Nurture is Nature for Every Coach!
According to the 2020 ICF Global Coaching Study, the number of coaches has grown to a phenomenal 71,000 worldwide.
A growing coaching marketplace means greater competition and the need for coaches to be skilled in attracting and serving their ideal clients. However, many coaches associate attracting with a negative sales-y, somewhat uncomfortable approach to networking and marketing their business. Though they love supporting and serving their clients, they are uncomfortable or feel awkward showing up to sell themselves, or just aren’t quite sure how.
Rather than a pushy sales and marketing mindset, I would like to propose a shift toward a more comfortable, confident, nurturing approach to growing your successful coaching business. This nurturing mindset uses the skills every coach — including you — already masters, naturally.
Nurturing can be defined as “to care for and protect someone or something while they are growing.” As humans, relationships are at the center of who we are and what we do. Care and growth represent some of the very reasons many choose to become a coach in the first place. Our most important relationships are worth the time and care we put into them. They form your personal garden and, like plants, the relationships at the root of your business need specific care to grow and thrive.
Did you know?
- 92% of people trust referrals from people they know.
- 65% of new business opportunities come from referrals and recommendations.
- 82% of small business owners say referrals are their main source of new business.
- 39% of relationships begin through friends in common or people we already know (mostly at work).
Strong relationships — in private life and in business — help build meaning, trust, and visibility while providing a space to exchange ideas and be creative. Solid bonds boost self-confidence and growth and are humanly fulfilling for all involved. In addition, by dedicating enough time to building and nurturing your tribe, it will be there for you whenever you need it.
1) Inside: Take Stock of Yourself by Asking the Following:
- What is my goal and/or what do I want to achieve?
- What is my specific ask? (Think about where and how you wish to grow.)
- What are my skills and experiences?
- What can I offer for free with no expectation in return?
- Who are my connections and where do they hang out? (Think both online and offline.)
2) Outside: Identify Your Tribe
- Identify the right people around your goals.
- Think about your entire community — extend your curiosity beyond your professional identity including friends, family, and contacts.
- Don’t forget about indirect contacts that may be connected with the same or similar tribe (like friends of friends). For an executive coach, for example, HR managers might be good to know because both connect with employees.
3) Show up! 10 Steps to Building and Nurturing Relationships
- Block out time on your calendar every day to show up virtually or physically (via social media, events, articles, blogs, phone calls, and email.).
- Work on creating a bond, say their name, and focus more on their interests.
- Take the first step to ask an open-ended question.
- Listen actively, without judgment.
- Be sincere and honest, maybe even vulnerable.
- Use their language.
- Share knowledge or something you can give with no expectation in return (from the questions you answered above).
- Give before you get (from the questions you answered above)! Relationships are a two-way street. It feels much better to be a giver than a receiver, and it feels much better to be helpful than to be indebted.
- Follow up, show appreciation, and don’t apologize for asking.
- Be patient. Relationships take time.
Looking over these 10 steps, every coach will notice that they are similar to the very skills we already master: the core competencies of rock-solid coaching. By confidently applying your natural coaching skills to nurturing relationships, you will create the vibe that attracts your tribe and grows your connections and business. To achieve your new goal(s), it would also be only natural to use one of your favorite goal-setting tools on yourself … one incremental step at a time.
Coaching is evolving and is available in more ways to support more people than ever before. Everyone has something to offer to nurture and grow the relationships needed for a fulfilling life and successful coaching business. As a coach, you already have the natural skills you need to differentiate yourself and your business beyond your own expectations. Now, go rock and roll forward!
Ellen Kocher, PCC, will be exploring this topic more in-depth at ICF Converge 2023, which is taking place August 23-26 in Orlando, Florida, USA. Join her session “Rock & Roll to Expand Your Self, Skills, and Business!” in the Expand theme on Thursday, August 24, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. (local conference time). By attending this session, you can earn 0.75 in Continuing Coach Education units in Resource Developement.