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Selling coaching to corporates?


In particular the best questions to ask, ways to explain what you do quickly, how best to explain how it's different from training.

I've had some success but always keen to share ideas with people who are more experienced than me.

I specialise in the creative industry and it's still relatively new and not easily understood or explained.

Any advice or pointers would be hugely appreciated


Melissa Kidd

5 Responses

  1. Blind leading …

    Hi Melissa

    I too am starting my coaching business and one book I would recommend is called Business Coaching: How to Make $100,000 to $1,000,000 per Year. The authors are Steve Chandler and Sam Beckford. Forgive the gimmicky title but it really is a good book. 

    One idea in the book is that the coach/ small business owner should find something unique to  give away to potential clients to hook them. Chandler & Beckford used the example of a book or a CD but I am sure you can come up with something unique for your industry.


    Hope this helps.


  2. It’s not about what you do…

    Hi Melissa,

    How are you? Long time no speak, as they say!

    It’s great to see where you are at just now, AND I empathise…

    I’m currently working with a global sales force, approx 560 sales people across the Americas, Europe and Asia. They’re largely asking the same questions you are in your post. OK, they’re not selling coaching, and you know, it doesn’t really matter.

    Their customers, and I’m pretty sure it’s the same for your potential clients too, well, they’re not interested in the silicon chips these people sell. No. Their customers are interested in addressing the corporate and personal issues they’re currently facing.

    These sales people have fewer successes, and at lower values, when they focus on trying to sell silicon chips. They have more successes, more quickly, and at higher values, when they focus on helping their clients address their business and personal issues. Why do I mention these personal issues? Because (IMHO) people don’t just buy for corporate reasons, but also to meet some personal need, and this can be the key element in their choice of solution. It can also be why they don’t buy from you, even though you clearly have the best solution in every sense…

    So focus on them, and the challenges they are looking to address. I know this is well within your comfort zone. Turn every question you receive about what you do in to a link back to their map of the world and what is important to them. You’ll soon see links between these and how you can sincerely help them. This way nobody needs to be distracted by the differences between training and coaching. And you can focus on your prospect. You know how much people like to talk about what’s happening for them..!

    I’m just scratching the surface of a more rigorous approach to prospecting and connecting with people – a core first step in any successful sales process…

    I’d be happy to expand further.



    (Schmalenbach – we were on the same NLP practitioner training with JSA back in 2007!)

  3. thanks Martin

    Great to hear from you Martin and thanks for such a detailed answer.

    Simple yet profound.

    So I guess a strategy is to say VERY briefy what you do, the results you’ve had with other organisations and that you’re interested in learning about their particular challenges to see if you can add some value?

    thanks again – are you still in the UK?



  4. Workshop Offers/Giveaways

    Hi Melissa,


    I understand your predicament; when promoting coaching it’s not so much a tangible product or service that you’re selling – it’s essentially you that your potential clients are buying into.


    One idea that I heard of recently springs to mind as a great way of obtaining a number of new coaching leads in one sitting. I was working with an executive coach recently who mentioned that she markets free taster events to allow people to discuss (and sometimes observe) her coaching approach – all attendees are automatically entered into a prize draw to win a free coaching session. Following their coaching session, the winner is then asked to submit a short quote saying how they found the session, which is then built-into the marketing of your next taster event….and so on.


    This way; for the cost of a room and a few hours of your time; you can potentially reach a large group of individuals, all of whom have already self-subscribed to discover more about what you do.


    I hope this helps!


    Warm regards,


    – Mark

  5. Coaching to corporates

    Hi Melissa, I have two offerings, one from a role as a corporate training manager and one from my time as a freelance coach:

    Corporate – I used to run several programmes for managers and directors. In 1999 we decided to break up some very long courses, one ran for 7 days! Instead we ran three modules of two days with a two month gap in between. We wanted to provide some stimulus and assistance in the gap months and decided to test the provision of external coaches with each person receiving two hours per month from their coach face to face or by phone. 
    The pilot was so effective we extended this to all programmes and also provided internal coaching for supervisors.
    So first thing would be to talk to training managers about complimentary coaching alongside and to support their own training.
    Freelance – situational coaching – I had several assignments where the person being coached was under threat of disciplinary or dismissal following complaints about aggressive behaviour or discrimination etc. 
    As well as being very effective for the employees and company this approach also potentially saved the business many 000’s in compensation at tribunals.
    The other sector which is worth looking into (not strictly corporate) is schools. I worked with several head teachers how often have a pretty good fund for personal development.
    Good luck.     
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