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Step-by-Step Way To Build A Credible Coaching Practice Without Spending Money on Ads

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Where do I find clients? 

Is there a secret place where clients hide? 

Do I need to spend loads of money on ads?

Do I use Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads?

Ahhhh! I get it, it’s frustrating sometimes. I’m sure you must be experiencing the same cycle of being bombarded with Facebook ads and becoming anxious. You must be constantly thinking, “I need to master Facebook ads if I want to be in the market. I must keep pace, remain current, and avoid falling behind.”

I bet, you are not the only one to freak out like this. The point is that the world is changing and probably everything around us is changing and so are the marketing ways. But spending money on ads, is this what you want? 

Clients are everywhere. All the time around you and ads is definitely not the only way around them. And in our latest webinar of Coaching Matters, Gaurav Arora discusses organic ways to build a thriving coaching practice without spending money on ads. This is a transcripted version of the conversation that followed.

How To Build A Credible Coaching Practice-Without Spending Money on Ads

Inner Work

The first thing which is extremely important for all of us to look at that is the inner work. I’m sure, you would have heard me saying that, “Who you are is how you coach.” What it means is, that unless you know yourself, you will not be able to make a dent in the market. Unless you work on yourself, you will not be able to offer your unique expression, you will not be able to offer your unique gift to the world. And thus, this is really important that you know who you are. 

In my journey, when people ask me, Gaurav, what is coaching for you, Is it a choice for you? Or is it a chance for you? I’m very clear that it happened to me as a choice. And it’s important for us to understand if it’s a choice or a chance, because based on this we have to do our inner work. Because unless we have done our inner work, we will not be able to make that happen. 

Who you are is how you coach. What it means is that whatever you are doing, if it’s not coming from a conscious choice, it will continue to drive you and you would call it fate. What does that mean? Carl Jung said that unless you make the unconscious conscious, it will continue to drive your life and you will call it fate. So the question that I need to ask myself is, where am I? So you have to ask this question from yourself, where are you? Are you operating from a space of the default patterns from where you are looking and operating in your life? or is it coming from awareness? 

I’m sure, as coaches as consultants, as trainers, all of you would have heard this. The outer world is the manifestation of the inner world. And if the inner world is still clinging on to things, which is not supporting us, which is the default pattern. So that means I’ll continue to create the same life that I’ve been creating. However, if I’m willing to release that, I’ll be able to release, what’s not working, and I can actually shift to the awareness. And that’s where you can actually manifest the life that you would like to manifest. And that is what awareness is all about. 

Thus, the next thing important is we need to work on the self-awareness part, the biases that we have, and our values. And unless we can work on the self-awareness part, our biases and values and not be able to let go of something which is not supporting us, and you can stand and be grounded in your own values. When people tell you that I’m not getting business, so that means they are still operating from a mindset, which is not serving them. And thus, it’s extremely important to stand and be grounded in our own values. The question is, why would you want to be a coach? Why are you a coach in the very first place? 

Finding Your Niche

The second step, which is extremely important is finding your niche. I have personally met and interacted with over 2500 coaches out of which I would have spoken to at least 200 thought leaders who are either authors who are MCC coaches who are running their successful global practice out of those 200 people, I would not be wrong in saying that over 100 people would not have the clarity of the niche that they are working in or 2500 people and I would be very, I’m being very generous right? At least 70% of people would not have clarity of the needs that they would like to work on or they are working on.

It’s very important to understand that okay, I primarily operate in the domain of sales, I primarily work with women, I primarily work with sales professionals. Now, are you the right coach, when it comes to sales professionals, who is just getting into sales? So somebody who’s in one year to three years of experience and to say somebody who’s into BFSI, somebody’s into digital marketing and selling somebody who’s operating in the space of technology? Will you be able to coach that person in the domain of sales? Are you the best coach for that person? I don’t know. 

Now, the question is, have you been able to identify that for yourself? The answer could be yes or no. If not, that’s when you need to start working on because unless you know, who you are serving, and what value are you delivering? It will take us a little longer time to deliver that value. And is that an easy thing? It’s not that easy. I’m with you on that. However, if you can get into a dialogue with somebody who is a fellow coach and can who can assist you to find your niche, I think that itself is a million-dollar conversation. 

Building Your Personal Brand

Let’s look at the third thing, which is extremely important. The third thing that we say is to build your personal brand. One of the challenges that we have is people asking me, Gaurav, what do I do? So I said, Okay, I work with leaders in the technology space, I work with sales professionals in BFSI, I work with teachers to further enhance their facilitation skills, I work with children to further enhance their communication skills, I work with parents to further help them get better at parenting. And those parents primarily in the age group who have been parents for anywhere between three years to five years. 

Now let’s look at these all different niches. Now I’m sure, that unless you’re able to build your personal brand, you will not be able to create that dent in the market. And that is what requires a lot of time. Now my personal take on building your personal brand is to give, to give, and to give. The more you give, the more you’ll get. I remember a long time back, Tom Peters came up with a book called a brand called you. It’s this simple, you are a brand you are in charge of your brand, and there is no single path to success. And there is no right way to create the brand called you, except this.

Start today, or else you’ll never be able to stop. Because you would have seen there are a lot of people who are finding their niche, and they are so targeted on LinkedIn. They’re nowhere doing ads, not all the people are doing ads, or they’re spending a lot of money on YouTube ads or Facebook ads or Instagram ads, LinkedIn ads, but they’re very clear about hey, these are the people that I would like to serve and they are content, they continue to build their brand in that domain. So once you’ve been able to identify, hey, I would like to work with business owners, entrepreneurs who are running businesses, under anywhere between 5cr to 100cr they are into manufacturing, the age group of this business owner is anywhere between 35 to 45. Now, these are the people that I would like to work with, right all you may say is that, hey, I work with family-run businesses, where the second generation is already taken over the business. These people are in the age group of 25 to 35. The revenue that they are clocking is anywhere between 50 Cr 150 Cr, the more narrow you go, the better it is. But in that segment, as I mentioned, you have to build your brand because unless people know you, they will not come to you. Why should they come to you? If they know that they’re not going to get any value from you? Why should they come to you? And that is where it’s extremely important to build your credibility. 

Building Connections

The fourth step is building your connection. And somebody said, the goal of how to build connection, my understanding of connection is to understand what’s the connection, first of all, is it an acquaintance? Is it are you dating somebody, or in a relationship with somebody? Are you just exploring what can I extract from that? 

A friend of mine Jivanji, says, the goal every time when you get into a connection, make sure that you add more value. And he was sharing one of those stories where somebody came to his father. Now Jivanji is from Pakistan and settled in the Silicon Valley on some eight companies. Somebody asked his father, the pen that you’re holding is an absolutely stunning pen. Can I see that? So his father handed over that pen to him and Jivanji was standing there next to his father. And he said, he’d continue, he continued to watch his father. And he was in all that how somebody said that you have got a stunning pen and the dad handed over that pen to him. And that gentleman to whom Jivanji’s father handed over that pen, he said, Thank you so much, sir, what can I do for you? And he and his father said, it’s not a transaction, it’s an offering. 

When Jivanji just shared this story with me, I was stunned. It’s not a transaction, it’s an offering. And when we do these kinds of webinars, it’s an offering, you will choose not to buy the services that we have to offer, but isn’t just an offering. And if I get stuck, that if I’m offering you something, I have to get something in return from you. That’s a transaction. That’s not going to survive for a long time, because people can see through that, is it wrong to get into the transaction, I’m always saying that as well, in case you would like to get into that business that hear, hey, this is what I’m offering this what I’m going to ask in return, which is absolutely fine as well, I think even that is as fair as offering something. But the point is, you need to be very clear about when you’re saying that I would like to build connections, I would like to build network, I would like to build relationships, you need to ask yourself, what is a connection for you? So as I mentioned, there are three imperatives of success when it comes to success. So as I mentioned, right relationship, plus the right ecosystem, the right way. Now, if you ask me, this one slide is extremely important. You need to have the right relationship, you need to have the right ecosystem. Why am I saying that you need to have a right ecosystem because nothing works out of the ecosystem.

And thus, if I don’t have the right relationship, if I’m not a part of the right ecosystem, and if I’m not doing the right thing, I will not be able to hit the button well, right and not be able to hit the bull’s eye in the dark. And that is where make sure you genuinely invest in right relationship and balance the right relationship. 

Explore Your Relationship With Money

Let me just quickly move to the next one, explore your relationship with money and extremely important. Unless you have not yet resolved this, you’re not able to ask for the money that you really deserve, and desire from your clients. Today, I was sitting with somebody who happens to be one of the finest guys in the ecosystem of startups. And we were just exploring, we are doing, we are starting something for the startup, we are just putting together a programme for the startup domain. And I was just talking to him. And he said, got a view that I’ve never worked in the for-profit. I just love doing things as a nonprofit.

And I was wondering, I know that you are adding a lot of value, why would you be comfortable asking for money? I don’t know if you are adding a lot of value as a coach, why wouldn’t you be comfortable asking for money from people? And that’s a question that you need to ask yourself. And that is where you need to explore your relationship with money. 

Position Yourself As A Product And Offer Your Services

The next one is position yourself as a product and offer your services. Once you’ve been resolved, once you’ve been able to resolve your relationship, I need that. So you need to position yourself, you need to position yourself as a product and offer your services. Remember that and, you will not be able to do that unless you were able to position yourself as a brand in the market. So that’s if you look at all these six, seven points that we’ve been talking about. They’re interconnected, these are different notes, unless you put all these notes together will not be able to serve our clients really well. 

Create Systems and Processes

The last one is creating systems and processes. Somebody asked, Hey, Gaurav, how can we build connections on LinkedIn? So of course there are systems and the process that you need to create for yourself, you may choose to work on Saturday or Sunday, write down all the content, you may want to write case studies, you may want to write something from your personal life, you may want to share a story, you may want to share something that you know the blogs and articles. So you need to identify what’s your niche is, for example, given a choice to me, I love interacting with people, I love doing webinars, I love speaking, writing is not for me, right at the end of the day. However, as a piece, I need to write something on LinkedIn. That’s what I do, of course on weekly basis and make sure that I invest some time in writing something or the other. But personally, I have been able to identify my niche for myself, I’ve been able to identify what’s my two expression. And how do I express that. Because unless you’ve been able to identify what’s your niche and how you express yourself, will not be able to put together the things that will help you to take it to the next level.

About Gaurav Arora

Gaurav has a decade of rich experience in the professional services industry as a Facilitator, Coach and Speaker, with a strong track record of building high-performing leadership teams. As a facilitator, he has been recognized for creating stimulating and interactive learning environments, encouraging participation and individual creativity. As an Executive Coach, he works to dismantle barriers that come up in the workplace for leaders and help them in fulfilling their intent. A storyteller by heart, he leverages various methodologies and technique to put his point across and create the breakthrough.

He founded Inspire Coaching Systems in 2009, now known as xMonks and started a social development initiative “iOwn” in 2016, which is a platform to connect coaches with Social Development Sector to create possibilities and transformation for the change makers and bringing coaching to the grass root level.

Gaurav is an Engineer and a Management Graduate in Marketing. He is a recipient of the “Young HR Professional of the Year 2009-10” by Employer Branding Institute and has been awarded as the 100 top Leadership Coach in 2017. Recently, Gaurav has been honored with the 2019 ICF Young Leader Award. Gaurav is a voracious reader and loves adventure sports. In his free time, he does calligraphy, painting, and reads books.

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