As a leadership coach, you’ve no doubt learned that executives won’t seek assistance from anyone they don’t trust. Being coached can be a vulnerable position, where the leader’s character, style and beliefs are examined. They will only tackle these personal topics with someone they believe has their best interest at heart and can truly be of benefit to them.
Earning trust is the first step in landing a working relationship with a potential client. Are you overly focused on making a sale, and underestimating the process of earning trust first? This is an ineffective approach.
One of the biggest aspects of developing trust with a client is to establish credibility with them. This means you are seen as an expert in your field, especially in the area that the client senses they need to improve. You portray yourself as a resource capable of attaining the positive change the executive needs.
Credibility is manifested in a number of ways.
- Your documented qualifications—a prominent sign to be displayed on your website, blog posts, in your newsletters and social media
- Your resume of past experience—consider making this available in the form of a blog post, bullet highlights in your newsletter and post a portfolio on social media.
- Your (and/or your clients’) success stories—nothing grabs people’s attention like a story. With permission from your clients (of course!) share success stories in blog posts, highlight specific stories in your newsletter and build client testimonials to gather and share on your website.
A coach who’s very learned about their field earns much credibility. Reinforce this by practicing active listening from your first meeting with a prospective client. Communicate what you understand to be their experience, perspective and struggle. Reflect (articulate) the feelings you hear: happy, sad, glad, sorry, frustration and/or joy. Empathize and share similar experiences you have had and what you found to work for you. (Be careful not to take the spotlight from them, or engage in one-upmanship.) If your client sees that you’ve been down this road before and know which turns to make, they’ll be comforted knowing they’re in capable hands.
Great leadership coaches keep learning as much as they can. And they issue great, professional content in their newsletters and blogs; quality content that keeps the needs of their readers in mind. Build and reinforce your credibility by sharing solutions to their problems.
What do you think? Send us an email if you’d like to share a story of how a client was drawn to your content and placed their trust in your expertise.