[podcast] 1 Thing to Better Brand Your Coaching Practice

Brian is a regular Branding & Marketing Columnist for the International Coaches Federation Blog, where this article first appeared.

When it comes to branding yourself as a coach, I always tell clients that there’s one thing they can do that when done properly, can have a huge impact on their brand.

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What is it?

Embody your service.

In other words, as coaches, we can sometimes be so focused on teaching others what to do, that we lose track of being what we teach ourselves.

And if we’re not careful, it can reach the point where what we tell others to do, and what we actually do ourselves, can be two different things.  Which from a branding standpoint can be confusing, and ultimately, compromise our ability to bring on new clients.


Because they just don’t think you’re “walking the talk”, and as a result, are skeptical of your ability to affect change in their business.

(“Why is it this Coach is talking about all of this stuff everyone else needs to do, yet doesn’t seem to have those very same things in place themselves?  Is that someone I really want to work with?”)

And this is something I see all the time.

I see Life Coaches talk about “work/life balance”, but every time I see them they’re super busy, and running 5 minutes late for their next appointment.

I see Business Coaches talk about “systems” and “processes” for my business, but don’t seem to have similar things in place for their own.

To be blunt: They’re talking the talk, but not walking the walk.

And people see that.  They might not be able to put their finger on it exactly, but they know that something isn’t lining up…and they choose not to hire you.

So if you’re looking for ways to positively impact your brand by embodying your service, here are some specific suggestions.


Life Coaches

Look at how you’re living your own life.  Do you feel like you’ve got a solid foundation of work/life balance, or if you’re honest, does it feel like you’re constantly on the go?

And yes, I realize that everyone’s life is busy, but as a person who talks about balance, recognize that you’re being held to a higher standard and people are watching.

Recommendation: Make it a point to be 5 minutes early to every meeting.  Going forward, you’re the person who’s already picked out the table (and ordered some coffee) prior to every sit down you have.

Not only do people like others who show up on time, but you’ll appear (and actually be), much more relaxed when you get there.  And you’ll be surprised how far that relaxed, “got it under control” vibe will go with the people you talk to, and their desire to hire you as their Coach.


Leadership & Executive Coaches

How would you rate your own leadership skills?  Do people feel energized when working with you and want to do better, or are you just bossing everyone around?

Recommendation: Get into a leadership position in the community.  Maybe it’s a networking group, your local Church or your kids baseball team…it doesn’t matter.  But once you’re there, make it a point to really lead through the principles and techniques you’re coaching others on.

Let those leadership techniques really shine and take my word for it…people will notice.  And depending on where they’re at in their life’s journey, they might even want to talk to you about how they can lead others just like you do.


Marketing Coaches

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the marketing of your own Practice?  Do you have a Marketing Plan that has you consistently speaking, networking and publishing online content, or is it an ad hoc, on the fly approach?

Recommendation: Buy yourself a separate Marketing Calendar and fill it specifically with your speaking engagements, networking activities and publication dates of your online newsletter.

If you don’t have a bunch of presentations lined up right now, no problem.  Go out and get some.

If you’re not getting to 4-6 networking events per month, no problem.  Go out and attend some.

If you don’t have an online newsletter where you’re publishing content at least once a month, no problem.  Make it happen!


Why are these things so important to branding your coaching practice?

Because fundamentally, the reason people hire coaches is because they feel like you have an expertise in an area where they would like to improve.

Or as I tell my clients, “People need to see you as a future state, of where they want to be.”

Otherwise, why hire a coach?

But when you’re consistently “being” that person, and embodying the change that your perspective clients want to see in themselves, the world will beat a path to your door.