Not too long ago, I had a meeting with UKTI in regards to selling my NLP franchise in Australia. One of the questions the business advisor asked me was “What does it take to be successful in the NLP industry?”

Now it may be that I’ve become fickle after a long time in this industry so you’re welcome (as always) to disagree with me, but I believe what I have identified are 3 types of people.

  • The make a difference people
  • The marketing people
  • The successful ones

Only one of these 3 will ultimately be successful (you can guess which!) so let me give you my definitions of how each of them are and what challenges they each have.

The Make a Difference People

These people know their self development subject inside out and upside down. They’ve read the books, been on all the courses (possibly re attended to make sure they really know it) they will sing the praises of the methodologies they use and there might well be a few gurus they follow too.

If you were lucky enough to get in front of one of these coaches they would have your life changed before lunchtime and they’ll still pad out the rest of the day with amazing additional extras that you didn’t even know you needed.

The only problem, is that they won’t charge you for it. Or if they do, the price they charge will in no way reflect the true value of their work.

They’ll also struggle to get clients, because they are still investing their time into something that guarantees their mortgage will get paid, instead of promoting their website. Scrap that, they maybe only have a blog. Being such a people-person means that they’re not comfortable with all that ‘online stuff.’ They won’t pay anyone else to do it for them either. They can’t. They haven’t got the money to invest in their business because they don’t get paid for their work.

Don’t get me wrong, they want it – they want the business to succeed, but they want it to happen for them and not because of them. If it happens for them, it will save them having to learn how to put themselves out there and deal with the rejection that will inevitably happen at some point. It will save them being the baddy who requests money from the poor people in pain and it will spare them from having to be like the egotistical ones who shoves themselves in people’s newsfeed and inboxes saying “Look at me, I’m great at what I do and you will pay me to prove it to you!”

The Marketing People

The marketing people are the coaches and trainers who know how to get their shizzle to market. These people do shove themselves into your inbox and newsfeed. They are singing from the roof tops and making sure everyone knows who they are and what they do. They’ve got the proportions right – they realised that as a business owner they will have to graft at the marketing more than they are working with clients to get the cogs turning. Of course, they’ll put themselves through the pain of sending out an email with a broken link or make a typo, they’ll generate that much content it’s to be expected.

The challenges comes when they try to systemise the people part of what they do in the same way as they have systemised their marketing. They’ll give their clients products instead of their time because they’ve realised its more cost effective. They’ll have their clients follow a set procedure because it cuts back on time making something bespoke. It can come across as if they lack empathy, that they’re just looking at the end result instead of offering their hand to lead their clients on a journey of transition. They haven’t really got time for their clients because they’re really focused on how to better automate and monetise what they do.

So how do the successful coaches become successful coaches?

Ultimately they are good at balancing between the two characters above. They know that they have to put themselves in a vulnerable position, overcome all of their own stuff and get out there and consistently tell the world who they are and what they are doing. They open themselves up to criticism, to getting it wrong and to indulging in the foreign world of on and offline promotion. When the little voice in their head says “I didn’t become an NLP Coach so that I could become a blogging expert”, they remind themselves that that is what it will take to BE A successful coach.

Because they do their marketing, they build themselves a profile in the world. It gives them credibility and the clients get in touch. They feel more of an expert because they glean more experience (from a higher volume of clients) but they are ultimately doing what they do for the love of working with clients. They give their clients plenty of time, they’re not rushing them through a marketing funnel because they are confident that the client will invest precisely what they need to invest to get the desired result. They listen and the client feels valued. Sometimes they will even say You’re not the right client for me” or “You don’t need anymore sessions.” Yes – they will turn work away because they’re not desperate for it and they get paid a decent fee when they do do it. They respect themselves as well as respecting the clients needs.

Now of course all of the above is based on huge sweeping generalisations. There’s plenty of grey area in between.

Having accredited so many NLP practitioners to work as part of our franchise, I’ve been fortunate to have many years observing the practitioners that have worked with our branding. For the ones who have failed to be successful, 99% of the time they have been ‘make a difference’ orientated and struggled to promote themselves effectively, even when I have given them the resources to do so.

Starting out as a new NLP Coach it’s a really good idea to consider how you are going to divide your time. You might have to invest 30 hours into your marketing to get 5 hours of sessions with clients when you get started. Consider who you are targeting and work backwards from there. That will direct you as to how you should reach out to those people, where they congregate and what messages they respond to.

Know that in becoming an NLP Coach, unless you are going to pay someone else to run your marketing for you, you are going to become not just “An NLP Coach”. You will be a social media expert, a blogger, a YouTube star and much, much more!

By Gemma Bailey

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