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Boosting Credibility for Aspiring Coaches

branding coaching entrepreneurship online business positioning Mar 06, 2023

When I first started coaching, I constantly thought to myself:

Why should people listen to me?

I knew I could help but I still felt like an imposter. Not because I didn't have the skills, but because I didn't know how to prove I had the skills.

Fortunately, everyone has credibility to some degree.

And I'm going to help you find yours.

The 3 Keys Formula

I've talked about this before, but if you want to make money and create change, you need three things:

Good offer + Credibility + Distribution = $$$ + Change

And right now, we're going to dive into one of the three critical pieces: credibility.

Not only do people need to see why they should align with you. They need to believe that what you say is true.

That’s what credibility does.

The Basics of Credibility

Credibility is when people trust and believe you.

If someone has crippling back pain and you tell them you can help them cure it even when others couldn’t, they WILL listen to you IF they trust and believe you.

They will take your advice. And they will likely hire you to help them.

That’s the power of credibility and it can come in many forms.

Here’s a long, but not exhaustive, list of ways to show credibility:

  • Testimonials — when people you’ve helped testify that your claims are true and worked for them
  • Case studies — when you prove expertise by breaking down another person’s success, even if you didn’t play a part in making it happen
  • Personal stories — when you share experiences and accomplishments that prove your knowledge or ability to achieve a certain success
  • Education — when you show that you’ve learned about your niche from a trusted source
  • Qualifications and certifications - when you display proof of competency by acquiring a qualification or certification from a trusted source
  • High-quality photos and design - proof that you take your business seriously with a high-quality profile photo, good website design, etc.
  • Social media presence and following - proof that others trust you and like your content
  • Educational content - proof that you’re knowledgeable about your niche by answering questions and educating your audience
  • Scientific evidence — things like statistics and scientific studies that you can site to display your depth of knowledge and research
  • Presence in niche-related communities — proof that you're well versed in your niche by actively engaging in niche-related discussions
  • Social proof - when you’re visibly friends with successful people and they’re willing to vouch for your character and/or expertise
  • Positioned as an expert by credible sources - when you are seen as an expert because credible brands or people use your guest posts, interview you, use you as an expert source, etc.
  • Customers and sales - when people see that you are successful because others are willing to pay for your services
  • A good offer - when people believe that what you do is real because you have a clear offer that's easy to find (often with a landing page)
  • Consistency — proof that you take your business seriously by posting consistent content (e.g daily for social media, weekly for a blog/newsletter, etc.)

These aren’t all of the ways you can generate credibility, but it covers most of them.

And you won’t have all of these when you begin.

In fact, you likely won’t ever have all of them. And you don’t need to.

But you want to gather as much credibility as possible and display it in the right places.

Where to Display Credibility When You Start

In the beginning, there are two key places you need to display credibility:

  • Your social media profile
  • Your social media timeline

For most of us, this will be on Twitter. But feel free to use another platform if you already have a better presence there.

Things like low-quality photos or the absence of a good offer lower your credibility (in most cases). And this severely lowers your chances of gaining trust and creating true fans.

For example, imagine you DM someone. They go to your profile to check you out.

  • You have a crappy profile photo that’s just a cropped photo of you with your friend at a frat party.
  • Your bio and banner don’t clearly state how you help people.
  • There’s nowhere for them to learn more about you.
  • There’s no call-to-action, meaning they have no way to learn more about your services or book a call to potentially hire you.

They won’t believe you run a successful business. They will think you’re just some kid pretending at business from his parent’s basement.

Successful businesses (usually) make it easy to buy from them. They make it clear how they can help you and what actions you should take to get value from them (and eventually become a paying customer).

They invest in their image. Maybe not always with money, but at least with thought and care.

Successful businesses have the credibility of a successful business (mind-blowing, I know).

And you need credibility too.

We’re not going to lie and say you’re more successful than you are. But we will give people a reason to believe they should listen and trust you.

And we’ll start by putting key pieces of credibility where they matter most:

Your Profile

This will be the place where most people find and learn more about you.

Your profile is the first line of defense. It’s the first thing people see when they “check you out.”

It includes your profile photo, banner image, bio, business links (not necessary yet though), and your pinned tweet.

It needs to give the right people a reason to follow you by making claims about what you do and why.

And it should include some early forms of credibility.

Your Content

Your content is the next line of defense. After reading the claims in your profile, people often scroll through your most recent content (these are your tweets and threads if you’re on Twitter).

Your content needs to back up your claims and provide further credibility.

By consistently posting the right type of content, people will see that you take it seriously and actually write about things that matter to your true fans.

You can also use your content to post other forms of credibility (e.g. testimonials) that further develop your credibility and make the right people more likely to follow you (and later engage with your content or hire you for coaching).

If you want to dial in your profile and content, you first need to brainstorm creative ways to display credibility and compile any forms of credibility that you already have.


A Few Notes on Credibility

I can’t possibly share all the possible ways you can use and display the various forms of credibility.

But there are a few concepts you need to realize:

1. One piece of credibility can be used over and over.

You don’t come up with a piece of content and use it once.

For example, let's say you remember a good story.

You can write a tweet about this story. You can write more tweets about it. You can tell different versions of it in hundreds of tweets throughout the years.

You can write threads. You can use it in your blog or newsletter. It can make it onto your sales page.

You can use it in conversations. You can use it as an example in your course to explain a concept.

As you can see, you can use it again and again.

A single piece of credibility can become a valuable asset to your business when used properly.

2. Not all pieces of credibility are equal.

A story that doesn’t resonate with your audience will do little for your credibility while a good offer can do a lot.

For this reason, you don’t simply find 100 pieces of credibility and then call it quits.

You’re always seeking better ways to show people that you’re good at what you do. That they should take you seriously if your niche topic is important to them.

You will start with whatever you can. But you’ll keep searching for better ways to increase your credibility.

And you keep a list of ALL of them, so that, whenever you need to inject some credibility into your brand (or come up with content ideas), you can do it with ease.

3. How you share your credibility matters a lot.

A poorly written testimonial may do little to increase your credibility while a well-written one improves it a lot.

You may have a good offer, but if you explain it poorly on your sales page, you might not land any clients.

Having credibility is only one piece of the puzzle.

Learning how to use it in your copy (written content) and conversations is just as important.

4. Credibility is more than proof.

Testimonials are a great way to showcase proof that you’re good at what you do. But there’s more to credibility than proving your ability.

People need to trust you. They need to believe you.

And proof is not the only way to do it.

People trust you more when they like you. They believe you when they resonate with your stories.

Authenticity goes a long way.

Which of these tweets do you think builds more credibility?

Tweet 1: “To make more friends you need to talk to more people.”

Tweet 2: “I struggled to make friends for years. Overthinking prevented me from talking to strangers. Once I stopped caring about the outcome and simply said “hi” to hundreds of people, I built a thriving social circle in one month. If you’re struggling to make friends, talk to more people.”

I hope you chose tweet 2.

It gives people a chance to connect with you. To understand you better. To feel like they know you.

And the more you do this, the more credibility you build (when done right).

It’s not always about proof. It’s also about giving people a reason to care and relate with you.

Finding Credibility for Beginners

You already have some form of credibility whether you know it or not.

Some of you will have more than others based on your past experiences, but you undoubtedly have something to work with.

So right now, we’re going to work to uncover as much credibility as possible so you can hit the ground running.

These are the types of things you’re looking for:

  • Stories about the experiences that made you so interested in this niche
  • Stories about how you overcame certain problems or achieved specific goals
  • Ways that you’ve helped others with these things
  • The number of people you’ve helped
  • Your education, credentials, or upbringing
  • Experiences that gave you unique insights
  • Prominent people who believe in you
  • Photos that give you proof of ability
  • Links to scientific research that back up your claims
  • Unique beliefs or perspectives

This is not an exhaustive list. If you think of other forms of credibility, please add them.

Your goal is to brainstorm as much as possible right now. You can always remove or edit them later.

Here are some ways to find these answers:

1. Brainstorm ideas

Go through the prompts above and think of any stories, answers, etc. that are relevant.

Remember, more is better at this point.

2. Ask others

Even when you have certain skills, stories, or abilities, you don’t always realize it.

Talk to people who know you well.

Ask them what they think you’re good at or why they think people should listen to you.

You’ll likely find things you never would have thought of.

Examples to Help You Generate Ideas

Sometimes you just need to see other people’s examples to get the ideas flowing. So below, I’ll give you a handful of examples in case it helps.

(These are not real, I made them up. I just came up with a handful of examples for people in different niches to help you generate ideas.)

Productivity Coach

  • Helped his friend go from wasting half his day on email to getting it done in two 30-minute blocks.
  • Turned his own 10-hour workdays to just 5 hours, while producing higher-quality work.
  • Spent 4 years reading and studying human psychology and elite performance.
  • Psychology degree.
  • He used to leave the house before his son woke up and would get home just in time for dinner, then only had 30 minutes with his son before bedtime. He hated how little time he got with his family and could see it negatively impacting his relationship with his wife. So he worked hard to find a way to create more time for them. And seeing how much it changed his life drives him to help others do the same.
  • Most people don’t understand the power of automation and he created a system to easily implement it for his clients to help them save hours of mundane work every day.
  • He has links to several studies that show the number of people who are overworked and stressed as well as statistics on the health impact of this stress.

Fitness Coach

  • Has high-quality photos showing his physique.
  • Has messages from friends providing testimonials.
  • One friend sent him his weight loss chart showing consistent weight loss over a 6-week period.
  • He has an ebook that teaches his nutrition system and another one full of healthy, easy-to-use recipes.
  • He’s friends with many other successful fitness trainers on Twitter.
  • He travels the world and works from wherever he wants (shows that he’s successful, even if it doesn’t cost that much to do).
  • He has photos with various influencers on social media.

Relationship Coach

  • Has struggled with relationships in the past but solved his struggles and created lasting friendships.
  • Struggled in his marriage but learned how to fix it, reviving a powerful bond with his wife where they’re both deeply in love again.
  • Has professional headshots and family photos.
  • Overcame social anxiety — had a fear of talking to strangers and now loves it and does it with ease.
  • Created a system for developing social habits (like talking to strangers) that makes it fun and easy for people to adopt and succeed.
  • Took a course on love languages (or life languages) that he uses to help people improve communication.
  • He self-taught himself by reading dozens of books on human psychology and social skills.
  • Helped a friend learn how to network and connect with colleagues, making work more fun while improving his visibility and value in the workplace (maybe even got a raise or promotion).
  • He does cool, fun things with friends every week now and takes photos of these activities, showing that he lives what he preaches.
  • He’s interviewed other people who used to struggle with social skills, which gives him stories and case studies to share.

What to Do with These

Don’t look at these and think, “Shoot, I don’t have enough credibility yet.”

These are just examples. And this doesn’t cover all the possible forms of credibility.

I just wanted to give you some ideas.

Your goal is to find anything that can help you in the beginning.

And to develop more and more credibility as you travel this journey.

Every person you help, every book you read, every photo you take, every conversation you have, every course you take…these are all opportunities to add to your ever-growing database of credibility.

Start with what you have. Then continue growing it.

-Rob Riker


P.S. This was an excerpt from my group coaching program, the $5K Coaching Fast Track.

If you're an aspiring coach looking to get started or get your business off the ground, I might be able to help.

If you're a fit, I'll help you make your first $5K and build to the systems to make that (or more) every month.

DM me on Twitter to learn more.

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