Hello peeps, another amazing day and I’m writing this having just got off the train from Birmingham, where I spent the day at an event called Trainer Talk Live.
This was an event organised by one of my gurus, Sharon Gaskin, who runs a company dedicated to helping freelance trainers create successful businesses. The morning was spent in the company of “Mr Networking”, Andy Lopata, who was giving a masterclass in how to get referrals – brilliant, brilliant stuff and EXACTLY what I need to be learning about.
I was saying to Sharon that it’s amazing how the Universe provides: I was originally due to attend this event a couple of months ago when it was held in London, and I had to pull out at the last moment. It wouldn’t have been much use to me then, because I wouldn’t have been in the right place for it – but today was the perfect time for me to meet Andy and learn from him.
So thank you, yet again, Universe.
The afternoon session was a clinic where we each brought a business problem or challenge and the group had the opportunity to help us to find solutions. My challenge centred around finding a way to get people to commit to working with me, as I sense a great deal of interest and I feel lacking in the skills to convert that into actual paying customers.
You’ll know, because I’ve talked about it before, that I have a real block about “doing sales” and that I’ve invested in some expert coaching to get me past that, but I feel there’s also an issue around how I describe what I do and who I’m trying to appeal to.
During this session we were talking about having a really clear USP (unique selling point) when one of our number said that actually, that was looking at it from the wrong standpoint. What I need to clarify, he suggested, is my UBP – my Unique Buying Point or the thing that will make a client want to get their coaching from me as opposed to anyone else. He said that I should stand in a prospective client’s shoes and see myself from the outside, and THEN I’ll know what it is about me that would make someone choose to work with me instead of any of the other thousands of coaches out there.
So I thought I’d have a go. Now if you’ve EVER tried to look at yourself objectively you’ll know how difficult this can be but it’s got to be worth a try, right? And what I’d like you guys to do is point out to me what I’ve missed about myself that might make all the difference for someone who’s trying to choose between me and a number of other coaches. I’d also like to know what you see me doing or saying that puts you OFF working with me because that’s equally valuable information.
OK so, what do I do?
I’m a coach – and so is every other coach on the planet, so there’s nothing unique about that. I have an accredited post-graduate level coaching qualification which narrows it down a bit but not much.
I’m also a trainer with a background in personal, management and leadership development and I’m qualified to administer various psychometric tools – and so are lots and lots of other coaches.
Apparently I “don’t look like a coach” which was meant as a compliment and I THINK was a reference that I wear clothes that make me look like I’ve survived an explosion in a paint factory. If you’re expecting or want to work with a coach who wears standard black or grey, or is pinned into a suit every day, then you don’t want me.
So I LOOK very individual, and that’s a deliberate reflection of my personality. I use colour and the feelings and emotions that we associate with colour a lot in my work, and that’s reflected in how I look and my branding (and it’s not a gimmick, I’ve always loved wearing colour).
I like to work with metaphor (and so do lots of other coaches) an I’ve extended that recently to include magic and fairy stories (and, of course Fairy Dust). I work with those things in a business context as well as a life context as I believe it’s equally valid in both. Maybe we’re getting to something now, in that my coaching, while based on sound principles, is NOT your standard coaching – it’s geared around who YOU are and what’s going to serve YOUR personal values best, and it’s done in a way that frees your inner child because I believe that when we play, we really learn what’s important to us.
As well as the colour and metaphor there’s also humour and compassion in what I do alongside the challenge. I do know that there is a perception of coaches as being terribly earnest about what they do, and that’s really not me at all. My clients and I often end up laughing during our sessions and I think that’s both really healthy and really important.
My core value is authenticity. That’s why my aim is to help as many people as possible to become their own, authentic self, to show the world their True Colours.
I show the world my True Colours every day and it feels completely wonderful. My mission, as I believe I may have mentioned once or twice before, is to take you to a point in your life where you too can experience the joy of living completely in tune with who you really are.
Part of that authenticity is reflected in this blog. I meet a lot of people who think that, to be a coach you have to be completely sorted and have the answers to everything.
Well sorry, but no and personally I wouldn’t trust any coach who claimed to be sorted. I’m still learning about who I am and what I’m capable of (as you’ll have seen over the past 10 days) and I’ll go on learning as long as I live.
I’ve lived (oh, how I’ve lived!) a life that’s had its ups and downs so I can empathise with a lot of the situations people find themselves in when they come to me, and I can also be the living proof that it’s possible to go through that stuff, to feel utterly wretched about something, and to take control and come out the other side stronger and wiser and happier.
So where does that leave me with my UBP? It’s not exactly snappy, is it, and it still feels like it’s coming from inside me rather than from an objective standpoint. So please, lovely reader, do help me. Add your comments below or, if you’re feeling shy, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what YOU think my UBP is or could be….
And now, as it’s Friday night, I’m off to spend the evening on the sofa with my lovely husband (who’s made tea) in front of The West Wing.
Thanks for reading, with Love & Fairy Dust