Who are You to Yourself & Your Clients? Developing Trusted Coach Branding and 5 Simple Ways I’ve Harnessed Mine
Two years ago I began developing my Brand Coaching Programme, and since launching in 2021, I’ve been able to help many people divine their brand from who they are. What surprised me, is how often I’ve done this work with coaches and consultants. In hindsight, the work is crucial to this sector, so I probably should have seen it coming. With that in mind, I thought I’d write a post to share what coach branding offers and how I’ve tailored my programme to help create stronger coach branding, that makes a coach’s life easier.
As a coach, your brand is a reflection of how you are perceived by both your clients and colleagues. While we will primarily be delving into brand strategy, it’s important to note that your logo and design also play a significant role. To effectively communicate your message and attract your desired audience, the visuals of your brand must align with your core values. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that your brand exudes a professional and consistent tone.
As a quick side note, this isn’t about niching or finding your niche! You generally shouldn’t be looking to define a brand around a niche as a niche is an aspect of marketing not of operation. If your focus is your niche, you’re already letting down your clients.
What is the Programme?
The brand coaching programme is traditionally an 8-week process of developing a core understanding of who the brand is internally, externally, for clients, and from client perspectives. I adjust it slightly to each person to apply my professional brand strategy background and current coaching career – to the situation before the coach in question. Adapting to the client – much as I imagine you do as a coach? The primary elements of coach branding consist of:
- Your Core
- Your Archetype
- Your Competition
- Your Positioning
- Your Clients
- Your Sales
- Your Voice
- Your Brand Strategy
Week One: Your Core
So who are you as a coach? When we start working with a client or organisation, we often start some kind of values exercise and develop the core understanding of what they want, right?
This is similar, but here’s where the ‘real work’ begins. You as a person and you as a coach are not the same thing – as most of us learn when developing professional boundaries. Here, I coach the client through developing this split for the brand to be a stand-alone concept, ready to wield.
Week Two: Your Archetype
Archetypes are fairly common in our work and you have probably come across them before – even if in a simple form, such as Parent-Child-Observer transactional analysis archetypes.
But there are a set of brand archetypes which are used in the marketing industry to help focus a brand from trying to be everything to everyone, to a cone of intent that broadcasts exactly what the coach brand is to the specific audience it seeks. I’ll teach you about these archetypes, and coach you through the process of selecting which is for you.
Week Three: Your Competition
I found this area most surprising when I was working with coaches… most couldn’t tell me who their competitors were in the same area or field. Sure some had contacts and had heard of a few local coaches, but all from their point of view, not from that of their clients.
The method we use for this analysis is a simple one, and using the content and information to structure your own brand. We won’t change the brand for those around you, just take into account what your customers experience.
Week Four: Your Positioning
Competition information on its own is useless, so we build on that information to develop the positioning of your brand in the market.
There are some great tools that help us with this – define the way you stand aside from the competition, combining your unique assets with my brand and industry knowledge.
Week Five: Your Clients
You may have heard of client profiles or avatars – yet have you fully developed them? It’s essential to have a full understanding of what drives them, how they operate, and therefore where your benefit to them may enter.
My years in marketing are at your service here, developing the concept of clients in line with actual demographics, without distorting them into the “ideal client” that so often leads business owners astray.
Week Six: Your Sales
So there’s a structure of your brand in place and you know who your clients are. But how are you going to turn that into sales?
The process I’ve been using here allows coach branding to translate into a sales process. It’s an organic and non-manipulative way of reaching clients and offering a service, without relying on cheap tactics.
Week Seven: Your Voice
In the first of the bows we’ll use to tie everything together, we’ll look at your voice. Not your literal voice of course, but your communication methods and styles which make it easy for clients to understand who you are.
The best way to explain this is by comparing brands. How might M&M’s, Deloitte, and Anne Summers each write a Merry Christmas message? You’d expect a pretty strong contrast. We’ll use a selection of tools to shape and guide your own voice for years to come.
Week Eight: Your Brand Strategy
Over the weeks of developing your coach branding, we’d be doing so in pencil, not pen. This allows us to amend a few things as the brand grows and develops so it stays cohesive.
In this final formal session (we can add others for any client who needs them), we look to unify all you’ve learnt into a final formal brand strategy. After this, I’ll have it created into a brand strategy document for you. Arguably the best asset for your business going forward allowing anyone who works with, for, or in partnership with your brand to do so with the same authenticity you bring to it yourself.
How I’ve Used My Coach Branding
Taking People’s Money
I used to have some discomfort over taking money from clients – perhaps not the everyday clients, but those who had some financial issues or had a strong need for coaching. It felt like I was gatekeeping the support or resourcing they needed. Creating my coach branding and values, and putting the work into it, allowed me to restructure my thought processes around money for the better.
Working In Multiple Arenas
There are few clients who work with one issue and one type of client on a daily basis without adjustment. Not to mention, working in different company. Best example for me to use here, is that 2-minute introduction speech we’re often called upon to give – it changes depending on whether we’re on a course with other coaches, in a business networking meeting, or before various types of potential clients. A strong brand guideline and background gave me the understanding I needed to stand confident in each of these positions.
Offering Something Different
This was a triad of competition, positioning, and avatar work. Understanding my client on a fundamental level, having a current and effective analysis of the competition around me, and working out what to do as a business owner to stand out, gave me the skills to put together the
Navigating Complex Issues
Much as we have the need for supervision to find our way through ethical and complex issues in coaching, we have similar issues in business. Choosing where to put our resources, how to operate, what jobs to ignore and take, and where it’s best to work with someone or sever a long-standing connection. In each of those, the elements from my values and “Brand Pyramid” allowed me to constantly return to a baseline for decisions. A simple element of coach branding in everyday use.
Knowing how to put together an advertising campaign may not be your bag, but you’re the best person to know how to reach your prospective audience. I’ve been able to harness weeks 5 through 7 to form a way to advertise my services authentically and without wasting money. I’ve done this myself and working with marketing pros (to whom I simply hand a copy of my brand strategy doc which outlines all they need to know).
To start, it’s clear that branding is an essential aspect of coaching, and creating unique and authentic coach branding can help coaches stand out in a crowded market. However, branding is about more than just promoting yourself – it’s about crafting a message that resonates with your ideal audience and creating a genuine connection with them. As we look towards the future, it’s essential to stay up-to-date on the latest branding trends and techniques, while also staying true to our values and vision as coaches.
By consistently investing in our brand and our clients, we can create a thriving coaching business that helps us achieve our goals and make a meaningful difference in the lives of those we serve. So as you embark on your coaching journey, remember to take the time to develop your brand, share your story, and connect with your clients – it’s key to lasting success.
If you're interested in building your brand as a coach, or business owner, click here to learn more about the program, or use this link to book a chat.