Empathetic Attraction – Engaging The Right Clients

Marketing needs content. Content needs attention. But your clients (potential and actual) have increasingly short attention spans and you’re just one voice among many. How do you attract their attention? How do you stand out?

Of course, cunning sales tactics or manipulative headlines will generate clicks but how can you reach your ideal clients in a more authentic way?

If you’re tired of tactics and hacked off with hacks then it’s time for a breath of fresh air…

Leading with empathy

Empathetic Attraction - Empathy, Authority, Story

“Empathy is simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of you’re not alone.”

–Brené Brown, University of Houston, University of Texas

One of the most effective ways to create an engaging marketing message – one that directly appeals to your ideal clients – is to lead with empathy combined with authority to lay out the journey that the client can take with you.

What do I mean by ‘lead with empathy’? To build on the above quotation, you’re talking about their situation, their needs, and their goals (sounds like coaching, no?) in order to demonstrate an understanding of their individual pressures, feelings, frustrations, and needs… Leading with empathy is the best way to begin building trust. And trust attracts coaching clients.

As a coach it’s likely that you have 2 sources for your position of empathy:

  1. You may be coaching a version of your form a few years ago, so you have lived experience of their situation and journey
  2. You may have worked with, supported or been amongst people like them for many years so you have a lot of first-hand experience

Where ever you source your empathy from recognising that this position puts you in a unique position to guide them, and this isn’t the case for a lot of other people or even other coaches.

The key is that you’re not trying to sell, persuade or even influence (let alone manipulate). Instead, you’re showing how you can help them and then inviting them to either signal their interest or give it a pass if it’s not for them.

These three components – empathy, authority and journey – is a very client-focused way of setting out your stall. In essence, it’s marketing that makes the client feel seen, heard and understood.

It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay

One of the big takeaways from Seth Godin’s book “This Is Marketing” is the idea that your product or service won’t be right for everyone. And nor should it be. Your business isn’t for everyone and that’s a good thing. It allows you to focus on serving the people who are the right fit for your business, the people you can help the most. In other words, your ideal clients. And by not desperately trying to sell to everyone else, you’re freeing up a huge amount of time and energy.

The 3 components of Empathetic Attraction

Let’s look at how these three elements can be combined to create a truly authentic marketing message.


When you talk about the experiences, problems and feelings of your ideal clients, you’re showing that you see where they are, hear their frustrations, and understand the problems they face. Result? They are attracted by your story and your services. In a sense, your empathy acts as a filter, only inviting suitable clients to pass. The right people hear your story and think, “This person gets it, I want to know more.”


Empathy gains you attention. Now it’s time to show some authority. Authority comes from a clear explanation of how you can help them and how you’ve helped others like them before, including potential obstacles on the way and how they can be avoided. Paint a picture of what success will look like, what their life will be like after they’ve worked with you. Now, they’re thinking, “This is the right person to help me, how does it work?”


People are more likely to start a journey when they know where it will lead them; a destination. Showing them how they will get there is a highly effective way to show them that their goals are possible and that you’re the perfect guide to achieving them, leaving them with the thought, “They have a plan and I want to go with them. When do we start?”

Person standing on top of mountain

Climbing the mountain

If we liken achieving your client’s goals to climbing a mountain…

You (standing next to your potential – and ideal – client at the foot of the mountain): “Would you like to climb that mountain? I used to look at that mountain and wonder what was at the top. Ever since childhood, I wanted to see what’s on the other side.” You’re demonstrating empathy, showing that you thought and felt as they do now. You wanted the same thing they do.

“I trained for years and I was the first person to climb that mountain. It took several failed attempts to find a safe path to the top. But I did, and now I take 50 people a year to the summit. Here is a photo of me at the top that first time.” Showing that you know and understand the challenge gives you authority. Now show them a plan.

“These days, I have a path to the top that has all the best views and avoids all the dangerous drops. I love seeing people reach the peak and watching them enjoy that view for the first time. Would you like to see the view from the top?” So, you’ve shown them that you had common aspirations, that you know how those aspirations can be achieved, and you’re offering to show them how to make that journey themselves.

But… I’m not comfortable in the role of valiant explorer and know-it-all leader!

Don’t worry, that’s not the role on offer. As coach, you’re not the leader, never the hero. You’re the guide. Potential clients won’t take the journey with you if that journey is about you. They want to be the valiant one, the resilient one, the victor enjoying the view from the summit for the first time.

Combining empathy, authority and journey you can position yourself as the guide that supports the client in their role as hero of their own quest.

You’re in a profession that relies on listening and understanding

In other words, as a coach, empathy is one of your stronger suits. Using one of your professional strengths (and passions?) to drive your marketing efforts is the best way to stand out from the crowd for your ideal clients.

  1. Empathy – Show you understand, make them feel seen, heard and understood.
  2. Authority – Show them what success looks like and how you can help them avoid failure.
  3. Journey – Show them how you’ve helped others and that you have the plan to help them get there.

By combining these three elements in your content and marketing, you’re showing that you understand their problem, have a track record of tackling that type of problem, and have a route/process/roadmap to do so. You’re telling the right people that you are the right coach for them.

If you want to join a community of coaches are were using this empathy led approach, to build a better coaching business then we invite you to join the Better Bolder Braver community of like-minded coaches who are marketing differently. Together we’re building better coaching businesses that make a bigger impact on the coaching clients our members serve.

If you want to connect, share and grow with an active community of coaches then join us and let’s go on this journey together.

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