How to Write Case Studies as a Coach

What is a Case Study? A Powerful Tool to Showcase Your Coaching Success

A case study serves as concrete evidence that your coaching product works and yields tangible results. These real-world success stories are an excellent way to attract more business and can mean the difference between a lost opportunity and a successful end-of-quarter. Whether your product consists of coaching courses in the form of books or one-on-one coaching services, a case study will enable you to spotlight the remarkable outcomes your clients have achieved.

Short and concise case studies play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between coaching research and practice for your potential clients.

Case studies have long been cherished in various fields, including psychotherapy, B2B, and management research, among others. While they are occasionally criticized for their limited generalizability, case studies provide invaluable insights into integrating fundamental research into applied work at the individual or organizational level.

In short, what they do is:

  • Case studies help elucidate your coaching process, ensuring potential customers gain a better understanding of your methods.
  • Case studies enable you to address the precise challenges your target audience faces and demonstrate how you can effectively resolve them.
  • Case studies elevate your brand’s credibility and establish your authority in the coaching market.

Carefully Select The Focus of Your Case Study

The key to crafting a compelling and impactful case study is to start with selecting a perfect candidate or customer you’ve had (a coachee).

How to choose a case study candidate:

  • Take your time to evaluate your candidates—inevitably, potential customers may (and some 100% will) reach out to your case study subjects to fact-check, so make sure your candidate is someone you have a strong relationship with and who will give you the best recommendation possible and make your case study credible.
  • Choose a candidate who is enthusiastic about your services; you want the subject of your case study to LOVE what you do, live for it, and talk about you and the success they have had with you at parties.
  • Make sure they have a solid understanding of your product and service. In addition to the initial evaluation, you should ensure the candidate knows what you do precisely. Think about the big picture stuff. While it’s great that they love you, they also need to understand what you did specifically for them and other talents you possess.
  • Solid results—if you promote a scenario as a model for others to follow, you need to make sure you have the results and the stats to back it up. I recommend always being 100% honest in your case studies, including fallbacks and obstacles you have overcome.
  • Choose a story to present that your target audience will relate to at the given time. It would be best to have your case studies speak to your audience and make an emotional connection to ensure they resonate with your current and potential future customers.

Tell your Story From Beginning to End

Everyone relates to a good story. Taking it back to the basics, you need to ensure that whatever story you are telling has a beginning, middle, and end, along with supporting facts, or what I like to call “hooks” along the way. A hook can be something funny, interesting, or unique and personal that will keep the reader engaged.

Some key things to include with your story are:

  • Identify the customer (coachee) and their role.
  • Highlight the need that brought you and your customer together.
  • Discuss the customer’s goals, and if they evolved, explain how and where they stand today.
  • Detail how you guided the customer toward their goals, illustrating the journey along the way.

Compose Your Case Study in an Easy-to-Follow Format

A good case study isn’t simply engaging content; it must be well-written. Content that is presented in a clear, concise manner.

Let’s be honest; as much as you enjoy writing and reading, only some have time or the energy to go through sizeable novel-like case studies.

In reality, most readers will skim your case study to find essential parts that relate to them. So, to make it easier for the masses, I have listed some formatting elements to keep in mind while writing your case study:

  • Use headers to organize information.
  • Incorporate images, infographics, GIFs, or videos to enhance understanding.
  • Utilize bulleted lists for clarity.
  • Highlight critical points with bold or italicised text.

In addition to formatting, your content needs a structure that flows smoothly—again, focus on the engagement factor.

You can follow this “Step-by-Step beginners guide” I compiled to get you going with your first case study:

1. Start with the essentials:

  • Introduction, this should clearly state the context of your case study and outline the approach taken to coaching based on evidence, with selected text references. 
  • What industry are you in?
  • How did your customers find you? Or did you find them?
  • How long have they been a coachee?

2. Illustrate the problem you addressed:

  • What was their need or the problem that you helped them address?
  • What was the coachee doing before they brought you on board?
  • What were the results of their efforts?
  • How did the problem affect their business? This is a great place to add a little hook, like a quote and image; you can even include a video interview snippet.

3. Define how the problem was solved:

  • What did you do to solve the problem? 
  • The coaching objectives and how the process worked towards these should be clearly stated.
  • Break it down so the reader can genuinely understand what exactly you did. State the expected outcomes clearly, and how progress against these was measured and benchmarked. 
  • Include actual numbers, statistics and facts to back this up. 
  • Such progress can, but does not necessarily have to, be measured statistically.

4. Describe the impact on candidates:

  • Data speaks volumes! 
  • Make sure to include both the qualitative and quantitative points of information. The individual approach must be fully transparent and defended.
  • The Coachee’s Perspective. 
  • Include the perspective of the coachee as detailed as possible.  
  • References. 
  • Case studies usually require a minimum of five but at most 15 references.

5. Feature a call to action (CTA):

After reading the case study, keep the potential customer engaged with a call-to-action (we touched on this in my previous article). This is what will make it easy for them to connect with someone in your sales team (or directly with yourself), to ask questions, or to continue consuming your content and keep visiting your socials, website, your blog etc  

Promote Your Case Studies

Your work continues once you have written a great case study; now, people have to be able to find it. 

This means that your case studies should not only be easily accessible on your website, but you should also post them on your social channels. You can also make them printable pieces to take to networking events and conferences (if your budget allows). 

Don’t Forget About Your Case Studies

No one likes old, stale content that appears to be out of date. Make sure to revisit your case studies every now and then, especially the ones that gained much attraction for you.

Follow up with the coachees 3-6 months after the initial case study, update the post with what they are up to now, add a new quote, and edit statistics, goals or success points.

This will illustrate continued success and, most notably, that your relationship with your clients remains strong and focused even after the initial goals were met. It will speak volumes to your potential customers!

Conclusions

To wrap up, always remember that Case Studies are there to prove that YOUR business produces good results for its CLIENTS and that you are an authority in your industry. Case Studies are an effective tool for a coach to share information on their processes and proven results, especially for clients who may be new to the coaching process or someone who needs clarification on its ultimate purpose and value in the future.

To maximise the effectiveness of your case study for sharing with potential coaching clients, you need to be strategic in choosing which success stories you’ll emphasise and the current relevance and invest time in adequately structuring them. 

This article will highlight which cases will prove the most persuasive for you and benefit your first or future case studies!

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About the author: Ruta Barlote
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