If you don’t know what your clients are looking for, how can you best serve them?
Establishing your product, market/niche, and purpose is crucial for the success and growth of your coaching business.
If you’re clear on your service (product) and are steadfast in your purpose (being a coach), but you don’t understand your clients (market/niche) and what they’re looking for, then it will be tough to grow your coaching business.
Clients are the bread and butter of a coach’s work.
If we don’t know what our clients are looking for, we can’t offer them anything – we can’t help them in any way.
At least, that is what we teach our beautiful life-changing life coaches in our Apple Tree Business Coach essentials self-study course.
So what are your clients looking for in a coach and a coaching service?
This article aims to break down some of the most common things your clients are searching for with tips on how you can achieve this and reach your clients and your market.
We use this little phrase throughout our InnerLifeSkills methodology; ‘competency, confidence, and credibility help attract clients.’
- Competency comes from the coaching tools, processes and techniques you learn
- Confidence comes from practice
- Credibility comes from the certification you have and establishing yourself in the marketplace.
Once you’ve cracked these 3 factors, we find it’s easier for you to attract your perfect clients.
We unpack this more in our article on how to find coaching clients.
But it’s not just these three ‘C’ words that your clients are looking for.
We have a list of 7 words – seven ‘C’ words.
7 things your coaching clients are looking for in a coach or coaching service:
What do we mean?
We’ll unpack each below and hopefully answer some of the most common questions regarding what coaching clients are looking for.
Coaching Clients are Looking for Care:
Our clients are looking for signs that we care
– about them and our work.
We’re tired of seeing so many coaches passionlessly hard selling.
We don’t want to be like those business-grabbing people, so we don’t put ourselves out there – we don’t expose our passion and love for this work because we don’t want it to come across as disingenuous.
How do you show them that you authentically care?
The simplest way is to tell your clients. [During that initial conversation with your potential client, over email, in person or on your website or social media. And at the start of your sessions with them.]
Yes, you can ‘show’ them too, with testimonials and through your content etc.
But there’s no harm in actually speaking the truth and voicing your passion to your client.
Go beyond profits, the ‘noble intention of living a good life’ and paying the bills.
(Because at the end of the day, we all know money and success or happiness will always be a huge motivation for most of us – but go deeper – what is the deeper reason you care?)
- why you care about the work you do,
- why you became a coach,
- and why you want to help your client to the best of your abilities.
It’s not another ‘hook’ or hard selling point.
This work calls to many of us because we want to serve others.
It’s just about finding a genuine way to express this to our clients.
And express this authentically and naturally.
Coaching Clients are Looking for Certification:
Certification is becoming increasingly important as the coaching industry grows.
Life Coaching, Executive Coaching, Business Coaching and Enneagram Coaching are the Big 4 coaching streams with steady annual growth.
With growth comes the good, the bad and everything in between.
Our clients are becoming more discerning – they’re wondering whether they can trust us to help them.
We have a say in who our clients are, and they have a say in who their coaches are.
And whether a coach has credible certification will affect the client’s decision.
Unlike with professions such as medicine and psychology, there is nothing regulating the industry with coaching.
Anyone can call themselves a coach regardless of whether they have certification or what ‘certification’ they have. They can do a free video course, get a certificate, and use it to gain credibility.
But remember we said clients are becoming more decerning?
They’re doing their research.
They understand that you don’t need any certification to practice as a coach. And they’re looking for those who do have certification.
Not just that, but they’re looking at the training institutions from which you’re getting the coaching certification.
They’re learning about what the gold standard in coach certification is. And globally, that’s ICF accreditation and ICF accredited coaching courses.
Coaching clients are looking for coaches who have completed an ICF ACTP program – like our master coaching program.
When the ICF awards a training company ACTP status for one of their programs, they’ve checked everything.
- They’ve looked through all of their materials.
- They’ve looked at their faculties credentials.
- They’ve tested their testing process.
- And they’ve looked through their assessment process.
– and they do this rigorously.
By the time that program gets an ICF ACTP accreditation status, it is worth the paper it stands on.
Just as your clients are decerning about hiring coaches who have certification, you can also decide which certification you choose.
Whichever certification you go with (whether it’s with us or another credible coach training institution), we highly highly highly recommend you pick a coaching course or program that is ICF accredited.
Coaching Clients are Looking for Change:
People seek out coaching for various reasons.
But the most significant and often overarching reason is they want something to change.
- a situation,
- overcoming an obstacle,
- a new start.
All these center around change.
When you’re marketing your coaching services and designing coaching products, be very clear that your clients are looking for some change.
If you’re not clear, you might not design coaching services that meet them at that place of need.
You also might fail to communicate the value of what you’re offering.
Design coaching products and marketing messages around this, and you will be able to meet your clients at a place of need and attract your ideal clients along the way.
Coaching Clients are Looking for a Compass:
Think of what a compass symbolizes – direction.
Sometimes our clients feel lost.
Sometimes they’re feeling stuck.
Your clients are looking for help, guidance, and processes to help them find direction. And you, as the coach, facilitate this.
Through your offering and your marketing, show your clients that you can help guide them in the right direction.
Coaches are that safe, non-judgemental compass for our clients.
We can help them find the right path.
But we need to be clear in showing our clients we can do and be this for them.
The right coaching service with the right marketing can do this.
Coaching Clients are Looking for Compatability:
When a potential client is considering contacting you, hiring you – there is something that they’re looking for.
There are a couple of things, in fact – care, change, certification etc.
But one of the things they’re looking for is compatibility.
They want to quickly establish whether they resonate with you, whether there’s a connection with you as a coach.
If you don’t give them an opportunity to work out whether there is compatibility – they might move on.
So how do we do this?
Well, everything that we put out in the world, videos, content, about posts – everything is an opportunity to establish that credibility.
Now be careful of the fear and the thought that says, ‘I want to be compatible with everyone. I want to make sure that everyone knows that everyone can be my client.’
There’s a quote that says, if you manage to produce something that pleased everyone, you would only produce mediocrity.
Our coaching is not for everyone.
Your style, your vibe, your natural, authentic voice in the world is not for everyone.
It is for someone.
There are groups that will resonate with you.
In the buffet of life, you don’t have to serve everyone or make something for everyone.
An apple tree doesn’t try to make oranges.
You don’t have to dilute yourself.
And at the same time, this is not about self-serving.
This is about serving others.
So the apple tree is still serving life by doing its absolute best to make the best apples it can.
The apple tree shows the world its blossoms and its leaves, which are not for everyone.
Give people an opportunity to see and to hear your voice, your style, what you stand for.
And you want the people that aren’t there for you to click the back button.
And you want the ones that are there for you that are your ideal clients to click yes. And to make that connection with you.
So give them an opportunity to establish whether there is a fit because your clients are looking for compatibility.
Coaching Clients are Looking for Credibility:
Your clients are going to be:
- scanning through your social media,
- reading your bio,
- viewing your online presence.
– to look for credibility.
How do you ensure that you are putting your best foot forward in an authentic human way?
How can we establish credibility quickly and easily?
So be professional – always.
But be professional with heart.
Show people your heart – don’t show them what we think clients want to see in a fake way. But don’t pour your heart out in a way that can seem unprofessional to clients.
We want to show that we care.
We want to show that we’re real people.
But we want to do this professionally.
Keep your personal private life just that; private.
Focus on the fact that you’re a coach to serve people.
We’re there to offer value, guide, coach, and give content that matters and is meaningful in people’s lives.
That builds credibility.
Taking care of our brand also builds credibility.
The fonts we use, the colors we chose and the words we express need to be authentic and professional.
If we care about our brand, we care about our clients.
And you have about one to two seconds to establish that credibility through your professionalism and showing your heart.
Coaching Clients are Looking for Customized:
Clients want us to custom-build solutions.
If we offer off-the-shelf coaching products that disregard the client in front of us, we might find ourselves really in a hit-and-miss situation where sometimes we deliver value, and sometimes we don’t.
Sometimes we attract clients.
Sometimes we don’t.
Customization – can be the epitome of service to our clients – listening to them, talking to them, and finding out their specific needs.
- Where do they want to go in life?
- What are the challenges that are keeping them up at night?
Use your coaching toolbox and customize a solution for them.
Create a coach service that meets them at their place of need.
You start with a session to establish what is it your client needs. Establish what problem they need solving. And tailor-make a coaching service to help and guide them.
It will be challenging if you don’t have a flexible coaching style and a significant coaching toolbox.
A flexible coaching style helps you coach dynamically and intuitively.
When you have an extensive coaching toolbox and a flexible coaching style, you can talk with someone and realize that you can serve in an authentic, beautiful, service-oriented way.
You can say, you know, based on what you’ve just said, I think I have a couple of ideas that can help.
If you can do this, you can build a coaching business by having these kinds of customization conversations.
Some of our top Master Coaches:
- don’t have websites,
- have hardly any social media,
- have a significant coaching toolbox,
- learned a flexible coaching style with InnerLifeSkills,
- and they have conversations with people.
In those conversations, they listen, meet their clients at the place of need and custom build solutions.
Our clients are people too. And they’re looking for specific things in a coach and coaching service.
- Yes, they want their coach to care and to be compatible.
- Yes, they want a coach with credibility and certification.
- Yes, they want the coach to be their compass, guiding light.
And yes, the coaching client wants to change, and they want this done through a customized coaching service.
But how can we know this?
By talking to them.
A simple conversation with a coaching client or a potential client can help us discover what they’re looking for.
- Show your clients you care, and you can be the compass that guides them to change.
- Show them you’re credible, compatible, and have certification.
Do this through your marketing, your social presence and by having conversations with them. In this conversation, find out what your client is looking for and customize a coaching service that meets your client at their place of need.
Once you tick all the boxes and have a coaching product or service you are proud of, it aligns with your purpose, and it speaks to the right niche market – the rest should flow.
Are you still stuck?
We also created a free PDF guide to help you to find your first 100 clients. Check it out and let us know if it helped.