In my experience, there are 2 factors that motivate people to take action and make a commitment.

  1. Pain
  2. Desire

Both can be effective tools in your marketing efforts and both can help you get new clients.

How you use them (and to what extent) will depend largely on your personality.


Pain is the fear or frustration (or in some cases, actual physical pain) that your clients are in.  It’s what keeps them up at night, awake and unable to sleep at 2am.

For parents, this might be worrying about their teenage daughter’s new boyfriend, or whether their son is running with the wrong kind of crowd.

For people who have financial struggles, it’s worrying about how they’re going to pay the bills this month, whether they’re going to get laid off, or turning over and over in their mind how they can make more money to just to get by.

For folks who are overweight, it might be that they are in a sexless marriage caused by their own anxiety and self-judgement or worried that they’ll never to get to meet their grandchildren.

Pain is a great mover of people… but only when it is so acute as to be unbearable.

Pain is an external form of motivation and it can be used to get people started.  It’s definitely required as part of your marketing & selling efforts, since your prospective client needs to understand that you know what they’re going through.

They want to be able to relate to you and believe that you know how to help them.


Desire is what your client wants their life to be like.  It is an idealized version of the future based on the things that they cherish most.

Desire is also hope.

Hope that there is more to life than what they have now.  And a belief that it’s possible.

That parent may desire to have a harmonious family life and to see their children grow up to be successful in life, and to raise a good family of their own.

People with financial struggle dream of having more than enough money in the bank, of being able to care for themselves and their family without worry and to be able to enjoy the finer things in life.

Folks who are overweight dream of looking in the mirror and seeing a sexy reflection looking back at them, of having the confidence to wear a bathing suit to the beach in summer and the self-esteem of knowing that they look great.

Desire does not often cause people to move out of pain unless they are so internally motivated by it… but if that were the case, they’d probably already have done something about it.

Desire CAN keep your client motivated to keep going if the going gets a little tough.

Pain = where your client is right now.

Desire = where your client wants to be.

The difference = the gap in between and how they are going to go from A to B.


As a coach, you help people navigate the murky waters between where they are and where they want to be.  You have to understand both their fears and their desires…

…and it’s your job, if you truly believe you can help them, to use that understanding to help motivate them in to action.


    2 replies to "2 Ways to Get Coaching Clients"

    • Lynn Sanders

      Paul — you are so right! Motivating through either pain or desire are very effective tools. What happens after you’ve really motivated your audience, and you have many prospects who’ve raised their hands at the same time?

      How do you recommend addressing all their needs simultaneously? Any suggestions in how to do group coaching so everyone feels like they are benefiting? Thanks for your thoughtful ideas.

      • Paul Keetch

        Hi Lynn, thanks for the comment.

        In terms of group coaching, I’ve always done smaller groups (6 – 12) for exactly that reason, to make sure that everyone gets some personal attention. You could also create an ecourse that is more affordable than one-on-one or group coaching, and which can be delivered relatively hands free.

        If you’re going to coach a larger group, make sure to open the lines for Q&A or have participants submit Qs prior to your calls so that you can address their concerns. Or consider offering one or two 15-30 min 1-2-1 sessions each month so folks can get that personal touch.

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