Guest Blog by Dominic Velando
As a creative with ADHD, Dominic was always losing focus, motivation, keys, wallets, jobs, direction, relationships. Something was wrong, and he needed to start winning. So he learned about ADHD, trained under experts, and launched a multi-hyphenate business: Hyperfocus Coaching. A graduate of Lumia's life coach training program, Dominic hyperfocuses on clients who need to create structure and live with more urgency and purpose. That, and telling really great stories.
So, What's Your Story?
It’s not easy standing out in the coaching industry:
- Over 72,000 coaches responded to the most recent global survey conducted by the International Coaching Federation. And that’s only a fraction of the number out there, practicing in today’s market.
- There are over 10 million Instagram posts with the hashtag “lifecoach”.
- Oh, and apparently Prince Harry is in the coaching business now, which was trending like crazy.
None of this keeps me up at night.
Why? Because I can tell a damn good story.
I grew up on comics and stand-up comedy, and as a trained multi-disciplinary artist and content creator, I’ve been a storyteller my whole life. Today, the most interesting story I know is my own. I’ve experienced a lot of weird shit and intense emotions in my life, and I’m not the type to just keep that stuff to myself.
You’ve been through some shit, too. Like me, you have a life story that includes trauma, victories, love, and pain. Your story is unique to you, and it is why you are a life coach today. You want to help others with a similar story. And believe me, they’re out there and they’re looking for you.
The coaching process itself is storytelling.
When you sit down with one of these fine human beings, you listen intently as they tell you their stories: what happened today at work, or where they want to be in ten years. And as you already know about the writing process, this can be agonizing, liberating, and just a whole fucking mess.
But it works. It is actual manifestation. It’s powerful, life-affirming shit. It’s hard work, and it’s what we’ve signed up for as life coaches.
So listen up. Here’s what I’ve learned about WHY a coach should tell their story, and HOW to do it.
Why You Should Tell Your Story
Your Story Aligns You With Your Niche
Yes, you are a beautiful and unique snowflake, and no one else has been through the shit that you have. But some snowflakes are more similar than others.
My thing is ADHD, and I articulate my experiences very specifically. This is all-important to ADHDers because they’re so beat up from being misunderstood all of their lives. The gold standard in that world is: “omfg relatable.” It’s not only a boost of dopamine, but it builds trust.
Telling my story signals that I understand their specific pain in the ass, and validates their untamed creativity.
I’m not the most popular or successful ADHD influencer in my space. In fact, being a male operating in an overwhelmingly female niche disqualifies me from a lot of followers and prospects.
But guess what? There’s only one me, and my social media followers like that about me.
Every iteration of my story -- my social media content, blogs, podcast appearances -- helps to establish me as a unique voice within my life coaching niche. When people decide they want to work with me, they REALLY want to work with me.
Your Story is Your Intellectual Property
Coaching requires trading time for money. Meanwhile, we only have so much time left on this earth. Documenting, distributing, and selling your story allows you to make passive income while you practice. Our stories are a unique commodity, one that only we possess.
A lot of what we use in our practice is borrowed. We borrow credibility when we earn a certification. We borrow frameworks and techniques invented by people much smarter than us (please disregard if you are a neuroscientist or Brené Brown.)
Your life story and how you present it is paid in full, and yours to do what you please.
Whether you want to gain social media followers, build a life coaching empire or save the world, you would be wise to know your rights and protect your brand. We must learn from others, but once you begin the storytelling process, THAT is your creation.
Your Story Helps You Understand Your Clients
When you open up about your story, your audience will follow your lead. They will trust you and the space you create, and that’s a key ingredient for a productive coaching session. If you understand the key components of your story that connect you to your audience, they will feel comfortable showing their hand and telling you their stories in return. You’ve already led the way.
Now we get to the real shit and move toward changing lives. It's why we became life coaches.
With repetition, you’ll notice similar stories from one prospect or client to the next. You will become familiarized with the common themes within your life coaching niche. You would be wise to continue to listen intently to these stories, but the art of your listening will be informed by these patterns.
Whenever I hear a similar ADHD story from potential clients for the millionth time, I can’t help but smile and offer, “You are not alone.”
How to Tell Your Story
Start With Your Why
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re not sure how to start marketing yourself, especially on social media. In fact, you’re probably scared shitless to be vulnerable and put yourself out there. You don’t want to come across fake or unoriginal or “salesy”.
Well, you are not alone. (Yes, I’m smiling.)
I could share with you any number of social media tips and technical storytelling jiu-jitsu moves, but check this out:
You will figure it out when you realize that someone out there NEEDS to hear your life story.
You could save someone’s fucking life because they suddenly realize that they are not alone.
Now let me tell you a little story:
I had no idea what a “peer support group” was when I spilled my guts to a room full of strangers about what it was like to live with ADHD.
“You’re wasting people’s time,” I remember thinking to myself. “People have real problems and live in third-world countries and hovels and shit.”
When the session ended, I broke for the exit... only to be intercepted by my peers. One by one, they did the unthinkable: they thanked me. I was genuinely dumbfounded. The outpouring of emotion. The gratitude. It didn’t make sense. There was no value to me rambling about my little life.
It took a few days to process the lesson: my story had value, and so did the very act of telling it.
Stick With Your Cause
Every hero finds strength in something that transcends their solitary existence. There’s always someone out there who’s counting on them. Or maybe it’s an entire nation or a way of life.
The heroic version of yourself doesn’t back down from insecurity and petty self-talk. There’s so much more at stake.
Would you like to know how to begin telling your story? Ask yourself: “WHY?”
As a life coach, your “Ideal Client” isn’t just some fucking faceless consumer, but a real human who could really use your help to write the story of the rest of THEIR life.
Why did you decide to embark on this journey? There’s a good chance that you seek to help others with the same struggles as you. Or maybe it’s someone close to you who desperately needed guidance, and you stepped up and improved their world.
This is your chance to tell the story.
And what’s really cool is that in the process of recounting your experiences, you continue the storytelling process. You manifest the kind of life coach, leader, and incredible fucking human being that you want to be.
And yes, along the way, you will find potential clients, market your coaching services, learn about social media, and grow your business.
Connect with like-minded people. Stir up those emotions. Find mentors and anyone who fires you up and reminds you of why life coaching chose you.
Study the art of storytelling and you will learn the art of life coaching.
Check out these resources on how to leverage your story to build your business as a life coach
- The Right Way to Let Your Story Lead Your Coaching Practice
- Utilizing Social Media in Your Life Coach Career
- Transparency vs. TMI in Coaching
- How to Build An Online Presence that Gets Results
Ready to Be A Coach?
One of our values at Lumia is that we dare to be different. Our coaches like Dominic ignore the expectations society tries to impose on them, and seek to live from their own truth instead. If you are ready to step into your power and you’d like some partners in the process, come check out Lumia Life Coach Training. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, coaching techniques and business instruction to prepare you for liftoff as an entrepreneur.