Using a Client Testimonial for Media Opportunities Without Overstepping Boundaries - International Coaching Federation
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Using a Client Testimonial for Media Opportunities Without Overstepping Boundaries

Posted by Adam Yosim | January 4, 2019 | Comments (5)

A client case study is a valuable way to demonstrate the power of coaching, bringing the process to life with an inspiring personal story. But before you include such personal stories of transformation and triumph, you must get permission and properly inform the client.

Here are three tips to avoid overstepping boundaries with a client when hoping to share their story with the media.


If you’ve built in-roads with a few key reporters, you may receive requests from time to time to offer your insight on a variety of related topics. Reporters may also ask to speak with a client, such as a Millennial employee learning how to properly delegate as a first-time manager or a C-suite executive navigating a leadership transition.

You know your clients best. Consider who among your clients may have a relevant and inspiring story to share. It’s also important to consider this in terms of who may be open to speaking to the media and who will want their privacy respected.

Remember, you have a responsibility to fulfill to your clients first, but when you can help a reporter out, you may also help your business—and in some cases, your clients too.


It’s important for your client to fully understand what you’re asking them to share in any interview scenario. Before approaching the client, ask the reporter what type of interview they would like, whether it’s an email Q&A, phone conversation or on camera. It can often provide a client with additional security if they can write the answers out on their own time to be emailed back to the reporter, if that is an option the reporter is open to.

For those clients who are reticent to share that they have worked with a coach, you can talk them through the process, including discussing previous interviews you have done with other clients who felt the same way. Some people may ultimately wish to not divulge any information and request a certain degree of anonymity. Depending on the type of outlet, a reporter may be able to grant that request.

Ultimately, if you have explored ways to address any concerns or boundaries the client has, and they are still hesitant, don’t push it. Respect their wishes to remain private.


If you are interested in sharing your coaching expertise with the media, let your clients know your intentions, so they can determine if they are willing to participate in an interview. Keep a running list with which clients are available, and their preferences for each type of interview, so you can readily respond to reporters and connect with clients for permission.

Even if a client has previously given their consent to share the story, it’s important to inform them of each new opportunity, in case they have changed their mind.

Combining the wide variety of ICF research with the emotional power of a personal testimonial is a great recipe for personifying the tremendous impact of coaching. Some topics will be more personal than others, so it’s important to carefully address those sensitive testimonials.

Once you receive the proper permission from clients, you will have an impactful story that will resonate with the reporter, and, in turn, your desired audience.

Adam Yosim headshot

Adam Yosim

Adam Yosim has a background in broadcast journalism, and he spent seven years as a local TV news reporter in North Carolina, Kentucky and Baltimore, Maryland. He is a senior account executive at Stanton Communications, ICF’s public relations agency of record. Adam specializes in media outreach and social media to earn positive media coverage for clients.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

Additionally, for the purpose of full disclosure and as a disclaimer of liability, this content was possibly generated using the assistance of an AI program. Its contents, either in whole or in part, have been reviewed and revised by a human. Nevertheless, the reader/user is responsible for verifying the information presented and should not rely upon this article or post as providing any specific professional advice or counsel. Its contents are provided “as is,” and ICF makes no representations or warranties as to its accuracy or completeness and to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law specifically disclaims any and all liability for any damages or injuries resulting from use of or reliance thereupon.

Comments (5)

  1. Anubhav says:

    Hey Adam,

    I am really grateful, for the overstepping pointers you mention in this post.

    But, what about the content of a testimonial?

    Most of the time we just compile a few sentences that say things about our personality & skills which we want our visitors to read.

    But it’s not really helpful for a client who might be seeking our services for their specific problems or obstacles.

    So the first thing would be to simply ask your previous clients what they think about your service. Write their honest reviews.

    Next step is to ask yourself this question:

    What are the common doubts/objections people have related to your service?

    You have talked to many people in your niche. Some of them are your clients and many didn’t sign up for your service. Maybe they had certain doubts and objections related to your service.

    Make a list of these objections. And, start asking your current clients –

    • Were they having the same doubts?
    • What helped them to sign up for your service?
    • Maybe a common doubt is – ‘This coach/consultant won’t be able to understand my situation.’

    If your previous clients had the same doubt but you understood their situation really well. And, you were able to help them gain clarity, then ask them about that and include what they said in the testimonial.

    This way you can answer the objections of your future clients. And, more people would be contacting and signing up for your service.

    Client Testimonials are indeed a great proof of trust & credibility.

    Thank you, Adam, for the insightful post.

  2. Adam says:

    Hey Anubhav,

    Thanks for kind words and insight into using client testimonials for working with ones!


  3. Great points Adam – one to add. Set this up in advance because reporters work fast. And if you need to go through a long process to find a client willing to talk to a reporter, you’ll probably miss the opportunity.

    Also, when I collect testimonials for coaches, I recommend the client tell their “hero’s journey” with the coach as the guide that takes them from “struggle” through to “success.” It’s easy for people to tell stories!

    • Adam Yosim says:

      Thanks, Brighton. That’s an excellent point as well! I used to be a former reporter, and I always told people my deadline was yesterday or ASAP. It’s a great idea for coaches to keep a running list of powerful client stories, because you never know when a reporter is in need of a story.


  4. Adam says:

    Thanks, Brighton. That’s an excellent point as well! I used to be a former reporter, and I always told people my deadline was yesterday or ASAP. It’s a great idea for coaches to keep a running list of powerful client stories, because you never know when a reporter is in need of a story.


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