Is Your Content Marketable?

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When I first started coaching over 13 years ago, I was taught to “let the client lead the agenda.”

The problem with this approach is it put me in a reactive position as their coach (meaning, I followed their lead, responding to what they decided to coach on), rather than a proactive position, where I could my client in bigger ways, helping them to accelerate their progress.

Plus, the problem with this old style approach is that it opened the door to hearing, “I’m not sure what I want to coach on today” which resulted in higher client drop out rates.

And, to top it off, I felt I was hiding out, not speaking my truth and holding back from giving my clients more of what they needed to thrive and excel.

Finally, one day, I had enough and began being more directive with my clients. I introduced new content, wove in training and began putting them on a path that I KNEW would work for them.

And you know what? My clients LOVED it!

If you’re a coach trained in the “old school” method, or you’re new to coaching and you haven’t quite found your footing yet, this new paradigm of blending information with coaching can feel uncomfortable at first.

Which is why you need to know how much content to include in your coaching sessions, and even more importantly, WHAT content your clients are most likely to pay you to deliver. Here are 3 easy steps you want to take to help get you started.

Step #1 Bring Marketable Content To Every Call

While the philosophy that the client leads the agenda may have worked years ago, in today’s economy, clients expect YOU as their coach to share knowledge that will help them quickly accelerate their results.

My advice? Plan on delivering a small portion of content in each of your coaching calls. This is your opportunity to pull out your checklists, templates or scripts — anything that will save your clients time and make it easier for them to get into action.

Step #2 Don’t Be Afraid Of Being “Bossy”

When I was a little girl, my grade school teachers had a tough time keeping me in my seat. I always wanted to help others with their spelling, math or reading. Little did I know that what got me into trouble back then would serve me beautifully in creating a multimillion dollar coaching company!

Your clients want you to be a leader. So don’t hold back from sharing your concerns, revealing what your intuition is telling you and from being clearly directive. I promise you that your clients will love you MORE when you guide them forward.

Step #3 Don’t Waste Time Reinventing What Is At Your Fingertips

If you don’t have your content pulled together into a marketable package then consider getting trained in someone else’s system. And even if you already have a Signature System, integrating proven content is a great way of introducing fresh, new content into your coaching programs. Just be sure that what you’re getting trained in is a complete system that includes templates, forms and marketing support because you’ll need this to be successful.

Remember that people don’t hire coaches, they invest in getting a specific problem solved.

Instead of trying to sell coaching, focus on offering marketable content and you’ll benefit from a steady increase in coaching clients AND income.



  1. EXCELLENT perspective & input, thank you Kendall! Luv this. :-)

  2. Thanks, Kendall. You continue to inspire me especially after seeing you at LEAP! My new motto is WWKD? What Would Kendall DO!

  3. I very much agree with this.
    I’m being taught the old school way of coaching which is to let the client set the agenda and ask questions instead of giving answers. Giving answers is deserving of a tail whoopin’ in this school of thought.
    Well, when I was doing it their way nobody was having fun and nobody was reaching their goals. When I started doing it MY way – in which I openly shared the knowledge and resources I’ve picked up along the way as well as sometimes taking the lead in coaching – my clients and I started having FUN and getting things DONE! :-D

  4. Love this article…One of the reasons i left “coaching” and became a consultant is because of the ICF philosophy. I was lucky to train with Thomas Leonard before he passed on and he was way ahead of this philosophy, advocating what you bring forth in your article.

    Again, love it that you are bringing this up and opening the discussion.

  5. It would never occur to me to do it any other way! But then I coach/consult in marketing, and come from an IT background where it was my duty to lead people and give them solutions. It’s insane to expect people to figure out their own solutions when you know what it is based on your knowledge and experience.

    But thank you for validating that I don’t need to train as a coach. I didn’t think I needed to really, but had vague pangs of “maybe I should do that”, but no – I’m a mentor and leader, not someone who’s going to allow my clients to flounder around wondering what to do next.

    Cheers love! ;-)

  6. Coming from management consulting it was hard for me to understand the concept of coaching as supporting clients in finding their own solutions. This works,if the client can figure out the right solution. No matter how many powerful questions you may ask, the client may just not have the answers. They want their coach to be able to answer questions, not just ask them.

  7. Thank you Kendall
    I agree with you and I do it already for some time what you said above, despite what old coaching model says I combine coaching and mentoring, and my clients got great results because

  8. Mon Sun C says:

    Hello Kendall, thank you for this post. I found it very ingsightful and empowering at the same time. It is true even in my own circle of friends where I can feel them wanting someone to give them answers or more guidance or more feedback/information.

  9. Your article is insightful and true. I’m coming from being a teacher and then a psychotherapist and now coaching. So leading clients and students is natural and easy for me. I really enjoy your perspective. Thanks so much! Helaine

  10. So much wisdom, as well as common sense. I hear so many people either delivering just fluff with no content, or trying to tell too much in a single call. Your advice is quite sane and practical. I know from the many, many hands I’ve read with various indicators of leadership, that too many people (especially women) hide their leadership capabilities and end up feeling unseen and undervalued, when they must step up and connect with their own value before they can lead others to theirs.
    Thanks for topic! Kate

  11. As a psychologist, I have been trained to form impressions from what my clients are telling me, and at the same time, each session gives space for the client to discuss the “details” of the issue. What I’ve noticed is that each client seems to have underlying themes – places where they’re “stuck,” patterns they’re repeating – that would continue without insight.

    So I wind up being their objective eyes, or the “noticer,” and in this way there’s a give-and-take in which I operate both as the “expert” (boss) while simultaneously being “led” by what they are sharing… Through the client receiving insight and awareness into their actions and reactions, they are empowered to change and grow…

    Thank you for the post, Kendall! So nice to be able to verbalize the process.

  12. Thanks Kendall, this is very helpful. It’s the model I follow mainly because I feel that clients come to me for help with problems they don’t understand and don’t know how to solve. So asking them to lead is a little counterproductive. I’m glad that you are opening others to this option and allowing coaches to follow their best judgment.
    And LEAP was amazing, I learned so much, thank you.

  13. What you shared in your article is what most coaching schools do not teach. They tell you if you are a great coach, you will get clients… not so much. If you are a great marketer and an average coach, you will do better than a great coach and so-so marketer.
    My company trains Christian coaches and we know from experience that unless our students get a good amount of strategic marketing training, their coaching skills may never become fully utilized. Thanks for a great article.

  14. Totally insightful, Kendall! As a long-time advocate & lawyer (and law professor), I’ve trained myself to be a good listener, but I am a natural teacher and love to collaborate. In the context of negotiation, mediation or an adversary hearing, I actually think of my role in preparing my clients to better present themselves persuasively so they can prvoe their position and reach their goals as “coaching” them. You’re right: delivering marketable content makes a lot of sense in coaching as well as in representing, consulting and mentoring!

  15. Thank you, Kendall, for giving me the permission to not ‘coach’ people the traditional way. I, too, have found a mix of mentoring/consulting, and teaching, with a dose of coaching, gets much better and faster results for my clients.

  16. Thank you Kendall, your a breath of fresh air.
    I am a coach in training and have a desire to share with people who are hungry for a helping hand. You are someone really great to follow and learn from.

  17. Yep .. you hit the nail on the head. Nothing worse than a coach who sits there and asks only questions … when the client has a specific need and you have specific expertise. Give assignments and debrief on the far side. Challenge your clients to stretch and give up on their long held beliefs by acting “as if” …

    If they knew the answers … they wouldn’t hire us in the first place … bring on the content … (yee haa)

    My two cents,

    Dike Drummond MD

  18. Excellent message and a trend that I’ve seen with my own clients. I’m not a coach, I help coaches with the implementation side of things.

    But more and more clients are looking to me to take the lead and tell them what to do or what I need from them. Its fascinating and has taken some time to get used but I’ve learned that the client relationships where I have done this have been the most successful.

  19. I just recently realized that I was resisting coaching because what I truly desire is to teach, coach and be a consultant. It never occurred to me that I could do all three. I’ve spent years trying to “figure it out”. You have been a wonderful model of how those three can work out beautifully for me and my client. “)


  20. Hi Kendall…. and everyone above!

    It sounds awfully like you have ‘discovered’ the magic of behavioural psychology. Forget rats in cages and salivating dogs, this broad school of applied psychology does what it says on the tin – change behaviour. Instead of people trying to think their way into a new way of being, they are taught to be or act their way into a new way of thinking.

    As Robin says, it is essentially a teaching model, which allows you to act as consultant whilst coaching new behaviours and thereby ways of thinking.

    Yep – I’m a behavioural psychologist by background and professional training and extremely proud of it!

  21. Great article Kendall. I agree that directive coaching works and whilst I too belong to the Thomas Leonard style of coaching I have also experienced the opposite side of the coin where a coach will just “sprout forth” with ideas and tips that aren’t well thought out or even relevant to the current issue and lack of training is glaringly obvious.

    As a coach and having been coached many times I like to be asked provocative questions to help me see a situation from another angle and have often come up with my own ‘answer’ in a similar way that I have heard you coach during Q and A.

    I believe coaching like any other mastery is best learned and then tweaked or discarded for what works best in the presenting situation. If we can step away from our egos and be there for the client our intuition usually leads us in the right direction.

  22. I love step number 2! Never before have I been so clear about what I need to do and this article only just shows me I am on the right path. What has been missing is the marketable content. However, I am seeking help with this as I can no longer stay in my own head. Exciting times!

  23. Maryann Ehmann says:

    Thank you!! I was never formally trained as a coach, but was a teacher and lawyer… Both very directive professions. So interjecting teaching and advising has been for me impossible to avoid. I had heard about the “let the client lead” approach and wondered how anything got done! I have 100 percent success, but still wondered if I might be doing it wrong! This article is very settling! Your article also points out my need to create more efficient systems. Again, thank you!

  24. As a client I’ve gotten frustrated with coaches who would keep asking, “What do YOU think?” It’s even more frustrating to work with business coaches who don’t have a plan, program or agenda. As a copywriter, I lead my clients in surprisingly new directions for their business: that’s the fun part!

  25. The statement “Remember that people don’t hire coaches, they invest in getting a specific problem solved” rings true with my corporate clients. It’s the main struggle I see other coaches having in getting clients to see the ROI in their services. We’re not “selling” coaching. We’re partnering with clients to create results. When you can directly map those results to dollars – like I show my clients – they don’t hesitate to hire you and pay you what you’re worth.

  26. I love this perspective, Kendall! While I’m a designer/web Goddess and not a coach per se, I still do a bit of coaching to help my clients figure out what they need for their online presence and how to use it going forward. I can definitely apply some of this to what I’m doing! :)

  27. Hi Kendall, I very much appreciate this article, thank you. One of the reasons I stopped coaching people 1:1 was because I came to believe I wasn’t a very good coach, despite having great natural coaching skills. This was for 2 reasons – partly because using the traditional model, people didn’t seem to achieve the outcomes they desired & partly because I found myself teaching & mentoring in the sessions too, which I thought was ‘wrong’, based on schools of thought at the time.

    This helps me to see that what I was intuitively doing is actually more effective & can be very powerful, when balanced with expansive questions. So it gives me more confidence to work with people 1:1 again in a coaching environment, though this time with more of a framework of what the outcomes are of the coaching program, as opposed to ongoing client-guided sessions that don’t seem to go anywhere much.

    Just what I needed to hear at this time, as I’m transitioning in my business. Thanks so much Kendall!
    Sharon Crawford

  28. Jeannie Spiro says:

    Thank you! I think many coaches are afraid to step into the role of mentoring and coaching at the same time. Since embracing this approach to coaching I’ve seen tremendous results with my clients. I love teaching but I think you’re even more effective when you listen intuitively.


  29. This is wonderful Kendall,
    I was coaching a client, just last week, on just this thing. They were so glad, because following the “Coaching Model” set by ICF, was just not working for them, any more than it worked for me.
    There really does not make sense to have others struggle, and reinvent the wheel, when you may have the simple answer they need.
    I am so grateful you refused to “stay in the box”, and are so willing to help others find their inner Goddess power, and break out!
    Warm Hugs and Simplify and Prosper,
    Karen Stultz

  30. So refreshing to hear Kendall. We dont have to stick rigidly to them but clients love programmes. I agree that following the client’s lead does not work very well, and while it is important to have a co-creative collaboration with your client, accreditation with ICF demanded that I drop years of knowledge and experience as a psychologist which seemed insane, especially as clients are drawn to me for the very reason that I have a psychology background. By the way, if you listen to MCC coaches giving demos, it is not true that they keep their ideas to themselves. Their clients’ breakthroughs sometimes come after great questions, but often only after the coach has offered a new perspective or idea. Anyway, I went into coaching to use my creative mind and not hide it away. So thank you for having the courage to take a lead on this.

  31. Kendall, THANK YOU for sharing this! My clients are having amazing breakthroughs because I am delivering my intuition, my experience and reflecting back to them what I see. I love partnering with them and giving them new thoughts to work with every week. I love bringing my wisdom to the table instead of them leading the process. I am leading it. That is why they come to me. Thank you for confirming the approach I use. Many blessings to you!

  32. I was a bossy girl too. Good thing I learned to use my powers for good! Thanks for another truth no one talks about.

  33. I love this! I also was trained to “be invisible” and let the client lead the agenda. As a Business coach, that did not fly! People needed to know what to do. Yes, powerful coaching questions are great and invaluable, but knowing what the sequence is, and what the specific steps are, and how to take them into the fast lane…that is the real deal. Kendall is right on, as usual! And how great is it to speak truth to people and tell them what they are not able to see? that is the real gold.

  34. As always top-notch tips from Kendall! She confirms to me that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing as a coach… being a leader.

    You are appreciated!


  35. Jerry Stumpf - The Romance Educator says:

    Very informative. It is so easy to want to become what a person needs instead of generating a skill set for improving their situation. You offer encouraging tips with a bit of pizzazz!

    Thank you for helping folks become all they were designed to become.

  36. Jerry Stumpf - The Romance Educator says:

    I also want to add, your story (bio) reminds me of a very special lady I knew who worked three jobs, raising her two boys all while getting her degree because the system would not let her teach the “special Ed” children in her cafeteria. I honor her memory as she too was a role model for me – my mom.

    She went on to get her masters at the young age of 64 so she would have a better pension!

    Is is wonderful to see your contributions to others!

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