Writing a Professional Coaching Bio: a guide for occupational and business psychologists
By Dr Michelle Hunter-Hill, Chartered Psychologist, Scientist, and Coach
It is common knowledge that coaching is a highly competitive field to enter. There were over 90,000 coaches worldwide in 2021, and that number continues to grow. The question is, how does an individual coach stand out in the crowded coaching landscape? A professional coaching bio can bridge the gap between a coach and coachee. However, most people do not have a bio that is readily available - they stress to create it on demand. So, what is a professional bio, what purpose does it serve, and what should a good one look like?
A professional bio offers a brief snapshot or story of your experiences, including who you are, what you so, and your background so far. As well as being useful when applying for jobs, bio’s are useful for seeking new clients. Having a bio is one way of ensuring your professionals and credibility to clients and customers, as they are also a way to market your brand. As a consultant who pitches for work, I am often asked to send over a copy of my bio to potential clients. Because of this, as a professional practice educator and supervisor of psychologist and coaches, I make it a point of duty to teach them how to write one.
Professional bios usually include details about education, employment, consultancy experiences, achievements and relevant skills. Therefore, as well as providing information about what you have done in the past, it can help potential clients to understand what you are capable of doing. Stop for a moment - reflect on what you are able to do. Bios can also be used by clients to gather what type of work/engagement would be of interest to you. Thus, when writing a bio, honesty really is the best policy. Highlighting key points in your career history is essential also.
It is important to tailor your bio so that it reflects your goals, and the people you want to reach out to. For example, if you are a coach you may have a preference to work with certain client groups, or you may be trained/experienced in this area. These elements should be highlighted in your bio. Besides this, it is essential to remember that your clients want success, growth, or results with something they are struggling with. They want to develop, and change behaviours to become a better version of themselves. They want to find the best coach to help them do that. You may well be the perfect coach to do this, although clients will not know this if your bio does not reflect you, your experiences, and interests well.
Your bio should be unique so potential clients get to meet you. Write your bio with your ideal client in mind. Begin by reflecting on who you are as a person. Consider the following areas for inclusion in your bio:
- Occupation/profession/job title
- Skills and expertise
- Passions and goals
- Professional accreditations
- Work/consultancy sector
- Work history
- Geographical/catchment area
- Values and personality, and how they shape your approach
Bios can be written from a first-person, or third person perspective. If you are building a personal brand and want clients to get to know you, the former is most appropriate. In the first-person perspective, your aim is to tell your story to your potential clients. Do not see it as an opportunity to overuse the word “I”. Don’t just tell your clients what you do, show them what you do. Include hobbies that relate to what you want to do. Take a look at an example of a good 1st-person bio: https://www.donnaschilder.com/bio/
When writing in the third-person, it is necessary to keep an objective stance. Your aim is to create distance between potential clients and yourself. This type of bios is useful for formal industries whereby title and skills matter. Nonetheless, as well as being objective, this type of bio should be friendly also. When writing it, you should do so from the perspective of someone you know and trust. Show the reader why entry should trust your opinion. You should include relevant facts that clients resonate with, although it is best to avoid jargon. Tell your story with conviction, and humour. See Chimaamanda Ngozi Adiche’s bio (https://www.chimamanda.com/about/ )for inspiration of a great 3rd-person bio.
When written well, a bio can tell an interesting and worthy story about you, which can be highly useful to those who are considering to partner with you for personal, professional, or business purposes. In fact, you never really know who is reading your bio, although you always want it to be ready for when the right people read it. It is a tool you can leverage when you are networking. Are you ready to write your bio? Use the guidance provided above, and if you get stuck feel free to contact us at the Practice. Have a look at my sample bio below:
"Dr Michelle is a professional practice/performance coach who helps upcoming occupational and business psychologists make the transition from student to experienced professional practitioners. A Chartered and HCPC-registered Psychologist and Scientist, Dr Michelle started her coaching business in 2021 to help early practitioner psychologists with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of starting out as a consultant, or seeking employment as an occupational or business psychologist while still acting as a chartered psychologist, and directing an occupational psychology consultancy, and a BPS and ABP-accredited Masters programme. Prior to directing professional practice, Dr Michelle spent over ten years as an applied psychologist, senior lecturer, corporate trainer and workshop leader working predominately in the UK and Middle East. She serves as a coach to those considering international assignments, particularly in the Middle East region, namely Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Saudi Arabia. Today Dr Michelle offers a wide range of programs and services - from individual coaching, to seminars and keynote speeches. To contact Dr Michelle, please contact her at [email protected] or [email protected])."
About the author: Dr Michelle Hunter-Hill is a chartered psychologist, scientist, and coach who works within higher education and professional practice. He main focus is to identify potentially talented individuals, and develop them. She achieves this in her roles as supervisor and practice educator.