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Coaching Business: Not As Easy As It Looks

Posted by Julia Stewart

I think one of the toughest businesses in the would to build is a coaching business. I know this flies in the face of what your coach training school may have told you, before you signed up. I know that the story that I was told was that coaching businesses are easy to start and inexpensive to maintain, that you can name your own hours and make a six-figure income while working part-time. That you get to model "life balance" for your clients and you can fill your practice in as little as three months. ("Cool!" I thought.)

Actually, all of the leading coaches that I currently know about are working 12-16 hours per day, sometimes, seven days a week! Is that crazy, or what?

Why is it so hard to build a successful coaching business? Well, first you have to master your own personal development, so you can be a step or two ahead of your clients. Most of us haven't perfected this, in fact, it's a life-long project. Second, you have to master your coaching skills. Clients will gladly pay your fees if you can change their lives in a matter of minutes, but this requires a sophisticated level of skill. If you could learn it overnight, everyone would be doing it! Then you have to master marketing. If you've been reading this blog for a while, then you know how confused coaches are about this one. Finally, you have to master your business skills. Most coaches haven't owned a business, before, and this is a whole new ballgame! 

Anyone of the above masteries might take a person a few years to fully master, so why do new coaches commonly give themselves a year or two to "make it"? In addition to this enormous learning curve you still have a life, a family, income to earn, perhaps even a full time job. Any surprise that it feels so difficult?

In the real world, it tends to take about three to five years for a coach to be successful. Although, you idea of success may be very different from mine. (more on that in a future post)

If we could flatten the learning curve on any of the four masteries, that might shorten the time it takes to build a coaching business. Thomas tried to do that with the Certified Coach Proficiencies. They were supposed to give new coaches the skills they need to do great coaching in six months. Great idea! Now that we're finally certifying coaches, we're truly seeing that mastering the proficiencies means becoming a great coach. Six months isn't enough for everyone, but still, the learning curve is flatter than it used to be.

Copyright, Julia Stewart, 2005 

Topics: coaching business, Coaching, coaching skills, marketing, business skills, personal development

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