If you're like me and most other life coaches, you came to life coaching from a place of passion. You came to it because you hada desire to be a helper, to be both fed by your work and to feed others. (And because you are probably, somewhere inside, psychologically unemployable - let's talk about that another time).
In the early stages of establishing your practice, you might long for these things called "messaging" and "clarity". And in fact, you might hear from the "online business" world that you *must* have a "clear message" in order to succeed. Under that "clear message" umbrella come things like a niche, copy that resonates, services people want, a website that works for you... Eek. It's a lot of pressure that message has to carry.
First of all, what's a "message"?
And secondly, how do you even know if it's "clear"?
According to dictionary.com, a message can range from a response on a message board, to the divnely inspired words of a prophet. The common theme is communication. A message allows you to bridge the gap between what you know about life coaching, and what the listener doesn't know about life coaching. More specifically:
Your "message" bridges that gap between what you know is possible and what the listener doesn't know is possible. It's communication.
If you work with high-vibe spiritual woo woo heads like me who are ashamed that they keep getting dragged down in to the muck of every day life... your MESSAGE to them might be as simple as:
You can rise above the daily dramas at work and home and eminate your personal power and peace everywhere you go... while accepting yourself totally for the times you can't.
According to dictionary.com, clarity means "freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity". So how do you know if your message is "clear enough"?
(I might argue that this goal is a business-as-spiritual-development downer... but since most people want it, let's go with it for now).
Your message has "clarity" when other people can stand up and say "YES, that's ME and what I WANT!"
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A "clear" message might include a few parts to it to help it be free from ambiguity.
1) An example of the day-to-day impact coaching could have on the person. How would morning change? Evening? Lunchtimes at the desk?
2) An example of how coaching can impact not only them, but those around them. Will their marriage be better? Kids? Family of origin will stop driving them crazy? Co-workers? World at large?
3) Their major point of shame, pain, guilt, or nagging. What's the major thing that they'd want to change or improve? Yelling? Snapping? Being invisible?
Most importantly, permission granted NOT to have a "clear message" yet.
Permission granted to allow your unique coaching brilliance to unfold as you follow inspired breadcrumbs and act from creativity and joy in your work. Permission granted for your clear message to discover you... and for it to evolve as you and your business do.
Coaches often tell me they don't design and launch a group program because they get overwhelmed and paralyzed by how to actually put all their great ideas into a program.
Lots of coaches are really great "meta" thinkers - I call us "Creative Type As". We love big vision thinking and we love to categorize and organize... but when the rubber meets the road, it's hard to actually sit down and outline the content of a group coaching program.
I use these 5C's as the framework to create a new program, every time I create one for myself or for someone else through my Package Your Brilliance service. They should help you and your squirrel brain stay on track to creating a transformative program that serves!
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1) Clarity: The first step to running a massively transformative (and irresistible) group coaching program is getting so incredibly specific and clear on what the people want. I can't say it enough: You cannot sell people "the life of their dreams". Most people are so far divorced from their dreams they don't even know what they are anymore. Be a coach, take their hand, and do your research - get so, so specific about what their dream day looks like from the minute that Jeeves brings them coffee in the morning until their head hits their satin lavender scented pillow. Do. Your. Research.
2) Content: Once you know exactly how people are suffering and what they want, the content creates itself! You now know that they want more time during the week with their kids, and that right now they're working 60-80 hours a week while caring for their aging parents. We might want to throw a Values Assessment at them, but this looks more like an AIM SMART plan solution! Content is simply the steps it takes to get from pain island to happyville, and any materials you need to support those steps.
3) Container: Once you know what kind of steps it's going to take to help your clients create transformation in your area of specialty, you can create the container. That's simply: How long? How will you meet? I recommend making it short enough to keep people's attention... but long enough to really be able to break down the steps into manageable pieces.
4) Community: How will you foster the most unique aspect of group coaching: Your community? Do you want them to have a FB group of their own? Pair up into pairs and trios to give additional support? How will you make them feel however it is you want them to feel in the world of your business? Get clear on how you want people to feel: Supported? Challenged? Nurtured? Terrified? And infuse that into your language and community aspects of your program through guidelines and emails.
5) Coaching: The most important element of your program, and the last one! Once you finally get your program going, you're going to want to make sure you've thought ahead about all the things that might disrupt the energy of the group, and have a plan for handling it. You're also going to want to decide if you coach via 2-3 longer "hot seat" sessions, or if everyone in the group gets a shorter and shallower time each call. You decide - you're the coach - but be sure to set and keep the boundary.
Working through the 5 "C"s will help you stay focused on creating a transformative group coaching program that serves (and sells!)
JJ Carolan, the Group Coaching Gal, Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Certified Professional Life Coach. Lots of letters to say.. I understand people.