The coaching industry has seen incredible growth over the past year and shows no signs of slowing down. While that means that there’s more opportunity now, it also means there’s more competition, making it more important than ever before that you’re able to stand out as a coach in a crowded market.
I spoke with the founders of High Performing Coach, Ryan Mathie, Tina Brigley, Maxwell Nee, and Adrian Shiel, to learn what it takes to build a successful and thriving coaching business.
Remember that you’re not just a coach, you’re an entrepreneur building a business.
Mathie emphasizes the need for coaches to think like and become entrepreneurs.
“Yes, you’re a coach, but you’re also a businessperson. There are a lot of fundamentals you need to learn.”
Nee agrees, adding that he sees too many people taking a passive approach to building their business instead of an active one.
“I see too many coaches sitting in the passenger seat instead of the driver’s seat.”
It’s important that you invest in yourself and take action to learn not only how to be a great coach, but how to build a great business. There are many ways you can do this, from online learning to getting a coach of your own or working with a mentor or mastermind group.
Invest in personal development.
All four founders also work with coaches of their own to help them grow and develop, both personally and professionally. It’s something they all credit to helping them achieve success. As Shiel says,
“to be an entrepreneur, to be successful, you have to do the inner work.”
Investing in personal development helps you build a strong and solid foundation as well as inner strength and resilience.
Personal development starts with being both willing and committed to making change happen in your life, as well as planning for the long run because transformation doesn’t happen overnight. Mathie says that
“transformation is about going within and starting to see the truth about what’s going on inside yourself. We’re often looking outside of ourselves and getting caught up in the external. It’s important to look inside yourself and get real and be willing to call yourself out,”
he emphasizes. Once you start doing the inner work, it will have a profound impact on your external work.
One way to determine if you need to focus more on inner work is to ask yourself a simple question, says Brigley.
“Are you being the coach that you would hire? If the answer is no, what actions do you need to take in order to become that coach?”
Think about what you need to invest in in order to become the person you’d want to hire.
Step outside of your comfort zone.
If you’re always operating inside your comfort zone, you’ll eventually hit a growth plateau.
“You won’t have the extraordinary life in business that you want if you stay in your comfort zone,”
says Nee. Shiel agrees, and adds that growth happens when you do things that make you uncomfortable.
“Find out what the uncomfortable things you need to do to build a business are and do them,”
he says. It’s only when you’re able to step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself that you see true business growth.
Establish thought leadership.
One of the best ways to grow your business is through thought leadership, but it’s important to establish it in the right way in order to build credibility and trust. Rather than simply posting helpful information, use storytelling to share your knowledge and expertise. It’s far more powerful to share stories rather than just stating facts, and in doing so you can create a much stronger connection with your audience. As Brigley says,
“facts tell, stories sell.”
Another way to establish yourself as a trusted source is by giving people a firsthand look at how you work. Mathie advises coaches to “show people what you’re doing and how you do it.” Share clips from your events, live coaching conversations, or transformation calls so people can see how you work.
Storytelling and showing how you work can help to build connections with your audience because it’s inherently more personal. People feel like they’re learning from a person as opposed to simply reading an article or listening to a podcast, which starts to establish a relationship.
“You have to connect with people at a personal level to build a relationship,”
says Brigley. People don’t buy as a result of posts and ads unless there’s a credible person or brand behind them. Nee agrees, adding that
“building relationships happens one client and one conversation at a time.”
Don’t worry about certifications.
Your experience, both personal and professional, is what makes you a powerful coach, not a certification. While a certification can provide you with the fundamentals, the most value that you bring to the table comes from you personally, from your experience and expertise.
“People with real life experience make the best coaches because they’ve been through so much already,”
says Brigley. Never underestimate the power of the experiences you’ve lived and the wisdom you’ve gained from them.
Believe in yourself.
Mathie advises people to
“have an unshakable belief in your ability to build something extraordinary. The future of coaching belongs to those people who are most brave, most courageous, most willing, and most true to themselves,”
he says. When you truly believe in yourself, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.