Understand How to Find and Attract Your Ideal Life Coaching Clients to Grow Your Life Coaching Business
When it comes to how to get coaching clients…
New coaches often take a “build it and they will come” mentality to starting a new coaching business.
They mistakenly dedicate all their time and resources to creating a website, announcing their new career on social media, and launching all the technical aspects of their coaching business, assuming that potential customers will find them and want to work with them.
When that doesn’t work, those struggling coaches will spend even more time changing different parts of their businesses or offers. They might adjust their prices, offer a special, come up with a free gift to entice more people to join their email list, or change what they’re sharing on social media…
And, while all those adjustments are sometimes necessary in the process of growing your life coaching business, doing them without the right foundations in place usually means you end up doing a lot of hard work for very little return.
Finding and attracting your ideal clients requires 3 simple steps:
- Know Your Target Audience: Get clear on who you want to serve and who you do not want to serve
- Connect with Your Ideal Clients: Find opportunities to build know-like trust
- Map Out The Client Path: Understand the path your clients will take to work with you and what happens next
Step 1: Know Your Target Audience
How to Identify Your Ideal Client to Grow a Successful Life Coach Business Quickly
Successful life coaches understand that they cannot appeal to everyone.
Instead, they form a clear picture of who they most prefer to work with to ensure their clients experience better results AND their businesses generate the results they desire.
Because it’s incredibly important to hold a clear vision in your mind of the kind of person you’d really love to work with, so that you can begin attracting these types of ideal clients to your coaching business.
Your ideal clients make up your target audience. A target audience is the group of specific people who would most benefit from working with you and are most likely to engage with your coaching services.
Here’s why it’s beneficial to have clarity around who makes up your target audience before you do anything else in your coaching business:
- You can design your coaching business to focus on the people most aligned with your skills, approach, and passion. That means bigger impact, better results, and more positive momentum in your business!
- You’ll have the opportunity to refine your skills and grow your knowledge to help with their specific problems, challenges, and goals. It would take lifetimes to learn the best way to work with every person on the planet, but when you refine your coaching business to focus on the right clients for you, you can become an expert in what they need and how to help them.
- Your coaching practice will stand out from among all the other businesses in the coaching industry. When you tailor your content, resources, and messaging to a specific group of people, you become a beacon of hope and possibility to the people you’re meant to help.
- You can spend your time creating relevant content and offers that will resonate with the right people for your business. Your ideal clients are more likely to find your business and get the help and insight they need, and you’ll waste less time, money, and energy creating resources and content that don’t work. It’s a win-win situation!
To help identify your target audience, imagine your ideal coaching business and ask yourself the following questions:
- Who you would most love to work with
- The problems you are most qualified to solve
- A problem people are willing to pay to have solved
As a coach, your ideal clients lie at the intersection of these three questions. As you answer them, challenge yourself to be as specific and clear as possible.
The more you understand who your unique skill set, perspective, and message will best serve, the more you’ll be empowered to create a business plan, marketing strategy, social media presence, and coaching programs that not only offer the most value possible to your ideal clients, but also make them more likely to want to invest in your services!
You might be afraid that being too specific when choosing a target audience or ideal client will result in less success. In fact, this is a common mistake among new coaches!
They think, “The more specific you are, the less people there are to work with. The less clients I have, the less my life coaching business will succeed.”
The opposite is actually true!
Refining your ideal client is a great way to get very clear about who you help and how. That clarity will help you connect with more of the right clients, faster and easier.
If you’re still working to identify who your ideal client is, we guide you through the process in more detail in this post!
Tip: Use the 2nd Layer of Qualifications to Get Coaching Clients
Once you’ve narrowed down your target audience and gotten specific about who your ideal clients are, the next step is to make sure that they are the best possible fit for the work that you do.
Just because a person fits into the description of your target audience doesn’t mean that they’re the perfect fit for your coaching services.
For example, imagine you’ve decided that you would most love to become a health coach and work with coaching clients who are new mothers struggling with weight loss, stress, and self worth. It might be easy to assume that any new mother who fits those criteria would be the perfect client for your business.
However, as you grow your coaching practice, you might come across new mothers who are stressed and want to lose weight, but who don’t see the real value in coaching. They might believe that coaches aren’t really qualified to help people in the long run.
It may seem obvious that those mothers aren’t your ideal clients even though they fit into your initial target audience criteria, but the trap that many new coaches fall into is this: They spend time trying to change the minds of people who are not truly aligned to work with them instead of focusing their time, energy, and resources on the potential clients who are.
The solution? Once you know that someone fits into your target audience and would be a good match for your coaching skills and methodology, use this powerful, second layer of qualifications to help you determine if they would truly benefit from a coach-client relationship with you.
Look for clients who check off all four second layer requirements!
The 4 Traits of Your Ideal Coaching Client
1. They’re ready for transformation.
As a life coach, your primary responsibility is to support and guide your clients as they create and step into a new future. Any potential client who wants to work with you should be someone who is really, truly ready for growth and transformation.
Signs a potential client is ready for transformation:
- Willing to take action
- Able to accept feedback
- Ready to be held accountable and take responsibility for their results
- Willing to try new approaches to get the results they desire
- Recognize that change is possible
- Are interested in more than just the easiest way forward
2. They have a goal or a dream, or simply a deep longing for more.
Ideally, you want to work with someone who either has or wants to have a dream for their future. Even if they don’t have a clearly defined dream yet, they will have a sense of discontent with some result that they are experiencing in their lives.
3. They’re coachable
You can be the absolute best coach in the world, but if you have a client who isn’t willing to be coached it will be incredibly difficult for you or your client to see the results of your work together. Working with someone who isn’t willing to accept your guidance will make forward progress on any goals or dreams that require them to stretch outside of their current comfort zone nearly impossible.
Many coaches find it valuable to assess someone before they begin coaching them. This is usually done through a short clarity call, a free coaching session, or an intake questionnaire.
After connecting with a potential client, ask yourself the following six questions to help you determine if they’re coachable:
- Is this person curious about themselves? Does it seem like they have a desire to reflect on their results and improve their life?
- Are they willing to take personal accountability for the results they currently have in their life, whether they like those results or not?
- Do they respond with enthusiasm when presented with new challenges and learning opportunities?
- Are they willing to experience discomfort or have difficult conversations to move forward on their goals?
- Are they willing to try on different assumptions or beliefs? Or does it seem like they have a strong commitment to always being right?
- Do they seem open and receptive to feedback?
4. They’re willing to invest in themselves
Your ideal client is someone who is willing to invest in themselves for the result they say they want, and specifically, by means of investing in a coaching program with you.
If you struggle with the idea of collecting payment for your services or determining if a client is able or willing to invest in themselves before agreeing to work with them, I encourage you to think about it this way:
I fly frequently. When I buy a plane ticket from United Airlines, I don’t really want the plane ticket, I want the end destination. But, I know that I can’t get there without the support of United Airlines or some other airline. I don’t own a plane, and I don’t have the expertise to fly one to get me to where I want to go.
It’s the same for any client you consider working with.
They come to you not because they want a coach, but because they have an end destination in mind.
Your potential clients know they need someone to help them bridge the gap between where they are now and where they truly want to be in life. They know that if they could have fulfilled their goals and dreams on their own, they would have done it by now!
Here are some signs that a potential client is someone who will likely be willing to invest in themselves:
- They have invested in personal growth coaching, programs or events in the past.
- They invest their time into reading books to build their knowledge and expertise in the area of personal and/or professional success.
- They seek out opportunities to meet and connect with other like-minded, success-driven people.
- They express that they are eager to have the support and guidance of a coach, and want to know how quickly the two of you can get started.
When a client possesses all four of these qualities, in addition to fitting into the target audience for your unique coaching approach, they are your ideal client!
Step 2: Connect with Your Ideal Clients & Build Know-Like-Trust
First, I’d like you to consider an important mindset shift when it comes to getting clients for your coaching career, whether that client be your first or one of many.
Scenario 1 – “Get”
Imagine walking into a room intending to “get” something from the people already there. You’re looking around and wondering who you can “get” as a client. You’re aware that you need and want clients for your business, and can’t help but view the people around you as a way to potentially get that need met. At the back of your mind, you wonder what you’ll do if none of them want to work with you. You start thinking of all the ways you can to convince them to be your clients. Notice how that feels in your body.
Most likely, you’re going to feel lack– a contracted emotion. You’ll likely come across as a little more needy and slightly more tense, because you’re coming from a place of need.
Scenario 2 – “Give”
Now imagine walking into a room and you’re there to give. No matter with whom you speak to, whether they become your client or not, you seek to engage them in a way that is genuine and authentic. Offer value to them in a way that lights the fire within them of a life they’d love living.
You aren’t worried about who becomes a client or who doesn’t because you know that your ideal clients are just waiting for your message; they’re already aligned with the work you’re doing in the world. You trust that if you interact with people in a way that is honest and giving, the right people will show up for you. Notice how this feels in your body.
Most likely, you feel more relaxed, welcoming, and curious.
When you come from a place of “give” you will attract all kinds of things to you that you can never imagine would come your way.
Some of our newly certified life coaches who have signed up clients they met on an airplane or after sharing a taxi, just because they came from a place of “give” instead of “get.”
From that perspective, start ask yourself:
- Where are my ideal clients most likely spending their time?
- How can I connect with them from a place of genuine, welcoming curiosity, whether they ever become clients or not?
- What value can I add to their lives that will both help them where they are right now and increase how much they know-like-trust me?
Tip: Clarity & Value are Your Best Marketing Strategies to Get Coaching Clients
Finding and connecting with your ideal clients requires visibility and consistency, especially in the spaces where they’re naturally already spending their time. For example, if your ideal client is a woman over the age of 45, Facebook and Instagram might be a good use of your time.
But, before you start posting, designing pretty graphics, or even investing your resources into things like branding, logos, and photoshoots, remember this: Clarity and value always trump style and gimmicks.
Marketing your life coaching business to connect with new clients doesn’t have to be fancy, expensive, or highly tech savvy.
Your first priorities should be:
- How clear is my content? How clearly do I communicate what I do, who I do it for, and how people can take the next step to deepening their relationship with me?
- Am I offering value first? Does my content speak to the needs, desires, problems, and challenges my ideal client is facing? Am I demonstrating how I can help them overcome their challenges and achieve their goals? (show, don’t tell!)
- How am I building know-like-trust? Are my efforts working to increase how well my potential clients know me, like me, and trust me as someone who can help them?
Everything you create and put out into the world as a life coach should align with your values as a coach, speak directly to your ideal clients, and accomplish one or more of these three powerful criteria.
Step 3: Grow Your Client Base by Extending the Client Path
As a life coach, attracting new clients is always going to be a part of your business.
However, in addition to finding new clients, successful entrepreneurs will tell you that the most effective way to grow your business is to offer additional products, services, and ongoing support to your existing clients.
These are the people you’ve already established a relationship with, and that already know, like and trust you, and who have already experienced success with your work.
Once your clients see and experience the results of working with you for themselves, they’re going to be eager to continue working with you so that they can continue enhancing the quality of their lives.
As your client’s lives start to expand and improve, they will begin saying to you,
“This has been amazing, I want to keep going! What’s next?”
Ideally, you will have established a clear client path in your coaching business. You want to be able to guide your clients down a pathway, inviting them to engage more and more with your work, from the moment they first encounter your work to the moment they complete their first coaching program.
Offering existing clients the opportunity to continue their work with you after they’ve completed their initial program or commitment is called “extending the client path” — it’s extending the coaching experience, which also increases your business revenue and, more importantly, your clients’ results!
Most life coaches are never shown how to master extending the client path
The most successful life coaching businesses are not coaching businesses where clients buy one coaching hour at a time, or three months of coaching, and then another three months of coaching after that…
Clients love it when they feel like they’re really progressing through a learning experience, while their life is expanding and growing in harmony with a vision they have for their life. And they are more likely to continue to invest in clear, transformational programs designed to help them accomplish specific goals.
This is the reason that at Brave Thinking Institute, we give our certified life coaches access to a powerful series of transformational programs that they can offer their clients.
Our coaches have the ability to extend the client path for up to a year or more, to continue helping their clients generate extraordinary results over a longer period of time. This is one of the reasons why many of our coaches are exceeding six-figure incomes per year. (Find out more about our life coach training programs here!)
When you start your coaching business, clearly map out your client path, from the very first interaction your potential clients might have with you, to where you will direct existing clients to further their results and continue to work with you.
Valuable Instagram content >> Link in Bio to free workshop >> Sign up for email list for free workshop >> Welcome email >> Free Clarity Call >> 6 month coaching program >> 3 month Level 2 coaching program >> 3 month group coaching mastermind
In this example, a coach may connect with a potential client on Instagram and invite them to sign up for a free workshop in exchange for their email address, and then eventually sign up to be a coaching client. This is the client path most new coaches focus on.
And while connecting with new clients is certainly important, the coach in the example was able to extend their client’s 6 month commitment by an additional 6 months by having programs and offers already created for when that client’s initial coaching program would end!
Tip: Be Consistent at What Works for You
Becoming a successful life coach is built on connection- and there are countless options as to how you can connect with the best clients for your business.
But remember, however you choose to market your life coaching business and reach your ideal clients, choose the things that you can commit to doing consistently.
Your future clients will need time and repetition to know-like-trust you enough to invest in your services, and you want to make sure that you’re at top of mind when they encounter the problems you can help them solve.
So whether it’s joining meetup groups, speaking at events, offering free workshops or free sessions, creating youtube videos, writing blog posts, or showing up on your ideal client’s favorite social media platform, consistency is key to making your efforts in visibility work.
That means investing your time and focus in showing up in the ways you’ve chosen to connect with your potential clients on a regular basis, always offering value, being clear about the services you offer and how people can work with you, and making the effort to consistently build relationships with the people you want to work with.
At the end of the day, there are no rules for how to best connect to your potential clients. Choose what works best and be willing to evolve and adjust as you build your client base and your business.
Want to Position Yourself as the Go-to Coach in Your Niche?
One of the best ways to successfully position yourself as an expert in your niche is to know your coaching style.
Not only will it shine a light on the unique strengths you can leverage in your content and your coaching sessions, but it will also help you avoid potential pitfalls and finally stop second-guessing your gifts and talents as a coach!
Knowing your coaching style will help you:
- Feel confident knowing your coaching zone of genius
- Be empowered to offer clear and more impactful solutions in your content and client sessions
- Create more ideas and offers that will work for you and your ideal clients because they’re aligned with your natural strengths