If you are new to coaching and you are struggling to get clients or your business isn’t really where you want it to be, there is probably a good chance that you are believing in and acting upon one or more of the ‘Five Deadly Coaching Myths’.

It’s not your fault, these myths are widely held – although I’m not really sure how they got to be so widely held because they are complete nonsense. Any coach who has been in business and managed to stay in business for any length of time will tell you that they are nonsense.

These myths are largely touted by the coach training companies, I think probably to encourage you to buy the training course and make you think that coaching is an easy business to get into. I want to put you straight on these because they are doing you more harm than good, and they are not helping you to build your business.

If you are following them and acting on them, then you are holding yourself back.

Let’s get stuck into them then.

Myth 1 – If you are a good coach you will get clients
This suggests that all you have got to do is to be really good at coaching and people will find you. I am sorry, they won’t!

If only it were that simple. I know, I have worked with enough coaches over the years to know that there are some very good ones out there who are just not making it because they are not marketing themselves and their potential clients just don’t know about them.

The simple truth of it is that you can be the best, most insightful, most talented coach on the planet but if nobody knows you are available they won’t be able to engage you. This brings us back to something that I talk an awful lot about, and that is that you are not in the business of coaching, you are in the business of marketing your coaching business. If you believe that if you are a good coach you will get clients, well I’m sorry but you are probably sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring.

If you really want to get clients then you have to market the fact that you are good. All too often I see people who are not the best coaches, but who are doing very well in business, and that is because they are really, really good at marketing themselves. It might not seem just or fair but it is a simple fact of life, being a good coach isn’t enough to get you clients, you have got to work at marketing yourself.

That leads me nicely into Myth number 2. This one is such a big one. I actually created a Webinar Workshop around this this topic called ‘Nail Your Niche’.

Myth 2 – You can coach anyone
Oh really! Well ok, maybe if you are a good coach with lots of skills and plenty of extra resources and abilities in your toolbox you probably could coach anybody – but the simple fact of the matter is you cannot market to everybody, you cannot appeal to everybody. The coaching profession has moved on, general life coaching now is impossible to market, it is impossible to sell.

You have got to have a niche, you have got to have a speciality that you are known for, that you become very good at. You have got to be able to offer potential clients a specific solution to a specific challenge, problem or goal. Simply offering a whole range of different coaching services covering a range of life and business areas, is just not going to do it anymore, it won’t work.

This one I think, is potentially the most dangerous of the deadly coaching myths because a lot of coaches have a resistance towards creating a niche, they are afraid of narrowing their market but the truth of it is, you are not going to be able to market to anyone.

Myth 3 – Give Free Taster Sessions
I don’t know who it was that first came up with this idea but I believe it is the dumbest idea ever.

Imagine if you were looking for some legal representation for a divorce, would you go to half a dozen different solicitors and say ‘give me some free advice and I will decide which one of you I want to handle the divorce for me’.

Really, I don’t think so! Why would you want to give away your time and expertise for free?

Now I know your coach training company probably told you this is the way to do it. I know the one I trained with did. They told us to give the first session free, and then from that first session you will convert them into paying clients. From what I can gather, my conversion rate was pretty good compared to a lot of other people who were training at the same time as me, but I got pretty damn sick, pretty damn quick of spending hour after hour after hour giving it away for free.

Giving free taster sessions does 2 things:

Firstly, it uses up your time and your energy, and when you don’t convert them into paying clients it demoralises you, it demotivates you and you actually end up resenting giving away your time.

The second and very important consideration is this: what do you think it does for your positioning? Why would anybody value you when you are giving yourself away for free? It really does nothing to help with your future success in your business.

Instead of giving away free taster sessions you should having a conversation with a potential client, when you can discuss with them what it is they are looking to achieve, what problem that they are wanting to overcome, or what challenge they are trying to break through. And then discuss a way that you can help them with that challenge and structure a programme that suits them. You certainly should not be actually coaching them at this stage. Please don’t do this!

Myth 4 – You need to advertise and you need to have brochures and flyers printed to get clients
No you don’t! You just don’t!

Spending money on advertising is as good as pouring it down the drain!

I am talking here about paid for advertising in magazines, or in your local directories etc.

Like most new coaches, I did this in the early days and I didn’t see a single penny return on my investment. (The only exception I would make to this is for Facebook ads, they really can work for you.)

The same for brochures, you do not need to get expensive, glossy brochures printed up. It is an expense that you just don’t need and really if you are having a conversation with somebody and they ask for your brochure that is just a delaying tactic, you would be far better off asking them what information they think they might have got from the brochure and answer their question there and then.

And finally …

Myth 5 – One to one coaching is the best or only way to coach your clients
Oh No!! Big fat WRONG on this one.

1:1 is not the best and only way to coach your clients. The truth is that 1:1 coaching is the hardest sell unless, of course, you are giving it away for free which we have already covered! You are asking clients to commit to paying you to work 1:1 with you, which ought to be your most expensive offering, and you are asking them to commit to that when they have just met you.

You can work just as well with a group of clients and you can also help clients to get the results they want, and leverage your own time and expertise, by providing them with products and programmes where you don’t have to sit down 1:1 with them. It is most definitely not the only way that you can work with clients.

The other problem with only offering 1:1 coaching, of course, is that you are putting a limit on the amount of money that you can earn and how successful your business can be.  You only have a certain amount of hours available in any week, month or year to be working 1:1 face to face with your clients (and when I say face to face I also mean on the telephone or Zoom) and this limits the number of fee charging hours that you have available to you. This means your income is limited and even if you increase your fees you have still got a ceiling.

I talk a whole lot more about this in The Coaches’ Zone Facebook Group, in fact it’s what it’s all about – showing you how to leverage your time so that you can get to work with more clients and make more money in the same number of hours that you are currently working.

Here are some questions for you to help you to escape the myths:

  1. If you are not marketing yourself very well now and you are just relying on the fact that you are good at coaching to get clients, what is one step that you could take right now to start marketing your business better?
  2. What is your niche market? Consider this very carefully, who do you work with and what result do they get from working with you? How can you get that across to someone?
  3. Where have you been giving away your time and expertise for free and how can you change that, starting now, to reclaim your time and energy and position yourself better?
  4. If you are relying on advertising or brochures, go back and have a look to see just how effective they have been for you and see if I am not right about this myth. So if you have invested money in advertising, have you got a decent return on your investment? I am willing to bet that you haven’t. Where else could you be spending that time and energy and money to be more effective in marketing yourself?
  5. Are you guilty of believing that 1:1 coaching is the only way to go? If so, I want you to start thinking now about how you could work with a group of people or how you could package up what you deliver to your clients into an eBook, eCourse or an online programme.

Eliminating just these 5 things from your everyday practice and replacing them with more effective strategies will go an awful long way to helping you be more successful in your business and turning your business into the one that you want it to be.