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10 Aug, 2011

Trainer In The Spotlight – Liz Plumtree

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coach Spotlight|Coaching Articles|In The Spotlight|Small Business Coaching Articles|Success Stories|Trainer In The Spotlight

Trainer In The Spotlight - Liz Plumtree

Lizz Plumtree is a Business Coach who also delivers two Accelerator Days for the Small Business Coaching Diploma. She has a strong career in business and management, and qualified as a Coach with The Coaching Academy in 2006. Lizz could easily be described as enthusiastic, motivating and engaging. She lives in the North West with her husband and two children.

My best advice for marketing a coaching business is:

Be very clear about your product or service, and understand why your market needs it. This will help you to develop a strong message that you can convey in your marketing activities.

Don’t rely too heavily on one strand of activity, particularly with social media. Twitter is great, but it is a noisy place, and many followers that may not hear your message above all the other noise!

Have a good variety of marketing activities that will not only reach, but also suit your target audience. Think about where your potential clients live, work, socialise or spend their leisure time. These are the places where they hang-out and where you can communicate with them.

What is your top selling business tip?

Sell the solution, not the way in which you are going to do it. In other words, sell the benefit, not the feature. People want to know what the benefits will be when working with you, ie the “WIIFM” or “What’s in it for me?” factor. Why should they work with you? Why should they pay you for your services? So what if you say you are good? What does that mean to them?

When you are describing your work, think about Features versus Benefits. The features will probably be the types of ways in which you will work with your clients, whilst the benefits will describe how this helps them or solves their problems. For example:

Feature: I will ask some very challenging questions
Benefit: Thinking about things differently will help you to consider new options

So for a client who says “I’m stuck and can’t think of how I can change my life”, their need is to think of new ideas for themselves. They won’t care if you ask challenging questions, but they will want to know how you will help them to come up with new opportunities for themselves. They need the solution or the benefit, and are not necessarily interested in the features, or how you will do it.

Consider this: for every solution, there must be a problem or a “need”. If they don’t need you, they won’t use your services – why would they? Find out what their need is, then match your services to this.

What hot tip would you recommend to make attending a networking event successful?

Before the event, be certain you know who your target audience is and ask yourself whether they are likely to be there. Do not attend a networking event unless there are viable opportunities for you; it is a waste of time and money.

Be clear about your objectives for attending; make them challenging, but also realistic! For me, I want to get people to commit to meet with me again after the event. To do this, I try to ensure that I establish contact with 2 or 3 good quality prospects who fall into my target market. I’d rather get 2 or 3 appointments in the diary on the day, than simply swap business cards with as many people as possible.

When meeting people for the first time, find out about them first – who they are, where they work, what they do etc. When it’s your turn, you can then tailor your message to their potential needs, or describe other clients you have that are similar to them. To gain trust, and build empathy and rapport, it helps to “meet people where they are”, in other words adjust the delivery of your message with their needs and preferences in mind.

Finally, develop and practice a good elevator pitch! Create a short message that describes your business which should last no longer than 30 seconds (and preferably do it in 20). Be prepared to amend it to suit your audience, so it pays not to learn it word for word.

The thing I love most about coaching is?

The thing I love most about coaching is the sheer power of it. I’ve been coaching now for over 5 years, and still get such a buzz from sharing a piece of someone’s journey as they move themselves forward. Coaching helps to unlock so many opportunities for people, and provides them with the motivation to achieve some truly stunning goals. Being a part of that with someone is a responsibility, but also an honour.

Having the chance to combine my passion for Coaching with my love of business is just fantastic for me. Not only does it provide me with a great career, it has also taken me to some wonderful places, and I have worked with some amazing people in a whole range of organisations. I also use Coaching widely outside my business in some of the community and volunteer projects in which I am involved. The opportunities are endless, and ideal for someone like me who has a tendency to get bored quickly!

What would you say to those embarking on their coaching journey?

That it is exactly that…a journey, and one which you should strive to enjoy, rather than get hung up about reaching the destination. Many aspiring coaches that I have met start the journey with a very clear vision about what it is they want to achieve from their new skills and, ultimately, their qualification. There are others, and I suspect that these may be the majority, who have discovered coaching almost by accident, have found that it has changed their own lives, and who now want to bring that experience to others. Quite how they are going to do this, with whom and how, is as yet unclear.

To these people I would say “relax”; at this stage you don’t know what you don’t know. As you continue along your journey, develop new skills and put these practice, you will find that certain areas of coaching excite you more than others. Consider what other skills and experience you have; how could coaching be incorporated into these? What opportunities exist for you to use your coaching within the work-place, within your local communities, within your social networks? Allow yourself some creative space, free from any pressure of “finding your niche”, and your niche may just come and find you.

My favourite self development book is:

“The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. I first read this a few years ago on a recommendation from a friend (which went along the lines of: “You’re a coach…you’ll love it”). I have since heard that this book needs to find you, not the other way around, which may explain why I did not take to it on the first read.

I have since re-read it after a number of people mentioned it “out of the blue”, and it seemed to appear on every book search I conducted, regardless of I was looking for. I took the hint; I guess it was trying to find me that time!

It’s a great book and hugely inspiring if you are ready to read it. It bases itself on the universal laws of attraction, and there is so much in it about positive thinking and allowing yourself to conjure up the most fabulous goals. It is a great read for anyone interested in personal development, and also a useful tool for coaches. It’s hard not to get excited when reading it.

I’m cautious about recommending this – don’t read it because I say so, read it because you know it will make a difference.

Liz Plumtree

1 Response to "Trainer In The Spotlight – Liz Plumtree"

1 | Tim O'Rahilly

August 10th, 2011 at 10:21 am

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I first took the Small Business Coaching Diploma because I saw myself as a Personal Performance coach with no knowledge of business practices and thought the course would help me with my own business.

Both of the days that Liz presented were practical and infomative and through her passion about the subject she made me realise that not only could I manage my business but I could coach others to do the same!

Reading Liz’s reply to the question about the coaching journey they resonated with me because indeed my journey is not the one I thought I had set out on 2 years ago! The journey has indeed been fun and thanks to Liz and the other presenters on the course I am now earning money as a business coach!

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