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Do You Really Know Who Your Ideal Coaching Clients Are?

August 27th, 2014 | 15 comments


Are you getting the sort of coaching clients you really want?

Not just any coaching clients.

The coaching clients you really want.  Your ideal coaching clients.  Even your perfect coaching clients.

Because there is a difference.  A big difference.

Getting the coaching clients you really want is not just about avoiding difficult and challenging interactions in your coaching business.

Situations and interactions like coaching clients who do not pay on time or at all.  Those who are perpetually late, wanting to change appointments, or clearly not fully committed to the coaching process.  Clients who want to achieve extraordinary things in a business, but are lacking fundamental and basic skills on how to manage that business and even their day to day life.  And so much more.

Of course we all want to have coaching clients that are focused and ‘ease full’ to work with. It makes everything within a coaching relationship run so much more smoothly – boundaries are known, expectations are stated and met, and there is a wonderful connection and even camaraderie that exists between the two of you.  This is so often the intersection between where you get to feel most confident and amazing as a coach, and your client truly flies with the goals and desired feelings they want from working with you.

However – it doesn’t always happen that way does it?  And if we are being true personal development crusaders and champions, then we have to know when things like this happen that we have played a role in it.  We cannot nonchalantly blame our coaching clients wholly for when interactions like this occur.  We must hold a mirror up and take a close, but still loving and realistic look, at what we have done to play into that happening – or even if we may have set up the fertile ground for it to occur.

And so to not only avoid these situations developing with coaching clients – but actually getting on the front foot and ensuring you are truly drawing towards you the best and most amazing clients for you – how do you as a life coach ensure you do all you can to make that happen?  The first and most important step is that you must truly and very deeply know who they are.  It’s likely that you have done some ‘ideal client’ work in establishing your life coaching business.  This is a good thing – in fact a great thing.  (And if you haven’t – get thyself on Google and look up some work you can do in this area.  There are some free worksheets floating around.)

However – how much attention have you truly paid, in knowing the type of clients you really want to work with, to the word ‘ideal?’  Ideal coaching client.  Not just any coaching client that may meet some basic demographics such as a Mum aged 30-45 wanting to feel healthier and more vital.  Or women aged 25-35 who want to live an amazing life.   Because, while that’s a start and likely the basis of who you feel most comfortable and inspired to work with – it’s simply not enough to really attract the clients that you most want.

In getting the coaching clients you really want you must get crystal clear on who they are as a person way beyond simple demographics such as gender, age, parental status and the issues or areas of their life they want to be better and what they most want for their life.

And you might be thinking ‘Whaaat Julie?’  Surely that’s got to be enough – especially the part about what their strugglng with, how I can help them, and what they want to achieve!’

Well…here’s the thing.  It may be enough to attract coaching clients that fit the demographic.  Could happen.  And in some instances likely will.  However, will it likely be the sort of coaching client that sets your heart on fire and where you both have the most amazing experience possible?  Not likely.

Why?

Because for a coaching relationship to truly launch into that stratospheric space more – much more – is required between two meetings of the mind for that to take place.

So how detailed am I talking here?  Let me share with you an example of some of the traits that my ideal business coaching client had when I was working with clients 1:1.  As you will clearly see what I knew deep in my heart I wanted in a coaching client went way beyond basic demographics.  This was who I really wanted to coach.

This was my ideal coaching client.  This was in fact – my perfect coaching client.

1. She was SERIOUS about her business and wasn’t just playing with it.  This was her bona fide dream.  She wasn’t going to do things like look for a graphic designer to design her whole website on Fiverr and then come screaming to me when it wasn’t working or didn’t look the way she wanted.

2. She took the coaching seriously and professionally enough to pay her invoices on time and not have someone from my team chase her.

3. She was not riddled with self-doubt. Some of it existed in touches here and there as it does for all of us, but she was not overcome by it daily and never going to not do something that needed to be done because she was afraid others would judge her.  She was stronger than that.

4. She had at least some level of technical skill, (or would pay someone proficient to assist her), that meant she was not emailing me asking what do to when x happened – whatever x was.

5. She was a personal development ‘junkie’ and soaked up all manner of suggestions, tips, books and ideas on how she could become a better person. This also meant she took responsibility for her life and her own actions and behaviours and didn’t blame others.

6. She had the ability to focus and stay on task.  She did not allow herself to get distracted by what others were doing or what she thought she should be doing.  She was forging her own path. 

7. She listened to me.  It didn’t mean she didn’t have her own ‘way’, ideas and input, (not at all), but she trusted me and trusted our relationship enough that she knew I knew what I was talking about.

8. She totally ‘got’ the whole concept of self-love and business and how the more she loved and respected herself as a woman the more she would be able to step up and make the decisions and take the action she needed to take to get what she most wanted.

As soon as I realised the above things (and many more) about my ideal coaching client everything in my business shifted.  I immediately overhauled the copy on my website to clearly articulate who I worked with, (women like above), and what they would need to do/be/execute/have/own to successfully work with me.  At the same time as doing that I raised my prices by a big old chunk.  And exactly those sort of coaching clients started to walk through my door.

Do you know your ideal coaching client in this way?  Have you ever really thought about your coaching client with a focused intent on the word and meaning of ideal?  Because ideal to me means the perfect coaching client – a perfect fit and match for you.  This is your DREAM client.  The one where every possible interaction you have with them goes so beautifully, so amazingly, so wonderfully, that you can barely believe you are getting paid to do this work.  However if you don’t know who they really are at this deep level how can you ever expect to attract them?

So if you do one thing for your coaching business today beautiful you – let it be this.  Go beyond the demographics, issues and solutions that you likely already have a handle on with your ideal coaching client, and focus on who they really need to be to be your dream girl or guy.  Because when you know them – really know who they need to be for you to show up and shine as a coach like you’ve never done before – you will never settle for working with anyone else ever again.

P.S. I would like to sincerely thank the current round of Beautiful You Life Coaching Course students for inspiring this post today.  Their desire to go deeper than ever before in creating the businesses (and lives) they most want for themselves as newly emerging life coaches has me focused more than ever before on helping them know that they are worthy of not just any clients – but the most ideal and perfect clients for each of them.

15 people have commented
  1. What a great article – it is indeed very important to understand your target audience and dwelling into such specifics will give you a good understanding of what the coaching experience should look like. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

    • I love that Jarka – “dwelling into such specifics” – we have to truly lean in to our clients and business to get the results we really want. No point holding back!

  2. Thanks Julie, great article.

    I have dabbled with ideal client worksheets but never gone into this much depth and I guess I have still been trying to work out who my ideal client is.

    This looks like a fun and exciting way to get it all out on paper. Im going to have a play with this.

    Thank you. xx

    • Go for it and be bold Kristen! Think about all the past maybe ‘not so fabulous’ interactions you might have had with clients (or at least where things could have been better) and then from there really dive into what you feel would have made them amazing. This involves you too of course but getting clearer on who you want your ideal client to be in this way will help enormously.

  3. Hey Julie! Great article! I’ve always had such trouble coming up with who my ideal client should be. I always think, “Should it be someone similar to me so I can understand them best? Or should it be someone a bit different from me so that I can see their situation outside of the box?” I’d love to know your thoughts on this. 🙂

    • I think first and foremost before even those steps Caylee it’s about asking yourself about the work you truly want to do and will help you shine and then who is most likely to benefit from that work. That to me is the starting point of finding out who your ideal client is. Most often it seems as if our ideal clients are not that dissimilar to us – if not now – then maybe at some point in time in the past because as a coach we do need to be at least a little ahead of where someone we want to coach is.

  4. It dawned on me after reading this awesome article, that my ideal client is a close friend I have. I’m going to dive in to writing my copy as if I was writing it to her. I’m also now making a list of what she stands for, what fuels her, supports her, and motivates her, etc.

    • That’s great Sarah! And sounds like an amazing start to really get to know your ideal client better which is an amazing thing to do. The more you know her the more you can serve her – making you so much more magnetic in your attempts to get new clients.

  5. This is such good advice! I was searching for a place to begin. I was searching for something that would tell me how to reach my dream clients, because every time I sit down to write anything that potential clients would see, I am completely stuck! This was very helpful in relieving some of the pressure of just getting started and narrowing in on my ideal clients. Thank you!

    • We are so thrilled to hear that Aubrey. Wishing you all the best in attracting your most ideal, dreamy clients!

  6. I’ve had my own companies in various sectors for the past 12 years, and this is the ONLY explanation of finding the right client I have ever heard that actually made sense and I fully understood! I’m so pleased I fell upon this as I’ve been struggling to work out who my ideal coaching client would be past the usual demographics…Thank you for this ?

  7. Thank you Julie for your candid and thought-provoking article! As a life coaching client and now writing entrepreneur, I have been on both sides of the fence. It takes dedication, cooperation, and determination to win at your best life!

    • You’re so welcome Yvette. Thank you for reading and its great to hear that this resonated with you just as much being on both sides of the fence too.