Recipe for a Coaching Business Breakthrough
This article was first published 10 December 2015 and was updated on 10 August 2016.
From my own trials and tribulations as a coaching business owner and through the stories of the coaches I have had the privilege to work with, I’ve learned a lot about what works and what does not work when it comes to designing your dream coaching business.
Whether you’ve been coaching for a while or you’re just getting started, here is my tried and tested recipe for a breakthrough in your coaching business.
It boils down to five essential ingredients:
#1 Design your ideal business lifestyle and then build your coaching business around it.
It is too easy to be trapped by external influences about what having a successful coaching business means. In the end, a successful coaching business is what gives YOU what YOU want.
I often say that knowing what we truly want is the hard part. It’s ironic but it’s much easier to be endlessly caught up in taking action when STOPPING is often what we need most.
So, do you know what you want?
If not, I highly recommend that you ask yourself and answer this question, “What does my ideal day look, sound, and feel like?”.
Once you have the vision, ask yourself this, “What changes can I make in my life and in my coaching business today that will start making my vision a reality now?”.
I reckon you’ll come up with some excellent answers straight away but if you need some ideas, here are some common ones that I find coaches often need:
- Fire a painful client
- Make that phone call you’ve been putting off
- Have that important talk with your partner
- Change the way the household spends money
- Move to a new location (city, state, country)
- Leave a networking group that takes too much time without contributing to your vision
- Stop obsessing over your business
- Choose one business goal per day
- Start taking time to breathe, be by yourself, be in nature
- Make time to be with your loved ones, 100% present for them
- Let go of problems until its time to deal with them – use your energy wisely
From now on, your job is to remember your ideal day and to build your conscious awareness of the activities you are choosing (those that align and those that don’t align with your vision).
You are the designer of your life and your business. You have immense power to create it exactly as you want it.
#2 Choose a niche that’s perfect for you and become an expert.
What are you experienced in? What do you love doing? What work would you do anyway even if you won the lottery? Your specific answer to these questions can be combined to form your coaching sweet-spot.
It could be marketing, copy writing, overcoming addiction, building a business, finding purpose, yoga, leadership, etc.
Once you’ve got your sweet-spot (what you’re great at, have heaps of experience with and love doing) you need to choose your niche. What problem do you solve? Who specifically do you help?
Here are just a few real-world niche examples from Alumni of my Next Gen Course:
- leadership skills for the newly promoted
- building a profitable and easy to run hair salon
When you have a good feeling for how it is you are meant to help and what problem you are here to help them solve, I suggest that you design your own signature coaching program. Your signature coaching program is a repeatable coaching process that systematically helps your ideal clients get predictable results. It also helps you define your coaching scope or expertise area even more i.e. the topics you coach and don’t coach.
Once stake your claim, everything becomes easier: what products to create, what to charge, what topics to blog about, where to advertise. By narrowing your coaching scope you actually discover the endless depth that you can explore and master on your core topics – and this is how you become the-go-to expert.
#3 Offer coaching products at each of the four product levels.
There are four levels of products that each coach should have in their coaching product suite. By having products at each level, you are better prepared to capture people at different stages of the buying cycle and also have solutions for people with different budgets.
Start with your signature coaching program and see how many product levels you can create from it.
I’ve defined each level below and why you need each one.
Level 1 – Freebie
This is a free product you give away on your website in exchange for a prospect’s email address. Think of it as a seed product for your niche. It plants ideas about how and why a person should get your help with his/her problem.
The email capture, file delivery and email follow up components of the freebie are fully automated. So, each time someone registers for a copy of your freebie you automatically build your email list. You also now have a prospect in your database that you can follow up with through a predefined rapport building email series. The emails may include articles that you have written and/or relevant offers.
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT FREE SESSIONS: Once you have your freebie set up on your website – it does not take any of your time to deliver it, follow up, etc. So, this means that a free coaching session is NOT a freebie because it takes your time – the most valuable asset you have. Free coaching sessions can have their place in levels 3 and 4 when qualifying a prospect for a course or VIP product.
Level 2 – Information Products
Information products are things like workbooks, ebooks and templates that address problems in your niche. People can buy these online directly from your website. Like the freebie, the selling, delivery and follow up are fully automated. So, once you have it all set up, you make money without spending any more time on the product (passive income – hurray!).
Level 3 – Courses
Long-term courses (3-months or more) are a great way to offer lasting change for your clients AND to stabilize your coaching income!
With this product level, you leverage your time in two ways. The first is by creating the content once and the reusing it over and over again. The second way you leverage your time is by working with several people through the same content at the same time.
Level 4 – VIP, One-to-One Coaching
This is your most exclusive product and oddly enough where a lot of new coaches start!
Unless you are still a student or are just getting your coaching experience up, never wing it in your sessions. VIP coaching should deliver tangible results that your client has told you they need and must have from their investment. It is your job to have enough structure in your work to ensure those results are delivered.
If you are a good life coach, chances are good that your clients will get even more than they paid for. That is their lucky bonus but may not necessarily be what you officially sell.
For example I mentor coaches on creating products and getting online – sounds pretty dry right? But because I’m a skilled life coach and NLP practitioner, I will often help clear unconscious blocks my clients are experiencing. That’s not what they come to me for but they are happy to get the extra help.
TIP: These days I enjoy doing a combination of Levels 3 and 4 (Course + VIP). Clients love the fantastic structure of a course combined with one-on-one time with me to hold them accountable and to deal with all the other stuff that comes up along the way.
#4 Tap into the global market.
Let’s say that you’ve decided to combine your love of coaching with your love of hydroponic farming. So, you coach people on how to set up their own hydroponic farms.
Now, if your service is only available to the people in your home town you will have your job cut out for you because first you have to find a person near you that knows what hydroponics is and is into it enough to want to hire a coach/mentor. Next, you both have to like each other. Then, the prospect has to like your approach to hydroponic farming. As nice and lovable as you may be, that’s a BIG ASK. A lot has to align to make a single sale.
What if, instead, you share your love of hydroponic farming online?
Suddenly you become easily accessible to the global market place full of hydroponic nuts! The odds are stacked in your favor that you’ll find a whole bunch who like you, your approach and the range of products you offer.
OK. I’ve given an extreme niche here to prove a point. But the idea works with your niche too – give it a try.
If you want more motivation and inspiration to get your coaching business online, be sure to grab a copy of my Online Life Coach: Launch Pad – a free toolkit of 8 templates to help you plan for the big move online.
#5 Stick with it!
Your coaching business is a reflection of you. This means that where you are in your own personal development is likely to be where your business is too. As you evolve into better person, so does your coaching business. Sometimes time is needed not to mention the lessons that come with sticking with it for long enough.
Do you have unfailing, stubborn determination that coaching is what you were meant to do?
I hope so, because that’s what it takes! Armed with that all you need to do is just keep moving forward, having conscious awareness of what you want, of what’s working and what isn’t and keep trying out new things till you find what works for you.
No matter what level you are at, there is always the next level, the next challenge and room to evolve. No matter how much busy work you put into your business, it’s not the answer. Your coaching success lies in your conviction and belief that you can do this, moving forward at the pace that’s right for you and then sticking with it no matter what.