The Who, What, and Why of Marketing

Why do your coaching clients work with you?

Presumably because what you do resonates, supports, guides or otherwise works for them.
When clients are deciding if they want to work with you they are asking themselves three questions:

1. Who does this coach usually work with?

2. What can they help me with?


3. Why should I trust them?

Most coaches are great at talking about the what but are less sure about the who and the why.

And that’s understandable – the answers to the who and why questions are likely to be much more personal. When you answer them, you’re talking about your authority and your purpose; not just your methods. Talking about the who and the why can leave you feeling an awkward mix of vulnerability and confidence.

Triangle showing the Who What Why of Marketing

Sometimes, despite your marketing, clients don’t know what they’re getting

You might think that all clients want (or need) to know is what you can do for them. And yes, that is critical information. But coaching is a life-changing investment. People rarely impulse buy coaching. They want (and need) to know more before deciding to work with a coach.

When a client has decided to work with you, it’s likely for one of two reasons:

  1. They felt like they understood what they were buying and trusted both the process and you.


  2. They didn’t fully understand what they were buying so felt pressured into the commitment, either by the sales process or by some other external factor.

One of those feels better than the other, right? When clients commit but are not the right fit for you, it’s because they ‘bought’ from a place of pressure and they’re likely to have reservations throughout the coaching process. When a client is a perfect fit, they likely signed up from a place of knowledge and trust and are much more comfortable committing to getting the most from your coaching.

Being open builds trust

When you talk about who you work with and explain why they can work with you, you build trust and empower the client to make a more informed decision.

Your who is your niche – knowing this helps both you and your clients. It helps you talk about their problems, situation and feelings in a way that resonates with them. What’s more, it allows you to explain the feeling, outcome or insight you’re guiding them to in your coaching work in a way that matches where they want to get to.

It helps them feel like they’re in the right place working with you.

The why is often the overlooked bit. To explain why a potential client can trust you, you need to put yourself out there. This is where you talk about your authority – explaining why you’re best placed to guide them on their journey.

Have you lived the same experience?

Have you travelled the same road?

Have you worked with people like them for a long time?

Do you have a deep connection to people in their circumstances?

These are the factors (the revelations) that really build trust and make a strong connection with clients.

Remember that awkward mix of vulnerability and confidence? Get this bit right and it’s not awkward, it becomes showing your vulnerability with confidence.

Empathy Authority Journey

Tell your story

Tell potential clients about your who, what and why using your story.

Your story needs to combine empathy and authority.

Your story also keeps your boundaries clear whilst building trust.

You can tell your story on your website, on social media, at the beginning of discovery calls…

And your story doesn’t have to be a fixed narrative. The facts of your story are a template you can use differently for different clients, according to their needs and situation. The story doesn’t change but the way you tell it does, depending on the audience.

But… Storytelling sounds unprofessional.

A story takes many forms. It doesn’t have to be like a ‘once upon a time’ story or a bedtime story. It’s the story of how you came to be a coach, why the work you do matters to you, and how it makes an impact with your clients. As long as it conveys the who, what and why it will be effective.

Besides, as a coach your profession is all about clients opening up and working through elements of their own story. Telling them a few elements of your story is effective, relevant and in a sense, only fair.

Your story of who, what and why

Telling potential clients who you work with, what you do, and why they can trust you can be a concise, engaging signal to the right people that their next step is working with you.
Having this kind of focused structure to engage with clients empowers you to feel better about presenting yourself, allowing you to do so with more confidence. And with a sense of generosity as opposed to awkwardness.

In our Coach’s Marketing Journey course, we have lessons that guide you through acknowledging your vulnerability & boundaries. We show you how to combine empathy, authority and journey to tell a good story. We cover where to start and where to end.

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