Building and Sustaining a Good Reputation as a Coach
In the words of one of the founding fathers of the United States, Thomas Paine, “What God and angels know about us is character; what men and women think about us is reputation”
From my experience in the coaching business, I agree with Paine.
As a coach, you serve people. You help to transform their lives. You guide them to achieving their goals and become fulfilled in life.
The people you serve have emotions that can swing from left to right depending on the situation. The way they see you can change with just one experience.
Who do they think you are? What’s their perception of you?
I like to also bring your attention to a very common proverb that says, “A good name is better than wealth”. You will agree with me that this holds true any day, any time.
Your reputation might be the greatest asset you have as a coach. Whether you are starting out or you’ve been in the business for a while, the kind of reputation you have can make or mar you.
Let me share a little story with you…
Late George H.W. Bush was the last American president to lose a re-election. In his 4-year tenure, he spent American resources fighting wars and ensuring stability in other countries. He was seen as a conquering hero in the global space – quite a good reputation.
However, the people he was serving directly didn’t think highly of him in that regard. He was seen as the president who led America back into recession. Within the first eighteen months of his presidency, the unemployment rate rose from 5.9% to 7.8%. A number, most economists termed to be an “unacceptable high”.
So, by the time he was running for re-election, his reputation had shifted from “the conquering hero” to “the economically incompetent politician”. The rest is history…
Why did I share this story?
I have seen so many coaches who started well, with life changing programs. After some years in the coaching business, they got distracted and forgot to pay attention to vital things, such as sustaining a good reputation. After a while, they struggled and crashed all the way down. As little as this is, it has a huge impact on the success or failure of your business in the long-term.
Secondly, the global marketplace is now raving about reputation marketing. It may not have been very popular in the coaching industry, but it is a wildfire that is burning pretty fast. It’s only a matter of time, and it will catch up with the coaching industry. Therefore, it is important that coaches begin to take the issue of building and sustaining their reputation seriously.
So, how do you go about this?
I will share some strategies that you can work with…
Be Honest With What You Offer
The opportunities that are opening up in the coaching industry are increasing with every passing year. The figures are mouthwatering. As at 2016, the revenue generated by the coaching industry was estimated at $2.356 billion according to ICF. This is enough to lure so many people into the coaching business.
Now, everyone and their grandmother want to be a coach. I know that there are a lot of coaches out there whose passion is to help people meet their life and income goals. However, there are still others who are just after the profits. You see a lot of people full of hype, with very little results to back it up.
You need to be honest with what you’re offering. The worst thing that can happen to your reputation is if people sign up with you, and you don’t deliver on your promise.
Don’t make a promise in your service, because you want to be at pace with the competition. You know the unique solution you are bringing for clients, tell them about it. Don’t overblow it just to attract clients. It’s good to under promise and over deliver. It’s even best to just let your prospects know what to expect. If you promise what you can deliver, it tells well on your reputation.
As a coach, your word should be your bond. If you agree with a client on a particular outcome, do well to hold your end of the bargain.
Integrity also entails you do the right thing all the time. Compromise does not do your reputation any good. I know you are driven to get your clients their desired results, but your reputation should not suffer in the process. It doesn’t make sense to get your client result in an unethical way, and jeopardize your reputation in the process.
Sometimes, things get out of hand. Things don’t go as planned. To maintain your reputation, let your client know of anything that will hinder you from serving them well. If something goes wrong, follow an appropriate way to resolve it, even if it costs you.
We have a client who enrolled into one of our coaching programs during our early years in business. Everything was agreed upon and the client paid the $15K coaching fee in full. We promised to get him results in 90 days. For some reason, the expected results didn’t come at the stipulated time.
In order to maintain our reputation, we refunded the client every dime he paid us. By this time, we had already used up to 60% of the money for logistics involved in getting the client results. It was painful to us, but we did it, because what we agreed with the client didn’t come through at the agreed time.
After a few months, he came back to tell us that he had started seeing results using the whole system we had put together for him. Even though he got the results, we did not ask him to pay again. This is because the result didn’t come at the agreed time. He ended up becoming one of our most loyal clients, referring other people to us on a regular basis.
Walk the Talk
Some coaches are a practical representation of the phrase “Do as I say and not as I do”. They tell their clients to do one thing while they do the opposite.
As a coach, it won’t be out of place to refer to you as a mentor or guide. Beyond telling them what to do, your clients want to see that you are doing same things. They borrow a leaf from your successes and get motivated to implement the strategies you give to them.
You can’t be encouraging your clients to become vegetarians in order to be healthy, while you devour half kilo of beef during dinner every day. The solutions you give your clients should be the exact same solutions that have worked for you.
For instance, there are strategic steps we use to grow our business – and we’re still growing with them. When clients come to us, we recommend the same steps to them. We don’t ask clients to go and flood the streets with bills, when we don’t do that. The same things we ask our clients to do, those are the things we do.
This doesn’t give you just a good reputation, it helps you to build trust with your clients. This leads to a long-term success in business.
Get Better at What You Do
If you want to become relevant and maintain a good reputation, you have to improve. You have to refine your services to meet current needs and demand of your clients. You have to be better at what you do.
This improvement is wholesome, not just what you offer. Your entire process should be updated to what is obtainable. Some strategies that worked two years ago might not yield results today. Some strategies that are delivering great results today might become obsolete next year.
You need to keep up with the trend. Join forums where latest practices in your field of expertise are being shared. You can find a lot of these groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Know what is still working and what needs to be improved.
If your coaching program is not constantly updated to meet current client needs, it will gradually phase off. A world-class coach today can fade into oblivion in three years’ time, if they don’t work towards improving and getting better at what they do.
Before you move on…
You already know that regardless of the boom in the coaching industry, it takes those who are ready to take note of little details, to stand out and be relevant. Little details, such as a good reputation, might just be the difference between a world-class coach and a mediocre coach.
So the question you have to ask yourself now is: “How relevant do I want to be in next 2, 3, 5…or maybe 10 years?”
It starts now; by enshrining these core values of honesty, integrity, and constant improvement into what you do.
Ready to implement these strategies in your business?
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