What do you say when someone asks you, "What do you do?"
“I’m a life empowerment coach.”
“I help women reclaim their strength to follow their dreams and passions.”
“I am passionate about helping corporate leadership create a positive environment.”
These are pretty common life coach statements and I know they come from a powerful internal place within the speaker... but they mean pretty much nothing to a listener.
I hate to be the one to tell you. I get it - I spent for-freaking-ever trying to create a brief combination of words that would poetically grab the nearest ear and incite passion.
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You have to answer this question if you want their attention:
So they can do what?
Busy brains work like this:
If I get it, I pay attention.
I have to take an extra step, I tune out.
When you ask people to interpret "dreams and passions," you lose them. Most people don't have that information at their fingertips.
“I’m a parenting coach and I love helping parents learn to stop yelling, get the kids to listen, and stop losing sleep over the kids’ futures.”
“I’m a life empowerment coach and I love helping just-divorced women co-parent peacefully and find the confidence to get back in the dating arena.”
When you talk about “dreams and passions,” you’re asking people to take an extra step to figure out or remember what those are. It’s too much work.
What ARE the everyday dreams and passions of the people you are helping?
If you don’t know, stop guessing. No one likes it when you put words in their mouths. Be bold, and ask them. Survey them, interview them, talk to them at parties. Find out how they end these sentences:
“I always wanted to….”
"More than anything, I wish..."
"If I could make one change in my every day life that would rock my world it would be..."
Asking doesn't make you less-than an expert. It makes you good at market research.
When you talk to corporate about “a positive environment,” you’re asking them to imagine what that looks like, and what the benefits could be.
“I am passionate about helping corporate leadership reduce turnover, increase productivity, and show the kind of leadership that gets promoted.”
The thing is, the public doesn’t understand life coaching yet, never mind words like “empowerment” and “dreams” and “passions”. They understand outcomes.Think about the last time you bought a vacuum cleaner.Did you care HOW your vacuum cleaner gets the job done? Do you care if it has a 479 horsepower engine or if it helps the carpet fibers find their inner strength to get clean?
You do not. You care that the carpet is clean.
Most people don’t care HOW they drop the 50 pounds. They want to drop the 50 pounds… they want to feel fabulous in their clothes, and love shopping, and turn heads like they used to.
If they have to take a pill, sign up for life coaching, eat chicken livers 4x a week, or drink the Kool-Aid… they’ll buy it as long as the outcome is what’s being sold.
To communicate the power of your work, find out what people long for, and say it.“But JJ, I don’t have a niche. I don't have a specialty. I don't know who my people are or what they want.”
Not a problem. Try this on for size:
Party Person: “So, what do you do?”
You: “I’m a professional life coach.”
Party Person: “Really?! What exactly is that?”
You: “Well, what’s one thing you’ve ALWAYS wanted to do, like write a book or find the love of your life?”
Party Person: “[Pause while they think] I have always wanted to find a way to spend more quality time with my kids every night, I feel like their lives are slipping away in front of me”.
You: “Amazing! Life coaches are specially trained to help people create that reality! I work with people like you who long to spend more time with their kids because it feels like life is short..."
If you don’t yet have a niche or speciality, let THEM create the outcome for themselves.
Your job is to get curious, ask, and listen. You're a coach.