The Coaching Academy BlogThe Coaching Academy Blog

10 Feb, 2010

Powerful Marketing

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Uncategorized

What Others Think of You

Author and Writing Coach Jurgen Wolff explains what American Idol, The Secret, and great athletes can teach you about marketing your coaching company effectively.

When you’re training to be a coach, it seems that developing the skills to help people achieve their most cherished dreams is the hard part of the process. Only later do we realise that the next step—getting clients—can be even more difficult. Here, for your consideration, are three models from other fields that can help.

Model 1: Learn from The Secret
You’ve probably been exposed lately to the phenomenon known as The Secret, a film and now a book that suggests we can have anything we want, if we focus our attention on it. The concept is controversial because it suggests that we attract everything we experience, including all the bad things. But The Secret contains another idea that people are reluctant to admit, and it can give you a short-cut to coaching success: We want what we want, without any effort!
Let’s leave aside for the moment whether or not The Secret is true, the key thing about it for anybody marketing a service is that you have to give clients what they want and to make it as easy for them as possible.

Who has already learned this? CNN is one example: all the news in easily digestible form, repeated every quarter hour. Google has learned it: search the Internet by typing the term you’re looking for. If you’ll allow me a personal plug,

I learned it, too: in my book, Your Writing Coach, I take the reader by the hand through the entire writing process, from overcoming the initial fear of writing all the way through to marketing what they’ve written. On the website that goes with the book, I give the bonus of a dozen video interviews, because that’s an even easier way to process information.

If you want to apply this to your practice, there are three things to do:

  • Start with one simple question: What does the client really want? From this article, you want to know how The Secret can help you be a more successful marketer. From a thriller novel, you want entertainment that is full of suspense and surprises. From a coach, people usually want help reaching the goals that are most meaningful to them.
  • Make sure your marketing material engages the imagination of the recipient. I’ve seen coaching ads that say, ‘You’ll learn to be much more effective.’ This is kind of an abstract notion. But if you promise me that you’ll help me attain my most cherished goal, first I have to go inside and identify my most cherished goal, and then I will imagine how it would feel to have someone help me get there. Much stronger!
  • Be clear how this is going to be an easy and rewarding experience for the client. I’m not suggesting that you pretend it will be effortless, only that you demonstrate how you will make it easier and less fraught. Again, this means going back to what the client wants—for example, to know that when he or she encounters obstacles there will be someone standing by who can help. Also that you will guide them step by step, so they will not be overwhelmed.

When you use this method, other coaches may wonder how you attracted such success—and only you and I will know the secret.

Model 2: Learn from American Idol
American Idol is one of the top-rated shows around the world, spawning similar formats in almost every country. They’re fun to watch, but even more important is the fact that they can teach us something about marketing. Here are the lessons American Idol offers:

People love an underdog. Every season, at least one favourite emerges who has some kind of difficult background or personal issue. Maybe it’s an orphan, or somebody from a very poor background, or someone who overcame a major illness, or who has some kind of handicap. In the UK version, one year the singer who got to second place, Gareth Gates, had a stammer so severe that he could barely talk.

In your marketing material, it can be useful to stress the challenges you have faced and overcome—in many cases, this probably is what drove you to want to help others through coaching.

People love strong personalities. On American Idol it’s not necessarily the best singers who go the distance, it’s the ones who have the most distinctive personalities. Some are funny, some are sexy, some are extremely down-to-earth, but what’s important is that they’re not bland.

Are you projecting a strong personality in your marketing materials? If not, how can you strengthen your image?

People love surprises. Part of the fun of watching American Idol is that the song themes change every week (one week it’s 60s, another week it might be old classics), there are appearances by big singing stars, etc.

Do you give your current clients any unexpected bonuses? What can you do to surprise them in a positive way to keep the experience of working with you fresh and interesting?

Model 3: Learn from top athletes
A lot has been written about what we can learn from the top athletes; one of the most revealing classic studies was described in Scientific American Mind magazine. The study revealed that athletes who qualified for the Olympics had the same levels of anxiety and doubt as their less successful peers. The difference was that the Olympians were better at constantly encouraging themselves.

Forging a career as a coach can be compared with running a marathon or competing in an endurance event: you have to develop both skills and stamina, and you are bound to encounter setbacks. By adopting the techniques used by athletes, you can also increase your chances of winning. Here are six ways to learn from the world of successful athletes in your marketing efforts:

  • Pace yourself. Set small goals to work toward. Nobody establishes a reputation overnight, they do it article by article, speech by speech, interview by interview, blog post by blog post.
  • Reward yourself for reaching milestones. Have a little celebration when you reach key points in your marketing campaign.
  • Make a list of your previous successes. When you doubt that you’re going to achieve your current goal, it’s useful to remember times in the past when you have succeeded. Probably this is something you recommend to clients, but are you doing it yourself?
  • Get and give support. Find a coaching buddy or group so you can get constructive feedback, help when you’re stuck, and general encouragement.
  • Become aware of your self-talk. If you are saying negative things to yourself, consciously stop and change to positive statements—another one that you may be recommending but forgetting to do.
  • Taking a leaf from the book of Olympic athletes, accept that anxiety and doubt are a natural part of the process, not a sign that you should give up.

With teachers like Lance Armstrong, American Idol, and The Secret you may soon find your marketing efforts rocketing you to greater success than ever before.

By Jurgen Wolff

7 Responses to "Powerful Marketing"

1 | Jacqueline Pigdon

February 11th, 2010 at 11:07 am


Great tips! To fill your coaching practice I also recommend ensuring that you can articulate your prospects problem better than they can themselves. This way they feel fully understood.

Using sport as an example is really powerful. I have created a coaching product called “Life Lessons Through Sport” if you currently feel stuck in achieving your personal or coaching business goals you will want to download a copy for yourself right now!

Simply go to:

Live Your Best Life!
Jacqueline Pigdon
Australia’s No.1 Existentialist Spiritual Coach

2 | Sandy Scott

February 11th, 2010 at 11:14 am


Thanks Jurgen,
Lots of useful pointers in here and it reminded me of something I learnt in a previous life as a sales manager. It was to “let people teach you how to sell to them” – which meant finding out what their problems were and then presenting your products in a way that met their needs. Your suggestions have made me think about how I can do that more effectively on my website and at networking events so thank you for that!
Off to make some amendments……

3 | Mike Jones

February 11th, 2010 at 12:08 pm


Useful article.

In particular I like the “give clients what they want and to make it as easy as possible for them” – Keep it simple.

4 | Saundra Daniel

February 11th, 2010 at 10:57 pm


Thanks Jurgen, exceptional information from you as usual. I think that your words resonate because of the stress you put on the integrity of coaching. I love the importance stressed in having a support network – which is invaluable in this line of work.

Thank you!

5 | Cherie Concannon

February 16th, 2010 at 11:42 am


Thank you Jurgen,

This is an interesting article.

I too appreciate your point – “you have to give clients what they want and make it as easy for them as possibe” – but at what point do you lose depth in your offerings because you are striving to provide too much breadth?

All coaches have their Unique Selling Point and their own personal strengths, I think it’s a balance between shaping your clients needs to your skill sets and adapting to their situation.

Cherie Concannon
Success Coach

6 | cathy burwell

March 8th, 2010 at 1:53 pm


Thanks for those tips Jurgen. Lots to work with there.
I have to agree with Jurgen that marketing is the central element to focus on , to be able do the thing you love – if that happens to be coaching!!
I have been pretty surprised by that fact, since leaving my stable job last October to be a coach for my working life, but now appreciate that what I am taking on here (with my husband) is a completely new business mindset, that will only come to fruition through successful marketing. Where I used to turn up to work, I now turn up to a blank canvas that has to make money for me if I am to work at the thing I enjoy.

The focus I am using to achieve this is reminding myself of my belief in the value of what we do, and to keep that positive belief uppermost in my mind. This avoids the temptation for my delicate English mindset of slipping into feeling like a second hand car salesman. Coaching can transform people. Lets believe it!!
Cathy Burwell
The Coaching Dynamic

7 | Debby

May 29th, 2010 at 1:46 pm


Thanks so much for this.

I’m a motivated person but sometimes fall into self doubt and this has made me question myself as coach. How can i coach others if i sometimes doubt myself?

doubt causing deeper doubt etc!

Your point…

‘Taking a leaf from the book of Olympic athletes, accept that anxiety and doubt are a natural part of the process, not a sign that you should give up.’

is a revelation. I can now accept the odd doubt and put the deeper doubts to bed! thanks a million

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