Transition Excellence

How to Become a Professional Coach and Get Your Dream Clients in 20 Minutes

I met an executive who wanted to become a professional coach. She had invested $40,000 to hire a marketing “expert.” She’d spent months crafting a “drip email funnel,” a “lead magnet,” a “social media campaign,” and a “value-packed weekly newsletter” for her “targeted niche.”

It had drained every ounce of life out of her. She hated what she was doing. 

She hadn’t enrolled a single client as a result…  

Forty thousand dollars. Zero clients. That’s shocking. And sadly she’s not alone. 

So, I coached her. 

Then, I listened to what she really wanted. 

And after that I advised her on her next steps. 

As a result, she enrolled her boss in supporting her to become the coach to high-level executives within her organization. 

With one conversation, she went from a needy coach to a leadership coach in the corporate world.

Becoming a Successful Coach is Confusing

The “easy” path appears to be spending money, time and energy on internet marketing courses, learning SEO, and designing beautiful websites and business cards. 

The “hard” path is having conversations with fascinating people and serving them powerfully. On the whole, the only hard part is usually your thinking… Where would I meet them? How would I coach them? Is there a certain amount I should charge? How do I raise my prices? Why would they hire me?

In essence, I wrote The Prosperous Coach to teach coaches how to build a successful business – with no internet marketing – one conversation at a time.

But today, I want to share with you three specific additions I’d make to that book to create The Prosperous Coach 2.0… 

First, there is the power of a 20-minute chat. Second, you “do” a 20-minute chat. And Third, learn the importance of an audition.

1. The Power of a 20-Minute Chat

The game-changer in The Prosperous Coach is the power of a two-hour conversation. It’s about putting serving ahead of selling. “Serve someone so powerfully they never forget your conversation for the rest of their life…”

As you start your career towards becoming a professional coach, your mission should be to fill your calendar with coaching conversations. You need to serve people with no attachment to them becoming clients. Coach them. One to two hours of pure service. You will build your confidence. You will build your coaching competence. And some of them will eventually become clients. 

Once you’ve had your first 20 or more paying clients, the game begins to change. When you have a full client load, it becomes harder to offer a two-hour coaching conversation to everyone you meet. Plus, not everyone is ready for a two-hour conversation. It can actually feel a bit intimidating to spend two hours with someone you barely know. 

One of my clients is Townsend Wardlaw. He’s an expert in high-level complex sales and he gave me a tip that changed my world: 

“Don’t offer everyone who shows up two hours of your time. 

Schedule a 20-minute call for your FIRST conversation… 

A 20-minute chat is a way for you to filter for the right kind of client to spend two hours of your time with. It also gives people an easy way to say ‘yes’ to your invitation.”

2. How You ‘Do’ a 20-Minute Chat

When someone gets on a call, I say, “Hi!” I get curious about them for a couple of minutes. “How are you? Where are you based? How do you know about me?” 

And then I’ll say something like this: 

“We only have a few minutes, so I’d like to get to know you a little. I’ve got six short questions that will help me to know you and so that I can help you to craft out a vision for what’s next in your life or business. After that, you can ask me any questions because we’ll both know what you want to create. How does that sound?”

Then, I ask them these questions, one at a time:

  1. “If you called me in three years and told me that they’d been the best three years of your life—professionally and personally—what would you tell me?”
  2. “What are the dangers ahead of you—The internal dangers such as how you get in your own way and the external dangers such as the economy or your competitors?” 
  3. “Are there opportunities ahead of you?”
  4. “Do you have two to three unique strengths?”
  5. “What are the dark sides of these strengths?”
  6. “What have you done about this so far?”

Therefore, Question #1 is your filter for, “Do they have a dream that excites you enough to want to work with them?” It’s called “future-pacing.”

Then Questions #2 to 4 are your filters for, “Are they self-reflective enough for you to want to work with them?” These questions are originally from Dan Sullivan.

Next, Question #5 is my question to draw out an aspect of the client that they rarely see on their own.

Finally, Question #6 is your filter for, “Are they ready for coaching?” Now, this is Townsend’s genius question. And you should never offer someone a deeper one-to-two hour coaching experience unless you can see that they have already been working on things in some way. Consequently , if this is the first time they’ve ever spoken about the challenge they are facing or if this is the first time they have ever shared their big mission, they are probably not yet ready to invest in coaching…

3. The Importance of an Audition

For the most part, I regularly turn away people from working with me. In the span of just a few months, I’ve turned down well over a quarter of a million dollars of income. I have limited space available for those I can work with, so I have no option but to set—and hold—a really high bar on who I can say yes to. 

Important to realize that clients think they are showing up to their first conversation, to audition you. On the contrary, your mission is actually to audition them. 

One of the first things you’ll learn on your journey to becoming a professional coach: Don’t accept everyone as a client.

Surprisingly, you need to turn away everyone who is a 7 or less out of 10.

Call out of your clients something that has them either step up or walk away.

Stop looking for clients who you can inspire and look for clients who inspire you. 

You’ll be surprised at how quickly this increases the caliber of the clients you work with and uplevels the community you are building.

Love. Rich

P.S. If you’re interested in learning more about how to become a professional coach, then I implore you to join our Facebook community, connect with us on LinkedIn, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and follow us on Instagram.

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