Your Business Offer of Yourself

Your business offer of  yourself?  When I discussed offers under business purpose and financial purpose, I considered offers of a vision and a service in exchange for money.  Here the offer is of yourself.

Whatever form of coaching you offer, there will be an implicit element that relates to your contribution as a coach and what is Otium for the client.

Lifestyle is never irrelevant and in a future post I shall write about the benefits to the customer of your lifestyle choices.  Your implicit offer is to pay full attention to your customers.  Business owners get few opportunities to talk at length about their business to someone ready to listen.

Paying Attention

The biggest challenge every coach faces is to listen actively.  The aim is to listen the customer into free speech.  To speak freely about their business, their life, whatever preoccupies them is of immense value.

You formulate questions that have never been asked and so move the client’s thinking into a new perspective.  The coach understands they are not an expert in their clients’ lives.  Indeed it is a disadvantage to have prior deep knowledge.  The coach is an expert in asking the questions that deepen the clients’ understanding of their own business or life.

Most people recycle ideas they pick up from elsewhere.  The word education at root means, to draw out. Coaches are educators par excellence because their aim is to free their clients’ speech.  Coaches free clients from the ideas of others so they arrive at a new place no-one has visited before.  Contrast this with the role of the trainer who plants new ideas into their clients’ heads.

With free speech, the speaker discovers

  • Things they did not know they knew
  • The unique perspective from their experience and personality
  • That their dreams are rooted in reality and so not necessarily unrealistic
  • They have dreams and mostly pay them little attention

The listener when fresh and not preoccupied, responds to their client with the right questions.  Start with questions prepared in advance and then progress to questions in response to the reality of the clients’ responses.

Spending Time

The coach must be prepared with questions and with time.  Free speech cannot be rushed.  It takes at least 20 minutes to get to the point where someone speaks freely and after that there comes a point where stock is taken, conclusions drawn, action steps decided and agreed.

The coach does not normally take action steps for the client but will have some of their own; the steps to remember and work out how to build on what has gone before.  They need time and space to mull things over, remember key ideas and check the client remembers next time.


You can see the important thing is preparation.  The coach turns up prepared and ready to listen, helping the client remember what went before.

Training assumes proven methods to be conveyed, understood and applied.  This can be creative but the bulk of the speaking is with the trainer.  It answers the question: How?  How can I do this?  How can I apply this to my business?

The coach helps the client answer the question: why?  Without a why there is no point in asking: how?  Most of what we do asks: How?  This is why so much does not work.  We literally do not understand what we are doing.

The trainer turns up with a programme and whilst flexible, they know where they are going.  The coach turns up with a few questions and an open mind.  They are ready to listen the client into their own reality.  They cannot do this when preoccupied, rushed, prejudiced, opinionated.

The coach then has an implicit promise to market.  How?  I’ll make some suggestions in my next post in this sequence.

Visit my new website, Market Together to sign up to my list so that you don’t miss any posts and hear about the exciting plans I’m working on to promote an alternative approach to marketing.

Please comment and let me know what you like about this post.  What would you like me to write about further?

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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