A new coaching student just quit because they’re afraid to talk to people.
And it reminded me how DEADLY fear is to a coaching business.
The truth is… even after 22+ years of full-time professional coaching…
I’m STILL afraid to talk to you.
Perhaps most coaches don’t have this fear of talking to people.
…and, yes, COACHING people.
But I certainly DO.
So why am I still here, a successful coach…
…while other coaches quit due to fear?
I still had to BATTLE my fear of talking to people.
In my first year coaching, I’d hear the phone ring with a client…
…and feel a JOLT of FEAR.
All my anxieties…
- screwing up the session
- my client hating (or rejecting) me
- meandering into nowhere with the client…
…got stirred up, all at the same time.
And these were coaching clients that Tony Robbins (my boss at the time) was GIVING to me.
I didn’t even have to enroll them.
Years later, when I went into coaching for myself…
…I had to make hours of outgoing calls to schedule discovery sessions.
This was something I did only after hyperventilating.
Somehow, each week, I suffered through 4 or 5 hours of ‘outreach’, rejection, and uncertainty…
…talking to prospective clients who didn’t always want to talk to ME.
And then there were the KEYNOTES, workshops, and speeches…
Running a workshop for 20 made me anxious…
…but giving a keynote speech for 500 or more?
…THAT was something that I wouldn’t want to put you through.
The terror, the sweating, the nervousness, the nausea…
I got through the fear…
…but not always ‘pleasantly’.
Think most coaches aren’t afraid to talk to people?
In fact, they WANT to talk to people, right?
In my experience of working with thousands of coaches…
…at least ONE THIRD of the coaches I’ve worked with…
…are introverted, reclusive…
…and scared of people.
In my experience of working with thousands of coaches…at least ONE THIRD of the coaches I’ve worked with…are introverted, reclusive…and scared of people.“
Some of them are good at hiding it…
…keeping a stiff upper lip.
…acting confident or even bragging.
But fear haunts these coaches.
Fear-driven coaches still have something to offer…
They really are hungry to give their gifts.
So many of these coaches dream of overcoming their fear.
How did I overcome my ‘fear of people’?
1. Dance With Your Fear
…and I don’t mean ‘figurative’ dancing.
I mean physical dancing.
Moving my body in crazy ways was only part of the dance routine, however.
There’s also VERBAL dancing… saying crazy things, yodeling, etc.
And there’s VISUAL dancing… visualizing outrageous images, people, and events.
All that ‘dancing’ overrides fear, erases anxieties, and reprograms you for extroversion…
…at least, temporarily.
Most people program their brains for shy, fearful, controlled, weak performance (through their body, speech, and internal visions).
Why not program yourself to be courageous, fun, energetic, playful, etc.?
All it takes is using your BODY, SPEECH, and THOUGHTS in those ways.
2. Organize Your Fear
Fear usually thrives off uncertainty, unpredictability, and lack of control.
Fear usually thrives off uncertainty, unpredictability, and lack of control.”
When you take control back…
…the fear diminishes.
To organize your fear of talking to (or coaching) people…
…build structures, schedules, and systems that support you in facing that fear.
- Schedule the conversation so you can’t weasel out of it.
- Script (or bullet-point) the conversation.
- Outline the process leading up to your fear.
- Practice and prepare for the coaching.
- Systemize the hardest parts of meeting a client.
These structures help in several ways:
- SCHEDULING guarantees you’ll face your fear.
- SCRIPTING, OUTLINING, and SYSTEMIZING gives you ‘guard rails’ so you have a sense of control… lowering the ‘uncertainty factor’.
- PRACTICING and PREPARING makes the fear less unfamiliar (and, therefore, less uncertain).
When I have to talk to a new potential client…
…I feel like there’s no control.
I’d rather curl up in a ball and watch TV.
I’d rather do anything else (as long as it has no likelihood of rejection or conflict, or the uncertainty that comes with meeting a brand new ‘unpredictable’ client).
But, instead of letting fear barge in and ruin my zen…
…I approach new client interactions IN THE SAME WAY EVERY TIME.
Having a consistent template for new client interactions gives me peace, control, and predictability.
For instance, here’s my template for scheduling the first conversation:
Mr./Mrs. Prospective Client,
It’s probably best to have a quick chat to discuss. I’m available Monday at the following times (all times are Eastern standard):
Let me know what works for you and I’ll confirm it.
When I get these inquiries, I don’t even want to respond.
- What if they don’t like my email?
- What if they aren’t really serious about coaching?
- What if they tell other people I suck?
So, instead of letting those fears dominate my communication, I set up the GUARD-RAILS that help me to do what’s necessary, and hit all the important points in that part of the conversation.
Once that initial conversation is scheduled, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m afraid of talking to them…
…but it guarantees I’m going to deal with my fear (whether I want to or not) when it’s time.
Before the meeting I make sure I prepare my mindset.
It takes TIME for that new client to get comfortable with me.
AND it takes a while for ME to get comfortable with THEM.
But through our time together…
…the fear subsides.
I ask questions.
Now we know each other.
Now we’re friends.
Now I WANT to work with this client.
Now I actually ENJOY this client.
By this time… the fear has EVAPORATED.
That scheduling email isn’t the only one that’s templated. They ALL are.
Every initial conversation and session is scripted (or, at least, outlined).
Every initial conversation and session is scripted (or, at least, outlined).”
Every step of the way, I follow a very organized process with that new client…
…so I know what to expect
…and so I predictably add value to them.
In fact, every part of my enrollment process is templated, scheduled, organized, and ultimately…
That sense of control helps me bear the uncertainty of new clients.
That sense of control helps create predictable positive outcomes.
That sense of control helps my prospects get comfortable if THEY have fear (even if most of them may not).
The point of this approach?
Fear doesn’t sabotage my success.
Fear still shows up. It just doesn’t stop me.
My organized, scheduled, and controlled process wins the day.
Convert your fear into anger.
Yes, the fear is still there (underneath the anger). Anger doesn’t make fear disappear.
But anger ignites action.
How can you turn FEAR into ANGER?
Easy… FEAR robs you of your dreams and hopes.
FEAR destroys what you truly deserve.
Doesn’t that make you ANGRY?
It certainly makes ME angry.
Think about it…
If someone ROBS you of your dreams…
If they STEAL what you authentically deserve…
If they VIOLATE your hopes and expectations…
Then wouldn’t that make you ‘white hot’ angry?
Fear is a dream killer.
Relate to that fear with tremendous anger.
Once I’m in ‘anger mode’, I take action.
Anger pushes me to fight the battles I have to fight.
That doesn’t mean I’m not afraid during those experiences…
…but my anger runs the show, not my fear.
Think anger’s evil?
Don’t want to embrace the ‘dark side’?
I get it.
Anger isn’t the most empowering or positive emotion.
So don’t overuse anger.
But anger DOES…
- help you stand up for yourself.
- motivate you to fight important battles.
- push you to recover, strive, and win.
There are times when anger is appropriate, justified, and healthy…
…both for you, your clients, and the world.
Anger isn’t evil.
Anger is useful.
Anger, of course, can be mis-used, dangerous, and problematic.
But, in the right amounts, and with positive intentions, anger as an emotion…
…can truly serve.
The ‘younger me’ didn’t tap into anger as a resource.
I always thought of myself as the GOOD BOY.
But, in retrospect, I WASN’T good…
I was weak.
Being weak doesn’t make you good.
Being weak just makes you harmless, ineffectual, and powerless.
So, that was me… for years.
And then I had some extremely intense experiences where I was taken advantage of and controlled.
I had to harness enough anger to overcome tremendous abuse.
Ultimately I had to learn to temper my anger, control it, and ultimately use it in positive ways.
That ‘anger mode’ provides me with a strength that I never had in my youth.
Anger helps me get past my fear.
That pang of fear still fires off from time to time.
My face gets hot.
My stomach… tied up in knots.
Fear doesn’t have to stop you from talking to more people…
My breathing… shallow and labored.
…telling them you’re a coach…
…and coaching them.
You can get past fear and find way more opportunities to coach.
It’s a pretty basic concept:
More sharing = more impact.
Less sharing = less impact.
But getting past fear is necessary for many coaches, if they want to reach that promised land.
Fear is a dream killer.“
Try these three methods out.
See how they work for you.
Try DANCING, visualizing, and priming your mindset to override fear.
Try ORGANIZING your fear… controlling your coaching process to overcome uncertainty.
Try ANGER to overpower fear.
Let me know how it goes.
What do you do to overcome your fear?
Reply to this email and tell me… I’d love to hear about it.
Jeffrey “Get Past Fear” Sooey