The Center for Executive Coaching trains people to be great executive
and leadership coaches. So it might seem strange that when we
talk about attracting clients, we suggest that you avoid using
the word coach unless the prospective client is specifically seeking
Instead, we want our members to be seen as strategic advisors. A
strategic advisor earns a trusted role with clients, and clients seek us
out for assistance with their most important challenges, opportunities,
and decisions. Most strategic advisors wear multiple hats as needed,
depending on their skills, experience, and passion. Hats can include
coaching, mentoring, assessing, consulting, facilitating, training,
and more – whatever is needed to provide valuable solutions and
help the client get results. We aren’t hung up about titles.
However, even if all you do is coaching, you can still position
yourself as a strategic advisor vs. a commodity coach.
Here is why it is better to be a strategic advisor than a coach:
ONE: First, you can still provide coaching services. The two are not
mutually exclusive. So why not take the higher strategic ground?
TWO: There remains a stigma about the word coaching. When you
tell people you are a coach, the first question many still ask is, “For
which sport?” Meanwhile, there are all sorts of low level coaches, as
demonstrated most recently in an advertisement for a smoking
patch that offers online “quitting coaches.” Many executives still
roll their eyes and cringe when they hear the terms coaching, and
many associate coaching with a last resort activity before an
under-performer gets fired. Coaching remains a confusing term that
isn’t always seen positively. So why not position yourself differently
and avoid this problem, unless your client is specifically asking for
executive and leadership coaching?
THREE: It is way more effective to market yourself as someone who
solves big problems vs. being someone who only offers a generic
feature like coaching. The bigger the problems you can attack with
clients, the higher up in organizations you can go, the more value you
will provide, and the more you can charge. Even if you are a pure coach,
it is best to avoid the word coaching until after you discuss the client’s
challenge, ideal outcome, and value that addressing their challenge
will bring. Strategic advisors start with problems and opportunities
and then figure out the best way to deliver results. Coaches tend
to pigeonhole themselves into one type of solution only — coaching.
They are like the technology companies from the dot com era who
would run around saying, “We have this great technology. Now,
what’s your problem?”
FOUR: Traditional coaches tend to go through Human Resources
to get work, are seen as commodities, and are only allowed to
offer small packages of a few hours of coaching. Strategic advisors
go straight to the primary decision maker and become indispensable
members of the executive team. Of course, we form positive
relationships with Human Resources and keep them in the loop
about our progress when appropriate, but our primary relationship
remains with members of the executive team. Also, we bring so much
value to our clients that we don’t have to worry about being seen
as a commodity.
FIVE: Strategic advisors tend to have a few clients, with whom
they work for a long time. You have more impact, don’t have to
spend as much time chasing new clients, and spend more of your
time doing the work you love.
At the Center for Executive Coaching in Romania, we start with the core
competencies required to be an excellent coach. At the same
time, we go way beyond these core competencies, because
everything we teach is about becoming a strategic advisor.
That way, you reach the top decision makers, emphasize
value and results in everything you do, and have more impact.
Best of all, your work becomes more fulfilling and fun.
If you were interested in what you just read, you should join our
program. We have options for aspiring coaches who want to get
certified, and we have options for seasoned coaches who want
access to our toolkits and methodologies.
Please visit our website at:
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