You’ve probably heard it said that communication is at the core of any successful relationship. And while the sentiment is usually applied to romantic relationships, it’s true for all relationships. Good communication is at the core of any good relationship. And as an entrepreneur, you’re in a relationship with your clients, team members, stakeholders, investors, vendors, and colleagues, just to name a few.
That’s why entrepreneurs are likely to benefit more from communication coaching than most people.
Good communication skills directly affect your revenues, which in turn directly affect the people that you employ and the livelihood that you’re able to provide them. Not surprisingly, poor communication skills can sometimes be the reason why seasoned entrepreneurs start to fall out of love with their business—the dream they’ve pursued for years.
It makes sense that entrepreneurs would have specific needs and goals when collaborating with a communication coach and message strategist, especially when compared to someone who’s simply trying to stop saying “um” in their presentations. The stakes are higher.
Why Entrepreneurs Should Consider Communication Coaching
First, you have a vision—something that, today, is intangible. But if you successfully get your ducks in a row, a number of years from now, that vision could become a tangible reality. And a critical part of manifesting that vision is communicating in a way, and across multiple media outlets, that intrigues and attracts the right people to you.
Second, entrepreneurs are closer to their message than anyone else. So, it’s understandable to miss things.
And third, entrepreneurs should consider communication coaching because having clarity in your message makes room for scalable practices.
Many of the founders I work with are people-oriented entrepreneurs who have built a successful business through personality, wit, and passion. But when they try to turn their extemporaneous gems into scalable practices, it’s like their brains lock up to a personal spinning beach ball of doom. What feels clear to them during normal conversation all of a sudden gets murky when putting it down on paper – so to speak. A communication coach can offer you a trained outside perspective that will help you dial things in and capture that clarity across all your communication efforts.
Ultimately, it’s the founder’s job to be aware of, manage, and leverage personal communication styles in ways that lead to business successes.
What It’s Like Working with a Communication Coach & Message Strategist
Communication coaching and message strategy are, by nature, a tailored experience to the needs of the client. And every coach has their own strengths and areas of focus that they bring to the table. With that said, there are some themes you can expect.
- Start with the End in Mind: Leading up to and during the first few collaboration calls, you and your coach will clarify your goals. What do you want to achieve? How will you know that you’ve achieved them? The conversation will include a discussion about the challenges and barriers that lie between you and those goals.
- Zooming Out and Zooming In: Part of being an entrepreneur is the repetitive practice of zooming out to see the bigger picture—the vision and mission—followed by zooming back in to the finer details that will be the stepping stones to reaching that bigger picture.
And founders need a coach who can do exactly that alongside them—to see the bigger vision and hold the founder accountable to it. Then, together, you’ll create a message and communication infrastructure from which you can build upon as your business grows.
- Acknowledging Personal Strengths and Weaknesses: Part of “cloning” you involves getting clear honest with yourself about who you are as a leader leader and and how you want to push your brand forward. It’s a coach’s job to help you see your strengths and leverage them, while also helping your see and have compassion for your not-so-strengths.
For people-oriented entrepreneurs, it’s especially important that you find strategies that allow you to do more of what you enjoy – like relationship building – and be able to hand-off or automate the rest. Otherwise, you will become your own business’s bottleneck to marketing and sales expansion. Again, that’s why it’s paramount that your message and strategies align with your goals, values, and strengths.
What you Might Focus on with a Communication Coach and Strategist for Your Business
A simple way to think about your message is to consider what’s Center Stage, and what’s Backstage?
Center Stage strategies are the ones that most people see. They are your forward-facing messages that reach your audience is likely most familiar with. Backstage strategies are what happens behind-the-scenes to keep your company running smoothly and creating loyal customers.
Center Stage Communication Strategies
- Marketing: These days, marketing possibilities are only limited by your imagination and your budget. The key to making any marketing effort is making sure that your message is aligned with you and your brand, that the message aligns well with your chosen channels, and that it aligns with company and campaign goals.
- Sales: Sales is the life force for any business. From a communication perspective, selling requires rapport building, along with creating and guiding conversations.
- Networking/Relationship-Building: Networking is a sales-adjacent skill for people-oriented entrepreneurs. You might network with people and companies that aren’t likely to become clients, but because they know, like, and trust you, they become fantastic sources for referrals and warm leads.
Backstage Communication Strategies
- Funnels: The goal of your center stage practices is to generate leads. Funnels are your pre-planned and well-thought-out practices for turning leads into clients. These days, it’s easier than ever before for funnels to be a multimedia experience for leads – including online and IRL tools.
- Client Onboarding: A communication coach can help you develop a client onboarding process that is not only efficient but also effective in ensuring that your new clients are well-informed and comfortable with your business from the very beginning.
- Customer Experience: By working with a coach, you can ensure that your communication strategy is tailored to your customer’s needs and preferences, resulting in a positive customer experience that drives customer loyalty.
- Creating Referral Opportunities and Requesting Reviews: For many businesses, referrals and online reviews can make a big difference to profitability. A coach and strategist can help you and your team to craft moments that elicit referrals and reviews in tactful and on-brand ways.
- Hiring and SOPs: Managing a team is a new skill many entrepreneurs eventually need to develop. From crafting job postings that attract the right candidates to building training processes and SOPs, a communication coach can guide you through way to ensure that all team members are on the same page.
- Leadership and Culture Creation: Delegation, requesting and receiving feedback, conflict resolution…all of which are critical for effective leadership. And not all of it comes naturally to all entrepreneurs.
- Room for Growth: At the end of the day, you want to create communication practices that are sustainable and also capable of handling company growth. A communication coach can help you “clone” yourself with scalable practices as your company grows, and not at the expense of your brand’s personality and tone.
A Coaching Specialty You Might Consider: Thought Leadership
Like I mentioned earlier, every communication coach and message strategist has their own strengths that they bring to the table. Mine is incorporating thought leadership practices for my clients – message strategies that educate and provide clear value to audiences, while setting the stage for lead generation and sales funnels. This can include, and is not limited to, the following:
- Speeches: Speeches can be a fantastic marketing approach because they literally give you a platform to speak from. And when you’re standing in front of qualified, potential clients, speaking gives you the perfect opportunity to showcase your expertise, build credibility, and create valuable connections. Collaborating on a speech – whether it’s creating one or refining one already created – not only involves the speech itself, but also strategies leading up to and also following the event so that the founder is maximizing their time and efforts at every engagement.
- Event Sponsorships: Sponsoring events can also be fantastic exposure for your brand. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs don’t know how to truly leverage their sponsorship opportunities to get the most out of each event experience.
- Online Content: The options for online content marketing are staggering. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated. These days, a big part of communication coaching and message strategy is making sure the client is clear about the pros and cons to various platforms, algorithms, and online approaches. Having an expert outside perspective and help you put together an online strategy that uses the right ingredients for the recipe that will become your overall strategy.
- Intellectual Property – Books, Courses, Training Programs, etc.: Intellectual property can set you apart from competitors. But translating your years of wisdom into I.P. is usually more challenging than most entrepreneurs expect. A coach well-versed in this area can help you create products and programs that serve your customers well, develop the marketing message, and also integrate your I.P. into your top-of-funnel sales and marketing processes. All of this results in a cohesive message strategy that leverages the founders message without requiring more of their time or effort.
I’ll mention it just one last time in this article: alignment is key. You want your message and tactics to align to you, your brand, and your goals. Similarly, you want to feel in alignment with your coach. A good fit matters. If anything, I hope this article has given you perspective that will help you find that right fit for your communication strategy needs. If you so happen to feel like my skills and expertise are in alignment, you’re welcome to let me know by filling out this communication coaching interest form. Or if you have some lingering questions, please feel free to ask in my contact form. I’ll be happy to get back to you with my thoughts.