In the United States alone, there are over 60,000 business coaches and 20,000 life coaches. What does that mean for you?
Well, if you're trying to break into the competitive field of coaching, it means you're going to need a strong brand presence in order to stand out from the rest. Your brand is what people will remember and recognize you for, so it's essential that you get it right.
Here we will be discussing how to build your brand as a coach. We'll cover topics like defining your brand identity, making your brand known across all phases of client interaction, and the different elements that make up a strong brand.
Let's dive right in.
Anyone who wants to make their mark within an industry needs to do one of three things: design something unique, create something of true value, or self-brand.
Self-branding is the process of creating an image and identity that you can use to promote yourself and your services. It prevents you from fading into the background, just another face in a sea of competition.
Here are some examples of people who immaculately branded themselves:
So, what does it mean to brand in the coaching context?
Your brand identity is essentially who you are as a coach. Coach branding includes the values and beliefs that define your approach to coaching, as well as how you want people to perceive you.
When it comes to defining your brand, there are three key elements:
Answering these questions is essential in creating a solid foundation on which your brand can be built. Without giving your clients a clear, well-rounded understanding of who you are, it will be difficult for them to trust and connect with you.
A value is something you place a lot of importance on; for instance, some people value authenticity and strive to develop their self-concept, while others value knowledge and learning.
When it comes to your brand – or your personal life, for that matter – you don't necessarily choose your values. They're revealed in the way you live your life and conduct your business.
You can identify your own values by observing how you interact with your clients, and by reflecting on the qualities that most inspire you.
Your purpose is your reason for doing what you do – it's why someone should choose to work with you as a coach. It’s essential to be able to clearly articulate why people should pick up the phone and call you, rather than any other coach in the industry.
When defining your purpose, ask yourself: What unique value can I bring to my clients? How is my approach different from others'? Why do I have an edge over them?
Often, this will come down to the reason you started coaching in the first place. You may have wanted the satisfaction of helping other people succeed; perhaps you had a lot of knowledge that wasn't being used, so you decided to share it through coaching.
Your purpose is what you'll use to craft your brand messaging – which means it needs to be completely concrete in your mind.
Your messaging is the way you communicate your purpose, values and beliefs to prospective clients. It should be concise, clear and compelling – it should grab people's attention and make them want to work with you.
When crafting your messaging, emphasize how you can help clients by providing tangible benefits. Focus on the positive results they'll experience when working with you:
Your messaging should also reflect your values. Demonstrate how you promote self-reflection, foster collaboration, or encourage empathy with every client. This will help clients connect with you on a deeper level, and make it easier for them to trust that you have their best interests at heart.
When someone brands themselves well, you'll know it – because when you think about their brand or business, the colors, fonts, and tone of voice they use will come to mind. Here are a few coaches who properly fleshed out their branding to make something truly memorable:
Her branding is soft modern, which reflects her expertise in relationships – she has a sophisticated palette of creams, browns, and soft pops of rich color. She makes her messaging clear with the front page pop-out statement: "The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives."
A lot of her messaging is inspired by personal experiences with trauma, which she uses to relate to her audience and help them feel understood. Her aesthetic branding of light colors elevates her tone perfectly.
These are just a few coaches you can draw upon for inspiration. Take some time to check out your own favorite coaches and see what they do right (and wrong) when it comes to branding themselves.
Did you know that branding isn't just about establishing your values, purpose, and messaging? Once you've clarified those elements for yourself, you need to use them – and that means they need to be present in all phases of client interaction.
Every part of your coaching journey needs to represent the same brand, including:
No matter where your client is interacting with you, they should be getting the same consistent message about who you are as a coach.
As a coach, you handle a lot of paperwork and resources. You may have client intake forms, worksheets, agendas, or other materials that help you conduct your coaching sessions. Make sure these are all on-brand as well.
You should use the same font style, colors, and logo throughout any documents or presentations you create for clients to establish consistency in your brand identity. This would include things like invoice templates, business proposals, customer portals, and booking forms.
But don't just copy/paste your logo onto everything; go further than that. Decide the specific tone of voice you want to use and carry that across all interaction points. It would seem inconsistent to have a conversational tone in your web copy but then a dry, clinical tone in the forms you send out.
(Client contracts would be the exception here, since it’s important for legal documents to maintain a level of formality.)
After you do the hard work of refining and establishing your brand, there's a vital step to launch it into the world: networking and collaboration. You need to get your name out there, build relationships with potential clients, and create a community around yourself as a coach.
To do this effectively, start by building an impressive online presence for yourself. This means having a website that showcases your services, writing informative blog posts about topics related to coaching, and engaging with followers on social media. Attend local events in your area, join networking groups, and put yourself out there as an expert in your field.
Next, create partnerships with individuals or businesses that have a similar target audience. By collaborating on projects or offering referrals to each other's services, you can reach more people and establish credibility for both of you. You can also collaborate with others by guest blogging on their websites or offering them free advice related to their own work.
An excellent example of this is life coaches who run podcast episodes with other professionals, such as Mel Robbins and Christine Hassler. Not only does a podcast connect you with potential customers, but it also helps you establish yourself as an authority in your niche as a result of bringing other authoritative people on your show.
Branding yourself is an investment of time, energy, and money – so you need to be able to measure your ROI. There are a few metrics you can use to gauge your success:
Of course, the number of new clients is your main metric for success; it clearly shows how successfully you’ve built your brand and whether you’re reaching the right people.
Are you feeling inconsistent as a brand, but not sure where to start making changes? Keep in mind that it all starts with clarification. You can't refine a brand properly without first establishing values, purpose, and messaging.
Once you know your brand identity, it's time to apply it! Make sure that all client interactions – from web design and customer portals to resources and materials – feature consistent elements of who you are as a coach.
With the right amount of planning and effort, you can easily create a powerful and recognizable brand. Don't forget to try out Bonsai for our branded templates and client portal capabilities.