StoryBrand BrandScript Example for Executive and Life Coaches
“So, tell me again what you do?”
If you’re an executive or life coach you’ve probably received blank stares from people as you try to explain your business.
And if you go to the average coach’s website it’s even worse! They have the typical picture of a person standing on the side of a mountain staring off into the distance (I apologize if this is you... because it’s 90% of the coach sites I see) using unclear coach phrases like “Your journey starts today.”
Now before you stop reading this post, know that I believe wholeheartedly in the power of coaching. I’ve worked with a few myself!
In fact, coaching turned around my business and the trajectory of my life! If you need a good one I'd recommend working with mine!
Coaches are my friends and have been the majority of the clients we’ve worked with over the past few years. I love working with coaches because they truly are doing what they do because they want to change the trajectory of the organizations and the people they serve.
And all of the coaches Big Big Story has had the opportunity to work with struggle with the exact same thing: they don’t know how to communicate what they do in a clear and compelling way.
So what do we do?
Certified to use the StoryBrand framework, Big Big Story walks businesses and organizations through creating a BrandScript. This 7-part framework walks you and your organization through 7 key storytelling elements to help communicate your message in a clear and compelling way.
And let’s just pause right now to discuss storytelling, because it’s all the rage, but most people have no idea what that means. Effective storytelling only works if you can engage with your customer’s story. If done right, from your customer’s point of view, they are on a journey towards success, and you as a coach show up at just the right time to guide them toward victory. Now don’t read that the wrong way: You are the guide. The customer is the hero. If you get that flipped you are telling the wrong story. The right story will drive engagement and retention.
Think of a BrandScript as a style guide for your words. It’s the key foundational messages you should be repeating over and over and over again all throughout your marketing.
What this means is, if you have a solid story framework down, this is the beginning point for EVERY WORD you might use in your marketing. You get to save time not staring at a blank computer screen having no idea what to write. You pull out your handy dandy BrandScript and start typing.
I’m going to walk you through the 7-part StoryBrand BrandScript as it relates to Executive and Life Coaches.
If you want to create your own BrandScript, StoryBrand has a free resource at https://www.mystorybrand.com/ .
As you follow the BrandScript examples below, each of the 3 are actual real life coaches or consultants Big Big Story has been able to guide.
Part 1 - A Character Who Wants Something
Like we said before, your client is the hero. All stories have a main character who wants something.
Disclaimer: As you continue to read this blog post all the gifs illustrating each BrandScript section is from Star Wars. You don’t need to like Star Wars to be effective at marketing! :)
If you think of your typical coaching clients or businesses you need to ask yourself: “What is it that my clients want that is causing them to call me?”
EXAMPLE #1: My clients want continued growth and success in growing their businesses and leading their teams.
EXAMPLE #2: My clients want greater fulfillment in their jobs, deeper relationships, and more meaningful lives.
EXAMPLE #3: My clients want to get unstuck, finally reach their goals, and know what they should do.
Brainstorm out a whole list of things your clients actually want. But then start refining that list down. Because a story where a hero wants too many things is a confusing story. You’ll want to get this down to a super short sentence like the examples above.
On this list you will start seeing “feeling” language... like “my clients want to feel better about their job situations.” Change this statement into a want statement. We will get to feeling language in the next section.
Also delete anything that doesn’t really have to do with the solutions you provide.
If you are down to a few ideas, now you need to rank them in order. Which one ended up being your top item that your clients want?
Now I want you to have some courage.... Highlight anything that is under your first sentence and delete it.
I know it was hard.
I always tell my clients that we are making progress when we delete things.
The reason why this is so important is your brand message will be muddled and confused if you are trying to communicate 100 different stories.
This can be the hardest part of the BrandScript. Once you get this part figured out, the rest of the script becomes a whole lot easier.
Part 2 - Has a Problem to Overcome
Every great story has a problem the main character is trying to overcome. It’s why we will sit for 2 - 3 hours and watch a movie. We are enthralled by seeing if the guy will overcome all odds and win the girl or if the depleted, weak team of do-gooders will defeat the expansiveness of the evil empire.
And almost every story ends the same way... the hero ends up finding a way to overcome the problem that keeps them from getting what they want.
As soon as the problem is solved the movie wraps up and ends!
This is a pretty powerful idea: The problem is what drives the story.
The most powerful thing about identifying our customers’ problems is we begin to form language that shows our customers that we understand them. We are saying to them “Hey! We’ve been paying attention and see you have this major problem that’s keeping you from getting what you want!”
We are going to identify 3 types of problems in our coaching client’s life: external, internal, and philosophical.
External - What’s keeping your customers from getting what they want (as it relates to your business)?
The biggest mistake I see coaches making when identifying the external problem is they aren’t actually picking an external problem as it relates to their business.
For example, as coaches we all know most people’s biggest problems are between their ears. They need to get their mindset right. However, mindset isn’t why someone will pick up the phone to call you. Mindset might be a solution you provide, but it’s not the external problem your client is facing.
They are calling you because they are lacking wisdom or guidance AND that’s what your product or service is: you provide wisdom, guidance, coaching, and consulting.
Part of the wisdom you provide is helping them with their mindset... but once again that’s a solution. It’s not the external problem.
Your business is the external solution. You are a coach, consultant, or a mentor who is solving the external problem of not having a coach, consultant, or mentor.
See the examples below:
EXAMPLE #1: Business challenges have become too complex to overcome alone (they need a consultant).
EXAMPLE #2: Lacking support and guidance to figure out my path (they need a coach).
EXAMPLE #3: Can’t seem to figure out the roadblocks to success. In need of an expert to help me figure it out (they need a mentor).
Internal - How is the external problem making them feel?
Want to tap into the secret sauce of what motivates people to buy? Feelings are where it’s at.
I’m not hiring you as a coach because I need an expert to guide me. I’m hiring you because I’m frustrated by my current situation. I’m overwhelmed, angry, and discouraged.
If you think about the potential customer coming to hire you, they didn’t just decide overnight to call a coach to solve the problem. For most people it’s been years and years of trying and hitting their heads against the wall. Tapping into that pent-up emotion will be the tipping point needed to motivate your prospect to “schedule a call.”
EXAMPLE #1: Unsure and frustrated by not being able to figure this out. Frustrated that this seems like the first challenge they’ve been unable to figure out alone.
EXAMPLE #2: Discouraged by current life circumstances. Anxious about making changes.
EXAMPLE #3: Depressed by current state of affairs. Feel under-appreciated and unmotivated. Feel stuck.
Philosophical - Why is it just plain wrong for your customers to be burdened by this problem?
A philosophical statement in your marketing is so powerful because it paints a picture of why your business exists. It’s you expressing how you believe the world could be a better place if we eradicate this problem facing humanity.
A strong philosophical statement builds trust with your customers because it helps them see your brand stand for something. Even greater, it helps them see your brand standing for them.
EXAMPLE #1: There’s too many people depending on your leadership for you to feel unclear on your next steps.
EXAMPLE #2: A person should never feel alone when it comes to living their best life.
EXAMPLE #3: Life’s too short to stay stuck.
Part 3 - And Meets a Guide
How would you talk about your business if your business was not the main character of the story?🤔
If you are familiar with the StoryBrand philosophy of communication you know the best role for your executive coaching business to play is the guide to the hero (your customer).
Every great hero always has a guide. Luke has Yoda. Batman has Alfred. Karate Kid has Mr. Miagi (you can tell now what era I grew up).
Your brand needs to play the guide well in order to build trust with your potential clients, so they hire you, and even more importantly so they listen to you when they do hire you.
You build trust in two ways. First by showing empathy. And second by showing authority.
Empathy - What brief statement can you make that shows empathy and understanding?
The best place to start in showing empathy is to go back to the internal problems you identified above and figure out a way to state them back in an empathy statement.
EXAMPLE #1: I understand... leadership can be lonely, harsh and daunting.
EXAMPLE #2: I understand what it feels like to be all alone, spinning, trying to figure things out all by myself.
EXAMPLE #3: It can feel so overwhelming to not have a single ounce of motivation to make the changes you need. I get it.
Authority - How can you demonstrate competency in solving your customer’s problem?
This isn’t a place to brag and put an entire resume page on your website. You want to put just enough here that it shows you know your stuff!
Often empathy and authority statements should go hand in hand.
State your empathy first and then use the transition sentence “Thankfully this doesn’t have to be your story...” and then state your authority sentence.
EXAMPLE #1: For over a decade I’ve been helping top level executives and organizations navigate next level growth successfully.
EXAMPLE #2: For 20 years I’ve been helping people discover how to live the life they want. With a background in counseling and coaching and having successfully grown 3 businesses, I know what it takes to walk alongside people who know they want more from life.
EXAMPLE #3: Having worked in a Fortune 500 company helping improve teams and leadership, as well as years coaching individuals and leaders, I know what it takes to help people get unstuck and reach new levels of growth and fulfillment.
Testimony Tip #1 - We won’t dive into testimonies in this blog post, but as a rule of thumb they are the best ways to show authority. However, don’t overdo it! Pick a few of the best ones and show those.
Testimony Tip #2: I’d recommend writing testimonials for clients and ask them, “Does this represent you and, if so, can I post it?” More times than not they will say yes. This will help you avoid getting terribly written testimonials that have nothing to do with your actual work. And customers will thank you! They have no idea what to write and will be thankful you did the work for them.
Part 4 - Who Gives them a Plan
Every great guide gives their hero a plan to succeed! The reason why this plan is so important is that without it our potential clients get easily overwhelmed. A 3-step process plan is a great way to show them how simple this coaching or consulting relationship is going to be for them.
The biggest mistake people make when creating a plan is getting complicated. Remember you want to paint with a broad brush stroke to reassure clients how simple things will be.
EXAMPLE #1: Your path to success is simple: 1.) I’ll gain clarity around your situation 2.) We’ll create a path to success 3.) I’ll support your progress.
EXAMPLE #2: Getting started is easy: 1.) Schedule a call 2.) Customize a plan 3.) Celebrate success!
EXAMPLE #3: Your plan to success is this: 1.) Discover - Together we’ll discover what’s holding you back. 2.) Develop - We’ll develop a plan for success. 3.) Celebrate - We’ll celebrate your newfound freedom in life!
Occasionally we will create a 4-step plan for our clients. However, this is rare. 3 is best! 4 is great. More than 4 and customer engagement will drop dramatically.
Part 5 - And Calls them to Action
Most hero stories are ones where the hero is reluctant to act. They need a nudge from their guide to take the plunge into defeating the villain that’s holding humanity hostage.
Likewise businesses need to nudge potential customers into action with a clear call to action.
The best calls to action are actually that--some sort of action.
EXAMPLE #1 & EXAMPLE #2 USED: Schedule a Call
EXAMPLE #3: Register Now
A poor call to action is vague and unclear, like “Get Started.” I don’t know how to get started or what exactly getting started means.
Part 6 - That Ends in Success
This one feels like it’s obvious because it’s what you see all the time in commercials: images of success. The reason why we need to say and show what success looks like is because our customers won’t connect those dots unless we do it for them.
People join gyms because of pictures of people with abs.
People buy the new coffee maker because of the satisfied image of a woman sipping coffee in her pajamas.
People buy the online course because of the promise to make more money.
Likewise we need to think through our go-to success stories as a coach or consultant.
- Confront new, bigger, and more complex problems.
- Reach your goals and priorities.
- Advance into new territories.
- Confident and in control.
- Ready to handle what the complexity of the day brings you.
- Freedom & flexibility to travel, work from anywhere, be healthy, & give back.
- Feeling like I have work/life blend.
- Feel in control of my future.
- Restored relationships.
- Growth/success in my career.
- Healthy body and mind.
- Happy with where I’m at.
- Confident in who I am.
- Clear on where I’m going.
- Less stress.
- Courageous living
- Equipped to face life’s challenges.
Part 7 - That Helps them Avoid Failure
If you’ve read anything about loss aversion, it suggests that avoiding the pain of loss is twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining. Therefore painting a picture of what’s at risk if someone doesn’t do business with you is a powerful tool to motivate sales.
The caution here is this tactic can be very manipulating or have the reverse effect if overdone.
So the recommendation is to use failure language as if you were sprinkling salt in a recipe, just enough to make the main flavors come out, but not too much where you have to throw out the whole dish.
- Stay the same/stagnant growth.
- Spend tons of money on growth only to get nothing from it.
- Destroy your company culture through poor decisions.
- Loss of reputation.
- Reactionary life vs. proactive life.
- Out of control.
- Feel like there is no margin and zero flexibility in life.
- Discontent. Depressed.
- Strained relationships.
- Hate getting up for work on Monday.
- Negative thought spirals.
- People pleasing.
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