How do I get in touch with clients as a life coach?
July 2, 2018 10:02 AM   Subscribe

I have decided to take the plunge (who can tell another what to do) and do it. I.e. become a life coach, that odd profession that is not quite therapy but also not not (no offense to my medical brethren, please). My background is in schools where people all naturally meet each other. Because of this, it isn't so easy - not like just putting up a profile on Psychology Today. Where do people go nowadays? Life coaching forums? Clearly MY strengths lie less in predicting market trends than emotional understanding, training and development and so perhaps YOU metafilter could coach me through it.

Joking aside what is in vogue? I intend to get professionally made cards, of course, as ye networking is a given in this situation. Basically this is a side business and something I would do for free frankly, so any suggestions covering that line are fine.
posted by karmachameleon to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There is training for this line of work. Because you are aware of the emotional aspects of the work, I’d suggest getting that training. A good program can put you in touch with techniques and forums for finding qualified clients.

You don’t just want clients. You want qualified, motivated clients.

You mention your background is in the academic world. Academic career coaching is absolutely a subspecialty and you might be well suited to explore it.

First stop, get yourself training and a credential.
posted by bilabial at 10:14 AM on July 2, 2018 [8 favorites]

From what I've observed a full 50% of your effort will be marketing, attending various meetups most every day of the week, have nice cards, website and flyers, learn to recognize not just a candidate but a qualified (needs and can afford) (look at the shoes).
posted by sammyo at 10:27 AM on July 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

Lots of people are claiming to be life coaches these days. How do you stand out?

I worked with a health coach about a year ago - I knew about him because he wrote a book and had a podcast. I knew about those because he worked in a health area that I was already familiar with and had appeared on a podcast I listen to regularly. I wouldn't have trusted working with someone who was just on a list somewhere or had an ad someplace. I think the answer is going to depend on whether you're working in a specific area and what makes you a good choice for this. If you're in a specific area, you might be able to eventually get referrals from others in that area.

I also know someone who just sort of decided that she's a life coach now. I just looked to see if her website is still up, and I can't find it. So I don't think it worked out.

Maybe you've already thought these things through thoroughly - you don't say. But in that case, I think we need more details to help you.
posted by FencingGal at 10:30 AM on July 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I am assuming you are getting certified? If it’s from an ICF coach, I believe they will also cover some of this as a starting point for you. At least my instructor did.

With most marketing, a narrow and deep focus is better that shallow and wide. Putting your focus on your specialization will be important, and will help you with directing your marketing focus.

(It is really hard to navigate through the b.s. around the industry, which is unfortunate.)
posted by MountainDaisy at 10:30 AM on July 2, 2018

I don't mean this to be unkind, but I think it would be helpful you to get clear that life coaching is, in fact, NOT therapy. This will help you in a couple ways.

First, being clear about that will help you avoid getting into sticky situations with your jurisdiction's licensing boards, who regulate folks who practice therapy without the proper credentials.

Second, it will likely help you to define the scope and focus of your coaching practice. One of the pieces of marketing advice that I often hear is, get clear with yourself about who your ideal client is and then craft your marketing materials to appeal to them. So, eliminating folks who are searching for/in need of therapy from that pool is one way of narrowing your focus.
posted by overglow at 10:44 AM on July 2, 2018 [5 favorites]

I once tried out a life coach I found via a bulletin board at a yoga studio. It had her picture and a paragraph about her philosophy and how she worked that really appealed to me. And it mentioned that the first session is free.

Unfortunately I actually didn't find her style of coaching to be a good match, so there's that -- you probably need to attract some multiple; if you want 10 clients, maybe you'll need to get 20-30 people to try a session.

But if you get super clear on who your ideal client is, then a whole other set of marketing avenues might exist. Like if your ideal client was dealing with balancing work and parenthood, you might want to advertise at daycares or tell midwifes in your area that you'll pay them a referral bonus or pay for Facebook ads targeting members of various parenting groups or etc. etc. etc.
posted by salvia at 1:49 PM on July 2, 2018 [5 favorites]

Hmm.. This is intriguing. Could you give is a few more specifics - curious to know more about how your coaching daydreams play out .. maybe a few different sorts of clients you've imagined ? Or thes sort of problem solving convo you'd be great at?
posted by elgee at 9:23 PM on July 4, 2018

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