Creating a Coach Profile

Get the Ball Rolling – Create a Great Coach Profile

By John Paisley (with thanks to many coaches for their contributions)

Your Coaching Profile is a powerful marketing tool. It pays to spend time and effort on it! (and to revise it annually). It is often the first (and sometimes only) “evidence” which will obtain coaching work opportunities for you. I have been able to read many hundreds of coach’s profiles, and have distilled my observations into this guide. And, of course, this is only my opinion!

1. WHO IS IT FOR?

Who is going to read your Profile and what impression to you want to leave with them?
In my experience, Coach Profiles are used for the following:

  • Potential clients: you send them to potential clients, following an enquiry. When we receive an enquiry from someone looking for a coach, we send them some preliminary info (a story about selecting a coach,
    a coaching readiness assessment and a sample agreement). If they demonstrate interest, we will send
    3-5 Coach Profiles, encouraging them to short list the coaches, based on the Profiles. They thus make their initial decision based on the Profiles. Good profile = the opportunity to be on the short list.
    Lousy Profile = delete/wastepaper basket!
  • Organisational buyers often request profiles when selecting coaches for clients in the organization. Coachees in the organization are often provided with profiles and base their choice of a coach purely on
    the profiles.
  • Coaching companies. You may wish to join the team of associate coaches for a coaching company. Their initial assessment may be based on your profile. They will also send your profile to potential clients.

Whoever it is, your “door opener” is your profile. Poor profile = door may remain closed. I am very aware that personal contact is probably a more reliable way of choosing a coach. Fact is, you may not have the opportunity without a good profile!

2. WHAT IS IN A GOOD PROFILE?

What you put in is what you get out (GIGO!) A good profile is one which opens the door to coaching opportunities (obvious!). It must thus attract the right response from the right person. Who do you want to coach? What do you know about them? What will attract/interest them? If you don’t know, do some research. And know that you can’t please all the people all the time! What do you do well? What do you want to do more of? What is your purpose and passion? What are your values?

Don’t overwhelm with information. Put in just enough to pique their interest, and to provide them with a perspective of you and what you do; what you love doing .. give them a sense of you . Don’t try to be a jack of all trades! AND it may be useful to have a number of profiles if you offer a number of specialisations: one as coach (life or business?), one as consultant, one as facilitator . each specialized, tailored for the opportunity.

3. STYLE: some principles

You have a number of choices to make:

  1. What person: 1st or 3rd? “I spent 15 years in the financial industry as a financial adviser” vs “Joe spent 15 years in the financial industry as a financial adviser”. 1st person provides intimacy; 3rd person provides distance and perspective. Your choice!
  2. Language: keep it simple or make it complex? Show command of language without adding complexity. Don’t make it flowery. Don’t use jargon.
  3. Length: too much or too little? Goldilocks would advise “Just enough”! My experience is that many will read 1 page only. As a general rule, do not make your profile longer than 1 page (and not in 8pt font!)
  4. Photo or not? People often base their decisions on photo’s – they make all sorts of interpretations. Tough decision this, and I don’t have data for a firm conclusion. In my experience, most coaches don’t include a photo. (So go against the pattern!) If you do use a photo, make sure it is low resolution – not 3Mb! OR taken 22 years ago! Flattering – yes! Maybe use a pro photographer – this is always a good investment as there are so many uses for your image.
  5. IT. Most profiles are sent electronically, so make sure yours is in a user friendly format – either MS Word or a .pdf file. Powerpoint is off the mark. Don’t zip or encode it, or in any way make it difficult to open and read.
  6. Date: always date your profile so that you and others know whether it is the latest version, and if it is still current! Shift happens!
  7. Narrative or bullet points? This depends on you and who your expected client is men tend to prefer bullet points, women prefer narrative or am I stereotyping????
  8. Be yourself or be someone else? Silly question! Always be true to yourself – don’t bulldust about who you want others to think you are. Test your profile with yourself – and with others. Ask them if it is a true reflection of you. Test it with a variety of people – see if the one’s you want as clients, choose you. If they don’t, ask what the reason is .and listen!
  9. Revise at least once a year to ensure your profile is current.

4. STRUCTURE AND CONTENT

I suggest the following structure:

Name and date

Perspectives: here you list your qualifications, experience, your philosophies and approach. Your professional memberships, your community activities etc (This helps the reader understand “where you come from” and “what formed you” and “who you are”)

Process: here you describe how you coach. Do you have a coaching programme? Minimum/maximum number or duration of sessions. Do you use a particular process or model? What happens in a session? Which assessments do you use? Do you have an agreement? Do you have coaching rooms or do you travel? How far? What’s home base? What are your rates and payment terms? (These last are often left out if your profile is sent to a corporate buyer by a coaching company) This sections helps the reader be clear on what is involved and how you work. Yes, you can be flexible, but at least give an indication of your parameters.

Purpose: here you describe who you coach; your ideal client, your passion and purpose for coaching. Do you want to coach young people making career decisions? Executives making strategic decisions? Women facing relationship issues? Middle managers building their teams? Here you want to create a sense of connection: “Ah, this coach can connect with me. I am their passion!!!”

Experience and references: here you could list clients (with contact details) as well as short references from previous clients (usually anonymous, but more powerful if not). If they can articulate the change coaching has brought, all the better!

Contact details: list your street & email address, cell & landlines, Skype, website etc. (NOTE: do not include these if your profile is going to a coaching company. They would prefer that clients contact you through them)

Make your profile clear and easy to read – no complicated layouts, multiple columns, decorations down the side. The principle is KISS! Make your profile professional. Be proud of it!

For more information, contact me: john@procoaching.co.za