As coaches, we want to make a difference, no matter if it is in the segment of health, wealth, finance, leadership, results, business management, career, marketing, relationship, mindset and leadership coaching as well as image, organisation, sustainability, home security, management, IT, systems, business to efficiency consultancy. With one of the fastest growing sectors in the world, coaching is predicted to grow 6.7% with a $20 billion USD market size by end of 2022, while the market is predicted to grow 4.3% over 2021-2026. But while the opportunities seem endless, several questions can still stop us:
Am I good enough to coach and consult?
What is my specialty?
What is my unique contribution?
How can I stand out in the crowded coaching and market?
As a consequence we don’t play to our highest potential, coachees and clients are missing out from our ability to make a difference and the world is not able to receive your unique contribution fully.
While there are many options in the market to solve the problem, most of them address the challenge from an information or behavioural perspective - actions to take that are promised will fix the issue. Just “fake it till you make it”, find your niche, define your ideal client, trust your intuition, speak the executive language, show no weakness if you don’t know the answers. Further, we can pressure ourselves by thinking that we need to know everything and be perfect, or think that by following someone else - a ‘guru’ - that has made it, has all the answers, a stellar track record and a pitch perfect instagram then we will become perfect ourselves. In my experience, as well as the hundreds of coaches I’ve met with along the journey, this approach simply does not work. Even worse, you may end up projecting this persona of trying so hard to fit the perfect coaching mould, that it actually repels clients away! So how can you effectively start to find your authentic advantage and stand out amongst many other coaches?
How to start the access to discover your unique differentiator– an ontological (‘let’s get real’) approach
To be effective in differentiating in the market you could look into behaviour, mindset and personality, but by far there is a more beneficial area to look for the answer of how to differentiate yourself in the market, and that is to look at how you are Being. The Being Framework™ is a methodical and reliable approach to looking at how we are Being. According to Ashkan Tashvir, the BEING Framework shows how humans 'ARE BEING' in the world. The Being Framework™ comprehensively lays out a methodical approach to understanding and then enhancing and transforming human performance, effectiveness, leadership and well-being.
“The fact that each and every person has a unique set of matters they care most about leads to their unique contribution to the world. I call this the projection of your Unique Being. Your Unique Being is where your talents and innate qualities lie. Unless you become aware of and polish your Aspects of Being, your Unique Being (the real you) is at risk of being suppressed and may never be amplified and expressed to the world.”
So what does that mean for us as coaches and consultants? There are two fundamental differences: How I am being (e.g. authentic, vulnerable and aware) and who I am being - what Ashkan refers to as Unique Being.
Tap into our unique being
To differentiate and stand out in the coaching and market, we want to tap into our unique being - who we are, or in other words our essence. It is a combination of our skills, experiences and unique talents, that when we tap into those, we can differentiate like no one else. You could relate to it as that which places us in the top 1% of what we have to offer, as in there is no one else that can replace your service because you are providing it with your uniqueness. When we tap into our uniqueness no one else can compete. It is what made Michael Jordan so unique, that he was able to win 6 trophies with the Chicago Bulls or what made Freddy Mercury so unique that he was able to produce such amazing music.
Polish how we are being, so we get to project who we are being
The challenge is: how do we get to the point of projecting our uniqueness and contributing to humanity? The key is to assess, reflect and polish how we are being. If we have unhealthy relationships with ways of Being, such as not being responsible, or being inauthentic, then it is very difficult for our Unique Being to shine through. It is a bit like a diamond - we are valuable and unique in a sense, while at the same time we benefit from polishing some edges to be able to shine and amplify light out into the world like a prism.
Where can we start to polish? Start with the combination of awareness, vulnerability and authenticity, as described in Ashkan’s Book Human Being. According to Ashkan awareness is being intentionally conscious of your consciousness. It is how you relate to what you know and understand as well as what you don’t know and don’t understand. The vulnerability Mood is impacted by the concerns you have with respect to how you are being perceived or thought of in different situations. You acknowledge and embrace your imperfections to support your growth and influence. Authenticity is being consistent with who you say you are for others and who you say you are for yourself. Together you can start to establish a true picture about your clients, what are you aware about themselves, yourself, areas you are not comfortable with and therefore will more likely be hiding them and your true competencies and capabilities, that would make you unique.
A journey to make a difference
Having contributed to numerous projects in Germany, South Africa, India and Australia, I was always concerned about not being good enough or about what other people think about me until learning about the Being Framework and start polishing how I was being. I reflected on what is the one thing that only I could provide, based on my unique contribution.
When I first started coaching, I tried hard to fit the mould of being the ideal coach, with the right questions and presenting all the right answers. I thought fitting this ideal mould would have me stand out - but it didn't.
Instead, I looked into my own uniqueness. This included me being German and Australian, my love of basketball, 20 years as a business analyst, proposal manager as well as account manager having generated more than 35 million dollars in revenue, and more. Today, I am very present to my unique contribution. I actively seek out clients who can receive and would value that contribution, and that allows me to charge higher rates than I was, while also making a deeper, more profound and more valuable impact on my clients.
To unlock your unique contribution and enable you to stand out in the market, we established that distinguishing between who and how you are being gives you access to differentiate.
“When you polish how you are being, you can express your unique contribution to the world, expanding the collective reality out there and impacting other people’s lives” (Ashkan Tashvir).
I invite you to leave a comment below on what you have gotten from reading the article and applying the questions to your own coaching practice. If you would like to discuss it or have any questions on how you can start your journey of differentiation, send me a message here.