If you've been sticking with CLCI Live for a time or have been reading our blogs, it's almost an unspoken understanding that coaches don't give advice, they don't fix problems, and most certainly diagnose.
Coaching, by definition, is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.
That means clients have the ultimate responsibility to solve their problems and achieve their goals with that potential.
BUT...What if you truly are an expert in your niche and you have the perfect solution to a problem? Do you really want to let your 10,000+ hours of mastery, your PhD in a specialized field, or your perfect experience go to waste???
The CLCI answer: Absolutely not!
There are ways to use your expertise and knowledge to their fullest capacities and still be a superstar coach!
This week Lisa Finck (A.C.C.), Brooke Adair Walters (M.C.P.C.), Jerome LeDuff Jr (M.C.L.C.), Anthony Lopez (M.C.P.C). and newly graduated Melissa Todd figure out the best ways a coach can use their experience to be better coaches and get more clients.
We talk about what an expert really is, the difference between coaching and consulting, and how to combine the two for maximum effect.
What is an Expert?
Here's our take on the definition of an expert.
It's entirely subjective and contextual.
What do we mean? No two experts are alike and what qualifies someone as an expert changes based on the situation.
For example, if you've been playing the piano for 10 years consistently, then you would be an expert piano player to about 95% of the human population. But compared to other professional pianists you may not even be part of the top 1000 players in the world. Being an expert is flexible except for one aspect.
Experience. It literally has the same origin as the word expert. To be an expert you at least need some experience with what you claim to be an expert in. It's not impossible, but very unlikely that anyone would consider you an expert marriage coach if you have never been married. Sure, it's entirely possible that you could still be the greatest marriage coach ever, but part of being a coach is having the client trust you and that's essentially why people go to experts in the first place. Because expertise = trust. Trust that you can ask the right questions, speak the same language, and empathize with your client's experience.
"But I'm not good at anything!"
That's your insecurity talking and probably not true.
Everyone has unique experiences and strengths that are valuable to potential clients. By not owning your expertise and experience you are shooting yourself in the foot.
"I don't want the pep talk, I want solutions!"
Okay jeez, we have a resource to help you realize that you are, in-fact, capable of being or becoming an expert.
Hackspirit.com has 10 tips to push past the feelings of "I'm not good at anything" and what those thoughts really mean. Our favorite tip? BE YOUR OWN LIFE COACH. Imagine you had a client with the same insecurities, what would you ask them? How would you coach them? Now apply it to yourself.
Consulting vs. Coaching
Let's say you have the opposite problem as the person who believes they aren't good at anything.
You know for a fact you are an expert, you have the experience to prove it, you have the years of education as a foundation, you are recognized in your field as an expert. No question about it. You are a rockstar and you are ready to use your well honed skills and coach.
Problem is, it's so seductive to just provide answers and just solve problems. It may even seem like clients who come to you have the same exact problem you've already overcome years ago. Unfortunately, consulting is the easy way out and it ultimately makes the client dependent on you and you responsible for the outcomes.
The first step in becoming an expert coach is being able to make hard distinctions between the two. Forbes provides a great article with 13 Key Differences Between Coaching And Consulting. In short, you should know:
Truth vs Execution
Instruction vs Guidance
Building Capacity Versus Solving A Problem
Outside Expertise Or Internally-Driven Growth
Exploring Versus Providing Possibilities
"You Know" Versus "I Know"
Guidance Versus Authority
Recommendation Versus Exploration
Asking Questions Versus Providing Solutions
Different Approach With The Same Intent
Focus On Problem Or On Client
Advice Versus Empowerment
Difference Lies In Who The Expert Is
Number 13 in the article, knowing the difference between who the expert is, That is the golden ticket to coaching. The client may have come to you because you are the expert, but in session, you know and act as if the client is the expert. That is how you build lasting change.
Combining the Two
Coaching and expertise, they don't have to mix like oil and water. Knowing how to combine the two is the key to running a successful business.
For starters, owning your expertise is how you establish your niche. Everything you do in your marketing should be about your client, what problems they are facing, and how you are the perfect coach for them.
When you write your About Me for your website, this is your time to shine, show off, and ooze ego. The important thing to remember is that the About Me is really about your client, so make sure it's relevant and your experiences speak to their experiences and address their pain points.
Finally, no one said you have to just be a coach. Many of our students do not take our class to become exclusively life coaches. We have students from a variety of professions who use the skills they learn to support their current careers or strengthen their resumes. To them, coaching is another tool on their belt to use at their discretion.
Or maybe coaching is just one of the many offers you provide. Like how we brainstorm with our newly certified coach, Melissa Todd, an individual could offer classes, consulting, keynote speaking, retreats, and coaching as distinct and separate services under the banner of one brand. Of course the coach needs to be explicitly clear to the client in what space they are currently working in, but many coaches have had great success in diversifying their businesses and leveraging the expertise they've acquired.
So go forth and flex your expertise!
CLCI Has Been Nominated!
We want to let you all know that Certified Life Coach Institute is being nominated for the Champion of Women Award! This award is ceremony is hosted by the Connected Women of Influence and the 2021 National Women of Influence Awards,
The Champion of Women Award recognizes a company or organization that provides internal programs and initiatives that are unique, cutting edge and specifically designed to support the advancement and acceleration of women in the workplace.
We would like to invite all of you to support CLCI in our nomination and join us for the virtual award ceremony on November 4th from 11:30am - 1:30pm
To join in the celebration of Women’s Achievements and Accomplishments in Business and support CLCI, register for your virtual seat here.
Lisa Finck, Brooke Adair Walters, Jerome LeDuff Jr., Anthony Lopez, and to our awesome guest, Melissa Todd!
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