by Lynda Wallace

Coaches know how powerful a well-chosen question can be, particularly one that helps clients identify and build on their strengths, successes, and what’s going right in their pursuit of their goals.

In this spirit, I want to share with you one question that helped me identify a change that I needed to make to my marketing when I was starting out as a coach. Once I made it, I was able to rapidly build a thriving coaching practice—and I’m confident that it can help you, too.

Here is the question I asked myself: Why do clients choose to work with me?

Now, when you see this question, your first reaction may be to start thinking about all the people who haven’t chosen to work with you, and to dwell on what you might be doing wrong. But try to set that aside for the moment. This powerful question isn’t about what’s going wrong; it’s about what’s going right. And the answers have the power to help you grow your practice.

So why do clients choose to work with you?

  • • Even if not many of them have yet
  • • Even if you haven’t charged them
  • • Even if you’re just getting started.

If some people have chosen to work with you, it’s worth it to take some time to reflect on why.

Even if it’s only happened a few times, think back to when potential clients decided to engage your coaching services. Now, being as specific and concrete as you can, write down your recollections about

  • What they wanted to accomplish
  • How they wanted you to help them
  • Why they trusted that you could help.

Try hard to recall what your clients actually said about their aspirations, the help they needed, and why they chose to work with you. This is about their perceptions of how you could help them, more than it is about your self-perception as a coach.

All done? Okay, you now have an extremely valuable source of insight about how to grow your practice. You are looking at the reasons people have chosen to work with you.

These recollections reflect what is working in your practice. And now you can build on what is working to accelerate your growth. Here’s how.

1. Review and compare.

Review what you’ve written down, and compare it to how you describe your services on your website. (Or if you don’t have a website yet, use it as the basis of your copy.)

  • • Does your website call out the types of goals that you can help people accomplish, in the kind of plain language that your clients use?
  • • Does it specify the types of practical help that you offer along the way?
  • • Does it highlight the experiences and expertise that have inspired your clients to trust that you could help them?

2. Edit and prosper!

Now edit your website copy to better reflect the real reasons clients choose to work with you.

  • • Use more of the practical language that your clients use in describing their goals and the help that they need from you.
  • • Describe how your clients benefit from working with you, and the practical ways that you help them pursue their goals.
  • • Highlight the qualifications that inspire clients to choose you.

When I did this exercise after my first few months as a coach, I realized that the people who chose to work with me were using different language than I had been using.

My website talked a lot about happiness in rather vague terms, but the people who actually hired me spoke about wanting to accomplish pretty specific, practical goals. They wanted to change careers, or decide whether to move after a divorce, or find ways to better balance work and family. And, along with gaining clarity, figuring out their options, and taking committed action to achieve their goals, they were looking for practical help.

So I spent an hour or two revising the copy on my site to more clearly describe the types of goals that I work on with people, and the practical ways that I can help my clients achieve those goals. The exercise also helped me to see that my business background was more important to my clients than I had expected when I started my practice. So I highlighted that a bit more than I previously had.

You might find that your clients have very different goals than mine do, and that they are attracted to your experience as a parent or teacher, or your expertise in time management, or your certification as an ADHD coach. By reflecting on why people are hiring you, you can discover what you offer that real clients want most. And you can use those insights to help build a thriving practice that earns a good living for you and helps your clients create lasting positive change.

Find out about WBI’s Building a Thriving Coaching Practice course with Lynda Wallace.

LyndaLynda Wallace is a certified Positive Psychology Coach with a thriving practice offering career, life, and executive coaching to local clients in her office in Montclair, New Jersey, and to clients around the world by phone and video. She holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and spent 20 years as an executive with Johnson & Johnson, where she ran a billion-dollar global consumer products business that includes some of the world’s most iconic brands.

Lynda is the author of the #1 Amazon self-help best-seller “A Short Course in Happiness”, the creator of the coach training program at Wholebeing Institute, and a mentor to coaches around the world. She loves her work. Find out more.