Life coaching can be one of the most rewarding profession. Seeing my clients making breakthroughs and achieving new heights in life are some of the most fulfilling moments for me.
But building a coaching business is incredibly hard.
When I got into coaching (I’ve been a life coach for several years ago), I had quite a naive idea about how it’s going to go. Sometimes I look back and wonder at my own persistence and resilience. Starting from zero and building a very successful coaching practice as well as becoming one of the most sought after life coaches in London (the competition is high here).
The reality is that only a very small percentage of people who learn the basics of coaching will ever turn it into a sustainable income, let alone prosperous business.
There are several mistakes I can see coaches make again and again that are preventing them from building a thriving business.
Here they are, in no particular order:
1) Denying being in business
Thousands of people go through coaching training every year. They learn the basics of coaching, and off you go. What is very often missing is education on how to turn it into a business. I personally believe that it’s because it would put big-hearted people off the idea of becoming coaches and so no profit for the coaching schools. This results in thousands of clueless coaches wondering what to do with their coaching skills after they coached all their friends and family members.
If you’re a coach, you’ve got to accept that you’re in business. This means that when you’re not sitting down with a client, you focus all the remaining time on learning everything you need to about business: marketing, sales, how to create content, how to build funnels, everything.
If you’re not willing to do this, pack it in. Focus on a different career. That’s the reality.
Coaching is your reward for all the business work you’ve done.
2) Being stuck in the learning mode
You’ll always feel like you should read another book or go through another course, whether coaching or business.
The key to making progress is implementation. Trying to learn more is just a fear of making a mistake. You cannot avoid making mistakes.
Mistakes are good. That’s where you actually learn what works and what doesn’t. Books and courses are just a theory.
3) Being “The nice life coach.”
Most people who get into life coaching have an above-average level of empathy. That’s great for coaching, but it’s also their Achilles heel.
I used to be the nice coach myself. I wanted to be liked. I wanted my clients to feel good during the sessions.
This resulted in me being soft as a coach.
I told my clients what they want to hear, not what they needed to hear.
Most of you are reading this, and you think: No, I’m not like that, I tell them how it is. Most coaches are very far from being in true integrity in front of their clients.
An essential part of coaching is to challenge your clients in the way they have not been challenged before. This doesn’t just mean telling them all you see and think even though uncomfortable. It means challenging their assumptions, beliefs, and making them look into areas of their mind they are terrified to look at. That’s where the breakthrough happens.
If you don’t do this, your clients will get just lukewarm results.
Getting out there as a coach can be terrifying. I know I’ve been there. But until everyone knows that you’re a coach and understands what you do, you are hiding.
To build a coaching business, you cannot be the best-kept secret. Your job is to be so open about the fact that you’re a life coach that it’s the first thing that comes to mind when your name comes up.
5) Not having a niche
I know very few successful coaches who don’t have a niche. If they don’t, then they have an incredibly strong profile. Having a niche makes everything much easier as it allows you to speak to your perfect clients in the way that resonates with them, and you can actually develop yourself to be an expert in that field.
Being (just) a life coach means that you don’t have any greater or in-depth understanding of any particular area. It may not be true, but that’s what your prospects see. If you don’t have a niche, then you have to be a generalist, and that’s really hard to sell.
6) Not understanding marketing
This includes branding, copywriting, ads, funnels, and all that machinery that is necessary to have in place in order to build a healthy and predictable business. These are the variables you can have total control over and will allow you to dial-up, and down the number of clients you have in your business. Otherwise one just has to wait until someone one calls or knocks on the door. That is not sustainable.
Learn all the above or hire someone who can do it for you.
However, you should still understand how it works, so you know if your team is doing a good job.
7) Being romantic about your life coaching business
I’ve seen so many coaches (and entrepreneurs in general) being totally romantic about what it will take to build the business, that there will be a lucky break or that it will be easy.
Without prior business experience, it’s easy to be romantic about what it takes because we’re bombarded by overnight stories and laptop lifestyle posts on social media all day long.
This is why so many coaches quit early on because they did not expect it to be this challenging.
The reality is that building any business is hard, and it gets harder as you grow because you’re joining bigger and bigger arenas.
So expect it to be hard. You won’t be surprised then.
This will help you push through, persevere, and constantly be learning and evolving.
Life coaching is a beautiful and incredibly rewarding profession, but it’s also a business, and it needs to be seen and approached that way.
Tomas is a professional life coach, speaker, award-winning entrepreneur, and the founder of OK is NOT enough – the core philosophy he uses to coach professionals and entrepreneurs to help them raise standards of their performance and lifestyle so they can create the results and life they can be really proud of.