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How to be a more Confident, Effective, and Profitable Coach

Feeling #confident as a #coach is hugely important to the quality and smoothness of the coaching. The focus needs to be 100% on the client, not on our uncertainty. But, when we start a coaching session, we usually don't know what to expect or how the session will go.

I've been a qualified coach for 12 years, and in the early days it was challenging trying to find coaching clients. The recognition and popularity of coaching has grown exponentially since that time.

A 2020 survey by International Coaching Federation, ICF, estimated that there were approximately 71,000 coach practitioners globally in 2019, an increase of 33% on the 2015 estimate. Whilst industry reports suggest the estimated market size of the Coaching Industry is expected to reach $20 billion by 2022.

As an external coach, the challenge now is less on explaining the potential benefits of coaching, and more on clarifying how we're different to other coaches and quickly demonstrating some of the promised value.

There are many ways to increase your confidence as a coach, to generate more business and make a bigger difference (for your clients, yourself and your family). In this article, I'm going to share the number one way that's worked for me.

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." - Tao Te Ching

In 2010, I left my secure employed role as a business director to set up my own coaching business. (We also moved our whole family 200 miles to the beautiful south coastal town of Poole, where I had no business contacts - but that's another story.) I knew that, as a coach, selling my time was unsustainable. I needed a product to leverage the value offered to clients, and the amount I could charge.

Just a few months later, I met James Sale - creator of Motivational Maps. And I knew THIS was the tool that I'd been missing as a business leader. A tool that would provide accurate insights into how my team were feeling and what was important to them. Motivational Maps became my first coaching product, and continues to be my 'go-to coaching tool', that I embed into practically everything else I do.

Crucially, Motivational Maps created 7 distinct benefits for my coaching business:

  1. They accurately inform us how the person's feeling, what's important to them at work, and creates an agenda for the first coaching session - BEFORE the first session.

  2. They produce a good-looking, easy to understand report, that makes it super easy to coach around especially on the telephone and Zoom.

  3. The reports provide people data that can be shared with the client, as well as the coachee. (I always say the coaching conversation is confidential, whilst the report is shared with the client to provide them with insights to understand and support their colleague.)

  4. They leverage my time. My coaching income is limited by the amount of time I have available. Using a reputable profile enables me to add more value, and therefore charge more for the coaching.

  5. The profiles are scalable. This leads onto team-building workshops which are fun to deliver and create even greater impact. Individual Motivational Maps are collated to create Team Motivational Maps. In turn, these are collated to create Organisational Motivational Maps.

  6. They've been brilliant for developing my coaching skills, a non-judgemental coaching ethos, and coaching confidence. That's because I have full confidence in the data, whilst knowing that the specifics for each and every client are different. That's leads to wonderful coaching questions, which quickly reveal beliefs, values, needs and what's going on at work (and often at home too, although I don't ask for this information).

  7. There's real value in re-doing the Motivational Maps annually, unlike some other profiles. That's because our motivators change over time, as who we are and what's important to us changes. For example, when we become managers, leaders, divorced, or approach retirement. Our satisfaction levels also change over time, which is the primary reason we leave our jobs and employers. (I use this data to increase employee retention.)

The Maps are neither prescriptive or definitive - instead they are THE best conversation opener for coaching. I NEVER defend the Map, and I'm entirely happy if the client disagrees with the results because then we can discuss what IS important to them*.

* 99% of our clients say their Motivational Map is "scarily/ highly or fairly accurate". The accuracy increases once they understand more about the 9 motivators, what they mean and how they influence their behaviour. But it's NOT about the accuracy or the Map - it's about how the client feels and thinks after their coaching, and the actions they take as a result to create a win:win for themselves and their employer.

What can I say? I LOVE them, and our clients do too!!!

As I've said, Motivational Maps was my first product, and continues to be my go-to coaching tool that I embed into practically everything else I do.

  • For example, our Leadership and Management Development programmes always start with a one-to-one coaching session using a Motivational Map.

  • We use them in-house. My own team and I complete Motivational Maps every 6 months or so. They help us understand our changing feelings and needs, and explore ways to ensure we're all motivated through our work, and working well together.

I'm not a naturally intuitive person. I'm not someone who loves to walk into a room and see what happens. Instead, I prefer to be well prepared, and I love to know I'm well equipped to make a difference. That's why Motivational Maps were, and still are, my go-to coaching tool. And why I've trained over 100 coaches, HR Practitioners and business advisors how to use them**

Side note: 11 years on, my confidence, listening skills, emotional intelligence and coaching agility have developed enormously. I no longer worry about what I bring to the party. I know that by fully focussing on my client, and being insightful and yet non-judgemental, every client benefits. Who doesn't feel a bit more valued when someone listens whole heartedly, and without judgement?


About Motivational Maps: Motivational Maps are an ISO accredited, self-perception inventory (like Belbin). They are not a psychometric or personality test. They reveal what motivates us most and least, and how satisfied our motivators are. That provides deep insights into:

  1. how much we enjoy our work,

  2. our energy and resilience levels,

  3. our performance and productivity,

  4. our behaviour at work,

  5. how we interact and collaborate with our colleagues,

  6. how likely we are to leave, or be tempted by a 'better' offer,

  7. what we really want and need,

  8. how well our needs and wants are being met at work,

  9. which types of roles, careers and organisational cultures are more likely to motivate us,

  10. and much more...

Motivational Maps were created by James Sale, a former deputy headteacher, trainer, and Investors In People mentor and coach. His extensive knowledge and research informed his development of Motivational Maps, including Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, Edgar Schein's Career Anchors and the Enneagram personality profile.

**As Senior Practitioners of Motivational Maps, we're just 1 of 5 coaching organisations that operate at this highest level. We provide 'train-the-trainer' and have trained and accredited over 100 coaches, HR Practitioners and business advisors to use Motivational Maps with their clients, using our dedicated brand name, Motivated Performance.

For more information, and free guides and resources, go to , or .


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