Designing business training for our coaches

This is less announcement and more just a musing on product design.

A thing that I believe is that “business model is destiny” and that’s coming out in the way we’ve been building business training. The way we train coaches is pre-ordained by our business model.

We make our profit matching clients to coaches. We charge coaches a lot when we do that— 50% revenue shares. And it’s easier to do this with reliable, professional coaches who stick around, build up a reputation, take their skills seriously, etc. Our incentives are to attract or train, and then retain, that type of coach. I like the win-win in these financial incentives: we make money when our coaches make money and we make more money the more skilled our coaches become.

But everywhere else in our coaching business, all I want to charge is enough to break even. That’s a nominal $5 to be a member, $400 for a certification as compared to an industry that normally charges $5,000. That’s going to be true with this business training. We’re not going to do it for free.

But there isn’t a short term profit motive and so we aren’t tempted to build trainings around empty promises that might happen to sell well.

In particular, it’s easy to walk away from the most marketable form of business training for coaches. I have to call this out because my Facebook feed is filled with ads for it. It’s essentially:

I believe that some coaches want this script to exist. They want to be financially comfortable. I want to be financially comfortable, there’s nothing wrong with that.

But the script doesn’t exist.

Instead, the coaches I see with high ticket clients climbed a ladder to get there. Not to beat around the bush, but that ladder probably took them 15 years to climb. They went through years of this climbing, developing skills, getting referrals, honing experience until they were recognized as the top coach in their field. High ticket clients pay extra to lock up the best coach, not some noob.

How can we build trainings that put a coach on that ladder. That ladder is the real “secret to success.” And then once they are on the ladder, how can we help them climb it faster?

I think there’s two things to the business ladder. Well, three really.

The first is that there isn’t a huge ecosystem of staff coaching positions where a company hires you and pays you a full time salary and tells you which clients to coach. So you just have to settle in and accept that running a business is part of the job of being a professional coach. It just is. If you don’t want to run a business, don’t be a coach.

The second is that every coaching business has shared basics. Those basics start with market positioning essentially. When we do this training as a cohort there’s always a moment where a coach describes what they sell and is met with blank stares. You’re a life coach? That’s boring. And as a coach in the training talks more and more about their specialty and passion, eventually they get to a positioning where everyone else in the room lights up and raises their hand to say they know so many clients who need that type of coaching. There are many more basics. These basics are what we call our business 101 training. We have a cohort of that running right now.

The third is that you need a sales channel. That’s the transition after our business 101 training. A channel would be something like writing on Medium or posting workouts on Instagram or speaking at local Meetups. Those are three different channels and it doesn’t work to dabble at all three. You have to have one and be good at it. So the idea with our business 101 is to set you up to pick and succeed at a channel.

Then our idea is to help support as many of these channels as possible. If it turns out your channel is social media, we have a monthly cross-promotion and accountability group. It’s great — there’s a lot of pressure to be consistent and then you get a lot of extra boost from the other coaches who are in there with you. In some ways, it’s training too because you learn from what other people are doing.

Our Momentum conference was a test — could we help grease the wheels of a public speaking channel by making regular events. Our publishing efforts on Medium — that helps build this platform as a channel.

So basically, the training is a shared base that everyone goes through and then narrower channels on top.

And in terms of destiny, if I charged more money for the training, I’d have less incentive to try to bring in clients. Why bother if we are already making a big profit up front? That’s why this ends up being win-win.

Human potential busy body. Founded @coachdotme, @bttrHumans, @bttrMarketing. Helped @medium @calm. Current work focus: Habit Coach Certification.

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