Kim Avery, M.A.
Excerpted with permission from Coaching the Coach: Stories and Practical Tips for Transforming lives, by renowned author and life coach Georgia Shaffer. Want to read more? Click here to purchase!
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 NIV
Before I entered the wonderful world of coaching, I was a practicing Licensed Mental Health Counselor. It was a fun and rewarding career and in some ways it was very simple. As a counselor, I was expected to counsel. They didn’t hire me to balance the books, file for taxes, create Web sites, or send out newsletters. I counseled.
I woke every morning, drove to the office, grabbed a stack of files from the secretary, walked into the waiting room and called the first person’s name. I didn’t know how the person got to the waiting room or how he or she found our practice–every morning they just magically appeared.
What escaped me in all my education and preparation for life coaching was the fact that the day I became a life coach, I also became an accountant, tax preparer, web designer, newsletter writer, and most importantly of all–a marketer.
I began marketing my coaching, as I suppose many people do, by staying firmly inside my comfort zone. After all, God had called me to become a life coach, so surely He would provide the clients. I talked to a few friends, mentioned my new service at my church and built an amazing website.
But the clients didn’t come.
Clearly, God wanted me to grow in some new ways. God, I prayed, if you just show me what to do to get clients, I’ll do it.
The next day my son pointed out a story in our local newspaper about a new networking group beginning in a nearby town. I had never been to a networking event where people from various lines of work meet and greet but I felt this was God’s path for me.
Fighting my nervousness, I gathered up my business cards and off I went. It’s probably a good thing that I had no idea at the time just how much God intended to stretch me.
Dressed in my best business clothes, I arrived at the meeting determined to mix, mingle and network with the best of them. I had a nice chat with the chapter president and had a long, meaningful conversation with a local entrepreneur. As far as I could tell, neither of them were necessarily potential clients–but at least those two people now knew my name.
The buffet line opened and all thoughts of further networking vanished in the ensuing stampede. I got my plate, piled it high with rice and rubber chicken, and managed to grab the last seat at the back of the room.
The gavel sounded and the meeting began. Shirley, the president, straightened her shoulders, gave a brief nod to our honored guest, and began to read an impressive list of our speaker’s educational achievements and various accomplishments. She closed her introduction with a detailed summary of the speaker’s business and carefully provided her contact information.
Amazing! Five minutes into the meeting, before the speaker even opened her mouth, this audience knew more about the speaker and her business than my best friend of twenty years knew about me.
All eyes turned to the speaker. She stood, moved to the front of the room, and wisely shared with us mere mortals the secrets of her success. We sat riveted. Obviously, we should listen. She stood at the front of the room, she wore the power suit, she was held in high esteem by our local president, and she was the expert.
It hit me. My all-out networking effort had netted me two iffy potential clients. In that same length of time, the speaker had fifty women who knew her, had grown to like her, and wanted to stay in touch with her.
Public speaking could be the answer to all my marketing woes. Of course, I had never given a speech before, and I had no idea how to do so. But in my heart, I knew God was asking me to step out in faith.
The meeting ended. With incredible fear and trepidation, I approached the chapter president. “Shirley, it occurred to me that as a professional life coach I have some great information that this group would really benefit from.” Gulp. “I have a talk called ‘From Ordinary to Extraordinary,’ (well, I kind of, sort of have thought about the topic a long time ago) and I would love (yeah, right) to present it at one of our meetings. Do you have an open slot that I could fill?” (Please say no. Please say no.)
“Yes,” she exclaimed. “I’m sure they would love that. How about August?” Before I knew it, I was committed.
A myriad of thoughts flooded my mind as I drove home that day. I’m insane, what have I done? What if I bore them to death and the coroner has to come? What if I heard God wrong and this isn’t of Him? Later I thought if this doesn’t work, next time I will schedule that delightful root canal instead.
I shouldn’t have stressed. The speech was a success, and from that day on, my client schedule slowly began to fill. Each time I spoke publicly, I got at least one new client from the event.
Many years have passed since that fateful day at my first networking group, and God indeed works in mysterious ways. I’ve discovered that I love marketing, so much so that weekly I now have the privilege of coaching other Christian coaches and helping them fill their practices with eager clients.
But more than growing my own coaching business or helping other coaches do the same, I’m thankful to have learned firsthand that the God who calls us will also show us the way.
Coaching the Coach:
Marketing is more than just a necessary evil to be endured as we try to get clients. It is a critical part of our journey, designed to draw us closer to God.
It’s natural to want shortcuts through the difficulties of building a coaching business. Like all of life, however, God has left challenges in our path so that in our areas of greatest weakness His strength will shine brilliantly.
For many, the idea of marketing fills them with fear and dread. For me, it was a path that brought me closer to God. What would change for you if you embraced marketing as part of your spiritual journey?
Kim Avery, M.A., is Founder and President of Kim Avery Coaching, a coaching and mentoring firm that helps Christian coaches market successfully and coach masterfully. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Professional Certified Coach, Board Certified Coach and trains coaches at the Professional Christian Coaching Institute and The Academies. Kim’s mission is to help others live Christ-saturated, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. You can pick up a copy of her free e-book Top Ten Marketing Mistakes NOT to Make at www.KimAveryCoaching.com
Georgia Shaffer, M.A., is a professional speaker, certified Life Coach and the author of four books including Coaching the Coach: Lessons from Christian Coaches. She is is a regular columnist for Christian Coaching Today and a board member of the International Christian Coaches Association (ICCA). Georgia is on the teaching team of AACC’s Professional Life Coaching Training. She specializes in coaching coaches, women and communicators To find out more, visit www.GeorgiaShaffer.com.