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Shouldn’t your business coach be better at marketing than you are?

Shouldn't business coaches have a great business of their own? How much can they really help you if they're teaching but not doing? And by doing, I mean working on their business the way they say you should be working on yours.

And 'working on' your business means breaking the addiction to focusing on the 'content' - the prices, features and promises you put in your ads. Working on your business is a 'context' thing - it's the journey of turning your whole business into the product - and creating a customer experience worth talking about.

When we took over EMyth a few years ago with a mandate to grow the business, we asked a lot of those kinds of 'context' questions. "What does it feel like to be our client?" "What would it be like if it could be anything?" "How can we embody our values instead of talking about them?"

One question we didn't have to ask was "Does our service work?" It clearly did. But revenues weren't growing nearly as fast as it seemed they should. We were stable, but stuck in a rut. And our company culture felt the same way - a lot of good people and systems that 'got the job done', but a general lack of inspiration and empowerment. We started our change project with an assumption that if we solved that second problem, it would go a long way towards solving the first.

It was clear from the start that a big part of our cultural transformation was going to be a technological one.

It was clear from the start that a big part of our cultural transformation was going to be a technological one. Not just upgrading our hardware, (we needed that but you may not) but rethinking technology's place in the fabric of our business. We believed that we could create a business where technology was an integrated part of every system in every department. From marketing to coaching to finance, from our customer-facing systems to our internal and operational ones, we wanted it to all 'feel' one way, and we insisted that everything we built was beautiful, modern and easy to use.

And if there is one way to describe the typical client experience in our industry, it's not beautiful and delightful. It's ugly - and dated. Showing clients the very real value of business coaching isn't easy. But most business coaches (like all business owners) get caught in the trap of spending all their energy trying to tell and sell others on what they know, and forget to apply what they know to their own businesses … down to the marrow. They forget that it's your experience that matters, not just the advice you get. And they forget to hold themselves accountable for staying on the cutting edge, especially when it comes to things you need them to know about - like marketing trends and technology that could make running your business a little easier.

In fairness, there are not a lot of great resources for business coaches out there. And its not the most important quality in a business coach, being real is. But it's a huge part of their value proposition, or ought to be.

Which led to another question we asked ourselves. "What if the best thing we can do with all the goodwill in the EMyth name is not to guard it (which we'd done for far too long), but to share it?" What if we made EMyth a place not just for business owners to work on their business, but for business coaches too? We started doing a lot more listening and a lot less talking, asking our clients at every level and every stage to find out what we were missing, and without wavering from our vision, how could we do it better?

We know how overwhelming it is to sort through all the different services out there to figure out which ones will get you the results you're looking for. So, we thought it would be helpful to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how we went through that process. I hope you'll watch our video to do just that. We'll show you not just what we built, but why - and how we struggled, as we know you do, to make choices that are in alignment with our values and our vision.

You could say that the history of business coaching is telling you how to build a great business. And we would say the future of business coaching is in being one, and being willing to fail and pick yourself back up again and be transparent about it. What is a coaching brand in 2013 and beyond if not that?

Imagine an industry made up of professionals who are pushing that edge in themselves and with their clients every single day - and who had the support of a powerful digital ecosystem, and a network of peers, to make sure they always kept growing.

We're learning, just like you, what this technological and social revolution means for our business. But what's becoming more true every day is that, whatever industry you're in, you can't use technology one way and send marketing messages another. They're one and the same, and they either reinforce the story you want to tell or you're going out of business.

Jonathan Raymond

Written by Jonathan Raymond

Jonathan was a frequent contributor to the EMyth blog from 2011-2015. His articles focus on marketing, branding, and organizational culture.