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7 Expensive Mistakes Struggling Coaches Make with Mike McMahon

by | In the Magazine, Mike McMahon

Coaches who struggle to get clients (high paying or otherwise) are making some, or all, of these 7 expensive mistakes on a regular basis.

1. Not being crystal clear on who your ideal client is

Most coaches believe their opportunity decreases if they pick a niche. Which is exactly the opposite of what works.

When you haven’t taken the time to niche down in your marketplace you are a generalist.

There are two problems with being a generalist.

Your marketing is trying to speak to everyone. But what ends up happening is it speaks to no one.

You’re stuck charging lower fees. Who makes more money? A general practitioner or the Cardiovascular Surgeon?

Take the time to work out who your ideal client is. Learn what their fears, frustrations, and failures are. Work on being able to describe the pains and frustrations they have better than they can.

2. Selling the wrong thing

People do not buy coaching. What they buy is transformation.  But, for some reason that’s all struggling coaches seem to do to get clients is hold free coaching sessions.

If you can solve their problem in a single coaching session you aren’t solving a big enough problem.

Spending all your time coaching or talking about the process you take them through creates objections and confusion. 

Try this instead

Find out where they’re at now by uncovering the real need.

Find out where they want to be.

Help them get clear on what that gap is.

Discover what the real roadblock is.

If you can help and they are a good fit for what you do help them see how their life will be with the solution you provide.

3.Giving away free coaching sessions

Following up on the previous point.  Somewhere along the way coaches bought a lie that if you give a great coaching session people will sign up. If that was the case every coach on the planet would be full and turning away clients.

When you give a free coaching session, your prospect thinks they have the answer to their problem. And most of the time they think they can x it themselves. That free coaching session did more harm than good.

If you want to enroll clients, stop coaching in your Enrollment calls.

Strategy Sessions (or whatever you choose to call them) are to uncover a prospect’s real needs. They are also for you to find out if you can help them and if they are a good t to work with.

Keep in mind. You are the one that decides who you work with. The prospect should meet your requirements to work with you.

4. Not charging enough or the right amount

Most coaches think the only way to charge high fees is to start out low and raise them as they get more success. Or they’re not confident enough to ask for high fees.

The problem with low prices is they attract low-quality clients. Most of the time, if your price is too low the prospect, will be skeptical you can help them. We’ve all heard “Good things aren’t cheap and Cheap things aren’t good.” Or “You get what you pay for.” We’ve been conditioned to think this way since we were children.

Set your prices based on the value you deliver. But keep the following in mind.

It has nothing to do with the number of hours you work with the client.

It has nothing to do with the number of times you meet.

It has nothing to do with the quantity of the material you provide.

What matters is the value of the result or transformation you help your clients achieve.

If you help someone gain the confidence to find the love of their life. Or you help a couple save their marriage. Or you help a business owner bring in an extra $100k this year and more going forward.

What are any of those transformations or results worth? Some would say priceless. In either case, they are most likely worth a lot more than you are currently charging.

5. Failing to stand out

When you don’t have a niche and you aren’t solving a specific problem you tend to blend into the crowd. The real problem here is it makes it hard to get clients or charge higher fees. You are essentially a commodity.

Learn how to cut through the clutter and stand out. That comes from knowing your ideal client’s pain so well that you can describe it better than they can.

Here’s a test you can do with any of your marketing. Scratch out your name and write in the name of another coach. If the marketing piece is still valid you have work to do because you do not have a differentiated practice. 

If you’re the same as everyone else, you end up competing on price. And when you compete on price, you’re a commodity. No one wants to win the title of least expensive or cheapest coach.

6. Not finding the real pain/issue during the strategy call

The first problem a prospect brings up is only the beginning.

Think of an iceberg. What you see on the surface is a tiny part of the whole thing. It’s the same thing with the problems or challenges a prospect brings up.

Your job is to dig deeper and find out why that problem is a problem and what it costs both financially and emotionally.

Remember I mentioned not coaching on a strategy/enrollment call. This is the part of the session you must train yourself to resist the temptation to coach.

Dig at least three levels deep to get to the true pain and real cost of the problem.  The trap to avoid as you do more discovery calls is assuming you know the real problem. When you don’t get to the real problem and you only deal with surface issues. Or you can’t resist coaching or selling your solution without walking the prospect through the whole discovery process you create a situation where your prospects don’t enroll, and you hear a whole lot of “Let me think about it.”

7. Not getting help

Coaches need coaches but most coaches try to do it on their own. It’s not that you can’t figure all this out.

You can.

You’re smart.

But time is money.

You can either spend months or years struggling or you can invest in your business and hire a mentor that’s already been there and done that.  

Model the behavior you want your clients to practice. If you want them to hire you as a coach, make sure you have a coach. The time and effort you put into trying to figure it out and the missed opportunities cost way more than any good coach will ever cost.

One more…

One other mistake most struggling coaches make is they don’t run their practice like a business.

Take the time to put the processes and procedures in place to ensure your success. Invest time working on your business instead of only working in it. Schedule time for marketing and growing your practice.

Set up the right metrics so you can measure your income producing activities. It’s so easy to be busy but that doesn’t mean you’re productive.

If this spoke to you and you’re ready to get help growing your practice so you no longer struggle to get clients. Set up a time on my calendar for us to discuss what you’re going through.

Relax, this will not be a high-pressure sales call. We will discuss your situation and you will gain great clarity on what’s holding you back. If you want to work together, I will let you how that works. If not, that’s OK too.

Go to my calendar and book a call now.

I help coaches and consultants identify, attract and enroll high paying clients without being pushy, salesy, or slimy using my Effortless Enrollment System. 

You can build the practice you’ve always dreamed of in less time than you thought possible

 About Mike McMahon

Mike McMahon is a Master Sales Coach who specializes in helping coaches and consultants master the art of enrolling high paying clients without being pushy, salesy or slimy. You can learn more at

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