Coach, Brand Thyself

Here’s the thing. Coaches stink at branding.

Sorry, but it’s true. There’s a coach for everything. Great. But it’s getting pretty crowded out there.

There’s a huge surge in demand. There are more than 1.5 million searches every month by people and companies looking for life coaches, business coaches, and executive coaches.

I’m not a numbers person, except when they’re staring me in the face. On LinkedIn alone, between 2020 and 2021, the number of executive coaches increased by a whopping 1,092%, the number of business coaches increased by 2,220%, and the number of life coaches increased by 1,567%.

Wow.

Unless we’re talking about the coaching industry juggernauts — Brene BrownOprahGary Vaynerchuk — most coaches look the same. The abundance is dizzying, thanks to a groundswell of interest in personal development and the low barrier to entry. There are innumerable ways to become “accredited,” but chances are no one’s ever heard of the institution that certified you.

So, dear Coach, how are you going to break away from the pack in 2024?

I say this as someone whose business relies on a kind of coaching, although I don’t bill myself as one. It’s a big component of my brand consulting but only one of several interlocking pieces. Mine is a fine-tuned process of deconstruction, reconstruction, and revelation — yep, revelation. This is not an exaggeration. I see it time and time again.

Listen up:

Your brand is not a logo. It’s not a tagline. Those things are earned, the carrot at the end of a long stick when you finally get to the heart of why someone should hire YOU.

The goal is to own your own coaching lane. Tell me why I should choose you over so many others vying for my business and attention. Tell me what I will “get” by trusting (and investing in) your particular brand of expertise.

Here’s what you can do right now to get your brand up and running:

  1. Define Your Why: Simon Sinek nailed it with his “Start with Why” philosophy. Your ‘why’ is your North Star — it’s the reason you do what you do. Dig deep and uncover the passion that fuels your coaching. This forms the foundation of your brand.
  2. Craft Your Story: What makes you relatable, authentic, and memorable? Share your journey — the triumphs, the struggles, and the lessons learned. Your story humanizes your brand and builds connections.
  3. Know Your Audience: Who are you here to serve? Get to know your ideal clients like the back of your hand. Understand their pain points, aspirations, and what keeps them up at night. Tailor your brand to resonate deeply with them.
  4. Define Your Niche: In a sea of coaches, finding your niche is gold. What sets you apart? Whether it’s leadership coaching, wellness mentoring, or something entirely unique, owning your niche positions you as an expert in your field.
  5. Visual Identity: Your visuals speak volumes. From your logo to color schemes and imagery, they should reflect your brand’s personality. Consistency in visuals across platforms boosts recognition.
  6. Communicate Your Value: Spell it out — what value do you bring to the table? Showcase your expertise, results, and the transformation you offer. Let your clients know why choosing you is a game-changer.
  7. Authenticity Wins: Your brand should scream ‘YOU.’ Authenticity builds trust and rapport. Don’t mimic others — embrace your quirks, values, and beliefs. That’s what makes you stand out.

Sooooooo…

What is it that makes you essential and unforgettable?

What’s the magnetic force that will draw your ideal clients to you?

Why are you a have-to-have?

These are the crucial questions for you, dear Coach, as we head into 2024.

The world needs you, and it’s up to you to tell it why.