How to connect with high-level leaders
You want to build your coaching business but you don’t want to feel like a salesperson working on commission. The good news is: you don’t need to work up a semi-uncomfortable sales pitch and practice delivering it. Here's how...

Written By Robert E Logan

Christian Coaching Pioneer, Strategic Ministry Catalyst, Resource Developer, Empowering Consultant : Logan Leadership
You know that what you offer is valuable, but how can you communicate that value to others? Especially to connect with high-level leaders who are connected with other leaders? Because you know that’s how successful coaching businesses get built—eventually it’s mostly referrals. 

6 Steps when Connecting with High-level Clients

high-level clients

1. Think big and think it through

First, identify the top 30 leaders in your circles. Make note of why each came to mind. How might your values align with theirs? Who might you have in common? The best connections are made when you have someone who can introduce you and give you a glowing recommendation. If that isn’t available think through how to approach each. Great connections have been made by attending an event where someone spoke or even following on social media and thoughtfully interacting with posts.

2. Hold off on the pitch

It’s tempting to feel like you need to sell yourself but with coaching it’s ultimately not about you. Instead of being sales-oriented—or self-oriented—be client-oriented. How do you do this? Listen before you pitch. 

3. Ask thoughtful questions

Start by uncovering where they currently are. Ask questions like, “What is your vision?” What does that look like when it’s fully developed?” Do some good, sharp listening to help them unpack their vision until it’s very concrete.

Next move to strategy: “What is your strategy to get there?” Listen for how well-developed and concrete their strategy is. Depending on how far down that road they are, ask, “What obstacles and challenges are you facing?” 

Their clarity may break down at any point along this line of questioning. Some clients know their vision and have a very clear picture, but lack clarity around their strategy. Some have a strategy but are uncertain about how to face challenges… or even what those challenges are. 

4. Keep your coaching hat on

In the course of doing all of this, you are already being helpful to them. You are building trust and helping them get clarity over the natural course of the conversation. And in doing this diagnostic work to determine where they are and what they need, you can find places to connect to help them move forward toward their vision. 

5. Your one-sentence pitch

All of that leads seamlessly into the next conversation: “How can I be of help?” This is the pitch: aimed directly at what they have already identified as their need. You’ve already been helpful, and you want to become a trusted and helpful resource, a go-to person. 

6. Look for expansion opportunities

From there, watch it spread. Sometimes you will get clients word-of-mouth through your individual work with others, but don’t neglect other ways to spread your coaching business. Look at your clients’ needs and assess whether you might be able to help meet those. 

For instance, through one of your coaching conversations, a particular need was surfaced: how to develop disciplemaking in smaller towns and communities. That need may lead to a gathering where your client and others who minister in similar environments nearby can come together to work on that particular issue. Maybe you could help facilitate that gathering. Maybe some of the other leaders want coaching on it as well.   

In another case, maybe your client has a clear vision, but their team does not yet have buy-in. What are the options you might have to work with their team to help them facilitate that buy-in? Or maybe if their team does have buy-in, you can do a consultation to develop a strategic planning process to ensure that all team members’ voices have been heard, thereby ensuring ongoing ownership. The more people you work with—either directly coaching them or helping facilitate their conversations—the more opportunities people will have to discover and experience firsthand how helpful you can be. 

And once a strategic plan is in place, consider who on the team you may need to coach to ensure the implementation process stays on track and they continue moving forward. 

Much more than a menu

Doesn’t this approach feel so much more natural than a sales pitch? You don’t need to lead by showing your menu and asking them to select something. Rather, you can work with people as unique individuals, helping them discover what they want and how they want to accomplish that end. Then ask, “How can I help you with what you need?” 

After all, you know that best coaching is client-focused, not coach-focused. Why should your efforts to build your coaching business be any different? I think of one of my favorite quotes from Jim Herrington—notably, in the form of a question: “How can you further intentionalize your efforts to accelerate your results?”

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