What Does it Take to Be a Successful Life Coach?
5 Key Coaching Competencies
When we first started coaching it was a brand-new industry. There were no best practices and barely anyone out there to learn from. As pioneers, we had to learn through trial and error. After over a decade in the life coaching field, we learned the hard way what worked and what didn’t. And, through extensive research, ongoing training, and working with thousands of other life coaches, everything we learned has been reinforced over and over again.
- The secret to success as a life coach isn’t dependent on having an expensive credential or where you got your training.
- The secret to success isn’t how fancy your website is, how perfect your Instagram photos are, or how much you spend on your marketing.
- The truth is that many of the most successful life coaches do not have ANY credentials or use complicated, expensive marketing strategies.
Success as a life coach comes down to two things:
- Your clients
And the magic formula that makes those two things come together is:
COMPETENCY + MARKETING = LIFE COACHING SUCCESS
Let’s break that down:
COMPETENCY (aka, being an effective coach)
+ MARKETING and business skills (aka, reaching the right clients)
= Great RESULTS for your clients and PROFITABILITY for you
Now, it’s important to point out here that life coaches get into the field because they want to help people. However, they often get so wrapped up in the first component of this formula—competency—that they miss the whole point of life coaching, which is to help their clients get the RESULTS that they want!
You can’t get your clients results if you don’t have clients!
Being a great coach is not enough. There are marvelously talented coaches out there that can transform people’s lives, yet who have exactly zero clients.
This is because, due to the life-coaching-is-a-business-not-a-job nature of coaching, many great potential coaches hide behind their talent and passion and never put themselves out there.
And it’s a shame. We believe that if you can help people transform their lives, it is your moral obligation to TELL THEM. Through marketing.
BUT THERE IS GOOD NEWS!
Being a successful life coach doesn’t have to be scary, expensive, take a long time, or involve overwhelming, complicated marketing (yuck)!
Let’s take a look at the The 4 Keys: A Roadmap to Life Coaching Success, which can act as a step-by-step guide that shows you exactly what you need to learn and do to create a thriving life coaching business that allows you to profit from your purpose and make the difference in this world that you are meant to make.
The 4 Keys: A Roadmap to Life Coaching Success
The first two keys develop the first component of life coaching success: COMPETENCY.
1) HOW to Coach
Just like learning any new skill or pursuing any new career, the first step is to learn the core skills required to be a life coach.
- Coaching industry best practices, including coaching ethics, how to structure a coaching session, and the roles of a life coach
- Communication techniques that build trust, openness and rapport
- Listening techniques and understanding body language and vocal cues
- Questioning techniques in order to guide clients to greater reflection and clarity
- Understand the psychological foundation of human potential and change
2) WHAT Your Clients Want
In addition to developing the essential skills of life coaching, you also need to learn how to help your clients achieve what they WANT. HOW to coach involves using the SKILLS of a coach. WHAT you are doing with your clients depends on what your client WANTS—aka, the RESULTS they are looking for. Once you know this, you can use proven processes that help guide your client in the DIRECTION of what they want.
- Structured, step-by-step processes for achieving specific desired results
- Proven tools and strategies for helping clients identify what they want and set achievable goals
- Concrete strategies for helping clients create actionable plans in pursuit of their goals
- Coaching strategies for holding clients accountable
- Proven tools and strategies for empowering clients to overcome resistance and limiting beliefs
The second two keys develop the second component of life coaching success: MARKETING.
3) WHO Your Clients Are and WHERE to Find Them
In order to know what your clients WANT, you need to know who your clients ARE. Coaching isn’t about you and what you like to do, it’s about your clients and what problem you can help them with. If your client doesn’t have a problem, you don’t have a client. Once you know who your clients are and what they need, you know what to offer them and where to find them.
HINT: THIS IS THE #1 SECRET KEY TO LIFE COACHING SUCCESS THAT MOST LIFE COACHES MISS!
- Identify your unique GIFT. Consider what expertise you have that clients would benefit to learn from you, as a guide. Consider what experience you have (personally or professionally) that makes you uniquely able to relate to and help people in a similar situation. Focusing your coaching around WHO YOU ARE gives you a head start. You’ve already gotten results for yourself, so now how can you help your clients achieve these same results?
- Identify your coaching focus or NICHE. Consider, based on your gifts, in what specific way you want to help people. Identify what life category or goal do you want to focus on, whether it’s with their health, career, relationships, happiness, finding their purpose, increasing their confidence, mastering their monkey mind, creating massive life changes, or coping with loss. What SPECIFICALLY can you help them to change, overcome, or achieve?
- Identify your TRIBE of ideal clients within this niche. Considering your coaching focus, WHO are these people? What does their life look like? Most importantly, what specific problem do they have, why does it matter to them, and how you can help them solve the problem? And finally, what RESULTS they will experience by solving this problem?
- Identify the LANGUAGE your tribe uses to talk about their problem. How do they feel? What do they tell others about their problem? What would they search for in Google? Learn your tribe’s language, and then speak to them in words they will relate to.
- Identify WHERE your ideal clients are. Once you have identified the specific people you want to work with, who need what you have to offer, learn as much about them as you can. Where do they do business? What websites do they go to frequently? What other people or businesses do they already do business with? (More about this in the next key.)
4) MARKET Your Services
And, finally, you can have superb coaching skills, a coaching toolbox filled with the best processes, and a clear niche based on your unique gift—however if you do not learn business and marketing skills, no one will know about you! Do NOT allow yourself to remain a “best kept secret”. The world NEEDS you! The first part of marketing your services is to, well, have a clearly defined service to OFFER. Then, the second part of marketing your services is to learn proven marketing skills.
- Decide how to structure your coaching business, including how and where you will meet with your clients, the duration of your sessions and programs, and how clients can enroll
- Design life coaching packages that guide your clients to achieve the specific result you are offering them
- Research your industry and your market to understand what your clients will pay for and how much you should charge them (charge what you’re worth!)
- Develop materials (including questionnaires, worksheets and forms) to use with your clients during sessions and for assigning at-home activities
And, then once you have your coaching package so you can offer your services, put it out there!
- Look back at WHERE you identified your clients are and go there! Join online forums or groups, attend industry events, network, collaborate with business who already know these people. Becoming part of the community of people you are looking to serve is the best way to understand and connect to them. And joint ventures is the best way to access a large group of highly-targeted potential clients (and it’s free!). HINT: A really effective way of putting yourself in front of an ideal audience is through SPEAKING!
- Learn how to offer free, introductory coaching sessions as a way of offering real value for your potential clients, giving them an opportunity to experience what your coaching has to offer while determining if they’re a good client for you and having an opportunity to make your offer.
- Study success! Follow other life coaches and see what they do, whether it’s how they utilize social media, what events they attend or speak at, how they offer their coaching packages, and even how they post their advertising!
- Commit yourself to never-ending improvement and lifelong learning. Invest in yourself, your business, and your clients!
And so there you have it! A roadmap to life coaching success!
- HOW: Learn proven strategies and techniques that give you the skills to be an effective life coach
- WHAT: Learn and create step-by-step processes that guide your clients to achieve the specific results they want
These first two keys will develop your coaching COMPETENCY!
- WHO & WHERE: Identify who your ideal clients are, what problems they have, how you can solve their problems, and where you can connect with them
- MARKET: Structure your coaching in a way that packages your unique gifts into a results-oriented program you can offer clients, and learn marketing strategies that have been proven to work for life coaches, such as joint ventures, speaking and free sessions.
- Most importantly, GET STARTED (don’t wait for everything to be perfect) and KEEP GOING (by continuing to learn and grow as you go)!
Becoming a successful life coach is a hero’s journey. There will be challenges and there will be guides along the way. There will be mistakes and lessons that serve your continued evolution. You will feel lost and afraid but you will continue to answer the call to fulfill your greater purpose. Your journey of hardship and victory will bring you to the ultimate end result—becoming who you are meant to be—and fulfilling your destiny by sharing your true gift with those you are meant to serve.
We would be honored to be part of your life coaching journey! Check out our other videos as well as our online training and certification programs that cover all of the keys to life coaching success discussed in this video. We’ve been there, we’ve walked this path, and we can help you past the road blocks and give you a shortcut to success. Regardless of where you get training or who you serve, we encourage you to take that next step, and then the next one and the next. We believe in your powerful potential and we wish you much success!