If you Google “how to position yourself as an expert,” you'd get 34,200,000 results.Money is one our most valuable resources, which has the savvy consumer careful about what they invest in.
People want reassurance that there will be a return on their investments, which is why they seek to find the best of the best – the expert.
Clients are eager to hire specialists who understand their specific problems and unique challenges.
This way of thinking has sparked a real focus for coaches to own a niche and prove they’re the go-to expert for one specific area of life.
This poses a common problem for those who lack clarity in the early stages of launching a coaching business.
Doing anything for the first time would imply that you’re not an expert, which leaves you to feel like a total fraud.
If you let that feeling overtake you, the probability of growing your business, taking necessary risks, or completing a sale, becomes unlikely.
People’s time, energy and money are far too precious to waste on just some newbie trying to hack it, so how does a new business gain some clout and get its start?
If you’ve ever taken comfort in the phrase “everyone’s gotta start somewhere,” listen in for 6 tools to sail past feeling like a fraud so you can position yourself as the expert and make an impact as a powerful coach.
1. Pull from the past – go beyond your resume
Make a list of ALL of your accomplishments, including how you skillfully got over your ex, navigated a tough loss, healed your confidence or how you managed the stress of a difficult move.
While you won't find these talents on a resume in the corporate world, they hold credibility and showcase your experience as a coach.
What's more likely is that your resume is a list of achievements that led you to pursue a shadow career, something Steven Pressfield outlines in his book Turning Pro.
“Sometimes, when we're terrified of embracing our true calling, we'll pursue a shadow calling instead.”
It’s no longer about degrees and certifications, but your ability to create valuable experiences for others that help reshape their behaviors.
Make a list of all of the problems you’ve helped others solve and you’ll zero in on your expertise as a coach.
2. Testimonials – treat them like currency
Sidestep the paradox of needing testimonials to get clients but not having clients to get testimonials by treating them like currency.
In the beginning consider coaching in exchange for testimonials because they have the power to position you as an expert and lead to paying clients right away.
A single great testimonial is priceless when it results in several paying clients.
Building trust is the key to growing your coaching business and signing clients who are ready to go deep with you to get results.
The intimate nature of coaching is what makes a solid testimonial a powerful trust building sales tool.
Aim to collect 6-10 testimonials and add them to your website with photos of your clients to build your trust factor.
While there’s no wrong way to ask for testimonials, providing questions will not only guide your client along but help to paint a picture of what it’s really like to work with you.
Clients and customers have grown weary of marketing tactics but similar to reading reviews on Amazon, testimonials help potential clients make the right decision on wether or not to work with you.
Remember that social proof is power.
When you show people what’s possible for them using testimonials you’ll reinforce a positive belief that an outcome can happen for them too.
Before spending money, time and energy on hiring a coach to pursue a goal, most people want to make sure its even in the realm of possibility.
Paint the picture, expand your client’s vision, show them what’s possible and they’ll invest to get there.
3. Friendly Feedback – interview your test subjects
Use your testimonial questionnaire and ask key questions to extract your strengths and define your niche as a coach.
Allow others to direct you to your niche as you hone in on an area of expertise.
Questions could be as simple as, “What where you struggling with before our work together? How are things now?” To as specific as, “What did you get from our work together that you might not have received otherwise?”
Between where they began and what you helped them achieve lies your area of expertise.
Noticing the patterns and similarities in your responses will allow you to reflect on your true strengths and better market yourself as the expert in one specific niche.
The more you get out of the way and allow your expertise to step forward naturally, the faster it will surface.
4. Write now – share your point of view
Writing is one of the best ways to showcase your expertise and unique point of view.
Most make the mistake of waiting to write until they find their voice not realizing that it’s in the action of writing that your expert level opinions come to light.
There are also other common missteps you could be making in your coaching practice, but if you're not sharing your writing and expressing your point of view, you won't be able to attract like-minded people to collaborate with as well as drawing in clients who love what you stand for.
Try following these prompts to unearth your point of view:
- Dispute a common trend - a.k.a. Myth Bust
- Reference other thought leaders
- Be a strong stand for your values and beliefs
In order to write with confidence, you’ll need to write about topics you’re genuinely passionate about.
Next, you’ll want to identify which channels you’ll use to spread your words.
Whether it’s by way of blog, email list or submitting to publications, as your writing spreads you’ll realize you’ve grown into a distinctly authoritative voice.
5. Be a stand – live the lifestyle you’re promoting
Expert coaches go beyond taking a stand and instead become a stand for what they believe in.
While this doesn’t mean all coaches live perfect lives it does mean an expert coach sees their life as an expression or extension of the message they are trying to help others achieve.
As you walk your talk and teach from experience, you keep any feelings of inadequacy or fraud at bay.
If you’re living in a way potential clients only dream of, they’re more likely to want to team up and absorb your experience and knowledge.
An expert is someone who regularly practices what they preach.
6. Track your results – prove your expertise
The first person who needs to believe and see that you’re an expert is you, the coach. Build your confidence by tracking the results you produce for your clients.
Do your best to quantify transformation using concrete numbers and measurements. For the less quantifiable results such as feelings, simply use a scale from 1-10 having your clients rate how they felt before and after working with you. You can use the percentage increase in their happiness as a metric.
Tracking your results will sooth the inner skeptic that we all have trying to convince us we’re not the expert.
It’s important to remember that money is not the only marker of success, especially in the early phases of building your practice.
To increase your authority when you’re not comfortable sharing your income just yet, start tracking results in whatever form they come in.
Begin to quantify your impact and show that you are more than capable, you are an expert.