Coaches often aim to offer products or services that represent their deepest gift. After all, coaching isn’t just an external widget designed to catch a mouse or mix soup; our coaching comes from within us. It’s a part of us.
Our coaching is a tree that grows from the seeds of our lives. It is rooted in our experiences and shaped by who we are. This means that when we talk about our coaching or sell it to others, it often feels like we’re talking about ourselves. We say to the world, “THIS IS WHO I AM,” and we whisper, “I hope it’s ok with you and that you might even like me.”
The interesting part is that although this is how we relate to our coaching and services, it’s not necessarily how our clients see it.
For them, our coaching is a solution. They have a problem, a desire, a wish, or a dream that proves challenging to achieve, and they are looking for something to solve that problem.
Coaching as a solution
A good solution has a few critical elements to it: we want the solution to work, be affordable, be reliable, be easy to understand, and be designed for us or for someone like us.
That’s what people want to buy from us.
So based on this understanding, can coaching be considered a solution?
Well, yes and no.
Coaching isn’t really about solving problems, even though sometimes problems do get solved via coaching. Likewise, coaching isn’t really about achieving goals, although some goals may be fulfilled in the process.
Coaching is about transforming internal and external systems, processes, ways of being, structures of thinking, and spiritual dynamics that impact how people solve problems and achieve goals.
And your unique way of doing that is your unique approach to coaching.
Even if you follow another model, your approach is unique because you are unique.
Even if you ask the same question as another coach, it comes out differently because it comes from you.
Your identity and perspective are only partly important when discussing and selling coaching. Instead, what’s most important is how the magical mix of “you” and “coaching” gets packaged as a solution.
This is why great coaches often coach for free–because they can’t really capture, in words, what being with them is like.
So they just let people be with them.
People get to put their challenges into a box with the coach and their own mind, and then on the other side of the experience, they find a new way of relating to and resolving those challenges.
This experience is what turns coaching from an abstract idea into a reliable solution.
Marketing yourself as a coach is no different.
Let people buy what they want, not what you think they want.
When you talk about your coaching, your identity matters only a little. Yes, your marketing should feel like you, but it matters even more that your marketing feels like your clients or the people you love to serve.
The same is true for packaging and pricing.
If your people want to invest at $500 a month but you want to charge more, then you have two options. Either change your offer so that you can say yes to $500 a month, such as by creating a group program, OR change the people or the conversation you’re having with them.
Even if you choose the latter, you can still start by selling people the $500 option. Then move towards what you really want to sell as you build a following and create a steady income.
Simply put, let people buy what they want from you! Sell people what THEY want, not what you think they need or should want.
Doctors do this all the time. If you go to a doctor with a broken arm, you are not buying x-rays, bone-setting services, or painkillers. You are buying a solution to a broken arm, whatever that solution looks like.
All those things I mentioned ARE how the arm ultimately gets healed, but for the most part, you don’t really care what the solution is. Instead, you care if the arm gets better and if you can trust the doctor who’s helping you.
And that’s all you need to worry about when you coach.
Your role is to show people the path you can create for them.
Talk to people. Discover their challenges. Learn about the solutions they have in mind. Then, if you think you can help them, find a new way to talk to them about the solutions you will create together.
The tree of your coaching is GORGEOUS, but it’s not what makes people say YES.
People say yes to solutions. And no, coaching isn’t a solution in and of itself. But it does create a pathway toward solutions.
In this way, coaching does more than solve a problem–it changes problems. When done correctly, coaching can transform us in relation to our concerns.
But people don’t need to completely understand that to be able to say yes.
They just need to trust you–and themselves–to get them from A to B. They need to be present to the possibility of your relationship and what it could do for them, vs. the cost of choosing an alternative (which is very often doing nothing at all).
So don’t get too much of your identity into the mix.