How I Upleveled My Coaching Business
Does this sound familiar: you know who your ideal client is and you know how to sell but something still doesn’t feel as easeful or enlivening about your coaching practice as you imagine it could?
In this conversation with strategic coach Linda Ford, we explore what it means to coach at your personal edge, how to enrol clients who are a Yes to working at that edge, and the adaptive strategies that each of us have that can get in the way of us enrolling our ideal clients.
How to Enroll Clients Who Excite You
Being a self-employed coach means being good not only at coaching, but also at enrolling new clients and running a business. In the early days it can be tempting to take on any client, but what are the consequences of working with clients who don’t require you to be at your edge?
From Linda’s perspective, the work is not to learn to coach or to learn how to sell but to be in the deep work ourselves and to own our hunger for the deep water and invite other people into it so their lives become bigger. The more we are called to be at our edge, the more satisfying our work become.
Linda has found that the most surefire way to enroll clients that excite her is to invite them into the deep end already on the enrollment call. She’s also found that this has the effect of filtering out clients who aren’t ready to do that kind of deep coaching, meaning she’s not the coach for them.
Encountering Our Adaptive Strategies
One of the main things that holds us back from coaching the way we are really called to is our adaptive strategies; our habituated way of encountering the world based on defense mechanisms. This often limits us in ways we aren’t aware of, and is of course one of the primary reasons to hire a coach.
As coaches we need to try and understand how these adaptive strategies are impacting our client enrollment and the way we run our business. These strategies are often driven by a part of us that needs attention; doing parts work can be profoundly illuminating and freeing.
They key is always to dis-identify from the part and connect into unconditionally loving presence that can meet that part. This is known as the subject-object move; when we shift from being subject to the part to a relationship with, and see it with gentleness and compassion.
Saying No to Potential Clients
If we want to have clients who are a full YES to doing the deep work, we have to be just as committed to going there with them. The first thing is getting that commitment from the client, which ideally comes from taking them into a deep place and sensing for yourself if they are willing and able to go there.
The other side of this coin is to give ourselves permission to say No to clients we don’t want to work with. If it feels like a No to us (and our bodies are good at letting us know whether it’s a Yes or a No) we can simply say, “I just don’t feel like this is the best fit”, and nine times out of ten the client will say they were feeling the same thing and be grateful for our honesty.
And in that No you’re saying Yes to something else, and that is powerful. It’s a yes to their most powerful path, and to your own most powerful path.