Time to Get Down and Dirty with Research & Design (Part 3 of 5 The Art of Business for Coaches Blog Series)

Hillary Rubin There’s no failure in business, when you

Are you stressing out, trying to figure out who your niche is, and what you’re here to help them with?

You know you’re here to make a bigger impact as a coach, but maybe you’re at a loss for what to offer, and to whom to offer it?

Do you have a ton of ideas that make you spin, but are not sure which one to focus on?

Or, maybe you’re sort of clear about who it is you are to here to help, but find yourself making offers and no one is interested?

It’s time to say “Goodbye” to doing guesswork, and “Hello” to R&D – Research & Design.

This is my favorite section in my 5-part blog series: The Art of Business for Coaches. This is where you get to go very deep. The truth is, most people skip this part because it takes time… necessary time, to get out of your head, out from behind your computer and get out there to talk with people.

If you missed the first post, head over here to check it out. If you missed part 2, click here to build your foundation.

It’s time to get curious, very curious and become the detective. Becoming the detective is what helps you see what people are really struggling with, and what they are seeking next. This is where you get to come out of thinking you know what people need, and knowing with certainty what they are really looking for.

Putting in sweat equity, for any business, is necessary for it to take off. Click to tweet…

During your research, you get to be a witness, take notes and see the patterns that show up.

From there, you can now design paid and promotional services, programs, offerings and even use people’s responses to write your marketing copy. This research will help inform your decisions when you get to the next step, which you will read about next week in: Falling in Love With Practice, Samplers & Beta Testing.

In beta testing, If something does not work you get to go back and see if it needs to be trashed, recycled, put on hold or taken in another direction.

There’s no failure in business, when you see it as an ART. Click to tweet…

Did you know the ipad came first and was put on hold because one of the designers said that would be a great phone. A light bulb went off, the iphone was born and the ipad was put on hold waiting to get it’s glory. Without R&D, who knows what would have happened?

The more you hang out here and become a better detective the easier it becomes.

Let’s get started with the first part of your RESEARCH.  

Grab your journal, paper or post it notes, whatever you use to start doing your detective work.

Now, we’re going to focus on what you already have showing up. Answer these questions, and be super specific and as detailed as you can.

  1. What do people come to you for help with? (their problem or pain point you solve)
  2. What common questions do they ask you? (what they don’t know and are seeking)
  3. What do they have in common? (who are they, the niche, group of people)

Then see if what they are struggling with is something that comes easy to you, or something  you’ve figured out.  (Pssst… you may not know the system of HOW you did it yet, but you did it….)

Once you feel complete, go back and circle what is repeated in each question. Can you see any patterns? Who comes to you for help and what they are seeking help with?

When I answered these questions, I found out many of my clients came to me for help with becoming a coach, or they did a coach training and wanted help finding out how to stand out. They also wanted to work on their inner game… to overcome money issues, fears, doubt and blocks around not being enough. Many wanted to stop overworking and take the leap from working full-time to work for themselves.

They also all did yoga. They were spiritual and ambitious, over thinking women, who wanted to find their center again, find their flow and become more feminine. This information is was informed my decisions when developing my curriculum for my coach training program, The Art of Becoming a Coach.

Now let’s move onto the second part of your RESEARCH.  

Artists observe the world, nature and what is going on around them. These observations influence their work, and helps them be the pulse, and be on the pulse.

You get to be the observer.. You’re out there (in person or online) meeting people and listening for what the patterns are with their pain points and outcomes they are seeking. This is juicy stuff!

You get to take the time to listen to what they are really struggling with, what they can no longer live with, along with finding out what they are seeking next. Find out what they have invested in and what they are willing to invest in, aka: your coaching offerings.

Maybe they’ve worked with a coach before, maybe not. Maybe they’ve been living with this problem for 10 years and will never be open to get help, maybe they are totally done with it and ready for it.

Your first assignment is to connect and talk with people.

I suggest you talk with 100 people. Yes, you read that right! The more the better. You already answered the questions above, so you know who it is who comes to you, and with what. Now you will have 15 min – 30 min conversations with them to find out more information and fuel your coaching business.

Go for it! Email people you know, who fit into your niche. Or, connect with a certain group of people, like mom’s who need help with time management. Make a list of these email addresses, or use your already existing email list, and let people know you’re doing research, and to share with friends who may be interested in talking with you.

BIG SECRET, everyone loves to talk, especially about what is not working for them.

You can also reach out over social media, in Facebook groups, instagram, twitter. Ask a question from brainstorming list above.

You can also look in Facebook groups to see if people are seeking what you are considering offering. Post that you’re doing some research about (their problem or pain point you solve) and talk with them.

Here are some questions to ASK when in the field (and tweak when needed):

Consider a 15 or 30 min conversation where you are listening and then asking a question that takes them deeper. This will be about 3 questions, then end with one or two short answer questions.

  1. What are you struggling with right now?
  2. What do you think about before your head hits the pillow?
  3. How long have you been dealing with this issue?
  4. On a scale from 1-10 how ready are you to change this situation?
  5. What have you done (if anything) to help or improve your situation?
  6. What are you looking for next?
  7. What kind of solutions have you used in the past?

Now you can ask them what they think about 1:1 coaching, a group program, or other products or offerings you’re considering designing. You can also find out how much they have invested or are willing to invest.

You may have an idea of what you want to offer from the first part of your research, and you can invite them to take part in it. If not, then let them know that you are in the process of doing research, and after you’re done you can give them the information about the program or product you develop. (Pssst… the next post in this series: Falling in Love With Practice, Samplers & Beta Testing, will help you with this too!)

The most important part of your research conversation…  At the end or in the beginning of your Q&A session, make sure to ask them if they are interested in hearing about your program (solution to their problem).

Now, after you collect your research, take out all the information that repeats. Highlight the patterns. See what they are seeking and how this could inform what you design to help with this problem, frustration or challenge.

See where the breadcrumbs are. Follow the bread crumbs. By following the breadcrumbs it gets easier not harder, look at the obvious next step of what to create and offer it to those who are coming to you for help.

This takes out the guessing game. Now you know who your tribe is and what they are seeking. It saves you time, energy and money too!

When I did this, I was the go-to person to ask how I became a coach. I had a ton of 1:1 calls, and had to stop because it was not working for me. From there I noticed in a facebook group there were so many people asking about coaching programs. I put out a question asking if anyone was interested in becoming a coach and would want to talk with me. I had a huge response.

I got on Skype, spoke with almost 100 people and asked some of the same questions I shared with you. This is what helped me design my first beta program for The Art of Becoming a Coach training program. And, when I first launched it, it was not called that yet. (more about this in the next post…)

Design. Design. Design.

Time to roll up your sleeves and find out what people are seeking that you are uniquely designed to help with. Take all you’ve learned and get creative.

Once you have all your research, distill it and look at the patterns… what stood out, the who, the what you can help people with and the how you can do it. You will also begin to find other gems too!

Start to design or outline an offer that may be a paid or free offering like an opt-in for your website, a workshop, a coaching package, a group program a series of blog posts, etc…

You may even have heard something from someone you spoke with that is perfect for a tag-line, title for a program, or copy that would attract your ideal client. I go deep with this process with my 1:1 clients when we do Business Deep Dives.

Next step, when you have a rough outline, something you can play with, go back to talk with the top 3 who you felt would be a good fit and hear what they have to say about it.  

Ask them if what you’ve created sounds good or if they’d want to add anything. You may even see what they would be willing to pay for it too. Take the feedback then tweak it.

In the next post I’ll be talking about Falling in Love With Practice, Samplers & Beta Testing where you can take all you got from the R&D and get out there.

Before we move forward, please take a moment to validate where you are right now, you’re doing a good job. In next week’s post you get to take all you’ve done and put it into action, passionate action. Allow yourself to step more powerfully into being curious about what it is you offer into the world as a coach.

Tell me in the comments below, who comes to you for help and with what? What’s the #1 pain point or problem people come to you to solve. GO!

By leaving a comment, you are immediately entered to win the 15 Interviews with top coaches from Breakthrough to Coaching Experience.

I’m looking forward to hearing what you get from this post, and any insights you have now, after you do your first part of R&D.

Your Angel of Fire,





P.S. To make this an even sweeter experience for, you we’re having a contest…

What you win…

btce-faces-badge-600Exclusive access to the full lineup of 15 Breakthrough to Coaching Experience expert interviews. Pssst… an hour with any one of our expert coaches, some of them don’t even do 1:1 sessions anymore, would easily cost you $500 and up into the thousands – and you can’t purchase these interviews or get this information anywhere else!

Participating in this contest now, is the only way you can receive all these interviews and find out what major breakthroughs these 15 top coaches made to build their confidence, create a coaching/mentoring business unique to them and get paid to work with clients they love – without being certified – and how you can too!

How to participate and be entered to win… by leaving a comment below the blog. This week’s question is: What is the #1 thing people come to you for help with.

Bonus sharing with your friends. Use these click to tweets or you can share through the Facebook share link at the top left side of this post.

Putting in sweat equity, for any business, is necessary for it to take off.

There’s no failure in business, when you see it as an ART.

Enter to win by defining what you’re born to do.

THANK YOU, sweet soul from the bottom of my heart for being part of this community, sharing, commenting and adding more joy to my life!

Related Posts:


  1. I really struggle to answer this question – what do people come to me for?

    I can’t even tell IF people come to me. Maybe they do, and I just can’t remember it.

    Or maybe they don’t because I don’t put myself out there.

    Kinda stuck on this one. I know have lots of value to give, but I can’t see the forest for the trees.

    • I hear you Nikki and want to acknowledge you for being honest with this. Do you get asked for advice? Are you the go to person to share challenges, pain or what’s not working in my life conversations? I’m asking how you are already the go-to person to help people that you may be close to or not. Does this make sense?


  1. […] is the fourth post in our 5-part series. If you missed the last post, head over here to check it out.  If you missed the first post, head over here to check it out. If you missed part 2, click here to […]

  2. […] experienced and the people who show up to ask you for help. This is where you can look at your research and connect these two parts […]

Speak Your Mind