A couple of years back, I had a famous blogger as a writing coach. Of all the things he taught me, one stood out. He asked me, why is the reader spending time on your writing? Each time you write a piece, why should anyone take the time to read it?
It was a simple question, and yet a truly transformative one.
Most of the time, when we write or coach, or do anything, we’re thinking about why we’re here:
- To sign a client.
- To practice coaching.
- To get better at what we do.
We get so wrapped up in what we want that we forget what the client wants. And this is usually why we can’t enroll them in coaching. Because at some point along the way, we put what we want (to get them as a client, to make some money, to get a win, to show the world we’re the real deal) ahead of what they want.
It’s about their dreams, not your fears
Rich Litvin and Steve Chandler talk about this in the prosperous coach, but it gets lost on so many coaches. They challenge us to find their secret dream. But this isn’t some woo-woo sales trick. It isn’t magic. It’s fundamental.
“If you truly want to serve someone, you have to find out what they want. You have to find out why they are here. If you do this, enrolling them becomes almost effortless.”
I’ve spent lots of time watching coaches coach, and I’ve worked hard to figure out what separates the good coaches from the exceptional ones.
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen coaches make is not taking the time to figure out what the person in front of them truly wants. Instead, they simply take the first answer they hear and get to work. They do this because they’re not on a mission to find out what their prospect really wants, they’re on a mission to satisfy some fear, doubt, worry or aim of their own.
Getting to the crux of it
To get to the bottom of figuring out what our clients really want, we have to keep asking:
- Why is this person here? Why, really?
- What is missing from the container of their life?
- Where are they leaking power?
- What context have they set for themselves, and what context do they truly long for?
While most coaches think they ask these questions, they often forget that this line of inquiry doesn’t end after the beginning of their first session. It keeps going. It’s something you have to continually draw out of people as you coach them, over time.
And if you want to become a true craftsman of coaching, it’s something you’ll have to continue to practice long after the enrollment conversation is over.