Raising Your Coaching Game

by Suzanne Hazelton

In order to raise your coaching game, I’d like to offer you a tool to ensure you’re focused on higher value activities in your business. This will free up more of your time and give you space and energy to attract the clients you want to work with. Most newbie coaches will work with anyone, but as your skills and experience develop you can refine and offer a premium service to a specific target group, attracting the type of clients that you want to work with.

The idea for this article came from working recently with an established author and coach who works broadly with the teaching profession. She was just beginning to return to work after a period of illness. She needed more clients and felt that she needed to do more “marketing” in addition to her coaching work. She was concerned that with her returning levels of health, additional marketing activities might be too much. Rather than “do more”, we agreed that she could “work smarter”, but first she had to take a look at the activities that she really enjoyed and where she added value. She had to understand which activities weren’t in her “flow”, identify activities that weighed her down, so that she could begin the process of stopping or outsourcing. As part of this process we also began to get clear on who she really wanted to be working with, so that she could begin attracting this type of client.

Getting you more time
I’m sure the expression “busy fool” doesn’t apply to you, but it’s a rare person who doesn’t wish for an extra hour in the day occasionally! As you raise your coaching game, you will typically want to work with more and higher value clients, which will have an impact on your time. So the time to get disciplined on how you spend your time is now.

First list the activities you currently do in your coaching business – activities that you don’t currently outsource – perhaps even include activities that you’d like to do, but don’t have the time or inclination.

Once you have the list, you can use the skills / fun matrix (figure 1). It’s a deceptively simple tool: a three by three grid, with skills on the vertical axis and fun across the horizontal axis. This is how much fun they are FOR YOU, against a relative measure of skill level, which is also related to the external monetary value of obtaining the skill.

For example, in some smaller businesses, the owner cleans their own office. Where I live, I can hire a cleaner for £10 per hour whereas hourly fees of a coach are significantly higher. Thus if you do the cleaning – even if you find it fun – the task would go in a lower skill level box.

The Skills Fun MatrixFrom the list of activities, mark where they are on the skills fun matrix. Remember there are no right answers – “fun” is what’s fun for you. Remember to include business activities like invoicing, bookkeeping, marketing, networking as well as your coaching.
(figure 1).

Aim to get to a more granular (detailed) level of the tasks … not just “marketing”, but list the sub-tasks. Begin to think of the tasks that only you can do.

The goal is to “outsource” some of the low fun, low skill work, thus freeing up your time and energy to work on the things that are high value AND that you enjoy.

Getting clear on who your ideal client is
How clearly can you answer the question: “Who do you work with?” Sadly, many of the coaches I meet respond with words to the effect of “oooh, everyone” assuming this makes their services attractive to the widest possible pool of potential clients. However, in my experience, this is not true. It can seem counter-intuitive to narrow your target audience, but it makes it easier for people to remember what you do – and for you to create marketing messages that appeal to people who want your services.

Of course before you attract lots of new clients – you have to have the space in your diary to handle them, hence the first step of understanding what you can and want to get done by someone else – or outsource. This may not happen overnight – but having a clear idea of what you want to outsource, will ensure that when you do the task for what might be the last time, you document it – with a view to being able to give it to someone else. The more specific you are about your “ideal client”, the easier it is to create your marketing message.

Suzanne HazeltonSuzanne Hazelton is the author of Raise Your Game, and can be contacted at Suzanne@johnsonfellows.co.uk or via her website: http://www.johnsonfellowes.co.uk/raise-game/ Suzanne started in the business world, coaching and training within IBM, using tools such as MBTI and Firo-B. She’s studied psychotherapy and realised she preferred the future focus of the world of coaching. She’s a qualified NLP Master Practitioner, is a trained business coach and has a Master’s degree in Positive Psychology – the science of happiness, well-being and motivation. She describes herself as a peopleologist, working with people in business.

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