Does the very thought of interacting with strangers ever given you nightmares? In a professional setting, however, you cannot deny the immense value of networking for getting new opportunities, career advancement or business growth. Connecting with the right people at the right time can make all the difference.
Let’s talk about the importance of networking. Recognized business and leadership development advisor Diane Helbig defines networking as an investment in business. According to her, “it takes time and when done correctly can yield great results for years to come”. Networking helps build long-term relationships with other people sharing common interest. Professional networking is mutually beneficial and helps both parties’ business growth.
How do you network? Professional networking may take place in an event, industry associations, social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. For coaches, the purpose of networking is not just limited to finding lucrative opportunities.
Let’s have a look at the importance of networking for coaches.
The importance of networking for coaches
1. It helps you grow as a coach
Networking leads to an exchange of views and ideas.
a. It gives you a sneak peek into what your competitors are doing well and what they are struggling with, allowing you to learn from others’ experiences without needing to learn the hard way
b. Exchanging your experiences with other coaches will help develop new and effective strategies
c. It also offers new perspective – when issues and challenges are discussed with people outside your every-day interaction, you come up with solutions never considered before
d. When you share your fresh and reliable ideas with the world, you come across as a credible coach, helps you build your reputation and may even bring in some referred leads.
2. It can bring in long-cherished camaraderie
Networking is a proven solution for building professional relationships, but it often leads to life-long personal relationships as well. Many personal connections develop in work spaces and even on social media platforms. Who knows, you could meet your mentor or your coaching business partner or a client and embark on a life-long personal relationship via professional networking.
3. Connect with more experienced professionals
Vith some effective networking, you’ll be put in touch with more experienced coaches that can provide invaluable advice and wisdom that’ll help you and your business grow. As you grow your network, look to collaborate with more experienced coaches – these collaborations can also work as a referral system where more clients may sign up with you.
4. Expands business connections and creates new opportunities
Even as a coach, it’s smart to explore more than one type of revenue stream. While retainer clients may be your bread and butter, you could explore collaborative workshops, be a guest in another coach’s coaching package and vice versa, and offer more value to your clients while growing your business.
If you’re wondering how to scale your coaching business, we’ve done a deep dive here.
5. Enhances visibility within the industry
Interacting on relevant social media posts, exchanging ideas, sharing useful content, discussing case studies, being on good terms with experienced professionals, etc. are all ingredients for building your business with an online presence.
Networking helps you get easily noticed by potential clients and also by senior coaches in the industry.
6. Brings in self-confidence
Most coaches aren’t used to selling themselves or their services, but networking requires you to step out of your comfort zone to develop the required social and people skills. Even if you have initial inhibitions about striking a conversation with new people, networking helps gain self-confidence, self-assurance and you gradually become comfortable with the process.
Networking best practices
Networking doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Not all coaches out there can strike the right conversation with the right person at the right time. However, it is just a matter of time till you become an expert in it. Now that you have learnt about the importance of networking, here are some best coach networking practices you should follow:
1. Know exactly what you are networking for
What is your intention behind networking? Is it to create immediate business opportunities? Or is it for exchanging ideas and building social contacts to cushion future uncertainties? This helps you focus on the “who” and the “where” of networking.
2. Identify what you will offer
Networking entails mutual trust and benefits. It’s important to figure out what you would want to share with others and what you would bring to the professional equation.
3. Decide how to strike up a conversation
Shared interests are a great way to start conversations. Try engaging in meaningful conversation and be curious about everyone else’s passions, goals, etc.
4. Avoid being obvious in your approach
You won’t find value in networking if you’re always “in-your-face”, pushy, or clearly only looking out for your benefit. Your aim should be to focus on bigger goals of learning and contributing.
5. Come across as a positive personality
Your optimism and positive attitude towards life—more so as a coach—should inspire your peers. It’s very important to give a patient hearing to other’s views and ideas, problems and challenges. Remember, networking is a two-way street and a lot depends on how do you network.
6. Know your online platforms well
Looking for ideal connections everywhere and anywhere is a futile exercise. Understand where your potential clients or the rest of the industry is hanging out—is it LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter, or some other social media platform?
7. Be consistent in showing up
Networking is a continuous process. Don’t let your enthusiasm ebb away. You cannot show up one day and then disappear for a long time. Try to stay in touch with your contacts on a constant basis. Follow up with other coaches and prospects with whom you got in touch.
Stay ahead of the pack
Networking requires commitment. Whether you are an individual coach or running a coaching business with other coaches, networking should be at the heart of your marketing strategy–so much so that you may even take help from a networking coach and opt for networking coaching. Now that you are aware of the importance of networking for coaches, put your best foot forward.
1. What is the importance of networking in coaching?
In coaching, networking plays a significant role in the expansion of your business. It helps build trust, support, and reputation. Most importantly, networking opens up windows of opportunity.
2. How to get better at networking?
You can get better at networking by carefully choosing who to connect with and who to follow up with. Since networking is a two-way street, you need to offer opportunities to your contacts as much as you receive.
3. What are some of the effective ways for coaches to network?
Some of the effective ways of networking for coaches are:
- The purpose of networking should be clear in your head
- Figure out what you would want to share
- Engage in meaningful conversation
- Don’t be pushy in your approach
- Showcase the positive side of your personality
- Identify the right social media platform for networking
- Be consistent in showing up
4. How can coaches overcome common networking challenges, such as shyness or a lack of time?
Networking doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Not all coaches are socializers or outgoing. Networking could be a thorny problem for them. However, it is just a matter of time till you become an expert in it by following a few tips and tricks:
- Think of networking in a rational way
- Reach a networking event before time
- Strike a conversation with someone who is also on their own
- Show interest in what others has to say. Asking open questions is a great way to go about it
- Try to approach a group without being too pushy
5. What are some common mistakes that coaches make when networking?
Some of the common mistakes that coaches make while networking are:
- Taking over the conversation and not letting others share their point of views
- Networking with anyone & everyone without considering if there’s anything common in between
- Considering networking as all about taking help and grabbing opportunity
- Inconsistency in showing up or failing to stay in touch
Simply.Coach is an enterprise-grade coaching software designed to be used by individual coaches and coaching businesses. Trusted by ICF-accredited and EMCC-credentialed coaches worldwide, Simply.Coach is on a mission to elevate the experience and process of coaching with technology-led tools and solutions.