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Ugly Truths About Coaching (No One Talks About)

There are some coaching truths for you to be aware of as you think about jumping into the  coaching space.

 

Coaching is NOT easy (no matter what they’re telling you or selling you). 

When it come to coaching program promises, there are always exaggerations about how long it will take to get up and running. It will likely take longer than you've been "promised".

What your “conversion rates” are going to be (i.e. conversations to onboarding a new student/client). How many prospects will you realistically be able to turn into paying students?

Getting your coaching process down is going to take some trial and error. It’s okay and normal. And, the “coaching industrial complex” (i.e. whoever is trying to sell you their coaching program) is in business to capitalize on your hopes and dreams to “help and serve” people and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

You just have to go into it with your eyes wide open and learn how to parse out the fact from fiction.

Now, what do I mean by coaching? Think life coaching, health coaching, fitness coaching, financial coaching, business coaching… all good things

Many new coaches don’t have a sales or business background. And even if you do, there are still some mental adjustments you'll need to make.

 

No one cares that you're a coach (really).

When I first became a financial coach (my first online business), I had a certain unrealistic expectation about becoming a "Master Certified Dave Ramsey Coach". I envisioned that people would just start “lining up” when I announced it.

In my mind people were going to be saying some form of, “DUDE! Where can I sign up already?” In reality it was more like, “crickets”!

What do I mean by "no one cares:? 

  • No one cares about your “qualifications” or certifications (for the most part, notable exceptions might be for more “official” types of coaching relationships, i.e. medical, engineering, legal, etc.).
  • No one cares about how many hours you studied or how much you paid.
  • What they DO care about is that you can help them solve their problems and get them ACTUAL results (which is why I recommend putting out regular content to “prove” your abilities, to “demonstrate” your personality and the way you teach - more about how that works later).

 

Sadly, most people that you’re going to coach just want to “feel” better about their situation, they may not actually want to DO anything about it.

Some personal examples from my financial coaching practice.

  •  I once had a student that I tried for 3 years to get on a budget. The truth was, he was never serious enough to actually do the hard work.
  • I often encounter the reluctant spouse who is intent on sabotaging the coaching process by either not engaging or actively retaliating.
  • I also have a couple examples in my practice of the non-engaged and disgruntled student who tries to ravage you in your YouTube comments or otherwise passively aggressively 

As I like to say, “there are A LOT of thirsty horses out there". In the financial coaching realm, this is all too true. Sadly, many of your students/clients are not going to be willing to put in the work.

So you’ll have a decision to make, you can either milk the relationship (which a lot of coaches will do) or turn them loose (I choose to part ways with them most of the time).  

 

You’re going to kiss A LOT of frogs.

There are going to be a lot of prospects that "dance around the subject", but never become paying students. This is where a sales/business background comes in handy in that you have realistic expectations that not everyone will "close".

In our minds, we think everyone should convert. The reality is more along the lines of 5%-30% will.

Don’t give up. The more you stay in the game, the more referrals will come. As one of my mentors likes to say, “the name of the game is to stay in the game until you win the game.

 

Where you start may not be where you end up.

The market you start in may not be the market you stay in.

In my own example, in my financial coaching business, I wrongly targeted broke people. People who were living paycheck to paycheck and couldn't pay their bills.

I ultimately, walked away from that market but that doesn’t mean that I just flippantly abandoned them. It just means that I pointed them to the TONS of free content so that they can DIY up to that point where they REALLY need outside help.

Sadly, what I learned the hard way is that you want to address a market that has money to pay you what you’re worth as a coach.

As Ryan Levesque would say, you want to be in a market that has “PWMs” or players with money.

Personally, I found that I work better with what I call “aspirationals”. People who have some aspirational goals and a strong “why” for wanting to achieve them. FI and online business are a better fit for me (plus they typically have money).

  • They want to earn more money
  • Want to start an online business
  • Want to optimize their financial strategy for FI
     

 

“The saddest of all keys”, to use the well worn “Spinal Tap” reference…

This relates to the point I made earlier about how many people would rather "feel" better about their situation than actually "do" something about it. And even then, some will not either want to or be able to afford what's required for you to get them the transformation you can deliver.

That's why you want to serve an audience that will earn you a good living for all the work you’re putting into it. There’s NOTHING wrong with that if you’re truly serving them AND getting them results.

Depending on your coaching avatar, some or most of them may just not be either willing or able to pay you what you’re worth. 

     

Some people are not going to like you. 

Some people are just not going to like you, just because you're you.

This happens the more you outline:

  • What you stand for.
  • What you stand against.
  • How strong you are about your coaching process (again in the name of results and NOT with the license to be a jerk).

 

Why I think content marketing is king (for longevity).

Like I said before, coaching is hard. So, why not start building a lead generation machine? That way you can continue to have resources delivering a constant stream of new leads to you on autopilot.

Here are some great points about coaching content:

  • Most coaching content is “evergreen”.
  • Each piece of content is your little sales rep (plus, never sleeps, complains or gets sick).
  • Takes time and consistency, but is totally worth it.
  • I literally have hundreds of videos and blog posts that are driving traffic to my site where people are opting into my email list where I can ultimately serve them better and sell them my products.

 

What About Results?

Results and transformation should be the focal point of your coaching. People really care about IF and HOW you can get them results.

It’s great to be able to outline what that’s going to look like for them, because your more serious students really want to know.

  • My financial coaching example (expected results for defined time frames): 
    • 30 days: $1k extra in their budget plus, their finances will be super organized and their budget started.
    • 60 days: $2k-$3k debt paid off, plus organized, developed budget and expense tracking.
    • 90 days: $3k-$5k debt paid off, saved, invested.
    • 120 days: Upwards of $5k-$10k for debt, savings, investing, plus continuation plan

 

Coaching is great because:

It is the quickest way to monetize an online business fast. 

    • Passive income (digital products, affiliate sales) take time.
    • You need an audience and coaching is a great way to build one.
  • Gives you a way to refine your teaching/program.
  • Helps you craft your first digital course. 
  • Is paid research for your marketing and for your relevant digital products

And if you’re interested in starting and growing an online business (and I believe any kind of coaching is an online business), go ahead and download my FREE “How To Start An Online Business - Quick Start Guide”. The form is at the bottom of this page.

 

3 legitimate motives for going through a coaching program:

  1. Personal development - continuing education and/or overcoming imposter syndrome
  2. Service/ministry - You just want to better serve people.
  3. Business opportunity - which really encompasses all three.

 

Download My FREE Quick Start Guide

Discover the six simple steps to start and grow an online business that help you monetize the things you already know, so you can begin to work less and live more.

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