IOC Fellows's picture Submitted by IOC Fellows November 6, 2021 - 4:36pm

A woman wearing black glasses is sitting on a gray couch, looking down at her silver Apple laptop on her lap, and drinking from a mug of coffee from her left hand.


Contributing Team:  Allison Davis, Ashot Ter Avanesian, Mark Roy, Jonathan S. Marion, Keyaunoosh Kkassauei, Isik Tacoglu

The name Dorie Clark has become ubiquitous in the coaching industry. Her content is showing up on Facebook feeds, e-mail campaigns, and interviews across LinkedIn. During the Institute’s Coach X Conversation in April, Jeffrey Hull interviewed Dorie Clark to explore her three-step framework to establishing coaches as expert thought leaders:

  1. Content creation— take your idea and develop articles, blogs, and other media to differentiate yourself,
  2. Social proof—engage others to validate your idea or expertise using your past experiences, social media, and articles, and
  3. Network—share with your network to support your ideas AND spread them exponentially.

Dorie’s advice to grow your coaching business is both transformational, and a little bit daunting. But when the steps are broken down, they become easy to follow. 
In this blog, our team explores content creation and how your network can help create thought provoking breakthrough ideas. We will follow up with a second blog looking at how to leverage networking that establishes social proof. 
Dorie explained in her IOC interview why content creation is so crucial for professional coaches to become recognized experts in their field. Many hard-working coaches focus solely on getting results for their clients, underestimating the marketing value of being recognized as a go-to authority. While time-consuming at the beginning, such an investment will pay dividends in the long run. Content creation, or becoming the definitive resource on a topic, can ignite your network and give you the social proof required for your success. 
Content creation allows people to understand your values, principles, and mindset, as well as your approach and methodology to your own work. It lets your prospective clients get to know you as a person and as a professional. Content creation does not have to be difficult, as feared by many coaches—it's not like writing a scientific article. Dorie’s tip is to identify a problem you want to solve. Create a point of view and how it relates to your niche or area of focus.  Reading blogs, books and reflections from experts is a great way to collect information to build your point of view, but an overlooked resource is engaging your own network. Networking and community building—her third step—is foundational to supporting your content creation (and eventually social proof.) Your colleagues and community can provide engaging insights, case studies, and anecdotal evidence to the problem you are trying to solve.   
Have you developed your coaching niche and identified a problem only you can solve? If so, who are the top thinkers you can cite to build your content and merge with your network interviews and content research? Creating content can feel overwhelming, Dorie recommends starting small. What matters is you find new research and “actual data that is new, accurate and revealing,” to differentiate yourself as an expert and thought leader, according to Dorie. 
Dorie believes an important first step in building a coaching practice is to understand what you do really well and let that guide where you should put your energy. Being a recognized expert can be a true differentiator for current and future clients. The goal is to pull your clients toward you by creating meaningful, thought-provoking content. 
Actions to take include:

  • LinkedIn Live Interviews
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Publishing wherever possible 

Dorie calls this a “ladder” strategy to publish (see her book Stand Out for more tips). Dorie is well established, but if you listen to her “story,” she is honest about her own internal exploration and the work it took to stitch together her experiences and come up with a thread for her own expertise. 
To start your own process, an IOC Fellow recommends writing down valuable insights from coaching sessions or peer discussions in a separate notebook and then shaping those into various content formats once every 1-2 weeks (i.e., posts, blogs, podcasts). Once you have shaped your narrative, include your network to provide other reflections and expand the content. A side bonus of content creation is that the process of transforming an insight into a concise, easily readable narrative helps coaches crystalize their ideas, often leading to creation of new coaching techniques or exercises.
Creating meaningful content can be the beginning of the journey of personal brand development and becoming a recognized expert. It’s a great method to engage your network and community. Our connections may be more expansive than we imagine. Our challenge is to discover who in our network can amplify and advocate for us by adding to our content and exploring the problem we are trying to solve. Our next blog will explore Social Proof and Networking.  

Takeaways for Coaches - Self-coaching Questions:
  1. What idea have you been thinking about to create content?
  2. Who in your network or community can help you expand that content?
  3. How will you make your content easy to connect to existing and new prospects?
  4. What platform for content are you most comfortable with using i.e. LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, etc.?

Dorie Clark’s website has tons of articles, access to her podcast and a great free tool: Finding Your Breakthrough Idea Self-Assessment: 139 questions to get your started on your own unique content creation journey!