The 4 best coaching words and the 3 problems with selling coaching

Today we discuss two related topics.

First, do you know the 4 best coaching words? A member of the Center for Executive Coaching just sent me an email this past week with these very words: “I got the deal!” In his case, the deal he got was for $62,000. Many coaches don’t know how to get deals like this. Meanwhile, many internal coaches don’t know how to build up the credibility to do the equivalent inside their organizations.

One reason is that there are 3 problems with selling coaching….

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So, what are the 3 problems with selling coaching? Here they are, with solutions:

Problem One: Coaches are terrible at selling.

Alternative: Stop selling. Do what you do well and coach. Coach the prospect through the buying process. Coaches would be natural
salespeople if they remembered to stop selling and start coaching during business development conversations. Don’t make a pitch. Don’t promote. Instead, ask great questions to figure out whether the prospect has a compelling problem worth your fees. Then work
collaboratively with the prospect to craft a solution. We teach you how to do this, and I will work with any member of the Center for
Executive Coaching personally to role play. Any time!

Problem Two: The word "coach" is confusing to prospective clients.

Alternative: Position yourself based on compelling problems that you solve and the results you get. Don't lead with coaching or toolkits or assessments. Start by talking about problems, solutions, and value. Then, when the client wants to know more about how you can help, you can talk about how you structure the work to get results. Most “coaches” I know don’t use the word coach very much. In fact, I just spent time with a leader at the ICF and he expressed frustration that we call what we do “coaching.”

Problem Three: Coaching cannot be about asking never-ending questions – even if that’s what you have to demonstrate to get a coaching designation from the leading professional association. Successful leaders and executives hate that approach.

Alternative: Provide substance. Give clients an efficient, effective path to results. I am writing this article in a hotel in
Transylvania, Romania right now – getting ready to speak at the country’s largest HR conference. I have been meeting with lots of
coaches here. Some are great. However, as is the case all over the world, many lack substance (and don't even know it). They talk about coaching in terms of fluffy language, pseudoscience, and what they are passionate about instead of what clients care about. To land executives, managers, business owners, and professionals as clients you need to have substance. The Center for Executive Coaching attracts seasoned professionals who have great experiences, and then we give you tools and methodologies that provide practical results and delight clients. I know, because I use these same tools in my coaching practice with executives and business owners.

So … Please stop selling, stop using the word coaching so much, and make sure you have substance – whether you are already coaching or want to get into the field. Things will be much easier and fulfilling for you.

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