OK, so you are interested in becoming a coach and helping others to succeed; that’s great but how do you go about getting started in the first place?
Before you start, let’s take a quick look at the pro’s and cons of running your own coaching business so you can decide whether this is an avenue you really want to pursue.
The pro’s of coaching
This could be quite a lengthy list as coaching is a business that anyone can embark upon, but here are five of the top benefits to becoming a coach:
- Anyone with people skills and the ability to help can become a coach. As long as you are an expert at something you can coach someone to become an expert too. Although it’s recommended you take some courses and get certified, the coaching profession isn’t highly regulated yet, which means anyone can call themselves a coach (perhaps this could be called a con too)!
- You can start small so it is actually quite affordable to get your coaching business off the ground. Odds are you already have the equipment needed to start; a computer. You can download Skype for free and buy a quality set of headphones for under $50. You should also have a website, coaching contract and perhaps homework materials, but again, those can all be had for less than $100.
- You can feel good about helping people in the area you coach in. There is nothing better than helping someone who is stuck in an area of their life or business and seeing them progress forward.
- You can do individual and/or group coaching. Especially for people who can’t afford one-on-one time with you, group coaching allows them a way to work with you and you to be able to help more people in less time. And if you are a business coach, as they see the benefits and results in higher profits, they will probably be able to invest more into coaching and pay to access you on an individual basis.
- You can offer add-on products or services to further assist your clients. Many coaches have books and home study products and this offshoot can generate an extremely lucrative business in itself and you can reach far more people who, once again, may seek out more access to you as they progress and see results.
The cons of coaching
- As stated in the pro’s list above, although certification is not currently required, getting certified can certainly increase your credibility and marketability. But, of course, getting a coaching certification takes time and money and this needs to be taken into consideration.
- You do need to have great people skills and patience. Just because people come to you for help, doesn’t mean they’ll do what you suggest, even if it is in their own best interests. In fact, many people are fearful and resistant to change, so you need to be able to support, encourage and sometimes challenge your clients to make needed changes to have the breakthrough they desire.
- You’ll spend a lot of time on the phone or video conferencing. If you don’t mind having many appointments a day, that won’t be a problem (this is where having an information business on the side will alleviate this issue).
- You need to be in top form whenever you’re with clients. You might feel bad/sick, have a personal issue or other difficulties in your life, but when you’re with a client, you need to be “on” no matter what and laser focused on them 100%. Remember that as a coach you will ultimately be judged on the results you get for your clients.
- It can take a while to build a solid, stable business. Getting your first clients can be tricky, but you can offer discounted or even free sessions to get them in through the door to show them the value you offer and to hook them. But this does take time and perseverance, although this can be argued the same for any business!
Now, before you even think about starting up a coaching business you need a thorough understanding and acceptance of who you are. Don’t forget that the most valuable resource you have in your business is you. It’s the one thing your business cannot do without. Take time to really understand what makes you tick, how you ended up where you are and who you want to be for the rest of your life. Yes, your business will provide an income (hopefully), but it’s also an opportunity for fun and fulfilment.
All great creations start with a dream. You have permission to dream about what you want, where you want to go, who you want to work with. Make this dream as real as possible, use all your senses. Yes, create a vision board and mind map. Test drive that dream car. Record your dream in a way that you can revisit it as often as you need for inspiration. Then check how comfortably your business fits in to your dream. And this is important, if it does not fit, then you need adjust your business, not your dream.
Still here, good! Now let’s take a look at a few personal qualities that you will need to succeed as a coach:
You Are Happy To Invest In Yourself
To succeed as a coach, you must not be afraid to invest in yourself consistently. Take a look around and you will see that this is a trait shared by the best coaches. Think about it; if you aren’t willing to invest in yourself, why should a client invest in you? You can’t help others see their blind spots if you can’t see your own. The best coaches are constantly getting support from other coaches.
You Need To Have (Or Develop) A Business Mindset
Too many coaches only want to coach. That motivation and passion is critical, but as a coach, you’re also a solopreneur. For better or worse, the stamina you have for coaching has to transfer over into maintaining the bottom line, and no matter what, running a business is serious work. This means personal branding, social media strategy, writing articles, speaking to audiences – and that isn’t even delving into the financial management and bookkeeping elements of running a business. It’s not about whether you can do it, it’s about whether you can enjoy it enough to do it. The major reason that many coaches fail is not because they can’t coach enough clients, but rather because they lack a strategic business plan. Seeing clients is a small slice of it… a good coach gets and enjoys all aspects of the business, especially the marketing.
You Are A Good Listener
Studies show that listening skills can actually boost economic success, yet coaches often fail to apply this in their own practice. The worst coaches are focused only on feeding you information whereas a great coach has the skills to facilitate a shift in your mindset and perspective, which is only possible by really listening to you and understanding you at a deep level. Once that inner shift occurs, it is reflected back with massive powerful results which will ultimately benefit both coach and client.
Ok, so you have got this far and you are definitely invested into becoming a coach. Here are 7 quick steps you can use to get going.
Step 1: What Type Of Coach?
You are probably aware that life and business coaching are extremely popular, but they aren’t the only types of coaching you can do. If you are in the fitness niche you can become a weight loss, fitness or health coach. What about a sports coach? You can also become a parenting or relationship coach, organizational or productivity coach, technical coach, sales coach or a career coach. Where is your area of expertise and work from there?
Step 2: Set up Your Business/Company
Decide your business structure, create a business name and get a business license if required. Write a coaching contract that outlines your services and expectations.
Step 3: Invest In Your Coaching Equipment
If you’re going to be doing video conferencing, download the needed software and purchase a quality headset and webcam. Some coaches record calls and give them to their clients so they can review the session. If you want to do that, you’ll need to get a recorder that will record your video/audio calls. You can use Skype which is free to hold these types of calls. If you want to run group sessions, you could run weekly webinars etc. so you will need to invest in webinar software. Whatever you do, it is important that people can hear you clearly so invest in a quality microphone such as the Blue Yeti.
Step 4: Build Your Website
Potential clients need a place to learn about your coaching business and there’s no better place to sell your coaching and related materials than on a website.
You will need to purchase hosting and a domain name (preferably the name of your coaching company). Using WordPress, you can quickly get a website live online and customise the look and feel through various plugins and themes. If you aren’t very techy, you can outsource this to freelance sites such as Fiverr.com or Upwork.com and get someone to install and set this up for you (remember that this is an investment in your business and not a cost).
Write content that is client-focused on how you can help them improve their lives. Once you have testimonials, post them on your website as social proof is very powerful.
Step 5: Develop A Marketing Strategy
Do thorough market research to figure out your ideal client and where you can find them and then develop specific marketing strategies to lure them to your business. For example, if you’re a business oriented coach, you should develop a LinkedIn profile. If you’re a personal training coach, you might want to have videos on YouTube that offer fitness tips or teach specific exercises etc. Really delve into your market and understand what makes them tick, their hopes and fears, and determine how you can position yourself as the answer to those hopes and fears.
Step 6: Keep On Marketing!
In all honesty getting your first client will likely be the hardest. Use your personal and professional network to help. Like I have already stated in this article, consider offering a heavily discounted, or even better, a free 15 or 30-minute coaching session to entice people to try you out. Deliver as much value as you possibly can during these sessions as your business could depend on it. Just because they are free, doesn’t mean you should hold back. Help them as much as you can, and once they see the benefit and that you are genuinely interested in helping them, hopefully the decision to invest in you becomes a no-brainer.
Step 7: Be The Best Coach That You Can!
This may seem to be obvious but it needs to be stated. Coaching isn’t a business to take lightly. People are entrusting their emotional and possibility their physical well-being to you. You also owe it to them to stay on top of current trends in your industry, as well as best practices for coaches.
Remember that ultimately you will be judged on the results you achieve for your clients, so give them 100% and as they see the results, you will probably get referrals and your coaching business will soar. You could become the go-to coach in your niche with all the recognition and kudos that brings, and you know that you are affecting many people’s lives for the better and there is no greater feeling that that!
I hope this post has given you some insight into the benefits that starting your own coaching business can give to you. If you want to learn more about starting your own coaching business, I have also recorded some video training that you can see here: warr.us/atgmen1