In executive and leadership coaching, a fast nickel is worth more than a slow dime

I know a coach who is going broke chasing after a huge client. He's an elephant hunter, but he is letting his family down.

For three years he has been working to get into a Fortune 100 company at the top levels, with a huge coaching engagement. I give him credit for his patience and his optimism.

However, I completely disagree with his approach.

Let the huge firms with almost unlimited resources go after huge projects with the Fortune 500 companies. If you are a solo coach, go for a toehold in a client. Get a single coaching engagement with a single client, even for a few months. You can show your credibility, build relationships, and gain referrals from there.

Take a fast nickel over a slow dime. The slow dime might never come, and take food out of your family's mouth while you hope and pray. Meanwhile, you can get a bunch of fast nickels in the same amount of time.

I wish my colleague would realize this. While he continues to chase the great elephant, he is missing out on lots of other opportunities that — in sum — could make significant income for him. They could also set him up with the references and credible client list to actually land the huge client.

On a related note, you never want to get rich off the first engagement with a new client. The way to make it in this business is by building long-term relationships, and getting rich slowly but surely. Again, the fast nickel is worth more than the slow dime every time.

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