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Coaches, Feel Like You Aren't Getting Anywhere?

Stop Adding Fuel & Start Reducing Friction.

As coaches we are often experts at empathy and understanding when it comes to working with our clients. But suddenly that innate and honed ability to understand human beings is nowhere to be found when it comes to marketing and getting clients.

We quickly go from being confident certified/credentialed coaches to feeling confused, lost, and seemingly completely out of touch when we step into the role of marketer and business owner. Despite all of our best efforts we find ourselves wondering:

"Why aren't more people buying my services?"

By all accounts, you may have a stellar marketing campaign, you have lowered prices, raised prices, offered group coaching, written blogs, added testimonials, created videos, written an eBook, given motivational talks, used calls to action, paid for advertising and at the end of it all you find yourself yelling at the proverbial marketing gods:

"Why don't people see I would be amazing at helping them! What am I doing wrong? What is wrong with me? Why don't they want to hire me?"

There isn't a business owner or coach that hasn't had this moment happen. First and foremost, don't give up yet. Now that we have you back from the ledge think about this. Have you ever considered that why they aren't hiring you has nothing to do with YOU?

The breaks are off, the tank is full, the car is running...but you aren't getting anywhere. This is where the concept of Fuel & Friction comes into play.

Fuel & Friction

The concept of fuel. If you had the above problem, would you ever consider putting more gas in the tank to get your car to move? I would hope not. For coaches fuel could be:

  • Your Marketing

  • Your Testimonials

  • Your Pricing

  • Your Services

  • Your Copy

  • Y - O - U

Consider this; what if your followers are already sold on you? They know you are the coach for them, they don't need anymore convincing. In fact if you keep trying too hard to convince them it's going to frustrate them because they desperately want to hire you, but they can't right now because...

Everything that could possibly come after the ellipses there is the friction. What you will find as you start to explore the space of friction is that friction has nothing to do with you, but has entirely to do with them. For coaches friction could be:

  • Their Experience

  • Their Sales Journey

  • Their Needs

  • Their life

  • T - H - E - M

Now we all have to laugh a little because as coaches we know with absolute certainty that in the coach's role it is ALWAYS about the client. But somehow we often forget that when we become business owners and marketers and make it about us and our services. But we have always had the solution, in fact those of us who have attended CLCI have been expertly trained in the solution. We have to put ourselves in their world, be curious about them, explore why it is they are not buying, and make it about THEM.

On this week's CLCI Live, Lisa Finck (A.C.C.), Brooke Adair Walters (M.C.P.C.), Jerome LeDuff Jr. (M.C.L.C), Kyle Rodriguez (M.C.P.C) and Anthony Lopez (M.C.P.C). talk about the two opposing forces that govern all of human behaviour. Fuel & Friction. We then look at how both apply to your coaching practice and how you can expertly manipulate both to get the results you want. Whether that's getting more clients, or having happier clients.

Fuel On Its Own Won't Create A Fire

Scientifically speaking, if you want to get ANY work done, you have to put energy into a system.

To quote our good friend Sir Isaac Newton on The 1st Law of Motion

A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force

So if you want to actually get anything done in life, you need to put energy out there. You need to be actively doing things.

People intuitively understand this and we coaches talk about the concept of energy and fuel in many different ways. We say things like:

  • What's your motivation?

  • Find your power!

  • What's your Why?

  • Let's get your drive back.

  • Find your purpose.

We think in terms of reasons, goals, motives, and incentives. All of this can be simplified as Fuel: The things that make a goal/lifestyle/behaviour more appealing.

Fuel in Marketing - How do I Entice New Clients?

This is one of the main questions that occupies every new coach's mind as they start their practice. In fact, CLCI's Level 1 Class has a whole day dedicated to this question, where we discuss how to guide your marketing plan and sell yourself without sounding like a salesperson.

The most common ways we fuel possible clients is by talking about the benefits and features of working with you. As you become more comfortable with marketing yourself, you might experiment with different fuels. You may:

  • Send regular emails to prospective clients

  • Offer promotions or discounted services

  • Provide a free first session

  • Give valued freebies such as quizzes, tools, eBooks, etc.

  • Provide payment plans options

  • Use a scarcity mindset to promote sales.

Fuel in Coaching - What Motivates My Client?

Safe to say, most of what is taught in coaching is fuel-based.

To be a goal-oriented coach, there needs to be a goal. And like our friend Newton said before, you need energy to either move something from a place of rest or redirect its course.

We can assume that if a client seeks coaching, they want change. Our fuel comes in the form of conversation, setting SMART goals, helping clients set accountability measures, helping clients discover what fuels them.

Expert coaches know the right amount of fuel to add while still letting the client generate their own. We talk about this in our blog about Why Expert Coaches Don't Say "Good Job". What it comes down to is this:

Validation is a form of fuel; a client needs to learn self-validation to become a whole and independent individual. It is not our job to provide fuel for the client's, but to help them discover theirs to maximize their potential.

Friction; What Stops us in our Tracks

When friction happens, sparks fly

Here is where things get interesting. What we don't often consider is how friction plays an equal factor in behaviour and decision making.

Going back to science class, friction is the force that resists movement, that resists change. As a rule, people will almost always take the path of least resistance. If you try to fight against this rule, you are going to have a very, very bad time as a coach.

In coaching, friction is the reason why clients are not committing to the sale and why they don't complete goals. It may be confusing at times and it's not as enticing as dumping a whole lot of fuel into a system, but small reductions in friction can have tremendous outcomes.

Friction in Marketing - Why Aren't They Converting!?

Let's imagine a scenario.

You have your website complete, your conversion tracking is set up, you are running beautiful advertisements that are tailored to your target audience. You get a lot of visitors but very few conversions. The chats you've had with people seem great, they seem to like what you offer, but no one is commiting.

There may be friction in the system. Now it's time to investigate. Here are some of the common friction points that prevent people from becoming clients.

  • You have too many options: Options are great, but coaches tend to go overboard with creating all sorts of complicated packages, payment plans, types of coaching services, and programs.

Solution: Simplify. Clients want one option. The option that will solve their problem and they want it as fast as possible.

  • Your website is soooo sloooow: This is a case of more literal friction. People absolutely won't tolerate a website that loads slowly. If it takes more than a few seconds to load, people are going to leave fast.

Solution: Pick only trusted website hosting services. Make your landing page smaller and cut out the large image files & videos. Not everyone has high powered computers and internet that can load insanely large webpages.

  • Your website is confusing: You know good design when you don't see it. An over-designed site is messy and cluttered, leaving visitors confused about what to actually do next or where to go.

Solution: Go for clean and simple. Have the entire sales journey on the homepage. Client's from one glance should know exactly where to go to find and buy your services. You don't want review, bio's, or external links getting in the way of your actual service description and pricing.

Friction in Coaching - Wait, it can be Good?

A racecar. The perfect mix of friction & fuel

From a negative point of view, friction prevents our clients from achieving our goals. Friction manifests itself as blocks and the client has two options. They either:

  • Have enough fuel to overcome the friction; or

  • Need help in reducing the friction.

The basic way to address friction is to ask "Is this something you would like to work on?"

If the answer is no or another time, the client has the necessary fuel to continue with the session and have a goal-oriented mindset.

If the answer is yes, then the client has identified that the friction is too great to overcome with just fuel, the friction needs to be eliminated. This is the opportunity to explore and dive deep into a session. The goal of a session may change but that is okay, the client has addressed a greater priority.

Now here is food for thought. When is friction good?

It's not often that a coach will try to impede a client in some way but when we consider a client's possible goals, we may find some examples.

What if you have a client who wants to stop smoking?

If we look at the elements of both fuel & friction, the client may get a better picture of what actually needs to be done. The fuel in this case is that their family wants them to stop and that they want to prevent their health from declining. In the past they set reasonable goals and timetables, but they always fall back into the habit of smoking.

What if we explored what makes smoking so easy? Why is smoking is available as an option? What reduces friction when it comes to smoking? In the course of the conversation, the client reveals:

  • That they work in an environment where coworkers smoke a lot

  • Cigarettes are easy to buy at gas stations

  • They always have cash to buy cigarettes and avoid using a card so the spouse won't see it on monthly statements

  • They have stashed cigarettes in easily accessible hiding spots

  • They actually like smoking cigarettes

In this scenario, there is not enough friction. It is a battle between the lack of friction and the fuel to stop smoking, and unfortunately the cigarettes are winning. All the fuel in the world falls short if friction is not taken into consideration.

From here, we can explore ways the client can create friction in service of their goals.

A great example of this complex mixture of fuel & friction is the car. You need both to be able to operate the vehicle in a safe manner to get to your destination. Most driving instructors would say it's not about how fast you can go, but how quickly you can stop.

Use both friction and fuel to become better coaches, for your clients and your business.


Thank you,

Lisa Finck, Brooke Adair Walters, Jerome LeDuff Jr, Kyle Rodriguez, and Anthony Lopez!

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