Dressed to Coach

Welcome to this week’s FocalPoint Business Coaching Challenge. The challenge this week is:

I was in conversation with FocalPoint New Jersey Business Coach Margaret Maclay the other day. We ended up discussing, of all things, what to wear.

Okay, I confess, some days when I’m writing this blog, my socks don’t match and even my little girl would be ashamed of the tie I’m wearing, but I have to admit – appearance is important. It’s the first impression and it’s your foot in the door.

Margaret worked in the “apparel industry,” as she calls it, for 25 years – so I have to respect her opinion. Not because she might have a better fashion sense than I would (that’s a given); but because in that 25 years she has travelled the world, working with all levels, designers to manufacturers, in multiple cultures.

“I think you get to know inherently from being in the environment,” she told me. “I’ve travelled extensively and am very aware of clothes and conscious of appearance.”

So I posed the question to her, “How would you dress if you were to go and meet the owner of ‘Joe’s Corner Gas’? Would you dress down?”

“As business coaches we’re in a constant state of adapting,” she said. “The first thing I do before I work with a client is review my behaviour style and compare it with his or her style. Then I make sure to adapt my personal style and communicate from the clients perspective. That includes what I wear.”

“I always try to look 100% professional without being overdone.”

Brian Tracy suggests you should dress one step above who you are working with as a coaching client. But how might that impact someone who is already resistant to hiring a business coach? Keeping in mind the behaviour style, environment and perspective of the individual will lead you to the right decision! Then move forward with confidence.

“I believe that confidence begins with how you feel about yourself and what you wear plays a part in that. I start with what makes me feel good about me - I don’t pass judgement on other people.”

That’s how Margaret deals with her appearance on coaching calls.

And that makes sense, because we need to be the confident leaders when we have our coaching caps on.

It’s a hot topic – how do you dress to be authorative enough to coach but approachable enough to be successful? Does dress-for-success mean dressing up or dressing down?

Should I even be wearing a tie to blog? What are you wearing right now?

Give us some feedback –


As a FocalPoint Business

As a FocalPoint Business Performance Coach, I was taught in training to dress "1% better than my clients and prospects." 

For prospecting, although this is generally good advice, what I've found in many networking events is it's a good idea to be one of the better dressed in the room, e.g., at least sport coat and tie.  This provides the right aura of professionalism and as well makes me more confident others will have the level of respect I deserve as a high end business coach.  

For clients, I have typically varied my dress based on the day I have planned, if there are one or more prospecting events, see above.  If my day mostly consists of client sessions, I dress appropriately to be a step-above the client who is dressed  up the most which fits with Brian Tracy's advice and FocalPoint International's training.

Another reason I tend to dress up is, my clients and those I meet during the day provide way more compliments when I've got a sport coat & tie on; as a high "I" (Influencer) style, the compliments tend to keep my confidence and mind-set very focused and positive for the whole day!

I hope this is helpful!

Chris S. Allen, Owner & Professional Business Coach, The Business Spotlight, Inc.

"Lighting the Way to Your Success!"

Cincinnati, Ohio

513-272-6224   [513 27COACH]



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