Have you ever considered trying to start your own coaching business? (A career coach, a fitness coach, a relationship coach, a leadership coach, anything like that?)
You might be the kind of person who’s naturally gifted in helping others, but you don’t want to become a pastor or a psychotherapist, so going into coaching feels like a perfect next step for your career.
Coaching can be an AMAZING career fit for many people — and there’s a huge need for actually good coaches out there — but there are a lot of realities about pursuing it as a full-time career path that you’ll want to know before you quit your job and start the business. Being in love with the dream of calling yourself a coach can be very different from truly having a passion for the day-to-day life of being one.
For example, how much do you enjoy sales conversations? Working for yourself is an eat-what-you-kill kind of job, so you’re going to spend a TON of time bringing in clients so you can keep the lights on and pay the bills.
And, how much time out of your week would you estimate you’ll be on the phone with coaching clients? Whatever you’re guessing, guess again and listen to this podcast episode with Marc Mawhinney to hear about what it was like for him (and for Scott) in building their coaching businesses.
How Marc Started Coaching
On this episode, you’ll learn how Marc got into coaching (and the books that have been his biggest inspiration), how building a coaching business is a bit like being a modern-day caveman, how to ensure you’re not getting paid in meatballs, and how to decide when (or if) you need a coaching certification.
Marc comes from Atlanta, Canada, where people are conservative and usually opt for mainstream careers in insurance, banking and medicine.
He is a business coach, helping coaches with their business. We will be talking about the leap frog theory, importance of linking coaching and business, managing comparison bias, not limiting your career to your geographic area. Most importantly, we will be discussing how someone who enjoys coaching can build a sustainable business out of it.
We talk about Mark’s journey from opting for a real estate career when we was merely 21, to growing a successful business in coaching. In 2009, Mark’s real estate business collapsed with the market. He stumbled through the wilderness for a few years not knowing what to do and failed in the real estate business a second time.
Mark’s approach is always ready, fire, aim. In the beginning of 2014 he jumped out there without a detailed business plan. He got a website, business cards and started out as a very general coach for entrepreneurs. In the months that followed, he narrowed down his niche. He discovered he jelled a lot better with coaches and things took off from there where he found his niche. Looking back, there’s a lot of crossover between coaching and the mentorship that Mark used to provide his real estate employees.
So many of us have made big changes have been born out of seemingly not good events. You’re going to experience the highest degrees of learning through some of the failures of events that have higher stakes invested in them.
Mark did not play in the small market when it came to his coaching business. He decided to work with people around the world and essentially stepped out of the geographical sandbox to connect with the wider community that would be beneficial to his business. This is how he played the leapfrog theory, from the book Thick face, Black Heart by Chin Ning Chu.
Tips to Get Started as a Coach
- It will save you a lot of time to know your business niche, so you can target your audience and potential customers. However, in certain cases you may want to jump in and start the work there and then. Certain instances, you will not need to figure out on your own what your niche is. The customers that come to you usually do answer that question. You may find out what kind of customers you attract and may find your niche then.
- Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself for the direction you choose in the beginning. A good way is to do some market research in coaching to see what similar people are doing to what your interested in.
- You need to operate as a good entrepreneur and a good salesperson if you want customers. People usually can be good coaches, but they need to additional qualities and roles to run a successful business.
- A change of mindset is also important. Be prepared for the realities that will overpower your expectations of becoming a coach. The same amount of time, and sometimes even more will go into marketing and other aspects of the business.
- Be patient with the returns from the business. It will take time for you to gain enough momentum and support yourself with the business. On average it takes people two to three years to get a business working. Do not giving up.
- Do not compare yourself with other coaches or similar businesses. Social media is usually not the complete truth of people’s lives. Instead channel that energy to represent the best version of your business and achieve the vision you see for it.
- Don’t be a perfectionist when it comes to your business. Spend time doing more, cram all the tasks you aim on completing into shorter periods.
- Aim on marketing your business where the customers are. Focus promoting your services on social media platforms and mainstream marketing sources so you can reach your potential target market. Don’t limit yourself to your geographically, use the internet to reach a more global audience.
- Don’t charge lower prices for your coaching services in lieu of better testimonials and business referrals. It’s better to spend the time prospecting for people who will pay the worth of your services.
- Charging a reasonable price also leads to significantly better quality of services that will be delivered to your client.
- The service packages you offer will evolve as your business grows. Find out what the marketplace is hungry for and feed it to them.
You can find Marc at naturalborncoaches.com
And if after listening to this, you’re inspired to get coaching (and maybe even start a coaching business of your own), Click here to apply for coaching.
Transcript from Episode
Scott Barlow: Welcome back to Happen to Your Career. Today I’m excited because I have with me somebody who can answer a question we get a lot. How do you get started in coaching? I’m so excited because our guest helps people do that and grow coaching businesses and stuff in between. Welcome to Happen to Your Career Marc. How are you?
Marc Mawhinney: I’m doing great. Thanks for having me.
Scott Barlow: Absolutely. Before we dive into that I’m curious, where does this start for you? Let me back up five steps. How do you tell people what you do?
Marc Mawhinney: I get weird looks, at least locally, even though I don’t do business here. I’ll be at a bbq and someone will ask what do you do. Just some background, I live in Atlantic, Canada which is more conservative.People are used to people being in insurance, real estate,a lawyer. Those professions. If I say I’m a coach who coaches coaches they look at me like I have two heads or they think coaching has to do with athletics. They don’t get it but it's getting better. I’m a business coach and I help other coaches with their businesses. If someone has a brick and mortar business I refer them off.
Scott Barlow: I’m used to that look. I live in Moses Lake, Washington and it’s probably similar. I’ve seen that look many times.
Marc Mawhinney: I’m just going to start carrying a whiteboard with a chart showing the whole thing. It’ll be much easier.
Scott Barlow: I’m really curious. How on earth did this happen? Where does it start? You didn’t just wake up in fourth grade and decide you were doing this.
Marc Mawhinney: It was actually fifth grade. It’s funny because the coaching industry wasn't a thing way back then, I’m dating myself. I was in that age in the late 80s. Its nothing like it is now. It happened by accident. I’m an accidental coach. I was coaching for years and not realizing it. I was in real estate for my whole life starting at 21. I looked 15 or 16 and always joked I looked more like the paperboy. I looked young, a few less gray hairs than I have now. I spent a decade building up real estate. Every year my business was doubling. Adding to my team. Enough hard work and I was the number one agent out of 300 in the city. Things were going great but I picked the worst time to expand my business in 2009. You know where this is going with the real estate market. I had a couple offices and everything was great until it wasn’t, and collapsed. We could have an entire series on that. A 100 episode thing.
Scott Barlow: 100 episode collapse.
Marc Mawhinney: That is right. By the end I’ll be drinking my face off sitting in a dark room depressed. It was interesting. I can look back and see it was a great thing. If we were doing this interview in August 2009 I would have thought differently. I stumbled through the wilderness for a couple years, not literally. Not knowing what I was going to do. I got back into real estate to do flipping but that didn't work out. In 2012 I said I’m done with real estate, I’m not having fun and don’t want to do it the rest of my life. Coaches and mentors got me back on track. I was thinking what do I want to do with my next business. That's how I got into coaching in 2014. It feels longer. I’ve done so much with my podcast Natural Born Coaches that has around 500 episodes. I’ve crammed a lot in 3 or 4 years. I had been coaching my real estate team and not even realizing it. There is a lot of crossover.
Scott Barlow: Short of the 100 episodes to be produced later, that is a compelling story. I have several take aways. One, it seems like so many of us that have made big changes have been born out of seemingly not good events. I think that is hard to keep in the moment. For me one was when I got fired from my first professional job. Screw this I’m not doing work I don't like anymore. At the moment, same as if we were talking in 2009 when that happened for you, it wouldn’t have been very exciting.
Marc Mawhinney: It was a strange experience. I had 10 years of no stumbles. It was a lot of work and 100 hour weeks. I had a cell phone to my ear unless I was in the shower, though I probably did deals there too. When 2009 came it was a messy closure. There will always be issues but my in part of the world if a cat gets stuck in a tree it is front page news. Not a lot going on. When that happened I was front page of the newspaper. Public enemy number one. I can see in a lot of other markets it would be in section C page 25, if anything. It's a real estate business there are 100 agents. It got overblown with a lot of stuff. I can take responsibility. If the business hadn’t closed it would not have happened. I thought enough is enough. I’m tired of getting kicked around. I learned more through that time of struggle than I did in the good years. Failures can be good. You can take the lessons and turn it into positive as long as you don’t wallow in self pity and stay down. I got back on the horse. I had enough of people kicking me. That is a powerful motivator to prove haters and critics wrong.
Scott Barlow: I’m curious since you’ve gone through that how do you engineer that? I heard you say, and I agree, there is evidence, that you are going to experience some of the highest degrees of learning through failures or high stakes type of events that conventionally people consider bad. Looking at that now and having gone through it have you encountered ways you can engineer that or shorten the failure cycles?
Marc Mawhinney: I did something that Chin Ning Chu talked about in the book Thick Face Black Heart back in the early 90s. Not many people know about it. It's a cross between the Art of War and think and Grow Rich . I read it a few times a year it's probably my favorite book. She wrote about the leapfrog theory. She was originally from China and later was in Portland, Oregon and won a government position a lot of people wanted so they tried to trip her up. She couldn't do anything without rumors and lies being spread. People were jealous. She was getting frustrated playing in that small sandbox feeling trapped. She decided to say she wasn’t playing the game and decided to write books and teach western business people Asian principles, business practices, and become the expert. She did it. She had popular books and was a regular on Larry King and in the media. Suddenly the people in Portland couldn't touch her because she leapfrogged them with Larry King and the big stages. That is what I did with my haters and critics, I just didn't realize it at the time. I read the book after I did it. In the coaching world I decided I’m not playing in the small world of 100,000 people that operates like a small town.
I’m not playing petty games. I’m going to work with people around the world. Not to knock real estate, I had good years there but I can’t impact lives selling houses compared to coaching. I can touch more lives, have fun, and make an impact. I did the leapfrog theory and dealt with people all around the world. Like you. A popular show like this rather than playing in the sandbox. I’m not an affiliate but read Thick Face Black Heart. If I had read it in 2009 it probably would have shortened the process.
Scott Barlow: What was the author again?
Marc Mawhinney: She isn’t alive now but it is Chin Ning Chu.
Scott Barlow: I appreciate that. Let me shift gears a little. When you are thinking about this coaching business and as a business how did you get started? We talked about you moving into the industry and where you are now but what did it take for you to get your first couple clients?
Marc Mawhinney: My approach has always been ready, fire, aim as opposed to ready, aim, fire. There is an excellent book called Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson. I jumped out there and I did it. I had no detailed business plan. I slapped up a website. Had 500 business cards printed. I said I’m a coach for entrepreneurs. I have a passion and want to help them. It wasn’t terribly focused. Later I would narrow. When I started I’m a coach for entrepreneurs. I didn’t do formalized education and certifications. I just did it. One on one with clients and got busier and busier. It took off when I had two of my clients that were coaches and when I compared the sessions to clients that weren’t coaches I realized I much more enjoyed helping the coaches with marketing and their programs. Not to knock Joe from Joe’s plumbing. I gelled better with the coaches. I decided to focus on that niche.
I launched my podcast and honed in on that world and things took off from there. If you are listening and a coach or thinking about becoming one it is great but nowadays you have to have more of a target. Nothing against life coaches but it's easier if you can narrow it down somewhat and that is when things took off for me.
Scott Barlow: Talk me through that. I wholeheartedly agree. you save yourself pain if you can talk to a specific group of people but to your point sometimes it's more important to just start rather than have the long business plan. Before we hit the record button I said my hope was we could talk what this would look like and the first couple of steps to get going. For people getting a coaching business started or those trying without as much success, let’s talk about that.
Marc Mawhinney: The first thing is if you are a perfectionist, don’t be. Beat it out of you. If you are a perfectionist you shouldn’t be in business. It’s harsh but I’ve seen them and it takes six months to make a lead magnet when it should take a couple hours. If you are a perfectionist don’t be one. The first step I’d take is don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself that whichever direction you take for coaching you will be tied to forever. You put all this pressure on yourself, can I make money in that niche, is it too narrow or wide. You freak yourself out. A good way to start is look at coaches that are out there and do some research, not six months worth or a year. Go online and find coaches doing different things that resonate with you. I like what they are doing, that guy in the career world, I love Happen to Your Career. I’d be interested in that.
Start spying on Scott and sign up for your email list or any coach that is interesting. See what they are talking about and their free resources. Do market research. That is the first step. You will find some niches, a perfect example, someone I once knew, he’s not dead, but I once knew him – he was interested in helping men get through break ups. He was coming out of a break up and thought he would enjoy it but realized later it was depressing and didn’t want to work with heartbroken guys. Sometimes you don’t know that. You may think you want to be a cancer coach but it becomes too hard emotionally but you don’t know until you try. Get out there and start doing different things. Don’t put pressure on yourself and soon you will find out what you enjoy. You will get out there and see who is attracted to you.
Maybe 14 out of 15 people were middle age women between the ages of 45 and 50 who whatever… That is who is attracted to me I should explore this more.
Scott Barlow: Absolutely love that. I have seventeen thoughts in my head. Deciding which to start with. You’ve acted upon this so you are proof positive, and my story is similar, just start doing it versus all the things that can hold you up. When you start you learn, have patterns, and have feedback by doing the things. You can observe I like this more than this. Let’s do more of this. That is how it realistically works. This is why I wanted you on. All our conversations have been useful and practical.
Marc Mawhinney: What you are supposed to say Scott is Marc I want to thank you I've made seven figures in a month by hiring you and all my success is due to you Marc. I’m kidding. We are joking.
Scott Barlow: I only named two of my seven children after you.
Marc Mawhinney: It's funny I get coaches reaching out to me and to paraphrase they ask in 50 words or less can you tell me what I have to do to make six figures this year as a coach. They want it on a silver platter. There is no magic answer. I always ask, why do you have a coaching business?
You’ve been on my show and we’ve talked a lot but I’d ask you if we were just meeting why do you have a coaching business, not why are you a coach. Coaching and business go together. You are an entrepreneur when you are a coach. Too many coaches come from backgrounds where they didn’t have to sell. They didn't have to prospect or get people through the door. They come from HR or teacher backgrounds, which are all great careers, they are passionate about helping people but they never had to go out of their caves in the morning with a club and beat something over the head and drag it back to eat it. That is what business and sales is. You have to go and kill to eat. They get started and get a certification and website and then don’t have clients. How do I get clients? I ask why do you have a coaching business. If you aren’t willing to operate as an entrepreneur or salesperson you aren’t going to make it.
Scott Barlow: Moral one is get yourself a club.
Marc Mawhinney: Yes and a leopard skin like the Flintstones.
Scott Barlow: All joking aside I think that is a big mindset change for people. I’m interested in what you find but when I talk to people who are interested in being coaches we find a lot of people that aren't interested in the business purpose except in the way they see what it can give them.
Marc Mawhinney: The way they look at it is I’ll coach 80% of the time and the other 20% will be little bit of marketing and spreadsheets but most time will be coaching. You know what it is like. The reality is it's flipped. 10-20% is coaching and the rest is finding clients. I think the problem is in today's landscape, 2017, you go on Facebook and you see ads with people in front of rented mansions and yachts promising seven figures as a coach if you buy my super secret system and my special funnel and you won’t have to work.
Maybe five minutes a day and then the rest of the time you sip girly drinks on the beach. They buy into that and all of a sudden they see it doesn’t work. What do I do? If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Especially those first couple years.
It took around 2-3 years to really get rolling. It took 11 months just to move from my sales job that I worked from a home office, but it took almost a year to do coaching full time where the numbers were there. I’ve talked to some coaches and they are like I’ve been at it so long what is going on. I’ve asked how long they have been doing it and they are like 3 or 6 months. You are just a rooky. It’ll take a couple years to get your feet under you and you’ll get rolling. You have to be patient with the process.
Scott Barlow: I love that. Thank you for dropping that truth. I’ve been taking an informal poll for four years now for people to see how long it takes to get to that point where it gets “easier” which I hate to use but in some ways you’ve gained enough momentum you can support yourself. Even meet your expectations. Most people are between the 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 year mark.
Marc Mawhinney: I’ve found that as well.
Scott Barlow: That is interesting. To your point, you ask someone and they say it's so long, 45 days. Most people aren’t going into it looking at it as a long term gig. What is your experience?
Marc Mawhinney: Humans are impatient. I’m one of the most impatient men in the world. I’m working on it. It's difficult because you log into social media and you see people putting stuff out there, what is that quote by Steve Furtick talking about don’t compare your behind the scenes with someone else's highlight reel. It's like that. Everyone puts their highlight reel out there. They wake up chipper at 5 a.m.,they run ten miles, scale a mountain in whatever city they are in, then back to make love to their supermodel wife or gorgeous husband all before 9 a.m. and then they are making 5 figures by supper every day. That is what you see when you open your computer and it gets difficult because you don’t see the struggles. You see people bs. you think it's easier for them. I’ve been at this for 45 days why am I not doing all that before 9a.m.? It’s an illusion.
Scott Barlow: I find that depresses me and I don’t bother with it. I haven’t for a couple of years now. Our business is growing enough that we will probably have to hire another social media person. I’ve been ignoring it because of that reason. I don’t have enough reason to not ignore it if I’m exposed to it.
Marc Mawhinney: For me, I have a gorgeous girlfriend but it's 10am before we make love, 9am is a little unrealistic.
Scott Barlow: See, I knew there was a massive difference.
Marc Mawhinney: Another cool quote I’ve heard is from James Wedmore the YouTube guy. He said don’t compare yourself with someone further down the path for you. If you are a coach that has been in it for 2 years don’t compare yourself to James who has been in it for 10 years online. Don’t compare yourself to James Wedmore if you have only been in it 2 years and they’ve been in it 8 -10 years. Don’t compare yourself to anyone but if you can’t resist compare yourself to whoever just took the certification with you or who is in it 2 years. I’m careful with that because it's depressing to compare yourself to people putting up false images on Facebook making it look like life is perfect. There is no way it is perfect and you can’t compete with that. You will be in a funk and thrown off. I’m all for social media. I get a lot of business from Facebook but I’m careful not to compare myself with other coaches. It's dangerous if you get into that game.
Scott Barlow: Let me shift gears again. When you are getting started and you are going through the act of finding clients. I get asked about that a lot. Do you just go down to Lowes and purchase them? How does it work? Or someone has gotten clients that are friends of friends but now they have to go outside of that and they get stuck. How do you work with that for someone who is right there in that sector and time segment?
Marc Mawhinney: It depends. First thing with clients is you want to fish where the fish are. If you are in a niche that is not on Facebook but a LinkedIn crowd don’t spend all your time on Facebook or in groups of other coaches because they aren’t your fish. You have to go where they are. I’m not big on and I cut off a couple social media networks that aren't yielding results and distracting. Pinterest is one I don’t get. There were cool Star Wars cupcakes pinned to walls. I like that but it's not me for business. Instagram. I probably should do more with that. Googleplus, don't get me started. I focus more on Facebook. I’m on twitter and LinkedIn too. you have to find where your people are.
I’m a big fan of coaching online. I’m not saying you can’t do it local but there are a lot of people in small towns and they are life coaches and there are 2000 people. Unless you coach everyone in town over the next 10 years it's going to be tough. There is that sandbox analogy again. You have the internet and access to 7 billion people you can reach for almost no cost.
People in the 60s, 70s, and 80s would give their front teeth for this. Why would you limit yourself to your town or city? Work with people all over the world. That is how I do it. I have clients in Dubai, the UK, the U.S., and a few in Canada but not ones in my city. I've worked with one or two local clients that heard the podcast and came to me on accident. We did that on skype I didn’t go to coffee meetings. We can do it on skype where I can be in my pajama pants and slippers if we are hammered with snow.
Scott Barlow: I’m pretty much the same way. I’ve only had one local client. We are mostly U.S. based clients. Second is UK/China, Australia. all over the world. Same reasons. Why limit yourself especially depending on your niche and your target market?
Marc Mawhinney: If you are charging the right amount, not peanuts, you only need a handful of clients to have a successful business. At any time I’m working with a maximum of five one-on-one clients and then a group running with up to five people. So maybe ten clients tops working with directly. If I can't get ten people then I’m in the wrong business and should do something else. It sounds harsh but if you can’t go sell yourself to a handful of people on the planet then go do something else. Get a desk job 9 -5. If you have to do coaching do it as an inside coach for a corporation where they hand you the clients. The majority of coaches have to sell themselves. It's a business.
Scott Barlow: For accuracy purposes, I think there are only like 5 billion people on the internet.
Marc Mawhinney: That is right, not everyone on the planet is on the internet, though you could snail mail them.
Scott Barlow: Exactly, now you are thinking. I think that is a good perspective, not the 5 billion, but if you can’t get 10 people out of the however many billion then this model isn’t for you. Look at other options.
Here are a couple other quick rapid fire things I get asked a lot. I’d love to foot to you. You mention price. Should I worry about price when I’m getting started with my first couple clients? Should I be worried whether I’m charging $4,000 or $7,000 for this transaction? How should I think about price? So many people are worried about that, perfectionists this means you. How can they think about pricing?
Marc Mawhinney: I don’t know if there is a huge different between 4 and 7,000. As long as you are charging enough. I hate seeing coaches work for peanuts or for free. A lot do that. In their mind they make the reason that I’m just getting started it’ll give me experience to improve as a coach and they will give me awesome testimonials and refer me and then I can bump my prices up. I get it but it doesn’t usually work that way. When you work for free or peanuts you don't do great work because you are starving and bill collectors are calling during your sessions. You get resentful for putting in the work without pay. It's not good. I’d rather see you spend your time prospecting for people that will pay what you are worth. They don’t have any skin in the game so they won’t be great clients when it's free. They have nothing invested. It's a waste of time. Spend the time finding people that will pay you what you are worth.
Do you remember the movie “The Wedding Singer” with Adam Sandler? I love that movie. Remember he was giving piano lessons to the old woman and she paid in meatballs? A lot of coaches are doing that. I don’t know if it's in meatballs but it's very little. Don’t do that. Don’t slap your hand out and take a couple pennies. I’ve used the thought that I’d rather have four shiny quarters than a 100 dirty pennies. That’s the old saying. I’d rather work with fewer people paying me what I’m worth than more people paying me nothing.
Scott Barlow: When you start that way you build from a different place. I think of it as if you are going to improve from where you start you can potentially start further ahead. I know people who have been successful starting for free, however my observation is it takes longer to be able to ratchet up their prices compared to people starting at a worthwhile value exchange.
Marc Mawhinney: The results aren’t there and the quality of client. When I charge less they are nice people. I had one client, I’ll go to a movie, remember “What About Bob”, Richard Dreyfuss and Bill Murray. Bill was a crazy guy and Richard was a psychiatrist. Bill was referred to him because he drove another guy nuts. As the guy calls Richard he’s packing up boxes because Bill/Bob drove him that crazy. Richard takes his family on vacation and his patient Bob follows him out there. He called him every five minutes and if he didn't get an answer he would have panic attacks. It's not a thriller or horror, but a comedy. That was my client. If I didn't get back to him in an hour he would get antsy. I was thinking man you aren’t paying me much, a couple hundred a month for one on one. Now I’m at $6000 for three months and I don’t get those issues. I don’t have people cancel. When I was lower pricing people would cancel for stupid reasons. It rarely happens now. The more skin in the game the more serious they take it. It's a better quality client, better results, better for you and the client. The more you can charge, and you don’t have to do $2000 a month. Bare minimum as a new coach I’d start $1000 a month if you are doing one on one four weekly sessions not a couple hundred bucks.
Scott Barlow: One observation we’ve had, and we’ve upped our prices quite a bit over the last few years, but the more we up our price points the exponentially better we’ve been able to make our service and the results clients are getting. I didn't know that five years ago for sure. That has been an interesting observation. It gets the momentum because we have substantially more time. It allows us to work with fewer clients and get each of them better results.
Marc Mawhinney: I think your one on one time should be the sacred time that people working with you are paying you for it and properly. Even in my business, and this will sound stone age, but I have a print newsletter, ink and paper, for coaches. I have reasons but that would be another show. It’s called Secret Coach Club. I work with a handful of one on one clients. The rest of the stuff gives me leverage to reach more people. If you are charging small amounts make sure its hands off, do it yourself. I charge $97 a month for that print newsletter but it's the same amount of work if I have one person in or a million, not true, if I had a million people I’d be hiring more people. Anyone that approaches me that can’t swing one on one or group coaching which is $2000 for three months, I can say here I can help with my print newsletter. I’m not just pushing them away. I’m helping, just not directly. That is a better way to do it.
Scott Barlow: One more question I get all the time. I’m curious what you get asked all the time. The last question I wanted to ask, when people are getting started or moving down this track how do they decide, and I have my own opinions, but how do they decide how to piece together packages? A loaded question.
Marc Mawhinney: It will have to evolve. We are going to have to do a whole series.
Scott Barlow: We’ve got the 100 days podcast and this. We’ve got a lot of podcasts to produce.
Marc Mawhinney: A lot of it is paying attention to what your market is asking for. Robert Coorey from Australia was on my show, Feed a Starving Crowd is his book. The great line by Gary Halbert, the copywriter, find out what your marketplace is hungry for and feed it to them. As long as you enjoy doing that. Take from my business where I help coaches grow theirs. I look to see where the biggest stumbling and pitfalls are where coaches get held up.
If I’m doing a three month coaching product I look and say I have twelve weeks, how can I split that up and hopefully have twelve points and we cover one a week. We can go back and do review. I think a lot is using those two things by the side of your head, your ears. Ryan Levesque is another great guy with a great book Ask with the ask method. Ask them what they need help with. Too few people do that. They say this is what I want to do so I’m going to fit this square into a circle hole. It doesn't work. Find out what the market needs and feed it to them.
Scott Barlow: To some degree that is how these questions came about. I’ve heard these again and again from people who want to get into their coaching business. This is how they get to you. I’m taking from what you said that if you go and do that and what they are asking for, you can start with whatever result you want to deliver and work backwards from there.
Marc Mawhinney: Right. It doesn't matter how much time you spend putting your package together it won’t follow that exact script. You have probably seen this. You think we are going to focus on times but it goes a different direction because people say I need help with this. Even in my group sessions the people are different and different things pop up. It doesn't have to be all mapped out. It's good to have an idea of the path but you will get hit with stuff from left field. Don’t overthink it and be a perfectionist. Just do it. You won’t be as good in the early stages but you will get better.
Scott Barlow: So what are the biggest questions you get?
Marc Mawhinney: You’ve asked a lot of them. How to get clients is a big one. Do I have to be certified? There is another podcast. If I had a dollar every time I heard that question I wouldn’t be talking to you I’d be on my private island with my plane. I get asked what coaching niche should I do?
Things like that. I think a lot of people get so worked up, they haven’t got out there but want to switch everything around and are paranoid. It's like riding a bike. You can read every book out there before you get on a bike and think you know how to do it but you will fall and bang your knees up. There are too few coaches willing to take off the training wheels and jump on the bike and get beat up. They want it all perfect first. It's not how you learn.
Scott Barlow: Totally agreed. What is your answer and I’ll throw in my opinion on the certification piece.
Marc Mawhinney: You watch your show is sponsored by one of these certifications. It’s an interesting question and it’s hard to answer in a sound bite. I’m not certified, so I may have a bit of a bias, I think there are good coaches that are certified and there are lousy ones as well. And vice versa. I do spend a lot of money every year on workshops and programs to grow and improve which is important but I prefer to choose where I invest that money instead of giving a lot of money for a piece of paper for a certification. I don’t mean to insult anyone. There are awesome certifications but I think lately there are a lot of not good programs because they see it as an easy target. Pay me 5k and then they make you pay more to get to the next level. The other problem is the coaches are doing practice sessions with their buddies and get so frustrated after a year because they aren’t real sessions with paid clients, and it doesn’t feel real. The worse thing is they go through certifications and then they don’t have money for an email list or webinar service because they spent everything on certification. They have no clue how to get the clients. I think more certifications need to focus on how to get clients instead of just the craft. There is my two cents. Send the hate mail to email@example.com.
Scott Barlow: Double copy that because it's similar to my feelings. I think the only thing I would add is question why you want the certification. What purpose do you want it to serve? A lot of people look at it for credibility. It doesn’t make or break whether you have clients.
Marc Mawhinney: I have a new printer. If anyone wants my certification they can send 5,000 to my address and I’ll ship it. There is your certification.
Scott Barlow: It’ll show up to the same door as the hate mail.
Marc Mawhinney: Official certification and you are the most qualified coach on the planet.
Scott Barlow: Exactly. If that is the sole purpose it's not a good idea. If you are looking to learn how to coach, there are some certifications that are more for the paper and testing for comprehension and not teaching you how to do it. Others don’t use effective methods. There are a few good programs.
Not to squash the few good ones.
Marc Mawhinney: I’ve probably shot myself in the foot from potential sponsors. There are some good ones but it's about deciphering which ones they are. If someone approaches me with one I’ve never heard of I think that probably isn't worth it. There you have it. My two cents and rant.
Scott Barlow: I sure appreciate you taking the time and coming here and spending it with us and helping people think about it differently and get started. This has been awesome. Where can people find out, first of all we know where they can send the 5k for the certification, but where can people find more about you?
Marc Mawhinney: The best spot is naturalborncoaches.com, not naturalbornkillers.com you won’t get us. The other place is Facebook. I have a group with about 5,000 coaches sharing value. It’s free. The coaching jungle, thecoachingjungle.com will connect with the group. And finally secretcoachclub.com is the ink and paper, prehistoric newsletter snailmail, well actually priority mail, we send directly to coaches homes once a month.
Scott Barlow: Very cool. Go check it out. I’m a member of that Facebook group. I see good things coming out of it. Been on the podcast and listened, check that out. Good stuff. Thanks for making the time and taking the time.I appreciate it Marc.
Marc Mawhinney: Thanks for having me Scott.