What can F2F coaches do with online coaching programs?
“We’ve got to talk. My career is going down the drain.”
This is how a call began from Jennifer, one of my most successful coaching supervisees. Jennifer is at the top of her field in leadership development with clients from all over the region.
“Of course, Jennifer. Anything you want, you know that,” I responded. “But can you tell me what you mean?”
She explained, “One of my most loyal clients has just cancelled two leadership development seminars for next quarter. Instead, they’re going to have the managers do an online course. My career is doomed and so are my executive coaching rates, Etika. Do you have time to meet me this afternoon?”
Naturally, I obliged and arranged to meet with Jennifer at a coffee shop around the corner from my office.
After a long hug, we sat down and ordered our coffee.
“Etika, what kind of future can I expect if I’m going to be replaced by online courses?” Jennifer asked. “I mean, it’s not enough that there’s so much competition among us coaches, especially with executive coaching rates. Now, we’ve all got online courses to contend with.”
“I hear you, Jennifer, but let’s not forget one of the lessons we learned back in Marketing 101: competition is good. Of course, back in school, we wouldn’t have imagined that a computer would be our competition, but that’s the way things have turned out.”
Jennifer looked at me and said, “Just remind me why competition is good again, Etika.”
“Because it raises awareness of a need. Until recently, career coaching was just for the highly-paid executives who had physical access to a coach. Now, with a variety of technology and platforms, coaching is enjoyed by clients at many more levels of the hierarchy all over the world. Just think how much this has made our profession a real possibility for more people,” I answered.
Jennifer thought for a minute and responded, “But how is this going to help me? Etika, I’ve just had two cancellations. How many others are lurking around the corner?”
“First, Jennifer, if I can suggest, try to stop being afraid of online courses. Just like we tell our clients, change is inevitable. As far as I can see, online courses are going to increase and become an important player in the coaching landscape. It’s time to embrace them, not reject them,” I answered.
“But how can I embrace something that’s eating into my income,” Jennifer asked.
“By finding ways for these online courses to become part of our practice and not in its place. The courses can make us much more professional, as they’ll allow us to offer our clients highly-specialized coaching solutions that were inaccessible in the past. If we do things right, the courses will help us actually increase business,” I responded.
Jennifer started to look interested. “I like what you’re getting at, Etika. Do you have any good ideas to get started?”
I answered, “I have a few brewing and would love to discuss them with you. It’s just that I have another appointment and need to run back to my office.”
Jennifer finally cracked her first smile since we had sat down. We decided to meet two days later, same time, same place. We paid for the coffee and walked out into the sunny afternoon.
In future posts, learn how taking advantage of online tools can help professionalize your coaching practice and help more people.
And always remember:
Great managers are made. Not born.
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