Who are YOU to be a coach? No seriously, who ARE you?
When you first read that sentence, did you hear a critical, who the hell are you voice in your head? It wasn’t my intention but that’s unfortunately the place we too often go to. We wrestle with the worthiness issue – who the hell am I? (a close relation to who do you think you are? voice.)
We can get too tied up in trying to live up to someone else’s definition of good, great – perfect.
It’s perfectionism in another guise. Holding us back by telling us that when we’ve done some more training, taken another class, got more clients, more experience, less naivety, more structure, followers, confidence, bad-assery …THEN (and only then) will we be ready to step out and really make this coaching business work. But until then….here’s another course to sign up for.
If you use these things as your measuring stick, you will never be ready. No one would ever be ready.
You don’t need to be ‘ready’ – you just need to start.
“But where to start?” you might ask.
You start at the beginning.
So, back to my original question – who are you to be a coach? What do you bring to this party?
I see way too many emerging coaches trying to re-invent and remould themselves into what they think a successful coach looks like. They focus on Marie Foleo-ing their website, or trying to write like Danielle LaPorte, or whoever you’re goddess/guru/coach crush currently is. And there’s no judgement here – I have done all of that and more myself. I’ve got cringe worthy memories of my first blander than bland website, complete with side on pictures of me wearing a business suit (even doing corporate work, I’d NEVER wear a business suit!) I look uncomfortable and staged (and not surprisingly I didn’t get many clients from that).
Then there was the time I decided to run a telesummit on stress free entrepreneurship – which I knew nothing about! I threw it together in 2 weeks – didn’t even know how to do record interviews so had sleepless night’s over technology and had a total meltdown when I’d forgotten to hit the ‘record’ key on the first 3 – and so had to beg the interviewees to redo them. And all the while I had my inner critic positively primal screaming in my head that I had NO clue what I was doing (She was right!) and felt inauthentic, slightly desperate and exhausted by the end. Oh, and I managed to add 60 who people to my mailing list – who I never contacted again!
So what I’m saying is that I’ve been there. I’ve tried on many outfits trying to recreate what I thought I needed to become to be a ‘successful coach’ – none of them fitted property or got me what I wanted: A business that made me money and gave me joy. And those few clients I did get through all these strategies were hard work – because they were looking for someone I wasn’t.
Here’s the truth that I learned the hard way:
The only thing about ‘branding’ that made any difference to my bottom line was when I slowly started to strip away the layers of who I thought I needed to be, and revealed the actual me underneath.
The turning points for me were many – slow turns back towards myself. Talking from a place that feels real to me. Admitting what I’ve no interest or skill in. But also revealing my passions, values, beliefs.
Really owning my skills.
Playing to those strengths and passions, rather than against them.
Knowing that whilst I’m not a great strategist, I AM super creative. I’ve no interest in sales techniques but I AM passionate about helping you to make a living by connecting your honest to goodness message with people who need it (which incidentally it turns out, leads to sales – who knew?!)
And my driving passion is helping coaches to build a great, big thriving, joyful business.
I know that I’m a great teacher. I’m really good at helping people see their own inner strengths and gifts.
I don’t believe in jacking in your day job and the universe will read out to catch you.
I don’t believe in the law of attraction particularity (I’ve not yet been able to reconcile the idea that it seems to equate responsibility for poverty and misfortune on the heads of the victims and not on the collective responsibility we call carry as a society.)
I don’t believe running a business has to be hard – I know too many really cool people who are running awe inspiring businesses on their own terms; ethically, flexibly and kindly.
I have felt the fear of giving my opinion online and suffered the first few knocks from people who disagreed with me. Guess what? I didn’t die! I took what I thought was fair and disregarded the rest.
Coming out as you isn’t an easy option. but neither is running a business. (I said it doesn’t have to be hard. I didn’t say it was easy! Who wants easy anyway?)
Being yourself is scary. It leaves you exposed. Some people won’t like you. It will narrow down the people who can potentially connect and ‘get’ what you do. But that’s a GOOD thing. It means that potential clients start to self select. The one’s you would find a nightmare to work with approach you far, far less. You’re out there saying this is me, take me or leave me. yes, some people will leave you. But others will go “hell yes’ and that’s far, far better than the whole world going ‘meh’
A super easy step towards getting your ‘you’ out there.
Make a list of all of the words you associate with you.
Let those that resonate burble out.
Write them down.
Think of your likes, dislikes, passions, values, what you’d die for, fight for, what you’d like to change in the world, quotes you live by; skills, accomplishments.
Pull them all together.
Ask your friends for a few words they think of when they think of you. Add them into the mix.
Go to Wordle or download the app Visual Poetry.
Copy and past your list of words.
Look at the beautiful word cloud that’s produced. Pin it to your wall. Start to ask yourself – Am I writing with those things in mind? Am I showing up with those qualities. Am I turning the volume down on some? Are some dying to be unleashed?
Hop on over to your own private mastermind group The Coaches Collective and share your image.
Then go unleash it on the world.