Marketing is Not a “Bad” Word

By: Sabrina Schleicher, PhD, PCC

“Marketing is a bad word.” I hear this a lot from coaches.

Let’s face it, most of us coaches love to coach. If we could get away with it, we’d prefer to “just coach” and not have to worry about running a business and marketing. Marketing and selling feel pushy and uncomfortable. We just don’t like to be perceived this way.

Unfortunately, all too many coaches avoid learning effective marketing because we equate marketing with being pushy and “sales-y.” We take the approach of sticking our heads in the sand when it comes to investing time and energy to learn effective marketing. The consequence is that we struggle to get clients to coach, then have difficulty practicing and honing our coaching skills because we do not get enough opportunities to coach.

It’s a vicious downward spiral that starts out like this: You complete your first coach training class. You struggle to find a few people to practice coaching with beyond your buddy coaches. You take a few more coaching classes to improve your skills. Maybe you get a client or two here and there. But, if you don’t have a steady stream of clients seeking you out, it’s tough to build your confidence as a coach. In fact, your confidence begins to erode because clients aren’t seeking you out.

At this point, many newer coaches conclude, “Maybe, I’m not a good coach, after all. Maybe I’m not cut out for this.” By the way, this is gremlin-talk. Rather than pay attention to these gremlins, start asking yourself, “What do I need to learn learn about marketing that would make it easier for me to attract my Ideal Clients?”

In actuality, marketing is not difficult, and it’s not pushy or sales-y when you approach it from the perspective of building relationships with your Ideal Potential Clients. In fact, when you design your coaching practice from the inside out, marketing doesn’t feel like marketing at all. It comes as a natural byproduct of choosing to work with your Ideal Clients. Your Ideal Clients are those people with whom you love working.

From the perspective of relationship marketing, you are sharing offeringsthat are greatly beneficial to the types of people whom you love to coach. When someone is struggling with an important, urgent life, business or career problem, and you provide an offering specifically designed to coach them efficiently and effectively through resolving that problem, they are grateful you shared your offering with them! They do not experience you as being pushy or sales-y in the least.

Start by paying attention to who you enjoy coaching. Who are your Ideal Clients?

If you don’t have coaching clients yet, pay attention to the people with whom you enjoy talking. Who are the people with whom you have conversations that leave you feeling energized? There is a good chance these will be your Ideal Clients. Get to know them. Find out what’s important to them, what matters to them and what struggles they have.

This information is the foundation for designing your Ideal Practice from the inside out. It all starts with you tuning into the kinds of people with whom you enjoy talking.

When you approach marketing from the perspective of building relationships with your Ideal Clients, marketing is not a bad word. In fact, marketing becomes fun! Yes, fun. Try it. You’ll see.

Dr. Sabrina Schleicher specializes in training coaches and therapists to double their Ideal Clients so they can build thriving, lucrative practices working part-time. Get her free audio training, "3 Secrets to Doubling Your Ideal Clients in 90 Days," plus script to discover exactly what your Ideal Clients want from you at

Do you have a burning question about marketing or growing your coaching practice? Send it to me at admin@tapthepotential.comwith “ILCT Blog” in the Subject Line and I may answer it in an upcoming blog post.