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What Do You Do?

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What do you do?’

Anyone who’s ever been in a room with people they’ve not previously met has almost certainly been asked this question. If you’re at a networking event, this question often seems to have more significance than your name.

I’ve seen coaches squirm trying to answer it, for a variety of reasons, mostly because they focus on themselves and not least that the ‘doing’ in coaching seems pathetically inadequate to describe the impact of what it is we actually do.
‘Oh, I just talk to people. Usually over Skype.’

But just as with actual coaching itself, people aren’t so much interested in the ‘how’ of what you ‘do’ but its purpose, its impact, its value. The benefits.

Unlike plumbing, for example, where people generally have a good idea of the kinds of things you can help them with, (fix leaking taps, fit new bathroom suites…) coaching is generally still an unknown. So whilst in some circles ‘I’m a business coach’ might give your conversation partner an idea of your work, for the most part, people still don’t have any idea what business coaching is, and what benefits it brings.

Plus, coaching, even business coaching, covers such a variety of areas, challenges and solutions.

This question is much easier to answer when we don’t make it about ourselves, and talk about the people we work with and help. What is it we help our clients do, see, create or change?

If you want to be prepared to answer this question you don’t need to rehearse an answer, only to be clear on what journey it is you take your clients.

‘I help over fifties women re-engage with life after their children have left home, often helping them starting their own businesses or simply enjoying the next stage of their life.’

‘I help small business owners, who feel they are at an impasse, make better use of the assets they have already created to maximise their business growth.’

‘I help couples who are struggling in their relationships to either reconnect, reconcile, or divorce peacefully and lovingly.’

I help take people from A to B.

You really don’t need to rehearse this. Just consider what people will be bringing with them when they show up to work with you, and what they leave with.

‘I help people get in touch with God, whatever that is for them.’

‘I help people live their most joyous life, even those seemingly enduring the toughest of times.’

All of these examples are, in my opinion, much better than ‘I’m a coach.’ And whilst I definitely DO NOT think it is either necessary or even helpful to find a niche, (if there is one, it will appear organically,) if you have been coaching a while you’ll likely be able to look back at your past clients and spot some trends. And if you don’t yet have enough client stories to reflect upon, simply give some consideration to what it is you want to help people see, do, create or change.

‘What do I do? Thank you for asking. Right now I’m putting together a group of men who have previously struggled in relationships, to explore how they can be much more freely expressive of their desires in their marriage and relationships, and develop deeper connections and intimacy with their partners.’

Answering the ‘What do you do?’ question can be an opportunity to talk about whatever you’re passionate about that you have going on, or are putting together. And if you're a coach I encourage you to simply get in touch with that passion, and not to rehearse this. Be in touch with what's in your heart, not rehearse a conversation in your head.

In a conversation a few months ago, I was asked this question and I replied ‘Right now I’m preparing to run a leadership workshop for a large pharmaceutical company in London, helping them to create harmonious and productive teams after a period of instability and reorganisation.’

I then asked him ‘How about you?’
‘I hire people like you.’ He replied.

If you’re a coach or aspiring coach and would like some support in growing your practice, Thrive may be perfect for you.

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