In a Noisy World, How Do You Set Yourself Apart?

“What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “coaching?” And do you prefer 1:1, group, or a hybrid? 

I actually posed the above questions on social media last week. And I really appreciated those who chimed in with their answers. Truth be told, I was pleasantly surprised by the engagement (because, you know…it’s social media). 

But, it also sparked a very vibrant DM conversation with Heidi Taylor; she and I often have conceptual conversations about the trends we’re observing in the world of business. (Btw: I’d be curious to read your answers to those questions, too, if you’d like to share.) 

The reason for my questions didn’t appear out of thin air, though. 

As I shared with Heidi, I’m sensing another shift in the coaching space (or is it validation? :/). Here’s why: I used to feel like a fish out of water with my business model, a combination of 1:1 coaching, for-hire speaking, and self-hosted events. I don’t any longer.

While I could (can) see the appeal of courses and group programs, because I’ve been a part of a few as a consumer (some better than others), they didn’t work for me  as the creator. I tried. (Note: I’m referring to an ongoing 1:many experience. I’m not including my for-hire speaking or self-hosted events here.)   

Maybe the 1:many in an ongoing capacity didn’t work due to my personal preference for 1:1. Or, maybe it was due to my strong belief that the folks with whom I work prefer 1:1 because of privacy and issues that arise re. money. Heck, maybe it’s a combination of both — maybe it’s a like attracts like situation.

Setting preferences aside, there’s been a surge of courses (live and self-paced) and group programs within the last ten years, if not longer. Maybe you’ve even jumped on the bandwagon – either as a participant or a creator. 

This would be a good place to pause and say this post isn’t about one business model being better than another. 

This is about my experiences and observations and how they are connected to the title of this piece (and the message of this series). And why this topic should matter to you.

What Shifts Are You Noticing?

1:1 is en vogue

For some of us, providing 1:1 coaching never went out of style. It’s remained a core piece of our business model. 

For others it did. It wasn’t deemed a viable way to scale one’s business. Hence, the reason they turned their attention to creating, promoting, and delivering courses and group programs and increasingly memberships. 

What I am noticing right now is that 1:1 coaching seems to be “hot” again.

Thankfully, more people are embracing the idea that there’s more than one pathway to “scaling.” Likewise, just as the decision to provide (or not provide) 1:1 coaching is personal, so is how someone defines “scaling.”

The look of 1:many

Here’s what I’m noticing with regards to group experiences: 

First, there seems to be less of a desire for self-paced, on-demand types of courses and programs and more of a desire for those with live, real-time access to the content creator and other members. People seem to be under-whelmed with simply having access to more information.

Second, group experiences that focus on a very specific discipline, focus or need are gaining more traction than broad group coaching programs (or courses).

Third (and I think this is driven by #1 and #2), the pricing of group experiences are increasing. I’m seeing fewer and fewer of the types of offers that are priced less than $100 per month, and more and more that are priced in the $300-$500 per month range.

I’ve yet to draw any specific conclusions about these observations. Mostly, they are sparking more questions, especially when it comes to the pricing landscape and how people do a cost-benefit analysis.

Your turn. After reading this far, what dots have you connected with regards to you, your business, and your industry? 

What shifts are you noticing?

How are those shifts affecting you and your body of work? 

Do they excite you? 

Or, do you feel like a fish out of water and are now wondering about your next steps?  

How Do You Stand Out?

Clearly, there are no “right” or “wrong” answers here. But, your answers do one very important thing: they amplify what it is you want to be known for. They are a reflection of your message and your brand.

At least this is how I see it. 

In sharing my observations about the coaching space with Heidi, it helped to reaffirm for me that I want to be known as the person who:

  • Sparks profound thoughts and instigates deep conversations. I thrive on going beneath the surface; small talk is not my strong suit IRL or on your screen:).
  • Takes action, and inspires others to take personalized action. 
  • Challenges people to give themselves permission to dream their grandest dreams. I’ll be one of your biggest cheerleaders. And while I’ll never tell you something is impossible, I will reality check you on your timeline.
  • Creates safe spaces where people feel inspired and comfortable to share what they’ve told no one or only a few.
  • Responds to challenges and setbacks, in life and business, with grace. This is what helps me help others navigate their challenges and setbacks with grace.
  • Sees and spreads joy.

I want to be known for being a thinker, an observer, a pattern-seeker, a dot connector. I want to be known as a straight-shooter who helps her clients get the results they want and need. 

In the noisy world of coaching and speaking and the financial services industry, this is how I set myself apart.

What do you want to be known for? How do you set yourself apart?

What innocuous questions or conversations can reaffirm these for you?

And if you need help on how to define your message and influence your brand’s perception (you do realize you are a brand, right?), well, that’s the focus of the next post…

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