The curse of comparison - learn to compare yourself to yourself first

19th April by Kate Freedman

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A common voice that I hear in new solopreneur coaches’ supervision sessions is “I don’t have enough to say about my coaching therefore I am not enough to put my story out there”.

All solopreneur coaches will need to get familiar with this voice and learn to not let it get in the way of marketing their services and who they are as coach. We are selected for work based on our biography that shares who we are, and clients will be looking to match the words to the experience when meeting us.

It is therefore critical that we believe in who we are and how we represent our coaching and our brand in our wider marketing on websites, in social media and in our documentation and chemistry meetings. We need to believe in what we have to offer and have an elevator speech ready that reflects who we are and how we provide a service that meets the client’s needs.

Getting the words ready is when most coaches get stuck. The trick is being happy with who you are today and what you have already got to offer as coach, but too often I see the curse of comparison so paralyses coaches, that they then fail to own their unique story.

As human beings, we are all likely to make comparisons of ourselves with others. We do this ‘upwardly’ to those ahead of us to check what appears to be working for others and ‘downwardly’ to tell ourselves that we are doing better than others. It is normal to want to look at what other coaches are posting, selling on their websites and in coach directories and to reflect on what we have that is similar in our offer and what they may have that makes them stand out when compared to us. Whilst it is useful to check in on our competition, it is not useful to let what you read derail your approach to your business or make you think you will not be able to express your story as well as them.

What tends to happen next is we say we don’t want to put our story out there as we don’t like marketing ourselves or we wait until we feel we have enough to say rather than own who and what we are in the moment.

The truth is coaches are the service provider and clients need to trust you as a person to buy the coaching product. So the starting point is always being true to who you are so far.

From working on your current story, you can learn to love your current brand and build your marketing from owning your image and your ‘Why’. Your coaching brand needs to start with something that people see in you i.e. what are your strengths and qualities and how are you communicating your purpose? Knowing the words and images that the clients in your sales strategy will associate with you is more likely to come from how people experience you and who you are than from your coaching model or any qualification.

People buy people based on feelings, connection and relationship and they buy services/products based on how they feel their needs will be met.

In a recent survey on coach matching over 70% of people said they felt the vibe of the coach was more important than their history or work experience. Offering a vibe comes from confidence in ourselves and our ability to relate to the challenge of the client without any prior knowledge of that topic or person. Creating a vibe with another person comes from believing in what we are offering as a coach and why you believe in yourself as a coach so that you can build a partnership around thinking not advising. Without self-belief in your coaching and your worth in this partnership, it’s quite hard to put all that into marketing statements and create the vibe without doing the work on yourself first.

The trick for building your brand is to use the comparison curse to compare yourself to yourself.

You will be a better coach today than you were yesterday and from where you started. How can you use your story so far to communicate that growth rather than wait. Wouldn’t it be great to now start to reframe all the self-talk about not being enough into I am enough because I am able to be myself and I believe in what I have got already is enough.

By being aware of who you are and what you can offer will make it easier to just present yourself as ‘you’ for today and see what happens. From this place you will find your brand, do more active marketing work and your marketing messages will flow.

Our thanks to coach and AoEC consultant coach/faculty Kate for allowing us to share this blog.

If you would like to know more about what to do with your Why in your brand and marketing as a coach, you will find more resources in Kate’s Solopreneur Coaching Community on her website. And you can purchase her first book - The Coaching Solopreneur from Amazon.