Time Machine Notes: Kirsten Long

Well done on grasping the fact that it will be great if you stop teaching! You’re not a bad teacher, and you had some great successes with difficult students, but you certainly lacked passion for the job, didn’t you?

You have followed your heart. Brilliant! You listened to those tiny whispers telling you to change direction completely. It’s brave! It’s risky. It’s right for you!  Now you’re sitting here on the 1st Jan 2006 and wondering how you’re actually going to do this. You will. Just believe in yourself, and get out there and take action. Let me give you some pointers to get your coaching business off the ground:

Giving free coaching sessions will attract those people who don’t want to pay for coaching. Not that I’m saying ‘don’t give fee sessions’, but be aware of this – these people will not translate into paying clients. However, what free sessions will do is give you experience, which as a new coach, you do need. Think about how many hours experience you need so that you feel comfortable to coach. I’m thinking around 20, but you can decide. Once you have done the 20, stop giving free sessions. You will attract the paying clients that you need.

On that, know this: you will always have clients. Your client base will build up slowly and steadily. This is a good thing. It will help you to build up the resilience to need for six to eight hour coaching days.  With your love of people, your experience of life and your drive for professionalism, you will find yourself with a full practice – this in itself brings other problems, but don’t worry about those now…

You are not a pushy salesman and never will be. You are like a farmer, planting a seed, nourishing the seedling, allowing it to grow and then harvesting the fruits when they are ready. Embrace that about yourself. What this approach will bring you is clients who really and truly want to be in your room and who are ready for coaching. They will be people who are committed to their growth and this will bring you joy and fulfilment.

Having said that, use social media marketing as much as possible. Start a blog NOW, send out newsletters. Something called twitter will arrive on the scene – use it. Don’t hard sell on these platforms, rather inspire people. BUT make sure your website and details are always available.

You will be asked by many different magazines to write free articles for them. Say YES every time. Get the article to them before their deadline, even if it puts you under pressure. Journalists will remember this and will come back to you again and again. The big picture scenario is that the general public will start seeing your name in print over and over – ultimately they will see you as a brand for they can trust. This will enable you to grow your business even more.

Know that your revenue generating ability is limited by one on one coaching. Focus on building other streams of income. Write a book or two or three. Oh, oh –  I hear you reminding yourself about those English teachers who scratched over your essays in red pen, and left you feeling rather useless. They were wrong, girl. You can write! You must write! You have to write! Writing will bring you joy and will reach more people.

Clients will cancel and change appointments at the last minute. This will frustrate and irritate you because it conflicts with your values of professionalism, integrity and commitment. There is only one way around this – Charge them. You will find this hard because you want to be nice. Being nice won’t work in your business. Contract with them upfront so that they know you will be doing this. DO NOT Let them off the hook with excuses (to yourself) like it’s the first time, so I won’t charge them this time. If you do this you will open yourself up to abuse. Charge them. You will get used to it, and so will they – and your practice will run much more smoothly once you all know where you stand.  Kirsten, you’re cringing inside…. I don’t care. Just do it.

Professionalism is important to you and so it should be. Keep up with your supervision, always. Attend workshops, talks and coaching events to keep yourself abreast of coaching developments. Apart from keeping up to date, the networking opportunities with other coaches will have a positive spinoff for you.

Know this – you are a capable and authentic coach. You have much to offer people in your coaching room and the world around you. Shine your light with love and humility and enjoy the journey. . .

I am so excited!!

With love and light