Using a Client Testimonial for Media Opportunities Without Overstepping Boundaries
A client case study is a valuable way to demonstrate the power of coaching, bringing the process to life with an inspiring personal story. But before you include such personal stories of transformation and triumph, you must get permission and properly inform the client.
Here are three tips to avoid overstepping boundaries with a client when hoping to share their story with the media.
If you’ve built in-roads with a few key reporters, you may receive requests from time to time to offer your insight on a variety of related topics. Reporters may also ask to speak with a client, such as a Millennial employee learning how to properly delegate as a first-time manager or a C-suite executive navigating a leadership transition.
You know your clients best. Consider who among your clients may have a relevant and inspiring story to share. It’s also important to consider this in terms of who may be open to speaking to the media and who will want their privacy respected.
Remember, you have a responsibility to fulfill to your clients first, but when you can help a reporter out, you may also help your business—and in some cases, your clients too.
It’s important for your client to fully understand what you’re asking them to share in any interview scenario. Before approaching the client, ask the reporter what type of interview they would like, whether it’s an email Q&A, phone conversation or on camera. It can often provide a client with additional security if they can write the answers out on their own time to be emailed back to the reporter, if that is an option the reporter is open to.
For those clients who are reticent to share that they have worked with a coach, you can talk them through the process, including discussing previous interviews you have done with other clients who felt the same way. Some people may ultimately wish to not divulge any information and request a certain degree of anonymity. Depending on the type of outlet, a reporter may be able to grant that request.
Ultimately, if you have explored ways to address any concerns or boundaries the client has, and they are still hesitant, don’t push it. Respect their wishes to remain private.
If you are interested in sharing your coaching expertise with the media, let your clients know your intentions, so they can determine if they are willing to participate in an interview. Keep a running list with which clients are available, and their preferences for each type of interview, so you can readily respond to reporters and connect with clients for permission.
Even if a client has previously given their consent to share the story, it’s important to inform them of each new opportunity, in case they have changed their mind.
Combining the wide variety of ICF research with the emotional power of a personal testimonial is a great recipe for personifying the tremendous impact of coaching. Some topics will be more personal than others, so it’s important to carefully address those sensitive testimonials.
Once you receive the proper permission from clients, you will have an impactful story that will resonate with the reporter, and, in turn, your desired audience.