Successful life coaches aren’t selling life coaching.
Take that in for a second.
Doesn’t seem right, does it?
In fact, you may be thinking the opposite – that life coaching, delivered in a certain number of sessions or hours, is EXACTLY what successful coaches are selling.
So if they aren’t selling coaching, what’s their secret? Their magic? Their special sauce?
Well, it’s not Facebook ads, webinars, blog posts, or some sort of magical unicorn.
Nope, it’s simple:
Successful coaches are selling a Goal + a Result.
Think on it for a second – why do people buy life coaching?
Do they buy it because they want to spend an hour talking to someone once a week or a few times a month?
No, of course not!
They buy life coaching because they want something – they have a goal in mind, a problem to be solved, and they want a specific end result.
They don’t want “life coaching for stress and health”…
…they want to lose weight.
They don’t want “career coaching”…
…they want to get promoted to the executive level.
So what I mean by goal is exactly that.
The textbook definition, in fact, which is: “The object of a person’s ambition or effort, an aim or a desired result. The end toward which effort is directed.” (Thanks Merriam Webster!)
But I said successful life coaches are selling a Goal + Result.
So what is “a result?”
A result is what happens when you achieve the goal.
For example: A woman wants to lose weight not just to drop the pounds, but for the result – to feel more confident in her body, or to be able to play with her kids on the playground, or to feel like herself again.
It can be anything, but each of us have a specific result attached to our goals.
Successful life coaches know this – which is why they don’t waste energy and effort talking endlessly about the power of coaching and their transformative personal story, and instead focus in on what is important: i.e., the Goal + the Result.
I.e., Getting promoted to the executive level so that you can be recognized as an industry leader.
Or losing the baby-weight so you finally feel like yourself again.
Or any number of things that = Goal + Result.
Does it work?
Boy does it ever!
Let’s take a look at some numbers from the earliest stages of my business, all those years ago, before I figured out the magic of Goal + Result.
Initially I styled myself as a “Career coach” who “coached people in their careers…you know, life coaching” focused on private coaching.
Could I be more vague? Doubtful :).
Here is my revenue from that time:
Month 1: $0
Month 2: $0
Then I got wise! I started to figure out that people don’t buy life coaching. They buy a Goal + Result. I started to figure this out in Month 3.
I went from “I am a career coach who coaches you in your career…”
“I help professional women in their 30’s and 40’s find their passion [GOAL], so that they actually want to wake up and go to work [RESULT]”
Goal + Result revenue:
Month 3: $2000 (my first client! Happy dance!)
Month 4: $3300
Month 5: $5000
Month 9: $12,000
And I started to apply that formula as I expanded my business into a book and an online group program.
When I crafted my offerings from a place of Goal + Result, people were buying life coaching.
Here is a snapshot of a section from one day (actually less than an hour) of sales from my big online group career program, The Career Happiness Revolution.
I’ve made $100,000 in just a couple of weeks from that program. And I have done it repeatedly :).
Because I’m focused on Goal + Result to a hyper degree.
Struggling with this idea? Let me challenge your thinking:
There are two mindset shifts I need you to make.
The first is how you view life coaching.
To us as coaches, life coaching is a necessity. We know how powerful and life changing a tool it is.
It is FABULOUS.
Everyone in the world can use a coach!
But here’s the thing: to the outside world (non-coaches), life coaching isn’t a necessity…
…it’s a luxury.
It’s not covered by medical insurance. It’s not a licensed profession. It’s not something that jumps top of mind when you think “how do I achieve this big personal life goal?”
And it is expensive, relatively. You will be charging someone hundreds or thousands of dollars over the time that you coach them.
It’s an investment. It’s a luxury.
That means people don’t need it, instead they have to want to buy it.
So we can’t expect people to view life coaching as something they must have right away.
That’s why we have to focus on “Goal + Result” and really help our prospective clients connect the dots, so that they see coaching as something that they really really want.
And this principle actually works across all major luxury goods.
So, for example, do you own an iPhone?
The iPhone is a luxury good – there are plenty of phones out there far cheaper (and better in some cases).
So why did you purchase it?
You had a goal in mind: To get an easy-to-use, high-end, cutting edge piece of technology.
And you also had a result you wanted: To have a certain recognizable status, to better be able to connect with all the people who are on Facetime these days, to have a device with a less hackable operating system and a better look, to make your life easier.
That’s why Apple spends so much on their marketing, showing you how cool their products are and what you can do with them, as it relates to YOUR life. They want to align with your goal + result.
For example: If your goal was to get a phone with an awesome, beautiful video capability, with the result that you’d also get to feel like a good person for buying it (yay planet earth!), then this would really interest you:
So I want you to make the mental shift that coaching is a luxury, so therefore to be a successful coach with paying you must connect with what people want.
And what they want is a Goal + Result.
The second shift is how you think about life coaching and what you were taught in school
I’m going out on a limb here, and you may hate what I’m about to say, but at least give it some thought.
Here goes: What you learn in school, and what works to get paying clients in the real world, are two very different things.
What works in coaching school when money isn’t on the table: Asking 5 questions to help clients set the agenda, leaving everything up the the clients all the time, dancing in the moment, working on “anything.”
This is especially effective when you are coaching people who are also coach-trainees or coaching people for practice or for free, for a few hours at a time.
What works in the real world when money IS involved: Giving clients a structured framework, or system, that helps drive them towards real results.
Did reading that upset you?
Don’t get your undies in a twist here!
I’m not telling you that you need to stop doing pure coaching.
What I am telling you is that there is a difference in being a by-the-book coach, versus a successful coach-entrepreneur with paying clients.
If you want to be the second one, you need to recognize that coaching is a luxury, and when people pay thousands of dollars for something, they want to feel like they are buying more than “dancing in the moment” or “the answers are inside you.”
For instance, if you hated your job and wanted to hire a career coach, and you came to me and I said:
“You hate your job and want to find something else? Okay – we’ll do 10 coaching sessions and the answers are inside of you. I’m here to hold the framework. That’ll be $2000.”
Would you say “yes!” to that?
No, of course not!
You’d probably immediately hang up the phone.
So if you want to get paid for life coaching, you need to stop selling life coaching, and start selling Goal + Result and a few other things :).
But how do you get there? How do you really do this in a way that is both ethical and profitable?
(This is a no-sleaze zone).
Well, good news! The answer to being both ethical and profitable isn’t sexy, but it is stupidly simple. And boy oh boy does it work!
Key things to remember as you eat chocolate:
- Successful life coaches don’t sell life coaching, instead they sell a specific goal, tied to a specific result.
- Put another way, they recognize that life coaching is a luxury, so they have to connect not to what their clients need, but to what their clients want.
- People don’t like to pay tons of money for vague promises or unclear processes. They want to know you have a plan or approach that will get them to their Goal + Result.
- So what you were taught in coaching school is a little different from what works in the real world, and that’s okay. You can still be an excellent coach, but you do have to make some mental shifts – i.e, stop selling life coaching, and start selling real goals + results.