Want to Grow Your Practice? First Build a Relationship
by Georgia Shaffer, MA on December 27th, 2021
In a world where people problems are prevalent, the need for relational coaching continues to grow. So how do you connect with potential clients who want to improve their relationships? And how do you reach those seeking guidance to better navigate the relational fallout that comes with daily living?
I discovered early in my career that to gain coaching clients, I first had to cultivate relationships. Whether people became acquainted with me through my writing, speaking, networking or video teaching, I realized that what I knew wasn’t as important to them as whether or not they felt we had a connection. Comments from new clients, such as, “I feel like I already know you,” helped me realize that before someone chooses to work with me, they want to know they can relate to me.
You can move from having no relationship, to being an acquaintance, to becoming their paid coach in many ways. For instance, I gained a number of clients through my teaching and on the YouTube channel. You might connect with potential clients through a blog, Facebook Live or Twitter. Pick a venue that fits your personality and skill set. Seeing you, hearing you, and reading what you write, all provide glimpses into who you are as a person and a life coach.
One action step you can take to grow your business is to create or fine tune a biweekly or monthly newsletter. Recently, I attended two conferences on opposite sides of the country. In this age of social media, the presenters at both events touted email newsletters as still being an important tool. I found that information especially interesting because I had been wondering if my email newsletter was as outdated as a cassette tape.
A newsletter is one of the top ways to engage with others because it can provide the following:
- a structure to invite people into your life and business by subscribing to your newsletter
- a way to consistently engage with potential clients
- an opportunity to repeatedly affirm the value you have to offer as a life coach
- a tool to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t
What do you put in your newsletter if you want to move people from being an acquaintance to a client? Darren Rowse, a professional blogger, speaker, and consultant, finds that he best connects when he inspires, informs, and interacts with others. Let’s take a closer look at these three factors.
Because we first process sensory stimulation through the emotional part of our brain, people are drawn to you when they emotionally connect to you. Reading or hearing your stories, especially when you are vulnerable and honest, can motivate potential clients to want to make real changes in their relationships. People also become emotionally engaged through graphic images and photographs. Include poignant, descriptive, beautiful or inspirational photos that will inspire your readers.
What do you know that will help others? Communicating to people and providing information that will help them reach their potential is a lot different than saying you want their money. People are intuitive. Don’t underestimate their ability to determine your real motive. Seek to be identified as a competent life coach who wants to use your expertise to help others grow. That is the type of coach someone will say, “I’m willing to pay for their services.”
What practical articles can you write? Think about relational topics that would not only help readers, but would be something they would want to share with their friends, coworkers or family. For example, as a relationship coach, you can share three techniques for helping people handle the resistance that comes with change. Whether it is their spouse, a co-worker or a close friend going through a difficult transition, they can connect with someone in a meaningful way by:
- addressing it, rather ignoring, the issue
- normalizing it and letting people know they are not alone
- expressing it and allowing others to give a voice to their worries and fears
With a newsletter, for example, you could send a welcome message when someone signs up. In the following week or so, you could email them one of your frequently requested articles. In two weeks, you could send them a link to a thought-provoking blog or article someone else has written. By consistently engaging with your readers they get to know you. Share your struggles and your relational frustrations and invite others to do the same. Pick a topic, pose a question, and encourage a discussion on Facebook. Ask your readers to share what relational topics they would like to read about and then respond to suggestions.
If you want to increase the number of clients you work with, realize that developing authentic and meaningful relationships can take more than a few months. Just this week, I received an email from a man who attended one of my conferences four years ago. He had been using the coaching tools I shared, regularly visited my website, and read my newsletters and articles. He wanted me to know how much he appreciated what I had shared over the years. Then he said, “I’d love to work with you as my coach.” In four years, we had moved from having no relationship to being client and coach by consistently providing value and helping him grow.
Cultivate relationships. Don’t sell your coaching. Connect with people. Focus on delivering results. When you care and put people first, your practice will grow.
Georgia Shaffer, MA, is the Founder and Executive Director of Mourning Glory Ministries, a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania, and a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coaching Federation. She has authored five books, including the best-selling Taking Out Your Emotional Trash. Georgia is a sought-after speaker, has been a media guest on numerous outlets, and developed the ReBUILD After Divorce Program. For more than 25 years, she has encouraged, counseled, and coached those who are confronting troubling times. From being a cancer survivor who was given less than a two percent chance of living, as well as someone who has personally faced the upheaval brought by divorce, single parenthood, and the loss of career and income, Georgia knows the courage, resilience, and perseverance needed to begin anew. When she is not writing, speaking, or coaching, she enjoys working in her backyard garden. It is there she loves to garden for her soul. See more at: www.georgiashaffer.com