As a career, life coaching is more popular than ever – more and more people worldwide are engaging in life-changing, value-adding coaching-client relationships. But don’t let the saturated market fool you: those who are excellent at coaching don’t struggle with income.
One key to truly transformational and profitable coaching is influence. In his book Leadership 101, personal growth and leadership expert Dr. John C. Maxwell says, “The greater the impact you want to make, the greater your influence needs to be.” Before the coach-client relationship begins, influence works to build your life coaching business and establish your reputation – and after, it works to help your client achieve their results.
So, how does a coach gain influence?
MAKE THE SHIFT FROM “GET” TO “GIVE”
Most people look for their gain in any given situation. They’re looking at others, but they’re asking, “What can I get? How can I get this person to do what I want them to do? How can I get more opportunities? How can I climb that ladder? How can I get them to give me the promotion? How can I get them to spend money with me?” And that is such a backward way of looking at it – even more so in the coaching space.
I don’t want you to feel guilty if that’s the question that you have been asking. It’s a natural question to ask when you start thinking about influence. But the more important question is, “What can I give?”
Step back from the idea of getting coaching clients for a second. Put yourself in any important meeting. You know what you want the outcome to be. You have two options:
- Try to persuade the room that your way is the best way – present your evidence, your bulleted list of reasons, and hope that you can convince them.
Now, if you do that, you might get what you want. It works sometimes. But you have another option, too.
- Ask what you can contribute and focus on bringing about the greatest good for everyone involved.
When we start asking “What can I give?”, we start noticing what others want. We start putting more focus on adding value, and there’s not this large pressure to convince. Instead, you’re showing up in a spirit of service. You instill a greater level of trust; you show them you care about what matters to them. Even if they know there’s a particular direction you want to move in, they sense they are in a safe space to collaborate, discuss, and open up, and that creates an actual relationship – or, in other words, better influence.
This is true in any relationship – spouses, friendships, community involvement. But the life coach-client relationship is unique in that the relationship revolves entirely around the client. They have to know you’re for them, and asking “What can I give?” lets them know you’re for them.
OWN YOUR WISDOM
You’ve learned a lot that you may not give yourself credit for. However old you are, you’ve been on this earth for that many years, and I guarantee there are some amazing lessons that you’ve learned. Perhaps you have learned how to forgive or persevere or shift gears and chance and be resilient in the face of the unexpected. Maybe you’ve really learned how to climb the corporate career ladder or how to launch a business. Maybe you’ve learned some things about marketing or any other field. You’ve got wisdom. But the key is owning that wisdom.
What is your wisdom? What do you know for sure? What do you know that you cannot be unconvinced of because you’ve been there and done that?
Own it and live it – because when you live it, other people will see you living it, and they will be attracted to that. They will be attracted to your courage, to your vision, to your clarity – and they will want you to coach them to do the same thing.
People know when we’re “faking it” or pretending to “have it all together.” Putting up that boundary prevents clients from sharing the truth of what they’re going through. That’s why, as a coach, it is so important to be authentic.
Authentic communication is being real. It’s being transparent. When you are able to share from a place of having made mistakes, people trust you. You create the safe space for them that is essential for them to share their feelings, their fears, their desires, and their vision.
You’re able to show them that, even though the journey may not have been perfect, you are proof that there is hope for growth; they can make their desires actually come to pass; perfection is not required in order to make progress.
You inspire them to think, “Maybe this person can actually help me make shifts in my perspective that allow me to see things differently.”
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About Valorie Burton
Valorie is CEO of the Coaching and Positive Psychology (CaPP) Institute. Her company provides coaching, coach training, and resilience training and has served clients in all 50 states and 20 countries on six continents. Valorie has been a coach herself for 20 years and has been named one of personal development’s top 100 thought leaders. Discover how Valorie can add value to your next event.