Too many coaches struggle too hard to break into the coaching market.
If you are struggling too hard, there are three possibilities:
1. You have the wrong strategy.
2. You are executing your strategy poorly.
3. You shouldn't be an executive-level coach.
It took me about 2 months to get my coaching practice going when I started. Those were a tough 2 months. I made more mistakes than I care to share. But eventually I listened to what the market was telling me, and started attracting clients. In my case, I did it by choosing a target market, and going after it with a clear message and plan to get visible to key decision makers.
The market is always right, and the market also happens to be one of your best coaches about how to succeed. (It also helps to have a real coach, too, one who can help you avoid costly mistakes. That way, you go into the market with your best possible face.)
Unfortunately, too many coaches push their own passion out into the marketplace — causing executives and business owners to recoil and avoid them. For instance, "I am passionate about leadership, so let me coach you and your team about leadership." If ever there were a more worthless elevator pitch than that….
Meanwhile, here is an example of a colleague who created an instant coaching practice within the last month:
This gentleman is a successful executive and entrepreneur He knows the bankers and businesspeople in my home city, largely because he has worked with them in the past and has credibility already.
Recently, one business owner contacted him for guidance He was about to go bankrupt and needed someone to look over the business and coach him to make a plan to turn the business around quickly.
My colleague accepted the challenge and set up an emergency coaching session with this first client. After 10 hours of working together, the two of them discovered about three tactics that would bring the business back to breakeven and prepare it for growth. Now he is coaching them on an ongoing basis and — partly thanks to my advice — is charging way more than coaches who get caught up in the "hourly rate trap."
After that, he went to three bank presidents in town to talk about what he had done with his first client. Each one of them is now recommending clients to him – especially those who are a bit late on loan payments, or are about to be, and need help before it is too late.
In short, after about two weeks, he already has momentum and the start of what looks to be a successful practice.
The above example is an examples about business coaching. In my case, I started as an executive coach and got momentum
through different alliances and tactics. Also, there are many ways to get into the coaching field in addition to how my colleague and I have approached it. However, this example shows you how easy it can be to get into the coaching field — if you have the right strategy and if you have the seasoning and presence to be a good coach.
Even with the establishment of the ICF, the industry is filled with lousy, lightweight coaches. That's bad, because it gives coaches a bad name in general (although I teach you in my program to use the word "coach" sparingly and not as your lead-in). It's good, because you can probably do circles around most coaches — including those who have generic coaching credentials. Also, too many coaches are stuck in the mindset that they are just coaches, and not advisors/experts, and this opens up even more opportunities for you.
If you think you have what it takes to help executives and business owners get better, check out The Center for Executive
Coaching and The Institute for Business Growth:
We are the place to go when you realize that most other programs are full of b.s. that makes students feel good, but that is too academic or doesn't work in the marketplace. We give you a sophisticated toolkit and approach to work with executive-level clients. We also give you incredible business development tools and support, directly from the co-author of the forthcoming book Guerrilla Marketing for Coaches.
Founder and Director
The Center for Executive Coaching
The Institute for Business Growth
Co-Author, Guerrilla Marketing for Coaches