Why Coaches Suck at Explaining What They Do

By Toku

Or, oral marketing as explained through a metaphor about boxes of cereal…

As coaches, we see the universality of all problems.

People think the challenge is in the content, in the people in their lives, in the details of their situation. But we know that’s not the truth.

We understand that most problems are problems of perspective, beliefs, and context. With the right view of reality anything becomes possible and with the right action in alignment with this view, fulfillment becomes realized.

But when people ask us what we do, we talk in this vague, universal language.

Who do you help?

OH, I help people who are held back by limiting beliefs.

OH, I help people who feel like there’s got to be something more to life.

Oh, I help visionaries who are up to something big in the world.

You’ve basically just described everybody.

Everyone is held back by limiting beliefs—it’s just that some people are more aware of a certain layer of beliefs than others.

Everyone feels that there’s got to be something more to life—it’s just that some of them are better at hiding behind a glass of wine at night.

Everybody is a visionary—it’s just that some people’s vision is a stable job and a couple of kids.

Because we see problems as universal and solutions as universal we tend to describe what we do in universal terms.

Then there are the other people—the niche people.

These are the people that say you should choose an arbitrary group and just learn to squeeze the infinite possibility into how you help construction companies sell more concrete.

Now for some of these people, they are truly called to serve their niche. They have experienced the pains of running a laundromat and want to help other owners.

But I’d say 90% of the people who “niche” do so more out of expediency than self-discovery. They have no idea what to do, but someone said you needed a niche so gal dern it I’M GONNA GIT ONE!!!!

It’s why so many niches seem artificial and feel fake. It’s not that the advice is bad; it’s just that it leaves out the infinite nature of deep work.

Luckily there’s a middle path—a way to do some sort of both. This is the path the Prosperous Coach walks 60% down, which is to not niche but to be in the discovery of your people.

Through coaching practice and feedback you can begin to learn who you are and who your people are. The people you love serving and who you feel called to serve. Not out of fear or necessity but out of curiosity.

Sounds kind of coach-like, right?

And then over time, you learn to understand how your people see the problem and how they frame the value of the ways they like to solve that problem.

Then over time, you begin to narrow yourself and define yourself by the person who has put the universe into a certain box of cereal.

The box of cereal that has the pictures and images your people are drawn to.

The box of cereal who advertises the prize they want.

And has ingredients they aren’t allergic to.

And on the inside, you know when you walk down the aisle that ALL cereal is essentially grain and sugar.

That the problems are beliefs and ways of being, primarily…
and practice and commitment secondarily…
and action, tactics, and doing tertiarily.

But you also know you need the box it’s in because your people will buy the cereal that’s in this box.

Your people can only see infinite possibility on the aisle if you learn to see the infinite problems and express them in the same language as their finite complaints.

This is the magic of coaching and marketing combined.

Selling water by the river because some people can only find a way to see and drink water once it’s in a blue cup.

This is the art of a master samurai coach.

So stop pretending that explaining the infinite is any explanation at all and learn to make cereal boxes in your backyard. So you can test them out. And so you can—as you learn who you are as a coach—also learn how to express the tiny piece of infinity your people are most looking for.

After all, as a friend of mine from NLP Marin says:


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