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I want to coach IT people...why don't they think they need it?

By Plan B ·
I'm confused. I'm a former long-time IT person that has retrained as a trainer and personal coach. I've chosen IT people as my niche - Executives, Managers, and Professionals. As a former IT Manager myself, I used a coach for a year and it changed my life.

I'm on the West Coast of Canada and coaching of all kinds is very popular here - from life/personal to business to career to executive to relationship. Yet, I'm finding the IT people I approach either don't know what it is or don't think it can help them in any way.

Perhaps I'm explaining it poorly? I know IT people in general are very self-assured and analytical. It's difficult to explain the ROI in "real" terms. I had to be convinced that it was worthwhile before I started.

What advice can you give an aspiring IT coach to help connect to IT people that are looking for/needing coaching? Alternatively, how would you explain the benefits of coaching to an IT person?

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It's no different

by Oz_Media In reply to I want to coach IT people ...

If I tol dyou I could teach you the ins and outs of IT and coach you in your new career, would you be interested?

IT people are, fo rthe most part, idiots and egomaniacs. They think they are too clever and get off on watching someone, that would normally not even give them the time of day, actually needing them.

Your approach requires a market with little confidence, IT isn't that market. You may want to offer your services as ADVANCED IT MANAGEMENT TRAINING or something that will make th eattendee actually feel superior to his/peers. If you can make your clients FEEL smarter than others, they will want your services.

Your one gain will be to stroke their egos, with IT egos, you can really get your fill that's for sure.

Nice to see a Chilliwacker on here, time for me to get the **** out of here and load the bikes for Chipmunk Creek, I'll wave on my way through.

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In response

by Plan B In reply to It's no different

I agree that marketing it as something other than Coaching is perhaps the way to go. I?ve struggled with the name ?life coaching? and always preferred ?personal coaching?, despite most of my coaching typically touching on a person?s whole life. As much as my clients have tried, they can't separate work from the rest of life.

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Poor choice of a title

by jmiguy In reply to In response

When I think of the word coach, I think of team captains and cheerleaders. It comes across as
a jock wanting to motivate a bunch of geeks to work on computers.

I agree with the other post about using a title more suitable to stroking the ego's of the IT people.

Make them feel like they're going to gain something, not get forced into doing something that they don't want to do.

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by tr In reply to Poor choice of a title

Try Personal-Development Consultant, I've used it reasonably effectively. Personal-Development Trainer sounds less pretentious but some people want their egos stroked more than others.

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Why do you think they need it?

by dave.leigh In reply to I want to coach IT people ...

You say it's difficult to explain the ROI. Yet you had to be convinced yourself. Don't you remember what convinced you?? What sales job did your coach use on you? What made you think you were otherwise ineffective and needed a coach in the first place?

To be perfectly blunt, the IT managers you approach are probably right to question whether you can help them if you can't articulate the value of your services.

I don't say this to be mean in any way, and I'd say it's difficult for anyone to advise you based on the little you've written. Tell you what... I'm an IT person who doesn't see the need for a coach. Why don't you post your sales pitch HERE. Tell us why somebody needs to pay you to do whatever it is you do. What exactly is it that a personal coach IS. And what is it about you that makes you a more effective IT manager than your prospective customers?

(Just as I wouldn't take swimming lessons from someone who doesn't swim better than I do, I wouldn't accept management advice from a coach who's no more effective than I. Thus, I strongly suspect that if you lack success in selling your services, it's connected to insufficient bolstering of your own image.)

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Another thing... marketing

by dave.leigh In reply to Why do you think they nee ...

Now, assume that you have the skills and can articulate them, and deliver on they hype (and there's always hype). How do you market your services?

You've noticed yourself that "IT people" are self-assured and analytical. In other words, they're a tough sell. Even a percentage of those who recognize that they're less than optimally effective will feel that they can fix that themselves through introspection and self-study.

How do you get somebody like that to buy? MAKE him do it. Few managers will feel the need for the services, but companies all want the most effective managers they can get. So I'd suggest targeting, not the managers themselves, but the HR departments of the companies that they work for. Use company-sponsored workshops to showcase your skills. Such "free to the manager" workshops give you paid exposure to many managers, some of which would take advantage of your personal coaching services, assuming the workshop was useful to them and you projected the proper air of confidence and success.

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In response

by Plan B In reply to Another thing... marketin ...

I agree, it might be better to work the HR angle instead of going directly to the IT managers. It certainly worked on me. :)

Good idea about the company-sponsored workshops too.

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Concur - Make Your Case

by Wayne M. In reply to Why do you think they nee ...

Determine what it is that you are providing and who your target audience is to be. Next create a series of presentations.

First determine your audience. I have a hard time believing that the same training would apply to executives, managers, and IT professionals. I would suggest to either narrow the audience or develop three distinct products. The content may overlap, but I do not think a one size fits all will fly.

Next create some presentation materials. I would create a 2 - 4 page white paper or brochure that you could leave with a potential client. Make sure to have at least one graphical element per page and have it in color. Also, generate a PowerPoint presentation of largely the same material. This is something you can present live, distribute as a set of hand-outs or e-mail as a meeting follow up. Finally, create a 3 - 4 sentence synopsis ("the elevator talk") that you can include in a e-mail or give over coffee at a chance meeting.

I'm afraid you failed to make your case in this forum (and I think several of the responses are evidence of that). Determine who your message is for, and determine a specific message for each target. Then create a series of vehicles to present your message.

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In response

by Plan B In reply to Concur - Make Your Case

Thanks, I?ve done some of these things, but not all of them yet. A good reminder to have a full ?marketing? package that can be tailored to different audiences. I think a lot of it points back to me being comfortable as an IT person and still being somewhat new to the solo entrepreneur side of things and all the different roles one must play.

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In response

by Plan B In reply to Why do you think they nee ...

Good questions for me to ponder and perhaps use some of the same phrasing and terminology. I think I was just at a point in my career/life where it was good timing.

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