How To Build A Thriving Coaching Business In A Sea Of Coaches
In my honest unfiltered opinion, the coaching industry is a bit of a shit show. Now, before my fellow coaches get all up in arms, hear me out. I am proud and passionate to be part of the coaching industry. It is a booming 2 billion dollar a year global industry with tons of potential. However, as this industry continues to grow it resembles the wild west in many ways. There are some really big challenges we need to navigate as certified professional coaches, in order to build a thriving coaching business and do work the work we are so passionate about.
I’ve been a certified and credentialed coach for over seven years. In those seven years, I have worked as an internal leadership coach for big corporate companies, I have built my leadership development business- The Winning Academy, and my coaching business – Whole Life Leadership Academy, for the last four.
In these last four years, in particular, I’ve invested 1000’s of dollars and 100’s of hours into answering the question:
How do I build a thriving values-driven coaching business in a sea of coaches?
I’ve learned a ton and although I’m far from claiming to have “the answer,” I do want to share with you the top three challenges I have identified and have been able to crack open, even if just by a bit.
Challenge #1: Creating Clarity
Because there is no regulating body doing a great job of regulating the coaching profession, there is a ton of variability around who can call themselves a coach and what they do when they “coach.” There are certifications and qualifications but they are not required to call yourself a coach, and they are not all created equal.
Because anyone can call themselves a “coach” the approach, outcomes, and quality of coaching is hugely variable. It is a real challenge for the consumer to know what they are going to get when working with a coach.
We need to make it easy for people. With all of the noise in the coaching space, people won’t get the opportunity or the benefit, of experiencing your offer if you don’t package it and sell it to them in a way that they can connect with.
As professional coaches, we have a specific skill set that creates long-lasting behaviour change through the creation of new and novel mental maps for our clients. This is game-changing stuff; this is coaching. You have to educate your market on who you are, what your approach is, and what the results and benefits of working with a professional coach are.
I spent years saying things like, “coaching is just too much of an experiential experience to explain,” or “people have to experience it to really get it”. Now, this may be true, but guess what, it doesn’t cut it.
As solopreneurs of our businesses (which many of us coaches are), we are marketers. We don’t have a choice. We are in the business of sales and marketing whether we like it or not and we need to learn to love it, and get good at it, if we want to compete in an industry filled with online marketers.
Challenge #2: To Niche Or Not To Niche
After four years contemplating this question (and to be totally honest challenged by it), I am now in the niche camp. With so much noise in the marketplace, we need to be able to speak to a specific person and solve specific problems for them through our coaching offers.
This doesn’t mean we are consultants or mentors by any means. We still use our professional coaching skill set, but by niching down, we make it easy for our soulmate clients to find us and connect with us.
Understand what problems your prospective clients are trying to solve. Who are they? How do they want to feel? Then speak to them. Connect with them. Listen to them. Educate them on how you can serve them.
People aren’t buying into coaching; they are buying into you. You are the unique selling proposition, and you will be the reason your soulmate clients are attracted to your offers.
Who are you? What do you stand for? What can they count on you for? Do you walk your talk? Know the answers to these questions intimately and educate your audience on your answers.
Your vibe will attract your tribe.
Challenge #3: Make Working With You Accessible
Let’s face it, making the decision to work with a coach is a big one. It requires a huge amount of trust, resources, and commitment to growth. It’s not for everyone to dive head first into the deep end.
We need to make it easy for our tribe to work with us. Having packaged programs with multiple entry points has been a game changer for me.
Having coaching packages and programs makes the dynamic and organic nature of the coaching relationship more tangible for our clients to grasp. When I created the Whole Life Leadership 12-week group coaching program, this was the goal. A structured 12-week program with weekly coaching topics makes the process and outcomes of coaching more transparent.
Having this structured coaching program has proven to be a great entry point for many people who are new to the coaching process. They get a feel for what coaching with me is like in a group context. This is often more of an approachable entry point for people, and it is also more financially accessible. In this offer, we do some foundational self-awareness work and tool them up with practices and resources that act as the jumping off point for anyone on one work we may do together in the future.
Whether it is a group coaching program, an online course, workshops, or any other delivery method you can think of, I believe it’s a critical business strategy to give people multiple ways to work with you at varying investment levels.
As professional coaches, we have a responsibility to rise above the noise and adapt to our current environment. We have to educate, get visible, and create irresistible offers that give massive value to those we serve.
I believe it’s important to be a credentialed professional coach and be part of the movement to raise the profile and professionalism of the coaching industry. I also believe that it’s not enough to be a great coach with fancy credentials in this booming industry. We also need to be savvy values-driven CEO’s of our coaching businesses if we want to thrive.
Download the Winning Academy One Page Business Plan For Soulful Coaches for a simple way
“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.
– Marianne Williamson