Coaching has been dubbed the “second fastest growth industry in the US” after Information Technology. This fact has been quoted often since 2000 and still rings true today. Since coaching has such diverse subjects and skill sets, the top three industries with the fastest growing wage/salary listed in this 2009 list by the Bureau of Labor Statistics could also easily include coaches.
The coaching industry certainly has its superstars with folks like private college admissions coach Michele Hernandez, who can charge as much as $40,000 helping a student get admitted into a ivy league college. The self-help icon Tony Robbins earns up to $100,000 for a single breakthrough session.
These experts are able to command more money in an hour than the average full-time employee makes in a year. I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with some of the world’s top coaches that are making millions of dollars a year and I can tell you with absolute certainty that, not only can you do the same, you can do it better and FASTER than ever before.
The Coaching Industry…in a nutshell
Throughout history, coaches were known by many different names—shaman, rabbi, seer, soothsayer, priest, confessor, guru, and so on. Now we have business coaches, career coaches, fitness coaches, nutrition coaches, image consultants, speaking coaches, spiritual coaches, investment coaches, life coaches, tennis coaches—you name it, there’s a coach for it.
Coaching is defined by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) as a “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential”—different from therapy, consulting, mentoring, or training (although at times using the methods employed by the other four). The Bureau of Labor Statistics has only defined a coach in terms of sports.
There are coaches who will tell you what to do and there are coaches who make you realize what to do by asking you questions. An effective coaching approach depends heavily on the type of coaching (boxing or career management, for example) and the type of person you are—whether you prefer being lead or being pushed. Despite the differences between each coaching style, every coach’s mission remains the same. A coach’s aim is to make you achieve your true and maximum potential and continue to stretch the boundaries of your abilities.
With the abundance of evidence that links the success of the world’s greatest achievers and coaching, one of two things often happen: People seek out coaches or they become coaches themselves. With total revenue of $1.5 billion, the coaching industry is making itself a very hard thing to ignore.
How Satisfied Are Clients With Coaching?
An ICF report released in February 2011 says that out of the 15,000 participants surveyed globally, 83% of those who had experienced coaching relationships were satisfied—36% of the 83% being “very satisfied.”
How Much Does The Average Coach Earn Per Year?
A 2007 ICF Global Coaching Survey, conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP, shows full-time coaches earn an average of $82,671 (USD) per year, while part-time coaches earn an average of $26,150 (USD) per year. According to SimplyHired.com, executive business coaches earn an average of $140,000 (USD) per year, life coaches earn $115,000 (USD) per year, while career coaches $79,000 (as of Dec 1, 2011). Although these are great averages, its important to be realistic as the top 20% (or less) is generating enormous amounts that may not shine a fair light on the amount of hard work involved in developing these businesses. If you’re familiar with the 80/20 principle, then this should come as no surprise.
What Separates Successful Coaches From Those That Struggle?
Hard work—especially in life coaching, where supply is seen as far outstripping the demand. The reality is, a 6-figure income is not about being a good coach, it’s about networking, marketing and sales. Popular life coach Tim Brownson says,“I know one coach that launched their business charging $500 per hour without any training or experience whatsoever. The person in question was a brilliant marketer though and understood the ‘Velvet Rope’ theory that dictates the more you charge, the better people will think you are.”
Marketing for coaches is a creatively challenging field. Often coaches don’t enjoy the process of marketing their services and much prefer to spend their time coaching. It makes perfect sense to want to focus your energies on serving your clients rather than having to find them constantly, but they are the wheels that your business relies on. If you are this type of coach then you should seriously consider hiring or consulting a marketing professional to assist you. For now, start with these 4 tips to help you get ahead of your competitors and attract clients who are prepared to pay for your services.
4 Ways Coaches Can Stand Out In A Crowded Market
1. Constantly upgrade your skills
Coaching can be a very lucrative profession to those who are successful. In order to be successful you need to upgrade more than just your coaching skills. You must learn new techniques to market yourself. Positioning yourself as a leading authority is essential if you want to be among the top income earners. One of the best ways to do that is to hire your own coach that can guide you in the areas that you might be weak in. The two most important areas of your success will be in mastering sales and marketing.
2. Social media and online marketing
Social media is an incredible tool for positioning you as the leading authority in your industry. There is no better tool for becoming the first person that comes to mind when someone is looking for coaching services in your area of expertise. It’s also an extremely effective medium to educate people on the benefits of having a coach. It allows you to build relationships with clients, prospects and referral partners.
Gary Vaynerchuk says in his bestselling book The Thank You Economy…“If you apply social media correctly, your clients will buy more, they will be more loyal, they will spread your message, and they will defend you should you ever need them to.”
Today, the preferred method of finding trusted referrals is people seeking out recommendations from their friends and family on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t let your coaching business miss out on this powerful medium.
Here are some of the things you absolutely must do if you want to position yourself ahead of the crowd:
- Have a blog where you provide high quality content consistently
- Offer free reports and downloads on your web site or blog (this is a great way to capture names of people to market to)
- Set up professional profiles on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube (you don’t have to be on all four but choose at least two you can be consistent and active on)
Social media is the most effective word-of-mouth marketing tool in your arsenal.
3. Having a solid sales and marketing strategy
As a coach yourself you know the importance of having a specific strategy to achieve goals. After all it’s what you talk to your clients about. Do you have a solid sales and marketing strategy for your own business? If not, it is essential that you develop one that can help you take your business to the level you would like it to be. You’ve heard the saying, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” You must have a strong strategy in place where you’ve clearly defined your ideal client and how best to reach them.
4. Position yourself as a leading authority in your community and/or niche
If you want to charge top dollar and be fully booked with a waiting list you will need to position yourself as the Top Dog in your area of coaching. How can you do that? There are many ways; here are just a few examples.
- Social Proof – Displaying many testimonials from happy clients and having a large social media network are just a couple of the ways you can show social proof.
- Branding – Make sure you have a professionally branded presence. Is your web site, social media sites, marketing materials and business cards all branded to make you stand out from your competitors?
- Quality Content – The best way to position yourself as a leading authority (on any subject) is to share valuable content with your audience on a regular basis through articles, blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos etc. You have endless options for the world’s biggest stage.
- Referrals – Create strategic relationships with other professionals so that they are speaking highly of you and your services to their clients and peers.
- Speaking – Put together a 30-minute and 60-minute presentation where you can offer it at local business groups to provide value to the audience so they can get a taste for what you offer and you can leave them wanting more.
- Information Products – Creating information products such as eBooks, audio or video programs, seminars and bootcamps will not only position you as a leading authority, it will also help you leverage your time and create additional streams of income for yourself.
The key to creating that authority positioning is to provide massive, undeniable and irresistible value. When you do this you will outshine all the others and have people lining up for your services. Once your popularity skyrockets you will have more demand than you can handle. You then may want to consider looking for ways to leverage your time working with groups and/or selling information products.
There is no secret shortcut to coaching success. You still need to work hard and be creative in taking advantage of opportunities for yourself and your clients. Don’t wait for clients to find you, go out and find those who are looking for your services. With the technology available now, matching the right service with the right clients has become easier than it’s ever been.