If people are going to hire you as their coach, then they need to trust you. They need to feel like you are a true authority on the topic they are interested in.
Depending on how you view your authority and reach in the market right now, you may or may not need to do a little bit of work. I don't think it will take a long time to get to the point where you need to be - a lot of this has to do with perception (how others perceive you as a coach as well as how you perceive yourself). You have to be strategic about building your integrity as a coach.
You should know your subject well. You don't want to pretend anything as a coach. You want to actually be able to help people - not just take their money. If you're just taking their money and you don't know your stuff, then you're not doing your job and what you are doing might be fraudulent. I'm not saying you'd ever do that, but it's time to make sure.
You should also truly understand what people in your niche need and want. If you don't understand them, then you might not be able to connect with them. Remember that just because you know your topic really well doesn't mean that you will be an effective teacher. Some people know their subject without being able to teach it well at all.
Also, you should be willing to learn and grow over time. You don't know everything there is to know right now, even if you're offering coaching services. It's okay to tell people you don't know everything and that you are going to work to find the answer they need. No one expects you to be all-knowing. People do expect you to be knowledgeable and they do expect you to go out of your way to help them if there is a stumbling block.
Be prepared to go above and beyond to help people. There's more to being a coach than just knowing your subject matter. You also have to understand human psychology and how you can get people to perform. People are coming to you for coaching because they feel like they can't do it on their own. You have to give them a leg up in any way and in any form that comes.
Let's talk about each of these things in turn and in more depth.
Do You Know Enough about Your Subject?
First, let's talk about whether or not you know enough about your subject. I'm not saying that you have to have been studying your topic for decades. I'm a big fan of the notion that you can very quickly become an expert - much more quickly than you think. For some topics, you can become an expert in 10 hours or so. Sure, you'll have a much better depth of knowledge over the span of decades, but there's nothing stopping you from knowing your subject well enough right now.
Do you know your subject well enough to help someone who is newer than you? I believe that there are degrees of expertise. As long as you can absolutely help someone who is newer to the subject than you, then there should be nothing standing in your way as far as offering coaching.
If you don't feel like you know enough, now's the time to start studying. Start buying books and products about your topic. Live it and practice it. Turn yourself into a case study. Do what you can to get the knowledge you need. And you will continue learning and growing along the way.
Again, don't let the idea that you need to know everything about your topic hold you back - ever. You'll never know everything - no one does. You just have to know enough.
Study the People in Your Niche
Studying the people in your niche is one of the most important things you can do if you want to build up your integrity as a potential coach.
Really get to know them. See how they interact on social media, forums, and blogs.
What are their most common questions? What are they desperate for? What do they desire above all?
You should really have a picture in your mind of who these people are and how they live. If you become a coach or if you already are a coach, how can you best reach these people and how can you best help them?
What can you offer that is going to make them want to hand over their hard-won cash to hire you as a coach?
Immerse yourself in your niche. Constantly be present in your niche. Establish your authority in your niche. This is how you build integrity as a coach.
Never Stop Learning and Growing
This is an important point. Just because you're a coach doesn't mean you know it all. I've said it already, but I really want to emphasize that you should never stop learning and growing.
Keep reading the new books that come out. Read the books and products of competitors. Research on your own. Do case studies on your own. Do whatever you can to make sure you're always learning and growing.
As a coach, you should be on the forefront of what is happening in your niche. You should know the latest news first. You are now a thought leader - act like one. People want to know your opinion and they will want to hear from you as soon as something important happens in your niche.
That's one of the responsibilities you bear as a coach.
Go above and beyond to Help People
Another important thing is that you go above and beyond to really help the people that you're going to coach. This means helping people that maybe haven't even hired you yet.
You should become someone who is willing to fight for people. Again, people will hire you as a coach because they don't feel like they can do it on their own. They need you and they want you to help them.
You should find information and materials that will help them. You should help them structure their day and follow through with their coaching. You should help to hold people accountable.
This doesn't mean it will all be warm and fuzzy all the time - sometimes, you will need to display tough love and that's okay. That's what the people who hire you need.
Take your job as a coach really seriously. No, you aren't going to be able to force everyone who hires you to follow through with your coaching and with what you teach. But you should fight for people who are willing to do the work.
Build Your Integrity as a Potential Coach
You want to be a great coach - these things will help you get a great start in that direction.
You instinctively know what it means to be a great coach, so make sure you're in touch with those things. What would you want and need as a coach yourself? Be that for other people.
Stand above all the other coaches and teachers out there. Only you can offer what you have to offer. Let that sink in for a moment. Sure, people can hire others as a coach or learn from someone else… But they want to hear from you and they want to hire you. Build up your integrity as a coach and that will become even more apparent.
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