It happened so fast. One minute it seemed that I was gearing up for a year of speaking events (and going to great gigs!) And the next everything changed.
Within 48hrs of New Zealand going to Level 2, all of my regular retreats were cancelled and one of my VIP clients had stopped their coaching contract citing ‘unnecessary business expenses’.
I also had to cancel and refund an in-person workshop scheduled for the following Friday. For a moment there it was worrying… But at the same time, I realised that this is what I have trained for as a Professional Coach. This was my time to shine. To lean into the discomfort of being visible and step into my zone of genius.
Suddenly there were huge swathes of people who were stuck in stress.
People were fearful of losing their livelihoods.
People were fearful of being locked up 24/7 with their partners and children.
People were fearful of what was happening to their friends and family in other parts of the world. People were fearful. And as we move out of lockdown, this is still true. It is still time for you as a coach to lean in and come out of this pandemic stronger than you were before.
Coaches are trained to assist with transition. And as we move from different levels and rules in lockdown, the transitions trigger the same fears and challenges.
This is what we are trained to help our clients navigate.
Just as you demonstrate flexibility with your clients, be flexible in your approach now, and you will come out on top.
There is still as much money in the world as there was before, it’s just being spent differently.
What has happened has wakened a lot of people up to the complacency they were stuck in before Covid-19, and they are taking action. It may not be the audience that you are used to serving, but new people are looking for you. Be open to the prospect of welcoming clients from industries and sectors that you haven’t explored before.
Just as some businesses will sadly fail over this time, some coaches will get caught up in the doomsayers messaging saying that no-one has money for coaching, when in fact there are many who are looking for coaches to help them succeed and stand out.
People are looking for executive coaches to help them support their teams better and reset their future vision.
People are looking for business coaches to help them navigate their way
through the challenges or go out on their own.
Just as some businesses will sadly fail over this time, some coaches will get caught up in the doomsayers messaging saying that no-one has money for coaching.
People are looking for career coaches to help them take their next steps.
Here are ways to make this situation work for you:
Being available is not sleazy or exploitative. How can the people who need you find you if you are not showing up? Your audience are likely more engaged with your content than before. (One FB post I made resulted in an invitation to be a guest on a podcast, and now I have been asked to return. Another resulted in coaching enquiries. And another sold my coaching skills courses to students.)
Keep your communications simple
Remember that stress can compromise people’s ability to process information by up to 80%. Make it easy for them.
You have trained hard to have the skills that you have and there are plenty of people out there who are looking for what you can help with. Now is not a time for you to suffer for the benefit of everyone else. Do not discount your coaching services. Whilst it is true that some of your current audience may not be able to meet your prices now, there are whole new segments of the market shopping in your price bracket.
Get creative and reach more people
When I had to cancel my workshop, I instead ran a free training on How to Manage Stress In Uncertain Times. This meant that I could satisfy my desire to help as many people as possible, but I did not discount my services. (This has resulted in enrolling clients and securing online speaking events in numerous different sectors than I had previously been serving.)
Look for innovative ways for your clients to keep you on
For example, I have instigated a reporting system with reduced calls for one of my clients who is struggling financially but who desperately wants to carry on coaching.
If you have a number of clients who are struggling to keep their coaching commitment it might be an opportunity for you to create a group coaching offering.
Talk about what it’s like to work with you as a coach.
The more fears you can address openly, the less fear your potential clients have, and the more qualified they become to work with you.
If you are not online, get online! Coaching is a profession that is not limited by geography and when you can work globally you are somewhat protected from your local recession if and when it hits.
If you have been concerned about your abilities as a coach, now is the perfect time to really dig in and polish your skills. The best coaches will thrive in a crisis.
Now is not the time to hide, now is the time to lean into your own discomfort as a coach, be visible, and be a great coach. Because the great coaches are going to soar from this challenge.
Coaching will not only survive Covid-19, it will thrive, and you can too. Commit to being the best coach you can be.
LORRAINE HAMILTON PCC is an ICF credentialed Professional Certified Coach, Author, Speaker and CEO of Coach School who works with ambitious professionals to become legendary leaders, so that they can make a living from making a difference.
Lorraine is the CEO at the ICF Accredited Coach School and mentors a small number of high-achieving professionals into the industry that she loves.
Before Lorraine found her passion for personal development, she completed her Bachelor of Science degree and had a long and successful career in engineering (and probably knows more about how your phone works than is necessary!)
And more people than you might think have hired her because of her multicoloured hair! https://www.lorrainehamilton.net
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