Helping Nice people sell more with Martin Stellar (Lab report # 26)

Martin Stellar, coach for ethical selling, joined us and helped his client reframe what selling means (to her), which in my experience is a crucial task to building a successful business, but one that most (nice) coaches find really challenging. I have no doubt that many of you will resonate with what Martin’s client brought to the session.

Curious to know more? Have a peek at this month’s Lab Report below or consider membership to access the recording of this and many more exciting coaching sessions (including a 45min debrief and Q&A with coach and client).

Yannick’s Coaching Lab #26 —Martin Stellar
Lab Report by Daniel Lev Shkolnik

Martin Stellar helps coaches and consultants grow their business, revenue and impact, with ethical sales and marketing strategies. Before working with coaches, he was a copywriter, and also spent 12 years as a monk in a monastery. His client Irina is a coach who wants help converting conversations at mixers with potential clients into discovery calls. She had resistance with certain sales strategies such as creating time pressure and artificial scarcity. Martin offered her several other perspectives on how to approach selling as a coach without resorting to “shark” sales tactics and held space for her to think differently about selling. 

Key Insights

Define “selling” for me – Martin asked Irina to define selling. She paused for a while to think, then replied: “Persuading someone to buy your product.” Martin pointed out that if you have a negative association with selling at its most fundamental, it becomes very hard to sell without a guilty conscience.

Selling, Reframed – Throughout the session, Martin offered several different reframes of 

what selling is. At base, however, Martin said that the philosophy of podcasters and sales-

people who advocate the “nice” approach boils down to one thing. “Here’s a human being 

facing an issue, it’s your job to get them to the clarity they need, in order to make a decision.”

“What happened there just now?” – Martin was attuned to the slight changes in Irina’s 

body, face, and general manner. The first time Martin asked Irina to reflect on a change he 

noticed, she wasn’t able to identify what had changed or why. The second time, she was able 

to gain insight and speak about the change in her affect Martin picked up on. 

“Why didn’t anyone tell me you could do that?” – After Martin provided a reframe of what selling is, Irina seemed to have a small breakthrough. “Why didn’t anyone tell me you could do that?” Afterwards, Irina came up with an exercise she wanted to try for herself where she writes down all the “shoulds” she picked up about selling over the years and re-examine them. 

Directive Coaching – Pros and Cons – Several participants picked up that Martin was being more directive in his coaching than is typical in a more traditional coaching style. It opened up a back and forth about the benefits and drawbacks of giving answers versus eliciting them from the client. Yannick pointed out that a coach that is directive in their coaching assumes he or she has the right answer. Irina offered a counterpoint, saying “If a coach has something, and they don’t give it to me, I get frustrated. I’m an adult. I can choose to accept or reject it.”


Martin offered Irina a way to reframe her conception of what selling is and how a coach can approach it. She concluded the session more willing to experiment with ways of inviting potential clients she met networking into a discovery or sample session with her, however she still had resistance about doing the same in online conversations. Martin’s coaching style was directive yet balanced with a calming demeanor. He was closely attuned to his client’s affect and was able to open her to a more open and playful attitude around selling her coaching.

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