I imagine that you, like me, want to deliver a message that resonates with people and inspires them.
The message that is most likely to have a positive impact on your coaching business requires that you tell the vulnerable truth.
When I was in the Startup phase of my coaching business, I had just moved to Los Angeles. I went to a networking meeting held in a fancy hotel in Santa Monica.
A place that was far, far away from the small town back east that I had lived all of my adult life. I was in awe of the place and the people. You know Hollywood types. At least that was what I imagined at the time.
How would I ever stand out here?
Then it got worse. As the women at each table stood to do their 30 second pitch I heard each one saying, “I am a coach…” more times than I had ever imagined.
The question persisted: How would I ever stand out in this crowd? And it kept getting louder!
One woman announced that her expertise was helping people with their sales pitch. I could barely wait until the meeting broke to approach her and find out if she could help me. I was excited at what she offered and approached my first session with her full of hope.
She talked to me about how a good pitch works, and it sounded right up my ally. I knew how to deliver an inspiring message. To talk about new possibilities for people.
Then she told me something that almost had me bolt out the door. In order to really have an impact and stand out, even in a 30 second pitch, I would need to tell the vulnerable truth. To reveal my own weakness and my painful experiences.
My resistance was visceral. A great big “NO not that!”
I had worked so friggin’ hard to look good, for God’s sake. To have people actually listening to me and believing I could help them.
I tried it out, though, right there during our first session standing in her office. I told a vulnerable truth about my first marriage. How it had failed due to my own ignorance and selling out on my own wisdom. Not just once but over and over for years. I felt the personal pain as I told this story. It was hard.
My sales coach, however, was moved to tears.
She told me that my story had impacted her personally. She was actually going through a painful divorce.
Darn … there was no going back now. I had to come out from behind a curtain where I had been comfortable talking about coaching and now I was going to include my own pain and growth in my marketing message.
As time went on and I got more comfortable speaking about my own stuff, I had a moment of great joy.
I stood in front of a networking room a couple years after that training and spoke about my new coaching business, working with entrepreneurs and many coaches.
I told the story of how I once had a niche that I loved with all my heart but had totally bombed in the marketplace.
The “bombing” in the marketplace was a very public debacle after which I was tempted to bail on my business altogether.
Who was I to help people with their business! (the whole story of that disaster is in this week’s video)
I looked around the networking room as I related that event and realized my “marketing message” was actually one of hope. People were nodding their heads. Smiling at my stupidity, my humanity. The humble way I recovered and moved forward.
Naming the pain, the problem I had experienced, made people feel known and seen. Some had similar experiences and it normalized their own story.
They were so grateful to hear my message which broke through their shame and gave them a new perspective.
I could truthfully say that that failure led me to learn and grow so I can now bring both my credibility and vulnerability in helping people land on the exact right niche.
I would even go so far as to say it is NOT a sales technique at all. It just so happens that speaking authentically and telling your stories in a way that names the pain and brings light to the solution is a gift you can offer the world.
One of my favorite exercises is looking at life through 10-year increments. It can be a great way to explore the past, mining for gold that serves the present.
Take out a piece of paper and simply write ten-year timelines from birth to now. 1-10, 10-20, etc. Leave room for a couple of paragraphs.
Then ask yourself. What were the significant experiences during that decade? Which ones were painful? What did you learn from that pain?
Find the stories that most resonate with you now and include them in your message. Share them with the world. I promise it will be a gift to them as well as freeing for you.
I have an exercise that uses the 10-year increments to dive even deeper and give you valuable information about your niche. Reply in the comments and I will send you a copy!
Also … don’t miss my next blog. I did some digging of my own after writing this message and realized some of the valuable lessons that came from my painful experience.
I tell the story of my public disaster and the learning that helped me grow in my business and as a coach. Get a head start by listening to my video below.