How to create your coaching product mix
In our community of coaches, the question of ‘product mix’ often comes up. People want to know how best to expand their portfolio of services: How do I start a course? How do I create a programme? How do I set up a community? Good, valid questions, although frequently people worry about them before they’ve even got their first product sorted (or selling).
A lot of coaches feel pressure to do everything — 1–2–1 sessions, group work, online courses, programmes, run a community, and of course, post endless social media posts about how calm and organised their lives are.
If this sounds like you then I’m here to let you know that you don’t have to do it all! When it comes to the portfolio of what you offer — more is not necessarily more.
That said, different clients are, well, different and offering just one way to access your coaching expertise will naturally only appeal to one kind of client. The challenge is to offer options to broaden your appeal, yet only options that still feel like you and fit with your values and personal brand (remember, as a coach, your brand is often very personal — it’s pretty much you).
I want to offer a quick guide to how you can combine different coaching products together to create a product mix that serves both your clients and you.
Don’t follow the crowd
By all means, be inspired by what other coaches are doing, but don’t be too quick to jump in and do the same.
It’s tempting because it seems to be working for them. But they don’t have the same limits, values or life (experience) that you do. Your success won’t necessarily look like theirs. You get to decide what success looks like for you, whether it’s running a huge online community or sitting down to half a dozen 1–2–1s a month. You do you.
Jenny the mega coach might be over on Instagram, doing it all with infinite time and energy but there’s nothing to say you have to compete with Jenny to win clients.
In the Better Bolder Braver community, you’re encouraged to focus on you: work out your who, what and why so you stand out to your ideal clients — without reference or comparison to Jenny, or anybody else. We look at how to take potential clients on a journey of consciousness, and nurture them in a way that attracts people who are ready to invest time, energy and money in coaching.
Creating your coaching product mix — some common options
If you’re looking to broaden your product mix, pivot or evolve what you offer, appeal to a new type of client, or just enhance what you already offer, the following should be food for thought:
- 1–2–1 sessions: Most people’s idea of coaching, the classic product. We feel it’s easier for a client to understand and contextualise when it is presented as a group of sessions or a package. I wrote a guide on how to do this and it’s what we recommend for coaches who are just starting out before they move on to anything else.
- Group work: Sessions with multiple clients are a powerful and meaningful way to coach. They’re not simply a way to offer a lower-cost option. They aren’t any less effective than coaching people 1–2–1. We believe that they are in fact just as effective, if not more so. Watch our conversation with Ana Paula Nacif to learn more about the power of group coaching.
- Course: A course is a great way of sharing an idea, concept, method or theory with clients in a way that they can work through on their own and revisit. If you find yourself delivering a lot of the same material over and over, putting it in the form of a course can save you time (and energy). For clients, they can absorb it at their own pace, and then in a session (1–2–1 or group) you can go further and deeper because you don’t have to explain everything from scratch. Hint: keep courses short and centred on one thing — it’s important that it’s ‘finish-able’ (you can create multiple courses for multiple topics).
- Programme: This in some ways is the alternative to a course is a programme, the main difference being that a programme includes some interaction at structured checkpoints along the way. A programme is a great way to combine the benefits of a course and group work and can be immensely rewarding for clients. It also helps you structure your time as the learning section of the programme can be delivered as a course and the group sessions are then used to build on this learning. Once the course is created you only need room in your diary for the group sessions.
- Community: A community is increasingly presented as a great way to generate recurring revenue. But don’t underestimate the huge amount of time and effort it takes to run the community (admin, website, blog, podcasts & videos, community events, networking, etc.) and attract new members, let alone looking after the existing ones. There are two main ways to structure a community: fireside or outcome.
- A fireside community is an invitation to like-minded people to gather, talk and share. It’s a relatively light-touch way of bringing together people with a common outlook, belief, value or worldview.
- The members of an Outcome-Oriented Community all share a common goal. For example, I am writing a book and as part of that process, I have joined a writer’s community (the shared goal being we’re all writing a book) and I attend co-working sessions with other authors for support and ideas.
If your community is compelling enough — and members feel they’re getting value for their time — it will survive and grow, maybe even be self-sustaining. Fireside or outcome, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work, but the rewards are worth it!
Pick one and make a start
Choose one product and get it up and running. Then add something else. Don’t try to build your mix all in one go (not even Jenny on Instagram did that!) And don’t be tempted to build what someone else is doing just because they seem successful.
Define what success looks and feels like for you, your values, and what you want to achieve through your coaching and then — one by one — select the mix of products that will make that happen.
If you want to get clearer on your product mix then take a look at our Coach’s Marketing Journey course, which combines video lessons with group sessions — our product mix.