Guest Article from Mark Brandenberg, who specializes in coaching men.
Some men have trouble asking for help, and calling a coach is asking for help. Coaching men is useful because it is private. However, men don’t call coaches until they have a crisis. Men often call a coach when they are on the verge of a divorce. They are no good at picking up a wife’s signals that she’s tired of the marriage. They are often in shock about what is happening.
As a parenting expert coaching men, some clients will come with a crisis. A situation is imploding. How does a divorcing Dad converse with his son? A mother phones to say that her son wants to quit high school and join the Marines, and she does not like that idea.
Sometimes the crisis is low-key but still essential to the client. For example, a child needs to be potty-trained within a few weeks, or he will not be accepted into nursery school. Both clients want help! Both scenarios will impact your process of coaching men and the relationship with your client.
If the client is not in crisis, you will be able to establish your coaching sessions in a smoother way. If the client is in crisis, the focus of your first sessions will be helping the client through the rough spot and then establishing a vital goals in the coaching relationship.
Let the client talk it out.
Encourage your client to share deeper feelings. You have to listen. You listen actively and soulfully. Take notes. Hear your client’s concerns. Be aware of what the client says and what he or she is leaving out.
Listen to words, feel out the emotional content, and focus.
Stay in a listener’s role. You may be tempted to jump in with suggestions and practical information, but it is better to hold back and listen.
When coaching men, you may observe vulnerability and be tempted to take over the problem. At this point, remind yourself that you are coming from the coaching perspective, not a therapeutic one.
You are a coach, and as such, you believe that:
1. This client is a whole, healthy, and resourceful person.
2. This client has the inner resources to handle this problem.
Allow the person to talk through whatever is troubling him or her.
Ask questions so that you truly understand what is going on. The first session may be entirely about letting the client tell his story and vent emotions. You may do very little talking.
If a problem is fundamental and life-changing, you may have to refer your client for psychotherapy. When necessary, schedule more than one session per week in the first weeks of coaching. The thrust of your work will be to calm the person and determine how you, as a coach, can work with the person’s strengths to get her past the crisis mode. After a few sessions, the client will feel more in control.
My ideal client is between 35 and 65. She may be married or divorced with one or two children. She is middle class, educated, and lives in a middle-to-upper class neighborhood.
She has always been financially independent. She owns her own business or would like to have a part time business of her own. She is discerning with money, though will rarely spend it on herself unless it’s for a practical reason.
She makes lists and likes to be able to cross everything off her list, even though there is often more there than she can achieve. She compares her achievements to others as a way of gauging her worth. She often is overcritical of herself and lacks compassion for herself, though finds it for others.
She grew up in an environment where she had to take on responsibilities too early, which forced her to put aside her creative, spontaneous side and lose touch with her own needs and intuition. As a result, she is an over-responsible, independent, strong adult. She is dependable and tries to be there for others, whether it is in her best interest or not. She is overly loyal and often takes care of others because she feels like she should because nice people do that.
She follows the rules. She lives a lot in her own head and is afraid of making the wrong decision. She is a thinker and analyzer. As a result, she has lost touch with her own feelings and needs.
She has difficulty setting boundaries with others until circumstances become extreme. When she does set a boundary, she feels guilty and often softens the boundary or changes it to suit the other person. She says “yes” when she doesn’t want to, then feels resentful. She doesn’t have a good sense of self-worth and therefore has difficulty honoring herself.
She’s unaware of her own values and using them as a way of navigating life or making decisions. She makes decisions out of fear or guilt. Only when she feels she’s been pushed too far will she get angry and lash out or finally give herself what she wants.
She is a busy person who experiences free floating anxiety in quiet moments. She tries to get out of these feelings through staying busy, eating, or distracting herself with Internet activities. She is afraid to feel “negative” feelings for fear they will lead to something bad or shut her down completely. She is knowledgeable about positive thinking and feels guilty or fearful if she isn’t thinking constructively.
She has a spiritual reference (God, the Universe, Spirit, Higher Self) and may engage in a spiritual practice. She has trouble with meditation because her mind is constantly busy. She loves self-help books, psychology, and spirituality (especially relationship books, Law of Attraction, and codependency). She loves to read or learn about these things so she can fix her problems. When an issue arises, a book or self-help source soothes her. She feels in control of the problem.
She is afraid to let go of control. She has difficulty relaxing and will often need to eat, drink, or distract herself with Internet use to relax.
She is constantly thinking about the future and the next moment. She’d like to have more fun or nurturing activities, but can’t give herself permission or justify them. She often feels overwhelmed and drained. Her feelings seem to vacillate between anxious and depressed.
She can be found working on her computer either from home or at coffee shops, running errands, and taking care of the people in her life. She enjoys bookstores and self-growth classes. She has a creative side, though it is undeveloped and not given priority. She has a worldly cause she believes in that she may or may not be aware of yet. She enjoys people and has friends, but doesn’t make relationships a priority – this can be because of lack of time or lack of energy.
She has difficulty trusting or being intimate with men. She often attracts untrustworthy or needy men. (Or this could describe her relationship to a husband.)
Her greatest desire is to learn to love herself. She realizes she doesn’t treat herself well and wants to change. Yet she feels caught in shame or guilt when taking steps toward this.
She is tired of feeling anxious and depressed. She wants to feel better about herself and her relationships, but does not know how, despite the self-help books.
She is attracted to my sense of self-acceptance, non-judgment, safety, optimism, and trust in myself and a Higher Power for my safety and future.
She is ready to work with me because she sees my story and wants the balance and security I’ve achieved within myself. She feels seen and safe.
I offer her a place to begin to get to know her own feelings and emotions without fear. I show her how to feel her feelings in a way that will allow, heal them, and lead her to hear her own Inner Voice. She feels encouraged to listen to and take action toward her own needs and self-care. She experiences more self-love, self-compassion, and self-trust.
She feels more settled in her body and is able to feel good about herself and her decisions. When she makes a mistake, she sees the growth and good without shame. Though life may present her challenges, she feels more confident in herself and in life to take care of her. She is able to be with others in a way that allows her to be real and unafraid. She is able to lovingly set boundaries. Her relationship with herself and others are healthier because she is different inside. She now honors herself and is able to present with others in a way that honors them.
New ideas and desires arise in her as a result. She is more in touch with her body, needs, and emotions. She knows more of what she needs and where her limits are. She knows herself and how to take care of herself under stress. She has the resources, tools, and knowledge to handle her life. She can hear own Inner Voice and feels empowered to take risks towards what she desires.
With 200+ opportunities for social networking online, what is right for your business? You gain authority and leads, but you might take a closer look at the top five social networking opportunities.
You may find that some of those networks fit perfectly in with what youíre doing, but for the most part, youíll probably focus your efforts into the some of the five big systems we’re discussing in this post. My goal is to help you understand what these networks are about and how they might fit in with your marketing plan.
Was launched in 2004 and reported as of the first quarter of 2018, Facebook has 2.19 billion monthly users who are active. Facebook social networking reaches by far a wide audience and age ranges.
Facebook could serve you in two ways:
(1) You create your account page and start networking with people who fit your client or buyer persona.
(2) Facebook offers marketing through ads directed to your well-defined audience. Facebook has become a more visual network of companies and individuals sharing higher numbers of photos and videos. Your ads, then, are visually appealing. In summary, businesses advertise cost-effectively to grow their following and Facebook provides insights and also analytics to help understand the effectiveness of posts.
Having a Facebook group provides you with an interactive network that allows for content sharing, and the commenting system offers a stronger or cohesive connection. Interestingly enough, Facebook is a closed format, more so than networks like Twitter and Pinterest. Still, with a large number of people on Facebook, you can build a strategic presence and monetize that.
Launching in 2006, Twitter now has over 500 million active users and receives over 1.6 billion search queries daily. Twitter also reaches a broad demographic as Facebook does.
Twitterí’s uniqueness comes from the 280-character limit on tweet updates. Can you create concise tweets for your business that interest and entertain the users. While you can upload photos to Twitter, the text-based social networking serves some businesses well.
While twitter updates are private, any user can search the content of people they follow. Can you imagine 6000 tweets go into cyberspace every SECOND? That amounts to “200 billion tweets per year.” (www.internetlivestats.com/twitter-statistics)
Linkedin, the oldest of these five social networking opportunities, was launched in 2003. By design, the network was for professionals making professional connections. You will find that searching for professionals by the job, skill set, or interests is easy. Linkedin is smaller than Twitter and Facebook, but it is a focused network. With a claim of over 500 million users, the networking professionals can also purview the job market, which has increased since the recent change in ownership to Microsoft Corporation.
Service providers do very well on LinkedIn, but most businesses can benefit from a LinkedIn presence. The site is a source for not only finding employment and clients but also allows like-minded business people to share ideas, advice, connect to work on projects and more through groups.
Google, a relative newcomer in comparison, launched this network in 2010: http://plus.google.com– Of 2.2 billion users, the active ones amount roughly to 111 million. Google+ attracts an audience with technical minds and offers interesting possible connections with Google’s other products, including the search engine.
Google+ allows for the sharing of lengthy content, creating discussions, and sharing photos. And while Google+ does not necessarily reach the average social media user, the strength in Google+ comes from some important sources:
The +1 button – On the network and throughout the web, Google users can show appreciation for content by giving it a +1. The +1 can help grow word-of-mouth audiences, but also have an impact on traffic through search engines.
Google Hangouts – Sophisticated video / audio conferencing software is built into Google, allowing businesses to make more meaningful connections with their audience. Even the President of the United States and other public figures have held their personal Hangouts.
The bottom line is if your audience is on Google+ (it may or may not be), you should explore the possibilities.
Currently, Pinterest is social media popular destination. They officially launched in 2012 and according to Comscore, by January 2012, had 11.7 million users. While on the surface, it seems like they have a tiny audience, it ís a unique network that many business strategists are keeping an eye on and businesses are tapping into the image extravaganza.
This network is the most visual by far, as its focus is on sharing photos (videos can be shared too) of things that interest users. These shares are called pins and allow users to create virtual pinboards in a variety of categories. The site also attracts considerably more men than women, giving you something to consider in your participation.
If your web content tends to be visual or your product photos are visually appealing, there could be a place for you on Pinterest. Like Twitter, Pinterest is a very open network, and you will find that your Pinterest content is readily seen and shared by people who don’t directly follow you.
Where you put your focus is where you will succeed. It is always better to do one or two things well, instead of a bunch of tasks haphazardly. If you are just getting started with social media, pick one in which to get your feet wet. If you’re already involved, consider if you are putting your attention into the right areas and perhaps make a plan to explore new areas or dig deeper into existing ones.
Your coaching clients are out there, and they are looking for you! In my training as a therapist, counselor, and coach, I’ve heard this phrase often and always wondered at its veracity.
A dozen years later of online experience and building the Academy for Coaching Parents experiences, I can again state: That potential clients want you is true. Clients are out there whether you are a life coach for parents, health coach for seniors, a dating coach for men in mid-life, or a business coach for creative people.
The mindset to hold for successful coaching clients is you have a large audience, and they are eagerly anticipating the help only you can provide.
Check the list below to see if you are missing the mark in important areas. Doing so may cause potential clients to turn away for another coach.
Make it Easy for Them
When selling your products and services online, you have to make it easy for your customers to buy. The process sounds easy, but customer connections is in how you organize the information. You might be shocked at how often coaches (and others) miss
- The distinct steps are clear and obvious on your web site or on other social media platforms. The days of reading content are over. Invite visitors to download a syllabus of courses, an ebooks, take a quiz, listen to a free podcast, or watch a video that tells a visitor in three minutes abut the site and provide three options to take the next step. Would they enjoy a blog article, or would they download affirmations to stay calmer?
- The “buy” buttons are not obvious. The primary color for my websites is blue and variant shades. The buttons to link a potential client to the next page or product should stand out – bright green, cherry red, and orange are popular colors that attract attention.
- They don’t make contact information easy to find. This should be obvious to you while it may not be obvious on the website. Most websites have a contact page, which is obvious in the menu on top of the site.Here are a few more ideas: At the end of each blog, have a contact form. It could also serve to sign a new client for blog traffic, as well as to contact you with any questions, no matter how small.
- They don’t provide clear calls to action on their website. By calls to action, it means you provide instructions: click here, download this, go to the posts in children’s category, review this book chapter, buy this book. In my reviews of coach’s sites, I have seen a leading report on the page. A sample of content and the book cover populate a page. The button reads “Learn More.” The button may lead to another page of content, a blog article, and such. The button should be much more precise: Buy this. Download the Ebook now, Read the post sample from the book, and leave a comment ti my questions: Can I email this book to you? Can you see a yes answer is more likely to be forthcoming than just learning more.
- They don’t create easy website navigation so readers can quickly find what they need. In the ideal world, you would list the pages you wanted your clients to visit in order like first, second, third etc.. Too often web builders put the basic pages up and add them to the menu with no specific navigation instruction.
The list goes on, but the bottom line is this: make it easy for your customers to buy from you. Not only will you make more money, but your clients will be singing your praises.
Court the Potential Coaching Clients
Even if your ideal market is established as business owners, you will still create your site navigation for up and coming new clients. While they might not be ready for you yet, and they’ll remember you if you treat them well and have organized-easy-to-find content and giveaways.
Some ideas for helping the new coaching clients learn to trust you and your offerings are:
- Low-cost self-study products. Could you offer a short, free course, a video, or an audio file?
- E-books or guides – An ebook that you give away is called a Lead Magnet – an ebook which magnetizes a new to you? Man sure the topic is one that your clients would want to read.
- Email courses – This is a safe bet for those who don’t mind leaving their email address, because they can read what they are interested in as well as learn about you also.
- Membership sites and forums should be your business model with new offers, products, or services at regular intervals.
- Facebook groups can serve as memberships also, and you have the option of making your presentations live on Facebook Live.
In every crowded niche, your personality is what sets you a part from every other coach out there. Don’t be afraid to shine. Stand out brightly in your image, what you write and how you present your materials. That’s how your potential customers will get to know, like and trust you. You cannot stop to worry if your efforts are working. You have to assume that your efforts work, and whether you are shy, non-techie, ora private person, you must shine online and in social media if that is where you are building a business.
- Share personal updates on social media so that potential customers can see the “real” you.
- Post photos of your life outside of business on Instagram and Facebook.
- Take a stand for what you believe in, whether or not it is controversial and unpopular.
- Be available to answer questions and stay on top of the most popular social media that you use.