The ultimate guide to how to start a coaching business

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Is it your passion to help people realize their dream goals?

Do you get a thrill when you see them become their best?

Have you ever thought of turning this flair into a cool coaching gig?

If that's a big "yes," you're at the right pit stop!

But to kick off this epic adventure, you should have more than just skill and love for what you do – you need a smart game plan.

And we're here to hand you the ultimate playbook to help you win!

Over time, we've helped a ton of coaches – with drive, smarts, and talent – who were initially either freaked out by the tricky bits of starting their own coaching business or swamped by the pressure of dealing with sticky situations on their own.

This guide is your key to unlocking all such logjams.

We have the magic toolkit you need to build a rockstar coaching business that keeps your dream boat sailing smoothly as you cruise through this voyage!

You'll learn to use super-smart strategies to establish your presence, tips on making an extraordinary difference to draw in a steady flow of clients, and tricks to pump your influence and extend your reach – all without the risk of running yourself ragged.

Step 1:

The Right Mindset To Start A Coaching Business

Begin with the key attitude – thinking for winning.

After all, change comes from within. Getting this equation right is a super important first step to sparking change in the people you coach.

As the famous coach Rich Litvin puts it, "You can't take your clients any deeper than you've gone yourself."

rich litvin quotes

This journey will test your grit, bravery, and strength and lead you to take a serious look at yourself and where you stand.

This means defeating fears that may be holding you back.

Mastering the right mindset will help you ace your service to clients and toughen you up to conquer any hurdle.

You need to get up close and personal with what's stopping you from getting results, what's holding you back from creating the life and business you want, and what's keeping you from reaching your potential.

Doing this type of inner work isn't easy...

It requires mental strength, courage, and honest reflection.

I'll be straight with you...

Starting a coaching business is a rewarding, satisfying experience, but it will also be one of the hardest things you'll ever do.

So many gifted coaches I know end up quitting or closing their business not because they don't have the right strategies in place...

Not because they don't have a great product or service but because they have doubts about their skills and limiting beliefs about what they deserve and how far they think they can go. 

Having the right mindset in place is key when figuring out how to start a coaching business.

Take charge right now and learn to master your mindset so that you're always at your best when you're in a coaching conversation with a client.

Remember: You're good enough, and you've got this.

Step 2:
Master Your Coaching Skills

Being a coach isn't just a job; it's like evolving into a superhero!

And the secret to being an amazing coach? It's practicing like crazy, always learning, and promising to improve daily.

Here's something to think about. Every amazing coach started at the bottom, working hard to improve.

Learning and getting better is like the fuel in your jetpack that'll send you soaring as a coach!

You have to help yourself grow before you can help others grow.

As a coach, your superpower is helping others change for the better.

And you need to push it.

To be the best coach you can be, you have to strengthen these five super skills:

icon1 listening skills

Listening Skills: The best coaches are the best listeners. Understand what your client is saying and what they're feeling but not saying.

icon2 communication skills

Communication Skills: A coach needs to give advice in a way that's easy to comprehend. And they need to make sure their clients feel like they can talk about anything.

icon3 empathy

Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: It's really important to infer the same things your clients are feeling. This makes your bond with your clients strong and trusting.

icon4 adaptibility

Adaptability and Flexibility: Every client is different, so you must change your coaching style to fit them. There's no one-size-fits-all in coaching.

icon goal setting

Goal Setting and Motivational Skills: Coaches must help clients ascertain their goals and how to reach them. This means cheering on your clients and making them feel confident and strong.

These super skills are like the secret ingredients to being a great coach in anything.
Each skill makes the others even stronger, and together, they make you a full-package coach.

So, keep coaching, and keep learning – this is your road to becoming a coaching superhero!

Step 3:
Choose Your Coaching Niche

A big part of starting a coaching business is picking out what type of coaching you will specialize in.

Having a unique coaching spot, or "niche," and clarity about the people you want to coach helps you stand out and attract the clients who will most benefit from your style and special skills.

Your niche should match what you're great at, what you love, and your life experiences.

It's about finding that sweet spot where your talents and passions meet.

There are loads of coaching areas you could dive into.

Perhaps you're drawn to life, business, wellness, or relationship coaching.

The goal is to become a super-pro in your chosen spot, giving top-notch advice and support to folks searching for your unique skills and know-how.

By understanding your ideal coaching client - their age, where they live, what job they have, how much money they make, or what they're into - you can find ways to grab their attention.

To pin down your coaching niche, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are you great at?
  • What lights your fire?
  • Who would you love to coach?
  • What hurdles and goals are your dream clients dealing with?
  • How can your unique life experiences and wisdom help your clients reach their goals?

Here are five profitable coaching niches that you can consider:

#5 Wellness Coaching:

With health worries and stress rising, more folks are seeking wellness coaches who can help them grow and become their fittest.

wellness coaching

#4 Life Coaching:

Life coaches are there for people needing advice on different life stuff, like relationships and finding happiness. If someone's searching for purpose, they can turn to a life coach.

life coaching

#3 High-Performance Coaching:

This coaching spot is a hit in the business world. Companies big and small love coaches who can help their employees get better at what they do, making this a top-paying area.

high performance coaching

#2 Career Coaching:

As more folks are rethinking their jobs or thinking about changing careers, there's a growing need for career coaches.

career coaching

#1 Small Business Coaching:

Small businesses are the heart of many economies worldwide, so business coaches always need to help these businesses do even better, especially when times are tough.

small business coaching

Remember, being a coach is about making a difference while ensuring your time, effort, and clever ideas are valued.

By picking the right coaching spot and understanding your coaching crowd, you're setting up your coaching job for success.

Step 4:
Define Your Coaching Model

A business model is how a company plans to make a profit. When it comes to your coaching business, it's all about offering specific coaching services that your clients need. For example, a top-level executive coach can help CEOs fine-tune their leadership skills.

This model isn't about the type of coaching you do (your niche) but more about what you give and get back in return — like money!

There are loads of different coaching models, and coaches usually pick and mix the ones that best match where they're at in their careers and what they believe in.

It’s important to remember that the coaching model you pick isn't set in stone. Just like you, your model can change and evolve with time.

Maybe you start with one-on-one coaching but realize that coaching a group gets your energy flowing. The key is to keep an open mind about refining your model as you gain more experience and know-how.

Here's a quick rundown of some popular coaching models:

1 on 1 coaching

One-on-one coaching:

This is where most coaches start. Your time and skills are valuable, so this can make good money. But it's a one-on-one thing, so there's a limit to how many clients you can take on.

group caoching

Group Coaching:

With this model, you can coach more than one person at a time, like long-term group coaching, intense coaching workshops, or short online sessions. It's great if you enjoy working with a group, but you'll also need to get more clients, which can be tricky.

selling products

Selling products:

This includes writing books or creating online courses. It's great because it can keep making money even when you're not working. But you'll need to keep getting the word out there and make lots of sales to earn a decent income.

online caoching

Online Coaching:

This model is a good one if you want to reach clients beyond your local area, and it doesn't have many extra costs.

in person coaching

In-person coaching:

This is for you if you like meeting clients face-to-face. It might involve visiting clients' homes or offices, hosting live events, or even retreats.

In the end, the best coaching model is the one that fits who you are, what you stand for, and what your market needs.

As you become a more experienced coach, you might start combining these models or creating your own to grow your coaching business

Remember to keep asking your market what they want; their feedback will help you develop services that sell well and really help your clients.

Step 5:
Craft Your Coaching Packages

Structuring awesome packages for your clients is a highly relevant part of your coaching business.

Not only does it give your clients something valuable, but it also makes your offering stand out in the crowd.

Here's how to whip up a winner:

Know Your Clients' Needs: First, get to grips with the problems your clients are dealing with and then figure out how your coaching can help solve them. Understand their goals and shape your packages to meet these specific needs, like a tailored suit!

Define Clear Outcomes: Your coaching bundle should clearly outline the changes, results, or wins your clients can expect. When they get a clear picture of the payoff, they're more likely to recognize the worth of your service.

Plan Your Sessions: Work out how many sessions you'll have and how often, what kind of assistance you'll give between sessions (like email support), and any extra goodies you'll provide, like worksheets or assessments.

Set the Right Price: Your pricing should match the value you're offering. Price it too low; it'll devalue your service – setting off alarms that blare, "Maybe this isn't that great"; set it too high, and you could scare off potential clients. Doing some detective work on the market can help you tap the Goldilocks Mean – yes, one that hits just right!

Give Options: Offering different levels of packages can cater to different budgets and needs, opening up your services to more people. Each level should become more accessible and offer greater value.

Try, Learn, Tweak, Repeat: Lastly, it's important to ask for feedback and keep tweaking your packages based on your clients' needs.

Crafting irresistible coaching packages is the art that blends understanding your clients and offering clear value, aligning it with your business goals.

When you hit the sweet spot, it can turbocharge your business growth and make your clients super happy.

Step 6:
Set The Right Price

Most new and seasoned coaches get stuck because they mix up the value of their coaching packages with their personal worth.

To dodge this, we need to focus less on how much we value ourselves or how much time we've spent on a package.

Think of it like this; you're not just selling a service; you're selling a solution to their problem.

Let's say you're a business coach, and you've helped a company pull in an extra $1 million. In all fairness, you could charge 10% of that extra income, which would be $100,000. This way, your price tag clarifies how much you're worth to the client's business.

The same logic works for health, life, and high-performance coaches.

Your price should connect with the client's goals, like losing weight, better relationships, or getting that dream job.

But remember, you have to make sure your price is something your clients can afford.

Knowing how much you want to earn in a year, working out your monthly and hourly rates, and figuring out how many hours you want to work can help you create a fair price for yourself and your clients.

One more thing: don't sell yourself short.

If you price too low, it doesn't just shortchange you; it could also make clients less committed to their goals.

A higher price means they're more likely to stick with it.

For health and well-being coaches, don't go below $3,000 for a package. And if you're a business or high-performance coach, set a minimum of $5,000 for a three-month package.

These minimums make sure you're valuing your expertise and getting committed clients.

Lastly, practice makes perfect.

Practice explaining your price and what it includes.

Try it out in front of a mirror or with a buddy. The more confident and clear you are, the better your chances of getting clients on board.

You have to balance the value of your results, your worth to the client, what your clients can afford, and your self-worth.

By juggling these right, you can set a price tag you're happy with and attract clients who understand and appreciate your worth.

Discover how to price your coaching packages like a pro.

Step 7:
Learn The Art of Client Enrollment

Let's be honest; many super-talented coaches can get tied up in knots when it comes to sales.

They worry about sounding sneaky or pushy. But here's a different way to think about it.

Sales is love. Sales is just another way to show love and service to your clients.

Selling allows you to serve.

And so, your mantra becomes ...

Serve first.

Approach sales and the act of selling as a service to your clients.

You're not trying to trick anyone; you're offering a chance for them to change their life with your help. It's like opening the door to a room full of amazing possibilities.

Of course, you're going to hear 'no' sometimes.

That's part of the game. But don't take it as a sign that you're not a good coach.

It's just one more step towards that awesome 'yes' you aim for.

Here's a playbook on how to do it:

Step 1: Don't think of 'no' as a dead-end. Instead, make it a starting point for a conversation. Be like Sherlock Holmes and ask questions to understand why the client hesitates.

Step 2: People can say 'no' for many different reasons.

Step 3: Once you know why they said no, you can address it. Maybe they need more information or some doubts cleared up.

They might not think coaching will help them. In that case, try to understand what they would find helpful. You're not trying to force them into anything; just getting to know what makes them tick so you can do better next time.

They didn't understand what you were offering. If that's the case, take a deep breath and explain it again, ensuring they see how it fits their goals.

They don't have time. Some folks may say they're too busy. If that's the case, suggest touching base in a few months as convenient.

They can't afford it. Money can be a problem for some people. If they can't afford your rates, consider payment plans or working out a deal that lets them pay later. You don't want to cheapen your work, but there are ways to make it more accessible.

They think your prices are too high compared to others. Explain why your coaching is worth it. Use an example they can relate to. Say, all cars can get you from A to B, but a luxury car offers a more comfortable and enjoyable ride, so it costs more.

Finally, you just might not be a good fit for each other. That's okay. It helps you determine who your ideal clients are and how to appeal to them.

In the end, hearing 'no' isn't a failure.

It's a chance to grow.

So don't shy away from it.

Embrace it.

But what to do if a client says “No”? Watch this video to learn how to turn a No into a Yes during client enrolment.

Step 8:
Set Up Your Online Coaching Business

Starting an online coaching business is bigger than just setting up a website.

Here's a simple guide to help you on your way.

step1 choose

Step #1: Choose Your Lane and Make Your Mark

First, think about who you want to help.

Maybe small businesses need your expertise. Next, figure out what kind of impact you can make. Maybe you're a wizard at helping people boost their confidence.

Whatever you're good at, ensure it aligns with your chosen crowd.

step2 story

Step #2: Shape Your Story

Your next task is to put your thoughts into words.

This is what we call content.

Content is the engine that powers your online presence, sparking changes even before you chat directly.

Depending on your style, you might choose YouTube for longer talks, podcasts for a chit-chat style, or quick videos on Instagram or TikTok.

You may even prefer writing on LinkedIn.

Choose the platform you're most comfortable with and go where your audience can find you.

step3 action

Step #3: Turning Words into Actions

Now, it's time to turn those words into actions – your content becomes a conversation, which then becomes coaching.

This isn't about selling but about real talks that help you understand your audience.

Once you've built trust, you can invite potential clients for a coaching chat, and if they're a good fit, you can offer them your coaching services.

step4 try

Step #4: Try, Test, and Tweak

Your journey won't stop there.

Keep creating content, catalyzing conversations, and continue to coach.

Keep adjusting your packages based on feedback. This ongoing cycle will help you get better and better at meeting your clients' needs.

Just remember, success doesn't just mean making a lot of money — it's about learning and improving consistently.

It's about identifying your target market, creating impactful content, fostering conversations, providing coaching, and constantly iterating based on feedback.

Your Next Steps

Once everything is in place, dive in and start your online coaching business.

Keep meeting other coaches, and never stop learning to help boost your skills and reputation.

And most importantly, have fun! Your love for coaching is what will make you successful. The joy you get from your work will make you a happier coach and keep your clients happy.

If you're ready to climb aboard, check out our coaching certifications and resources.