Branding Yourself as a Coach

It’s pretty clear that the coaching profession is booming right now. Perhaps you were at the forefront of that boom, blazing the trail before anyone even knew what that meant! Or perhaps you’re just now making your coaching dream real.

Maybe you haven’t gotten your coaching business vision completely off the ground yet – but you can’t ignore that gut feeling that coaching is the path for you.

Kathleen here, and I’m guessing that regardless of how long you’ve been working with clients (months or years), you’ve always been a leader of one kind or another—whether that’s a guiding influence on those around you, or their go-to thoughtful listener. You’re the person your friends turn to when they need a reliable sounding board.

Maybe you’ve already carved out a name for yourself as a coach or a creative entrepreneur, and now you want to transition to teaching and coaching others what you know.

Perhaps you have been on a creative entrepreneurial path that isn’t quite coaching, but you find your followers and peers (your people!) asking you for guidance. They are asking you how to build the same kind of business, sustainability, and success that you’ve been able to create for yourself. They ask enough—and you put out the content enough (for free!)—that you’re feeling compelled to integrate a coaching, teaching, or guiding element into your existing business plan. But, transitioning from selling your services to selling your guidance can put you back on shaky ground with your own brand positioning again.

Whether they are life coaches, wellness coaches, or business coaches – 100% of the coaches we’ve branded at Braid always come to us with questions, self-doubts, or challenges when it comes to selling their intuitive gifts, capturing their own personal brand style and voice, and positioning themselves as a professional, credible, and trusted guide.

So today, I want to give you our best pieces of advice when it comes to branding and positioning yourself as a coach.

1) Get coached, credentialed, and confident.

One of the first ways I learned that coaching might be something I’d be interested in doing myself is connecting with and loving the experience of being coached by an experienced and talented coach. So if you think you might like to be a coach, but have never been coached, that’s a good first step.

I had been inadvertently practicing coaching through my one-on-one branding engagements – it turns out working through the process to uncover an authentic personal brand means that the conversations get, well, personal. But when it came to formally offering coaching as a service, I wasn’t quite as confident. So three years ago, I went through a 9-month long coaching training with Martha Beck. That training and certification—combined with lots of practice—gave me the confidence I needed to officially brand myself as a coach. Plus, I began to naturally wrap coaching tools into the 1:1 services I was already offering and freely sharing and writing about the tools I was learning as a way to transition my positioning and offering in a logical way that wouldn’t confuse my potential clients or diffuse my existing expertise.

TRY THIS: If you’re thinking about trying on a new career in coaching, think about what will give you the most confidence in launching your own coaching offering. Is it training? Credentials? Blending coaching into your existing offering? Writing? Branding?

2) Narrow in on your niche

A lot of the creatives we work with who are transitioning from a hands-on career where they’ve been doing the work (designing, painting, photographing, teaching, etc.) to developing their own coaching practice get a lot of confidence from being able to articulate their brand and getting clarity on their own purpose when it comes to coaching.

It’s not enough to say that you help to empower women to transform or embody their best selves. You need to get specific about the challenges, opportunities, and goals your dream customer is facing. The more you can narrow in on the tangible and real-world results your client wants and needs, the better you’ll be able to sell what you’re offering.

TRY THIS: Draw a line down a sheet of paper. On the left side list all the BEFORE qualities, relationships, hobbies, career, body, attitudes, and circumstances your client possesses. On the right side list what your client looks like AFTER they work with you. The more specific you get, the more you’ll begin to narrow in on how your purpose and coaching style helps make real changes.

3) Have a structured process

Coaching is incredibly difficult to sell. Yes you’re selling tools and guidance that can change the course of your client’s life, but when it comes down to it, what you’re delivering is a 1-hour conversation over a specified number of weeks. Those conversations come at a premium, which can give your potential clients cold feet real fast. The biggest objection from your dream customer might look like this: “Sure, she helped so-and-so, but how do I know she can help me?” Here at Braid, we believe the best way to sell what you offer at a premium and without desperation is to simply explain how you work. The more structure you have around your engagement, the more your potential client will trust that they can fit into your proven process.

TRY THIS: Your process doesn’t have to be elaborate. In fact, if you get too step-by-step-by-step-by-step detailed, you may create a rigid vibe or perceived time-obstacle for your potential clients. Write one or two sentences each for what always happens at the beginning, middle, and end of an engagement with you. Then, go back in add a few bullets with very specific examples of what you mean (i.e. homework for your client, asking them to try a new practice, asking them to let go of a bad habit, adjusting the approach along the way, delivering a plan of action they can follow after your engagement is done, or any followup or other offerings you’d like to make available to them). The steps make your potential client feel at ease that you are going to guide this ship. The examples make it feel “real” for them and pave the way for realistic expectations.

4) Get a polished brand identity.

We talk a lot about positioning and expertise – and we think those two things will take you far. But when it comes to differentiating yourself amongst all the other coaches out there, a polished brand identity will take your presence and authority to the next level. So right now, take a look at your website. Does it feel like you? Is it conveying the tone you want to be known for?

TRY THIS: One of our favorite ways to help our clients uncover a look and feel that’s authentic to them is to describe their dream home office. Is it cozy and eclectic with lots of plants and cacti? Or is it modern with white walls and cedar ceilings? What kinds of fabrics and textures is your cozy corner sofa made from? Describe your rugged distressed desk and pop-of-color mid-century chair. All the words you use to describe your dream room can translate directly to your logo and website and are great words to share with your graphic designer or web developer.

Need more help?

The Braid Method Brand Development, 1:1 With Us! This is where we do it for you! Of course, it’s a highly collaborative process, starting with learning all about your style, your expertise, and your business vision, moving into an inner facing vision guide that will roadmap out where you’ve been, where you’re going, and what you really want to be known for, and ending in a complete brand platform with images, headlines, positioning, and all the language layers you need to feel like you’re going to stand out for your own “personal flavor” and come across as the legit, packaged, polished professional you are. Ask about working with us. We’ll send an outline of what you get, how long it takes, and what it costs to work together!


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