Coaching is a low-cost business that can be rewarding and yield potentially high returns. As a coach, your role is to guide people to achieve success in their careers, relationships, and life. You help identify the problems, challenges, and weaknesses they face in their life or in their business and help them overcome these challenges.
Coaching is different from consulting. Whereas a consultant helps the client identify problems and then propose solutions to address the problems, a coach guides the clients in finding the solutions to the problems. Through a process of questioning and in-depth exploration, the coach helps the clients find ways to solve the problems.
There are a number of specializations that you may want to consider and focus on, such as:
- Business coaching
- Leadership coaching
- Personal development coaching
- Career coaching
- Time management coaching
- Mid-life coaching
- Relationship coaching
- Wellness and health coaching including weight management
- Training coach
Depending on your specialization, there are many opportunities for coaches. Business coaches can help entrepreneurs reach their goals. Even Fortune 500 companies hire business coaches to help their employees become more productive, become a better service provider, improve interaction and synergy with other employees, and enhance their performance. A relationship coach, on the other hand, can work with married couples or singles looking for relationships.
What You Need to Start a Coaching Business
The coaching business is all about your ability to understand what your customer wants and — and how you can help them get it. Your success as a coach hinges on your confidence, people skills and ability to communicate. This is a business suitable for someone who loves to talk, and comfortable with speaking to large groups of people. You need to be comfortable dealing with people, as this is a business that requires you to be up front and center with other people. You need to be enthusiastic and easy to get along with.
Coaching is a two-way relationship: it’s not just about you telling the client what to do. Instead, you need to listen well, be emphatic and know how to get inputs. Also, you need to be willing to challenge them – even be bold – especially for people who need to be pushed out of their comfort zones to grow.
In terms of equipment, the initial startup cost for starting a coaching business is low. You will need:
- Computer, including portable computers such as tablet and laptops
- Communication equipment such as smart phones
- Mobile hotspot or Wi-Fi-enabled devices especially if you are constantly on the road
- Videoconferencing equipment and services
- Software for keeping track of projects, timesheets and billing, as well as for managing client portfolio.
- Software to create diagrams such as flowcharts, mind maps, decision trees, charts, workflow diagrams, among others.
- Office supplies
More importantly, as a coach, you need to develop your coaching tool kits. A general coach may have in its tool kit the following:
- Questionnaires to assess how coachable the client is
- Process to help develop vision and mission statements
- Process for goal setting
- Force field analysis to build an understanding of what will drive and resist a proposed change
- Organization tools including paper flow, productivity, project management, among others
- Development plans
- To do lists
- Personality profiling
- Improvisation resources (games, exercises, etc)
On the other hand, a business coach’s tools could include S.W.O.T. analysis, business templates such as business planning and sales templates, internet marketing tools, small business planning, among others.
Importance of Credibility for a Coach
Credibility is a must to successfully jumpstart a coaching business – but is also one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome. You need to clearly show that you have the skills, knowledge, and ability to help your clients with the support, advice and guidance that they need.
There are a number of ways you can establish credibility, such as:
- Experience in the field or industry
- Track record as a coach
- Education and Training received
- Certifications, such as those offered by the International Coaching Federation
- Published books
- Media exposure such as newspaper columns, television interviews, radio interviews
- Seminars and workshops
The above list helps you show potential clients that you know the business well, and that you can develop strategic and tactical plans for them. Most of all, your training, experience and learning give them the assurance that you can solve their problems.
But if you don’t have any of the above, how will you establish your credibility? You can you’re your persistence and lots and lots of enthusiasm. You need to clearly show your passion, and you’d like to be given a chance to work with your potential clients.
Instead of focusing on your track record (or lack of it), focus instead on your coaching process. Be sure that you have a solid coaching process that you can present to clients. You need to have a roadmap on how you will:
- Define the issue
- Understand the client’s environment
- Set the objectives
- Build capability
- Commit to action (including key performance indicators)
- Sustain momentum
- Manage the activities
- Reinforce success
It is important to understand that credibility can be gained – and also easily lost.
What You Will Earn as a Coach
As a coach, you can earn through one-on-one coaching or group coaching. The price you charge will depend on your qualifications, experience, and market demand. Some coaches can make $30 per hour, while some can command as much as $500/hour or even more. How much you will earn will also depend on whether you are serving businesses or individuals as clients.
In addition to coaching, there are other ways a coach can earn money such as:
- Speaking engagements
- Writing books
- Selling courses online, including instituting an affiliate program where others sell your products for a commission
- Package content into eBooks including Kindle
- License your program to companies and trainers
- Create a paid members-only website
Recommended Books on How to Start a Coaching Business: