The 2nd session of the Coaching Telesummit 2008 hosted by Milana Leshinsky will begin in about half an hour. I am one of the panelists (thanks for asking, Milana). Here are a few links that I consider important when thinking about coaching trends to watch for in 2008. Panelists are asked to respond to Milana’s New Coaching Manifesto. You can get a copy in exchange for your email address here.
Trendwatching.com has 8 trends to watch for in 2008 in their December 2007 briefing (if this link goes to a newer briefing, find the December 2007 one). Premiumization, the “snack” culture, online oxygen, make-it-yourself, and crowd-mining are the ones I looked at most closely. It is amazing how much coaches are already set to take advantage of these trends. Coaches already excel in giving information in small amounts, such as Top Ten lists and short, frequent newsletters. They also know how to make experiences that are worth paying higher prices for. Coaches are familiar with the R&D team concept, and are poised to take advantage of even more opportunities in the future. Plus coaches know the value of giving products away to develop relationships. Read this report and get inspired about how you can do more of the same!
Marketing aversion is a huge problem for coaches that Milana identified in her New Coaching Manifesto. One aspect of this aversion may be related to the moral instinct. The New York Times had a great overview of research on the moral instinct. Marketing conjures up all sorts of negative images for many people, such as “snake oil salesman,” “ambulance chaser,” and “carnival barker.” Anyone would be reluctant to engage in an activity they considered evil or shameful.
In addition, some coaches are averse to marketing because they lack self-confidence. If you doubt your ability or worthiness, it is very difficult to offer your services to others. Still other coaches are shy or socially anxious about the thought of talking to others. This may show up in networking, workshop, and public speaking, all important marketing activities.
Cringing at the thought of marketing may be due to cognitive distortions. One way to combat this is to identify the distorted thoughts, dispute them, and replace them with more adaptive thoughts (a process popularized in the treatment of mood disorders by David D. Burns in The Feeling Good Handbook. Here is a resource for you to use: 4 Steps in Cognitive Restructuring. Albert Ellis’ ABC model based on rational-emotive therapy is another way to understand this reaction. The same process can be used for non-clinical cases of distorted thinking, too. Always seek competent professional help if you are experiencing clinical depression or anxiety, of course.
Another way to re-frame marketing was spelled out in an article called Geek Marketing Should Look Like a Good Lover. Applies to coaching, too.
There are some indications that the 800-pound gorilla, Google, may not be as important in the future. Social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook are getting 2.5-3 times as many clicks as Google search every day. People want great content and honest feedback from people they trust. Seethe 60 Minutes segment on Facebook from last Sunday. It’s on YouTube.com. That’s another wave of the future–coaches should be making multimedia products for clients and for marketing.
Another chink in Google’s dominance is that new developments in the semantic web may make it easier to index the Internet like a giant relational database. This would make Google’s text-based search less relevant. This will change how coaches approach web design. I think it is a good thing, since it will force us to focus on content rather than SEO tricks (that may fall flat on their face when Google changes their algorithms). Content has always been king, and will continue to be.
Don H. Morris is a coach and freelance writer in Memphis, Tennessee. See other articles here.