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Often embraced as a true vocation, professional coaching has become more relevant.  Supporting career transitions, contributing to the development of individuals and teams within organizations, helping employees feel better in their life and their work…these are some of the underlying reasons that many choose to take on this noble profession. And yet, once coaching training and certification have been completed, the reality takes another form. In fact, becoming a coach like many other service professions, means taking on an « entrepreneurial status » and with it, obtaining a variety of competences and knowledge that may very well go beyond the initial scope.
It’s a market of supply and demand like everywhere else

One of the first, indispensible competences for development is to become familiarized with marketing and sales. Defining your position, your target, your offering, and your key-messaging will allow you to begin defining your objectives and next steps. Relying on an array of marketing efforts (networking, conferences, specialized workshops, newsletters, publications…) and visibility can make the way professionally and methodically.

Those entering the coaching world need to create alliances with strategic partners who are outside of this industry to help you in defining your price, knowing how to negotiate and how to close a deal. Add to that, the administrative tasks one must take on such as invoicing, social and professional insurance, tax declaration, etc. All of which take as much time and energy to stay on track to meet your overall objectives.

Presenting your coaching services…it’s very different than selling a bottle of Coca-Cola !

One of the challenging activities in developing your marketing plan is « promoting yourself ». It’s not a question of selling a bottle of Coca-Cola, nor is it to sell traditional professional services as a certified accountant. Going beyond a methodology, tools, a training school or a certification you have to assert your intrinsic relational skills and apply them to support your client. It is more than just knowledge and competencies; it requires your soft skills as well.

The ability to create an alliance and trust with a client is the fundamental criteria to market yourself. In other words, ultimately a sale results from chemistry between you and the potential client.

What has been learned by those who have succeeded?

Coaches who succeed find a place in the market after several years of sharing experiences. Perseverance comes largely as a factor of success. Continuing to reiterate your key messaging, maintain contracts and retain relationships will pay off in the long run.

The importance of networking is equally important. Developing new business by word of mouth is effective and demonstrates your clients are your best promoters.

Finally, even the best of marketing strategies and business models aren’t infallible. Recognize unpredictable obstacles as opportunities that can be resolved. By being amenable, flexible, curious and trusting your intuition, you will find yourself pleasantly surprised by the successful results.

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