Getting clients is one of the hottest topics, and challenges, in the coaching industry today. One perspective is that it is too closely aligned with sales, and that thought seems to set off fears in many people. Leslie Lupinsvky, CPCC, MCC, and trainer of thousands of coaches, sees enrolment as an art that takes time and work to hone. Since enrolment is the major key to a successful coaching practice, Leslie agreed to share her wisdom and enthusiasm about this important art.
What is enrolment? There are many ways that the word enrolment is currently used – from “signing up” as in college registration to “selling” as in getting new clients with a sales pitch. The way I like to define enrolment provides far more power to both the “enroller” and the “enrolee:” enrolment is the art and skill of engaging and/or inspiring someone in a possibility for their lives. enrolment is an advanced coaching skill.
When practiced effectively, it can be the determining factor between having a fun-filled, thriving business and one that is full of angst, suffering and slow growth. Practicing enrolment effectively requires a level of sophistication that can be learned. Although enrolment is an art, rather than a science, we can still learn the distinguishing features, unlearn our disabling beliefs, and evolve a powerful presence that brings enrolment into our conversations.
What is the difference between enrolment and sales? In sales, the ultimate focus of attention on the part of the coach or salesperson is on “the sale” – the service or product being sold. The buyer is secondary, even though they are important. In enrolment, it’s the other way around: the person, their agenda and the possibilities in their life are what matter most. The “sale” is secondary. If we replace the word enrolment and call it sales, we are missing a level of connection, inspiration and transformation that is essential to powerful enrolment
Of course, the coach or “enroller” wants the enrolee to move forward with whatever service or product is being offered. But the offer and its acceptance are in a larger context. This is the art of enrolment: successful enrolment often includes an outcome of “yes,” but this outcome is informed by the process leading up to it. The emphasis on the process is vital in effective enrolment. A successful sale is based on the buyer saying “yes” to the seller.
Successful enrolment is based on the enrolee saying “yes” to something new that’s possible in their lives. The enrolee is altered by the process of enrolment, not just by the outcome. The outcome might even be a “no” to the offer, and could still be considered successful, because the enrolee sees a new possibility for themselves. In enrolment, there are no wasted conversations. This fact takes a lot of pressure off the coach, who is the enroller, because they don’t have to expect everyone to say “yes”.
There is room for a “no” without it being considered a rejection or failure. What most coaches need to develop is a matrix of skills and strategies that blend the best of sales and enrolment. Coaches then can become facilitator, translator, and alchemist for their potential clients, and create both a “yes” and an inspired, open pathway for the client’s future.
What are the 3 top qualities of a successful enroller?
- Authenticity in listening and sharing
- Avid interest in people’s possibilities
- Ability to make the link between the possibility the person sees and what you have to offer
What doesn’t work in the enrolment?
- Trying to convince someone – convincing is in the land of manipulation
- Having gimmicks or set ways of doing things — this is the opposite of authenticity
- Being anything other than YOU
Why does enrolment seem to be such a big issue for so many coaches? Many new coaches – and even experienced ones – have misconceptions about the practice and intention of enrolment. They often build self-defeating habits based on those misconceptions, which then create a self-perpetuating cycle. This can result in coaches becoming disheartened and avoiding enrolment conversations, rather than relearning a more skilful, effective approach.
One of the key misconceptions is the belief that enrolment goes against the spirit of coaching – which at its very foundation is a commitment to hold the other person’s agenda. enrolment (from that perspective) seems manipulative and self-serving. It is seen as a way for us to get our agenda accomplished – getting them to say yes to our offer – while we are supposed to be supporting their agenda. Coaches often say to themselves “This isn’t what I signed up for, when I decided to become a coach!” Yet this limiting belief is grounded in the assumption that there is an “either/or” to the process of enrolment – either their agenda, or ours; either we are purely focused on them, or on ourselves.
True enrolment is a “both/and” process, where the coach explores the territory of the client’s agenda, and can both support and expand it, acknowledge, and challenge, and be looking for the “yes” to our offer in the context of a bigger “yes” that incorporates all that the client is holding dear. Coaches also shy away from enrolment so that they don’t have to face their core fears of being rejected, feeling invalidated or dismissed. It is a very vulnerable act to ask someone to be our client and accept the offer of our services.
We would rather avoid it, than face it. It is ironic, though, that by facing these fears, we actually get stronger. This again is the art of enrolment: those who are best at enrolling others are both vulnerable and strong; they authentically want the best for the prospective client and for themselves; they hold an intention of success without being attached to it; and they are ultimately committed to a picture that is bigger than either theirs or their clients. This goes against the grain of our usual “either/or” thinking, so of course, we will have challenges in the area of enrolment, until we get the kind of support, skill and practice that can train us out of these misconceptions.
Do you have magic steps to help someone become an enrolment pro? There are definitely steps to being effective at enrolment. At the same time, enrolment is an art, rather than a science, so these steps are not tips and tricks that are mastered overnight. Learning to be a great coach takes time, training and practice; the skills of enrolment require the same committed efforts.
So, with that caveat, here are the steps:
1. Handle your financial concerns, so that you are not desperate or dependent upon a person saying “yes” to your coaching or business offer. This is the first step in helping you to experience “nonattachment.” When we are desperate, the other person senses urgency and tightness in us. When we are “unattached,” the conversation opens up and the other person can more easily relax into new possibilities — and so can we.
2. Use your coaching skills of powerful questions and become avidly interested in the other person’s answers – without being concerned about whether they are a potential client or how you can “use” their answers to build your case to them. Once you are authentically interested in other people’s lives and their possibilities, people will be interested in you and what you have to offer.
3. Learn to make the link between what they are interested in and what you have to offer. This may seem antithetical to #2, but in fact, you can’t succeed at this step without fully practicing #2! That is, let go of making the link, while you are fully engaged in listening to the other person’s responses. Then, a link will show itself to you, and a natural, organic process unfolds they see the possibility for themselves, and say “yes” to their lives and your support, with no convincing needed.
4. Practice, practice, and more practice! Practice with colleagues, practice with your coach, practice with police officers, hotel managers, childcare workers, bus drivers. Anywhere you can practice, you will master another aspect of the art of enrolment. You’ll actually start having fun, and before you fully realize it, you’ll be great at it!
Does a good enroller need to have a certain kind of personality or born talents? No, absolutely not. That’s another misconception about enrolment. It might be true for certain kinds of sales, but it is not true of enrolment.
What do you say to those coaches that fear the process of enrolling clients? Face your fear of enrolling clients – it will be the best thing for your business and your life. Don’t run from this amazing opportunity to get more for yourself, while also being able to give more to your clients. Get training from a master of enrolment, so that you can learn and fully integrate the steps of enrolment into your life. Your business will flourish, and so will you.
- Leslie Lupinsky, MCC, CPCC, has trained coaches in the areas of enrolment, prosperity, financial transformation, and business development. Susan Strasburger also contributed to this article. She is an executive coach, senior trainer and career coach. She leads workshops and collaborates with Leslie Lupinsky in the areas of enrolment and financial freedom.
Why don’t coaches make more Money? An Expert Panel speaks out on Getting Your Business into Gear
CREATING A SIX-FIGURE COACHING BUSINESS takes a whole lot more than just coaching and cashing checks. In fact, there will be no check cashing unless we put a lot more effort into our businesses, according to our expert panel. choice Magazine asked five coaching leaders, and “six-figure income” proponents, to talk about what it takes to create a six-figure coaching practice.
What is a six-figure coaching practice anyway? Is it just coaching or almost anything but coaching? Whether it’s greatly improving your marketing or business management skills or writing a best-selling book, it’s clear there is more to a successful coaching business than just coaching. You will probably experience each of our experts as highly passionate about their particular perspectives.
You will agree and disagree. But what everyone does agree on is the ability to sell, or enrol, as we call it in coaching. So, we wanted to be sure to include a piece on how to actually get results. Leslie Lupinsky, MCC, shares her art of enrolment skills.
Many coaches will hire a high-level coach as a mentor to teach them the things they’ve yet to learn. Sometimes it is cheaper to hire a coach for a few months than to enroll in a specific program to learn the specific skill-set you need. Coaches who concentrate solely on building a client base with other coaches are surely not building their business the right way. They never reach a six-figure income. It comes back to niche marketing, promotion, networking. Many of these things are like four-letter words to some coaches.
Teresia LaRocque: There’s no use in reinventing the wheel when you can choose to shorten your learning curve. There is great value when coaches hire a coach who is already doing the things they want to do, or has created the business they want to create. That said, there are many other individuals, professionals, and entrepreneurs who get value from coaching. There are many people who have a need for coaching and coaches can also make a lucrative living without coaching their own.
Michelle Schubnel: This feels like a bit of hype to me, as there are many legitimate and necessary reasons for coaches coaching other coaches. For starters, becoming a skilled coach requires the experience of being coached. Second, it is impossible to effectively sell and market a service like coaching if you don’t fully believe in it. This level of belief can only be developed if you have personally invested in the service and experienced the benefits first hand. Further, if you understand the incredible value and benefits of coaching, it only makes sense to continue to invest in yourself and your business through coaching to maximize your results.
What are the top five business priorities in a six-figure coaching business?
Jim Bunch: It is important to clarify this question. I see a six-figure coaching “business” as fundamentally different than a six-figure coaching “practice.” A practice is typically comprised of a coach, their clients, and a virtual assistant (VA) or support person. This means if the coach isn’t coaching, the practice is not generating revenue. A business means the coaching company generates revenues and supports clients even in the absence of the founder of the business.
It’s also quite different for each “model” of a coaching practice/business and it’s different for each stage of their practice/business. By “model” I’m talking about the products and services the coach offers. For example, if someone goes with a “traditional” practice model of coaching 20-30 private clients, they’ll have different activities than someone who offers a coaching practice with e-zines, teleclasses, webinars, e-courses, private coaching, CDs, book, tapes, and so on.
Each stage of the business is different too. If the person is at low six figures, they are probably still doing most of the marketing, coaching, and managing. But as they get into the high six figures, they have a team that supports them in some or all of the aspects of their business practice. It’s actually tougher and takes more work to be at the low six figures that it does the high six figures. Lastly, there are a few things that are vital to any business.
There is cash flow, because without it, there is no business. Second is marketing. You need to enable customers to pick you out of a crowded sea of coaches. Third is to create automated systems that tackle your administration and operations so you can do what you love—coaching. And finally…you must have the art of coaching.
Jim Bunch is a coach, speaker, and entrepreneur who works with thousands of entrepreneurs and professional coaches around the world. Jim has over ten years of professional speaking experience, and has given more than a thousand presentations on personal and professional development. His six-figure practice program teaches coaches a step-by-step process to expand and leverage their businesses to attain new levels of success. Jim is the founder of CoachGenie.com. Jim is also the founder of Happy Healthy Wealthy Enterprises, and the creator of the Happy Healthy Wealthy Game, a “coaching game” that combines the best of seminars, coaching, and technology for guaranteed results.
Teresia LaRocque: These are the top five priorities that I’ve have embraced along the way towards a six-figure coaching business:
1. To provide outstanding, extraordinary value, and tangible results for my clients.
2. To identify, establish, and become an expert within my niche.
3. To gain a lot of exposure, essentially becoming famous in the market that I service. I call this “going public”.
4.To create a strong supportive foundation of business systems to work effectively and efficiently. This allows me to be my best, to spend my time on extraordinary customer service and focus on the priority activities that grow my business.
5. To let go of the “Lone Ranger” mentality! The bigger the bottom line, the more support we need.
I’ll outline three areas of support that need to be established and maintained. First is strategic support. This means having a circle of influence or a ‘mastermind team’ of other colleagues and associates who you can draw upon to strategize and brainstorm business ideas. Next, there’s emotional support. This means having people in your life that you feel safe with to be vulnerable and share your fears and areas of weakness.
Finally, you must have task support. These are individuals on your business team that you can delegate all the activities and tasks that keep you from doing what’s most important in your business to increase your bottom line, like coaching, marketing, and managing your business.
Teresia LaRocque, MCC, is a coaching pioneer and the first recipient of the International Coach Federation’s Master Coach Credential in Canada, as well as co-founder for the Vancouver International Coach Federation Chapter. She worked with Anthony Robbins and Associates from 1994 to 1995 as a coach and trainer. Her coaching business, Teresia LaRocque Coaching and Associates, has provided coaching to many diverse clients ranging from self-employed professionals, entrepreneurs, managers and executives. Her work has been covered widely in the Vancouver media including B.C. Business Magazine, The Province, The Vancouver Sun and Breakfast TV.
Terri Levine: Many coaches are still doing “freebies” thinking that will somehow magically increase their client base. (Not so! This only attracts people who only want freebies.) Inexperienced, new coaches often undervalue their expertise and services. Emotionally, it’s hard for them to ask and receive what they are truly worth.
In some instances, they may not have much experience and probably can’t charge very high fees. Again, it’s a matter of finding their niche market—the people that can and will use their services at the appropriate fee and establish their business accordingly. There are strategies the six-figure coaches use that is not wholly dependent upon the clients’ coaching fees. As much as we emphasize the experience, marketing, and business “savvy” one needs to get to that level, it often comes down to a lack of confidence and belief in yourself.
Terri Levine, MCC, PCC, MS, CCC-SLP, is the founder and CEO of Comprehensive Coaching U, Inc., and The Coaching Institute—The Professional’s Coach Training Program. She is featured regularly in the media and on Channel 10 NBC Philadelphia News as a coaching expert. Terri is a member of the International Coach Federation, the Philadelphia Area Coaches Alliance, The American Society of Training and Development, and the National Women Business Owners. She is the author of Work Yourself Happy (Bovan Publishing Group), Coaching for an Extraordinary Life (Lahaska Press), Create Your Ideal Body (Comprehensive Coaching U) and Stop Managing, Start Coaching! (Comprehensive Coaching U).
Michelle Schubnel: There are three important and often overlooked reasons;
- The majority of coaches are building a part-time business: The fact is you don’t see big incomes in a field where more than half of the professionals are pursuing their business on a part-time basis. It’s important to keep this in mind when discussing overall income statistics of an industry. In a recent survey of the 1,000+ members of the Coach & Grow R.I.C.H. online business training program, 53% of the respondents said that they are coaching part-time. In addition, more than half of all “part-timers” have been doing so for eighteen months or longer.
- A large percentage of coaches are simply not cut out to be business owners: Most people who enrol in coach training programs have not consciously decided to be a business owner. Earning a living based on your coaching skills requires more than the desire to coach. There are very few salaried coaching jobs. If you want to earn a living as a coach it means becoming a sole proprietor whose primary objective is getting clients. Your ultimate success relies on your ability to effectively sell and market your services. First-year coaches need to spend far more time on sales, marketing, operations and administration than they do coaching. Very few coaches realize that when they start out. No wonder so many coaches struggle.
- Many coaches lack the necessary sales, marketing and business skills: Even when you look at full-time coaches who understand the realities of business ownership and have the desire to do what it takes, you still end up with a large percentage of the profession lacking the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. There is a myth in the coaching industry, perpetuated by some of the training schools, that obtaining new clients entails little more than hanging out your shingle and “being attractive.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Coaches need to invest even greater amounts of time, energy, and resources into learning sales, marketing, and business skills as they did gaining the skills to be a coach. In addition to expertly coaching clients, successful coaches clearly define their target market and niche. They have a system for their marketing. They become masters at client enrollment. They learn how to overcome sales objections. They put processes in place for client management, billing, and business operations. The vast majority of profitable coaches had to learn a completely new skill set in order to successfully grow their business. You don’t see high incomes in an industry where there is such a steep learning curve, for which most are unprepared.
Michelle Schubnel has been the President of Coach & Grow R.I.C.H. (C&GR), training thousands of coaches world-wide to build a thriving and rewarding coaching business for the past four years. She has just launched her latest venture, www.BusinessBuildingCenter.com, a training and resource website and online community for coaches. Michelle received her coaching training from Coach U, Corporate Coach U and the Graduate School of Coaching and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University. She is a member of the International Coach Federation and serves on the leadership team of the ICF San Francisco Chapter.
Do you fee that the coaching industry is over-saturated and does this limit the possibility of becoming a six-figure coach?
Teresia LaRocque: No, I don’t think the coaching industry is over-saturated. I believe more and more people are willing to hire coaches. I see that corporations are recognizing the value of incorporating coaching services to reduce the number of sick leave and stress-related challenges. Also, the number of individuals becoming self-employed is rapidly increasing in North America.
Self-employed professionals no longer have the traditional support that they had in companies. As a result, they’re investing in coaching for that support. There are billions of people out there. I personally believe that everybody needs a coach. As the profession grows, more and more people are becoming open to working with one.
Michelle Schubnel: The coaching industry is far from saturated. In fact, I feel the opposite is true. As the coaching industry grows the general public is becoming more aware of the benefits and results that are possible through coaching. As awareness rises, so does the demand.