I was thinking, the other day, about the distinction between a successful coach and a struggling coach. While in thought, I was reminded of author Adam Grant. Grant, an organizational psychologist and best selling author, wrote a book called Give and Take.
In this book, Grant groups people into three different categories
Givers give without expectation of immediate gain; they never seem too busy to help. Matchers give when they can see how they will get something of equal value back and to people who they think can help them. And takers seek to come out ahead in every exchange.”
With that in mind, let me ask you two questions:
QUESTION #1: WHO DO YOU THINK ARE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL OF THESE THREE CATEGORIES? THE GIVERS, THE MATCHERS OR THE TAKERS?
QUESTION #2: WHO DO YOU THINK ARE THE LEAST SUCCESSFUL? THE GIVERS, THE MATCHERS OR THE TAKERS?
The answer is quite ironic. You see, it’s the givers that succeed AND struggle the most.
Givers are overrepresented at both ends of the spectrum of success. [They] are the doormats who go nowhere or burn out. Givers are also the stars whose giving motivates them or distinguishes them as leaders.”
This answer also bears asking: If the givers succeed yet they also struggle then what is there to distinguish a successful giver (or a successful coach) from those who struggle?
This has been a question which has consumed me for a lot of years.
TO SERVE YOUR BUTT OFF? OR NOT TO SERVE YOUR BUTT OFF?
The most successful coach is able to build a successful practice by constantly serving people. Despite this, 80% of coaches still seem to struggle even though they are constantly serving people.
Struggling coaches continue to give their services away for free, day after day, and they end up tired and broke.
And yet some of the most successful coaches do something similar and are incredibly successful. Why? Because they serve people powerfully, day after day, at no charge and they are coming back energized. They are thriving.
COACHING GIVERS vs COACHING GIVERS
Here at 10.5 (yes you read that right) distinctions that separate a Coaching Giver (a successful coach) from a Coaching Giver (a struggling coach).
1. GIVE ‘YOUR’ ALL vs GIVE ‘IT’ ALL
A successful coach really cares for others. They also know that they need to take real care of themselves. Which is why they know to give ‘their’ all instead of giving ‘it’ all.
When you give without knowing when to stop, you risk giving it ALL. You risk giving everything you have. Truthfully, there is and always will be more need out there than any one person can handle. And when you give it ALL, you’re going to get burnt out – and then you won’t be giving anything.
When you give it ALL, not only are you at risk of burnout, but you’re also at risk of failure. See, you send a message to every potential client that YOU need them more than they need you.
This is extremely unattractive to a potential client. It sends a signal which results in a coach not hearing back from a prospect, despite a great coaching session.
A successful coach doesn’t give ‘it’ all. A successful coach gives ‘their’ all.
By giving their all, a successful coach is able to completely show up for somebody.
You’ll serve a potential client as if they were already a paying client. You’ll serve them as if they were your ONLY client. They will be served so POWERFULLY that they’ll never forget what you did for them. You’ll serve in a way focused around only having deep, powerful, life-changing conversations.
2. HELL YES vs HELL NO
A successful coach is strategic in how they give. They serve other gives AND matchers so that their work provides the maximum desired effect. Takers have a negative effect and just drain coaches of their energy. This group is not worth any sort of trouble.
A successful coach sets forth a transparent criteria for working with their dream clients. And they set the bar high. These coaches are willing to filter for their ideal clients and rarely do they settle for anything less.
In order to be a successful coach, you must be willing to turn away a client who is a 9.9 out of 10. Why? So you can make room for more 10s. Don’t be afraid to turn away a potential client (or clients) who don’t fully meet the criteria you’ve laid out.
3. EXPERIENCE vs MONEY
A successful coach doesn’t focus solely on the money that they’re making. They are also looking for ways to build and develop on their experiences. They give in ways that support their learning and create referrals.
Money is a result of impact which means a successful coach is focused on creating the most powerful impact possible.
4. A SUCCESSFUL COACH SERVES. A STRUGGLING COACH PLEASES.
A successful coach doesn’t hide anything and doesn’t hold anything back. They are willing to tell the person they’re serving what they most need to hear. Even if it isn’t what they want to hear. ESPECIALLY if it isn’t what they want to hear.
They bring an intensity to their coaching that is so fierce that they create challenges which would scare most clients – and most coaches for that matter.
5. A SUCCESSFUL COACH SERVES. A STRUGGLING COACH SELLS.
One of the reasons most coaches struggle is that they show up with the intention to sell. A successful coach shows up to serve.
Coaching is what I call a “relationship” business. Your only mission is to touch the heart and attention of the person in front of you.
If you serve a potential client powerfully enough, you won’t even need to make a proposal. If you serve a potential client powerfully enough, they will ask YOU about coaching.
Leave the selling to the struggling coaches. Instead, serve so powerfully that a client has to sell the idea of coaching them to you.
6. LIMITED vs UNLIMITED
A successful coach knows that limitation creates value. This is why they set very real limitations on both their time and their energy.
They know to create their lifestyle before they create clients. Doing so makes it so that there are no temptations to fill their calendar with calls and meetings. Only having a limited amount of time to coach makes you more attractive, not less.
Before a successful coach makes the deep dive to serve someone, they make a choice: how much time are they willing to commit to this person? Once they decide on their boundary (one hour, two hours, etc), they go for it.
Once this boundary has been reached, though, a successful coach knows it’s time to stop. At this point, they’re able to choose whether or not they want to continue being of service for another well-bounded period of time, or consider that relationship complete for now.
If you don’t give yourself boundaries, you risk giving more than what is healthy. Or you risk moving from giving as a pure service to giving with expectation.
7. ANTI-FRAGILE vs FRAGILE
A successful coach knows to embrace their failures and mistakes. In turn, they will grow even stronger because of them.
They come to LOVE the word no as they understand the power that rests in vulnerability. They don’t hide their fears or their struggles from their clients. Instead, fear becomes their path and their compass. They lean deeper and deeper into their edge.
8. A SUCCESSFUL COACH LEADS. A STRUGGLING COACH FOLLOWS.
A successful coach shows up with attention, authority, and confidence. They are leaders who are able to distinguish between power and force. They make a HUGE impact and they not only work with extraordinary clients but they also show up as their peers.
Their mission is to serve and create an impact for the person they are with. They aren’t looking to hold something back in reserve. Instead, they choose to risk it all.
Be a leader. A successful coach is a leader, not an order-taker. Tell the truth, even if your client doesn’t like what you have to say. This demonstrates the important point that you can be trusted.
9. HIGH FEES OR NO FEES. NOTHING IN BETWEEN
A successful coach doesn’t sit around waiting for money to appear in their bank account. A successful coach charges for their services.
There will come a moment in the coaching journey when they will choose to ask for money.
They will either charge high fees or no fees. But they never choose something in between these options.
Eventually, a time may come when the money isn’t forthcoming and they decline to keep giving for free. And that’s okay.
A successful coach uses money as feedback where a struggling coach uses money as a goal. That isn’t to say that a successful coach doesn’t put just as much time and attention on money as a coach who might be struggling. They just use it for a different purpose.
When money is a feedback mechanism, it’s a lot more fun. It’s also a good indicator on where to point your attention.
When money is feedback, you get to play an infinite game. In an infinite game, there is not winning or losing. You only get better at mastering the game of money.
10. A SUCCESSFUL COACH AUDITIONS THEIR CLIENTS
I mentioned this above, but it’s important that a client sells to you. Make sure you are auditionioning them, not the other way around.
Look for a client who is going to inspire YOU – not a client looking for inspiration.
And then challenge the client to step up and dream bigger than they’d ever imagined possible.
10.5. THE BIGGEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE TO YOUR CLIENTS IS TO BE SUCCESSFUL. LET TRANSITION EXCELLENCE HELP.
One of the most attractive things to a client is having a coach who lives a fun life.
Don’t talk your walk. Walk your talk. Your clients will feel it.
The best way to create clients is committing to serving people powerfully. Be fully present with them. Create and build your relationships one powerful conversation at a time.
The VERY best way, however, to create a client is NOT to need them.
A coach who desperately needs to pay the bills is likely a struggling coach. Clients have a built-in neediness detector and neediness is deeply unattractive.
You want to be a successful coach and create high-paying, high-performing clients. Transition Excellence can help.
In Transition Excellence we will teach you how to not only create high-paying, high-performing clients, but also how to serve them powerfully.
We will teach you how to serve your butt off, how to be a leader, and how to set a high bar for those that you want to spend time with.
We will teach you how to give it your all.
Transition Excellence is a 6-month, self-paced training program. While it’s designed to be completed in 100 days, TE truly is a work-at-your-own-pace program.
By signing up for Transition Excellence, you’ll have access to 13 modules, live weekly calls with me and my leadership team and access to an absolutely incredible private community of coaches, business leaders, entrepreneurs and more.
Transition Excellence is also an ICF accredited program for those of you who might be interested. You can learn more about the ICF by clicking here.
An investment in Transition Excellence is an investment in your future.
Let us help you find the success you’re striving for. Book a Call with a member of my Admissions Team to see if Transition Excellence is right for you.
PS. I would also like to invite you to take my Coaching Excellence Scorecard. This quiz is designed to score you on the 4 pillars of coaching excellence. There are no right or wrong answers, only areas for improvement, which is where Transition Excellence comes in.