If you’re new to business coaching (or even if you’re not!), here’s an important truth. When you get right down to it, at our very core, business coaches are educators. In order to properly guide our coaching clients, we need them to be teachable–open to learning. And their openness to learning depends largely on one thing: their ability to listen. Of course, anyone who’s been a coach for any length of time understands that this can be a challenge. So how do you get business coaching clients to listen?
It might seem counter-intuitive, but the place to start isn’t with your business coaching clients.
It’s with yourself.
Examine your character, conduct, and concern for others. Ask yourself: Have I earned the right to speak?
Know Your Prospect
Now don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to know everything to be a successful business coach. Instead, you have to be aware of your particular gifts, experience, and expertise–as well as an honest awareness of where your expertise ends. Know what you do best. Find out what this is by looking at your strengths and what you are most passionate about.
Then, once you understand your most profound area of expertise–what we often call a “niche”–you must create an emotional connection with those you want to educate.
Here’s another counter-intuitive insight you need to understand if you want to get business coaching clients to listen.
Before they’ll listen to you, you must listen to them.
You must create an emotional connection with those you want to educate. But how? Before they'll listen to you, you must listen to them.
Get to know your target audience’s “hot buttons,” or a set of aspirations and problems that people can relate to.
This is simpler than it sounds. You can learn about your target audience’s hot buttons by asking them.
Call up a few contacts in the niche you want to target. Tell them you’re looking to become a business coach to companies in their industry and you want their advice. Take them to lunch. Ask them about their struggles, successes, and concerns. Take notes of what they say.
The truth is, people are generally eager to share what’s on their minds and hearts when they sense that the person asking them is listening carefully to them.
Once you’ve had a few of these conversations, review your notes. You’ll begin to spot themes emerging. These are your “hot buttons,” and now you can use them to engage both clients and prospects on a much deeper emotional level.
Engage Your Clients on an Emotional Level
Benjamin Franklin is one of the most admired figures in history. He is renowned for his wisdom; however, he had little formal education. He was highly respected because of his knowledge and insight.
Franklin was a keen reader and an intellectually curious man. Biographer Walter Isaacson called Franklin “the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become.”
Because people felt an emotional connection when Franklin shared his wisdom.
When you create new educational content, whatever the format is–whether blogging, email, video, or one-on-one coaching–lean on the insights you gained by understanding your target audience’s hot buttons.
Speak directly into their core concerns and worries.
This will demonstrate your expertise, your care, your attention to detail, your willingness to listen.
And then something remarkable will happen: you’ll earn their respect.
And when you’ve earned their respect, you’ll discover that they’re willing to listen–really listen–to you.
Believe me, this will make your life as a business coach–and your clients’ lives–much easier. Your clients will get the results they’re looking for. And you’ll build the business coaching practice of your dreams.
For more great insights for beginning business coaches, download our FREE ebook, How to Become a Business Coach.