How often have you asked someone what they do and received an answer that technically addresses the question but evokes zero interest?
If you’re like me, you have that experience frequently. And it always feels like, “Okay… that’s cool…moving on!”
Turning that around, how often has someone asked you what you do, and when you tell them “I’m a coach,” that it evokes that zero interest type of response?
First of all, a lot of people don’t really understand what coaching is, or they have a complete misperception of what your particular flavor of coaching is. This is why it’s important to go beyond telling someone what you do, technically, and share with them the transformation you provide to your clients in a way that inspires understanding and interest from the other person.
It’s important to have a response to the question, “What do you do?” that has these 4 C’s:
- It’s Clear. Your answer should make sense not only to other professional coaches or people who understand what coaching is, but also to your average Joe who has zero context for coaching.
- It’s Concise. If you respond with a monologue, you’re going to lose your listener’s attention. You should find a way to give people a sense for what you do in one sentence.
- It’s Captivating and Compelling. The idea is to not just spell things out in black and white, but offer something alluring that grabs their attention.
- It Makes Others Curious. Hopefully your listener will say, “Tell me more about that,” or “How do you do that?” Or “Tell me more about the people you work with.”
To formulate your answer to the question, “What do you do?” I have clients start with, “I help…” and then describe the sweet spot ideal client, plus the transformation that the coach helps provide.
Let’s look at an example.
“I help successful women become better leaders.”
Now that’s clear, but is it captivating? Does it evoke curiosity? Not so much. Instead, how about one of these:
“I help successful women leaders even the playing field.”
“I help successful women leaders eradicate their glass ceiling.”
The key is that you want it to feel authentic. It’s not just the words you choose, but how you own them — it’s an energy thing! Your listener will be captivated by your passion when you share it authentically.
This is where getting feedback from others can be very helpful. Once you’ve written your sentence, share it with people who know your work and see how they respond. You’ll quickly start to recognize when you’re being too slick, too generic, or too clever. It’s the fastest way to tweak and adjust until you find a response that hits all the 4 C’s.
This week, revisit your response to the question, “What do you do?” Play with it! Share with others (including me!) and see how they respond; it just might be time for a fresh take.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Tara Butler Floch