds you back from marketing?

Leave a reply

8 Responses to “your coaching practice is not a waxing salon”

  1. Jenny Hyde says:

    SO on-point, Sas! Authenticity is the way forward! Thanks for restoring my faith a little. Jx

    • Sas says:

      Jenny’s in the house! Its always the way isn’t it – be real, serve, have fun = everybody wins xxx

  2. Jessie says:

    Ahhh, yes. I think you’ve also got something here to tease out around this formulaic model of coaching (most common, I think, among business coaches) whereby said coach will teach you the EXACT 7 steps you need to succeed/make 6 figures/frolic responsibility – free on the beach and make money in your sleep. There’s something to be said about the assumption that a) one’s clients are incredibly smart people and are already looking for support and b) that THEY could be (probably are) the expert on their own solution to the quandary they’re experiencing, with your quietly confident, space-holding, wicked-question-asking coaching skills. That maybe there’s no convincing,smarmy sales talk to be done? That maybe it could feel like service instead of coercion. (But erm, totally want to know more about tripling your income….)

    • Sas says:

      Yes agree that formulaic/transactional approach is deffo more prevalent in the business “coaching” world. And I am using the quote marks intentionally as I am not sure how much coaching actually goes on in that context! The best business educators I know don’t even call themselves coaches.

      I have a pretty good radar (now) when it comes to the coaches that are in service to clients and those that are self-serving. It makes a huge difference to how they show up online. To me, the in-service coaches have their hands open saying ‘hey I think I can help you with that, here’s how – what do you think?’ and the self-serving ones have their fist closed yelling ‘buy this from me or you will end up living under a bridge’. Obvs. there’s a spectrum πŸ™‚

      And – income tripling has been a combination of 1. getting super clear about my clients and how I can help them overcome or learn how to be with their challenges. 2. being unafraid to approach people who register a tentative interest and seeing if I can help them and 3. putting together a mentoring programme for coaches. Also 4. measuring progress has made a huge difference!

      The common thread is that I have been willing to have lots of conversations to understand whats happening for my clients and then working out how I can be of service to them. Its not a short-term play but I am 4 years into my 10 year plan πŸ™‚

  3. What a great post! I have discovered the SAME thing in the last several months, and I too have increased my income, number of clients, and definitely the amount of FUN I’m having in business. Thank you for sharing this perspective!

    Thankful to Jen Carrington for sharing it with me πŸ™‚

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