It took a minute, but I’m clear about it now:
I am not a business person.
For a while I was frustrated and stuck in how to manage my work. I was attempting to manage my coaching practice as a business. It didn’t feel right, and — not surprisingly — it wasn’t working.
Businesses are, by definition, entities created to make a profit.
Coaching is, in my perspective, an act of service from one human to another.
Trying to treat my coaching practice, which is based in an ethos of service, as a business was a clash in values. It didn’t feel authentic.
If I decide to run my work–my practice–like a business, it means I’m choosing to place the business at a higher priority than my clients, and to me that always felt off.
All around me I see other coaches and colleagues stuck, confused, and frustrated by their efforts to treat their work as a business too.
I get it. I’ve got bills to pay and need to make a living too. But…
What happens if we stop? What if there is a different way?
I decided to choose a different way.
For starters, I decided to stop calling my work a business and instead look at it as a practice. I don’t consider myself an entrepreneur or solopreneur or any of the other trending #hashtags or terms. I’m a coach, and that’s what I do.
I started banking on service and connection. I’m counting on my relationship with my clients to give my practice the sunshine and rain it needs to grow.
Coaching isn’t self-help. It isn’t an online course or product to sell. It’s not scaleable or a commodity.
Coaching is relational. It’s a process, an experience. It’s one person making themselves available to fully connect with another human, to walk with them, share their shoes, help them chart their path, find their course and take steps into their goals, dreams and potential.
It’s a long way from detergent with color safe bleach!
How do you market that?
My answer? We don’t. Marketing is about the business, not about the client (or customer). No matter how hard it strives to position itself otherwise.
We “market” ourselves by doing good work. By connecting to others. By above all else holding the desire and intention of service, of creating positive impact in the world.
Maybe you’re shaking your head. Maybe you find this naive. I don’t blame you.
But I can tell this –
It feels Right. Honest. Authentic. True.