I get regularly emails from people who want to become a coach and ask me for advice. When talking to them I realised how different my ideas were of becoming a coach compared to the reality. Looking back at eight years of being a coach I have realised that 95% of the things that matter when becoming a successful coach, which I found out during those years, I was completely unaware of. Some of the things would have even scared me off! So if you are very much doubting maybe stop reading this article. However if you want to make a well balanced and well informed decision about what it really means to run a coaching practice this article is a must read.
I must say I was very naive when I started my coaching practice. Freshly after my studies I thought that having a company name, a website and a bunch of leaflets would do the job. So I posted flyers in my neighbourhood and was staring full of expectations at my mobile and email and …. Nothing…Silence! I was deeply disappointed. It took me a couple of months to figure out what I needed to do to get my first clients. I mean paying clients, not friends.
So below I want to share with you a list of things you need to know before starting your coaching business or even coaching studies.
1. It is about running a business not just being a coach
I think a lot of people choose to become a coach as they love to read psychology books, they want to understand themselves better and they love to help others. All the things I love too! Running a coaching business is also about that, but not only. Helping others grow and change is at the heart of any coach, but the business side needs to be taken seriously.
When I started my business I was spending in the first months 1% of my time on coaching and 99% on business activities (networking, writing proposals, writing columns, cold calling, networking, more calling and more writing). Through the first years the percentage of time I spent on coaching and on the business started to shift from 10% – 90%, to 20% – 80% , to finally 50% – 50%. I realised that for me it is a perfect split.
2. You will need to put yourself out there
The coaching business is getting more and more popular. So if you think you will be able to hide yourself behind your computer, forget it. You need to go out and network. Tell people about yourself and about what is it that you are doing. Lots of people who are choosing to become coach are often introverted and shy. Which is a common characteristic, at the end it is about the client, not about the coach. But if you want to make your name for yourself fast you need to let yourself be heard and seen.
3. It can be very lonely at times
I love to be my own boss and work independently. I love the flexibility but I also often miss the team spirit I used to have when working for a company. If you really like team work, think of finding a partner or at least work in a co-working place.
4. You need to have more talents than just being good with people
This point relates to point #1. It is about running a business and being the face of your business. I didn’t have a clue that I was going to give workshops, do public speaking events or to write articles or even a book. You are like a spider in a web. It is also good to realize that at the end of the day there is only so much you can do by yourself. So nowadays I also work with other freelances who help me to do things in my business that I enjoy less or am less good in.
5. You need to continously invest in yourself and your business
Your coaching course is just the tip of the iceberg. In order to stay up to date with coaching and with the business side of it, you will need to invest time, money and energy to stay on top of the game. I love this part. One of the reasons I became a coach was because of my passion for self-development. Being a coach is a continuous self-development journey in many different ways.
6. Your work never ends
Running a coaching business offers definitely lots of flexibility, this is also a part I love about it. You decide when you see your clients and when you work. But there is also another side of the medal. You are never finished with work. Having your own business is like having a child. You feel and are always responsible for the result. The more love and attention you will give it, the better and healthier it will grow. And because you love your job, you don’t mind working in the evenings and in the weekends.
7. Coaching is the most beautiful profession I could have ever imagined
Despite the hard work and the hurdles to take when building a business, coaching is for me the most beautiful profession I could have ever imagined. To be the witness of people’s journeys and transformations is such a privilege. To be able to help people so they can find their purpose and live a happier life. To meet people from so many different cultures, countries and professions is an amazing experience every single time.
So if you are not discouraged by the list of things to bear in mind when starting a business, go and live your purpose and passion of being a coach.