How To Start Your Own Coaching/Consulting Business – Lesson 17: Overview of Coaching and Consulting

Although consulting and coaching are essentially two different methods of helping individuals to recognize and realize change, they employ the same ideology of helping the client achieve success and find a well-balanced lifestyle.  No matter area of consulting or coaching that you choose to focus on you will be assured of great personal success and satisfaction.  By now you will likely have found that your interests lean towards either consulting or coaching.  It is simply your individual preference and your own unique qualities that will be your deciding factor as to what direction you will take.

Starting your own consulting or coaching business will be a career choice that you will never regret.  You will find personal satisfaction as you help individuals and corporations meet their goals.  You will experience your own level of personal growth while you grow more and more confident in your consulting or coaching techniques.  You will face many professional as well as personal challenges along the way.

How To Start Your Own Coaching/Consulting Business – Lesson 16: Coaching Overview

There are many things that you need to consider when deciding to start your own coaching business, from education to business plans to marketing.  All you need to remember is to plan and stick to your plan.

One of the most important things that you need to decide is if the coaching business is for you.  You can have all the business sense in the world to start a coaching business but if you have no skills or qualities to be a coach none of the business know how will matter.

The coaching business is becoming more and more popular all the time.  Most people do not handle change very well if they don’t have a clear vision of what the change is all about, how it will be implemented, or what the final outcome will be.  It is the job of the coach to help the client to strongly visualize what is happening and what is going to happen.

Coaches can work on wellness goals as well as business and personal goals.  Wellness goals are the recognition of improving a client’s overall health, both mental and physical.  Anytime someone hires a coach they are benefiting from simply taking the action to change and reach their goals.

There are many more types of coaches than the short list mentioned in this e-book.  Other types of coaching include:

  • Executive coaching.  This type of coaching concentrates on clients in the professional and executive area of business.
  • Performance coaching.  Clients looking for this type of coaching are trying to enhance their performance experience.  This can include actors, artists, and anyone who appears in the public eye.
  • Skills coaching.  The goal of skills coaching is to focus on the skills that a client requires to successfully perform their job.

No matter what type of a coach a client is looking for there is sure to be one to fulfill the need.  You can specialize in one area of coaching or you may want to consider combing one or more coaching types together.

There are many tools and methods that a coach can use to get clients to recognize their goals and find solutions their own solutions to realizing those goals.  This is the key feature of a coach: to ask the right kinds of questions to steer the client in the right direction to find their own answers.

How To Start Your Own Coaching/Consulting Business – Lesson 15: 12 Coaching Tips

Following are some general tips and advice for increase the success of your coaching business:

  1. Don’t start coaching a client until you have a working relationship with them.  The goal is to build a strong rapport with the client so that you are able to work together to clearly define goals, dreams, and solutions for both.
  2. Avoid giving your client advice.  You want your client to be a part of the process of finding answers for themselves.  Once you start giving your client advice and suggestions you crossing over into the field of being a consultant.
  3. If you are upset or frustrated you should delay or reschedule the coaching session so as not to take your mood out on your client.  This always works the other way.  If your client is overly upset try to calm them down in a reasonable amount of time.  If necessary you may have to cancel the coaching session and reschedule.
  4. Always have a back-up plan.  There will be times when the plans you have made for a coaching session fall through due to one circumstance or another.  Be flexible and have a back-up plan waiting to take over.  This way you won’t be stumbling through a session and won’t appear unprepared.
  5. Follow up after the coaching contract with the client is completed.  This will help you learn from mistakes and also will show your progress as a coach.  There is always something that you can learn from each and every client.  You should be flexible and always willing to consider alternatives to methods you are already using.  Following up with a client after the coaching contract is over is also a good way to obtain client referrals.
  6. Admit when you don’t know the answer to a question.  It is important to be honest about your own failures.  You should be setting an example to your clients by showing them that even you need to seek answers.
  7. Learn to ask for help from other coaches and co-workers if you need advice or assistance.  Networking with other coaches will help remain current with new coaching information as well as promote your business.
  8. It is important to develop mentoring guidelines for you and any of your staff to follow.  These guidelines are in place to ensure that there is a certain standard that you expect to meet with each and every one of your clients.
  9. Try to be available to clients during off-hours, either in person or by phone.  This will not only establish a strong relationship between you and the client, it will also help to build your reputation as a caring and conscientious coach.
  10. Make sure that you are prepared for each coaching session.  This will be a reflection of your interest in the client and show your professionalism.
  11. When coaching in a group session, be sure to acknowledge each person presence and thank them for their participation in the coaching session.  This encourages client’s to participate in the group when they might otherwise be reluctant to speak up.
  12. Always make sure that your goal in a coaching session is to focus conversations on a specific task or goal to be accomplished.  This will give the client a sense of accomplishment.

How To Start Your Own Coaching/Consulting Business – Lesson 14: Marketing Your Coaching Business

When your coaching business is up and running you will want to make certain that it keeps running smoothly by spending time and effort taking care of business.  Some of these business matters that require your attention are:

  • Develop a marketing style
  • Identify target markets
  • Recognize your key clients
  • Re-establish and manage your business plan

The success of your coaching business depends upon you creating a vision for yourself, designing a plan, and then following through with the plan to ensure success.  It is important to be creative and to adapt your business plan whenever the circumstances for change are ripe.  This includes adapting your business plan to suit not only your own needs but also the needs of your clients.

You will need to learn how to market yourself and your coaching business.  You will need to market yourself by using:

  • Advertising
  • Networking
  • Giving seminars and speeches
  • Publicity

You may have to learn how to implement other ways to make money in your coaching business besides coaching clients.  Perhaps you will have to consider holding online coaching classes or e-classes.  You may want to think about producing and selling your own coaching products including tapes and CDs, books, booklets, e-books, and newsletters.

Encourage your clients to refer any new clients to your coaching business.  Offer a discount to compensate for any referrals that you receive.  It is important to learn to network among your clients and in the business community.  The more you get your name out there in the corporate and business world, the more clients will approach you for their coaching needs.

How To Start Your Own Coaching/Consulting Business – Lesson 13: How to Get Started

When you are ready to start your own coaching business there are several steps that you will have to take.  One of the things that you may consider is finding a qualified mentor coach that can take you under their wing.  This coach should be someone that you can work well with and communicate easily.  By finding a mentor coach you will be able to earn experience for your own coaching business while learning from someone who already has established a coaching business.  Your coaching mentor may be able to help you set up your own coaching practice and develop your own marketing ideas.

Once you have earned your certification and have decided on what area of consulting you want to focus on it is time to gather material and resources if you have not already done so.  There will likely be many resources available at the institute where you earned your coaching certificate.  Some of these resources include:

  • Coaching exercises.  These exercises can be given to individuals and groups so that you can prioritize goals or rate the satisfaction of the client with his/her various areas of life.
  • Coaching instruments.  These coaching instruments can include tests to measure leadership, stress, personality, and goals.
  • Guidelines on how to rate and access a prospective client.  This is an important tool so that you can learn to determine what types of clients you want to work with.
  • Software.  There are many types of software that are available for you to use as a resource for your coaching business.

After you have collected tools and resources that you will use in your coaching business it is time to begin the process of operating your business.  There are many legal and financial decisions that you will have to make to ensure that everything goes smoothly.  The most important thing you will want is a solid business plan to follow and adhere to.  Without a business plan you will be making hasty and uninformed decisions that may interfere with the success of your coaching business.

If necessary seek the advise of a business consultant to make sure that you have taken the correct steps for formulating a successful business plan and have not missed any important items along the way.  You should know how you are funding the startup of your coaching business.  If you are financing your business startup be sure that you have all the paperwork and money in place before proceeding further.

Your business plan should include startup costs, overhead costs, expenses, and revenue.  Since it is not likely that you will be able to accurately project what your revenue from clients will be, it is acceptable for you to include your pricing fees per client in the business plan.  This will give you a solid idea of what you can expect from prospective clients.

Once you have a solid business plan you are able to start coaching.  You will have to pay attention to many small details to make sure that your business is successful. This includes:

  • Marketing your coaching business.
  • Information packages, informing potential clients of your services.
  • Pricing information.
  • Follow-up referral services.

When you are successfully operating your coaching business it is important that you continue to pay close attention to the business details of your business.  It may be easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day enjoyment of working with your clients, but you must be certain to take care of business.  If you find that you either don’t have the time to spend taking care of business details or that you lack the inclination or expertise, it may be advisable for you to hire someone to take care of this side of your coaching business for you.

How To Start Your Own Coaching/Consulting Business – Lesson 12: Things to Consider Before You Become a Coach

The job of a coach is to listen, ask questions, and encourage the client rather than to advise or give instructions.  As a coach you will be committed to your client’s needs as well as to your own personal growth.  It is important that you believe that all areas of your client’s life are integrated, including their relationships, careers, finances, and outside interests.  You should be of the firm belief that all areas of a client’s life should be addressed while they are on their way to achieving their goals.

Before becoming a coach there are several things that you should consider and ask yourself.

  1. Do you have the right qualities to become a coach?  There are several qualities that are important for you to have so that you can succeed at coaching.  The most important quality is the ability to listen to your client.  This leads to communication skills. You need to be able to communicate effectively with your client so that you understand their needs and goals, as well as interpret their fears and discover their weaknesses.  You must be able to communicate in a way that builds up trust and confidence in the coach/client relationship.  Another quality is the ability to build a strong rapport with your client.  Other qualities that you should have are flexibility, curiosity, motivation, and inspiration.  You should be able to understand what motivate your client and believe that everyone has the capability to achieve more.
  2. Are you willing to be self-employed?  The coaching profession is very flexible and allows you to set your own hours as well as decide how many clients that you want to handle at one time.  You need to ask yourself if you are willing to deal with some of the disadvantages that come along with being self-employed.  Are you willing to be proactive when it comes to marketing your business?  Are you able to budget well to ensure that you have finances available when your business is slow?  You need to be certain that you are willing to take the good with the bad.
  3. Do you have the qualifications to become a coach?  Generally being a coach means that you are a specialist in the job of coaching.  You will want to consider attending a program offered by a college or other educational institute to become qualified and experienced in the coaching profession.  If you are going to specialize in a certain type of coaching, such as business coaching, you may want to consider taking some business courses to familiarize yourself with some of the business implications you may encounter, but this isn’t necessary.  As a coach you will be trained in the skills needed to make changes in the lives of your clients.  You may be able to earn your coaching certificate in one year to six months.
  4. What are the start-up costs for you to start your coaching business?  You should do some research and make sure you understand exactly what is involved in setting up your own coaching business.  You will want to make sure that you are aware of all the finances and other implications involved so that after you complete your coaching certification you are ready to start working.
  5. How much does a coach earn?  You will want to have some idea of how much a coach makes per client so that you are aware of your financial needs and expectations before starting your own business.  Find out what the low pay is at the bottom of the scale and what the higher scale of profit is.
  6. What is the average time spent with a client per contract?  Find out how long you will be spending with a client.  Most times the commitment is for a 3 to 6 month period.  The more informed you are about what is expected of you the less you will be surprised when you have started your own coaching business.

Before considering a career as a coach you should also consider the challenges you may encounter.  The more aware you are of all aspects of the coaching business the more successful you will be.  Challenges include:

  • Listening skills.  As mentioned previously listening skills are a very important quality that you should have to become a coach.  Listening skills may also be a challenge when it comes to working effectively with your client.  Many times you will have to adapt what you have learned about listening to a particular client.  No client will be the same and you will have to learn to become adept at reading body language and interpreting signals.
  • Learn to avoid giving advice.  Sometimes it may be difficult for you not to offer your advice and personal wisdom.  Your job as a coach is to guide and ask the right questions so that your client can experience the process of making discoveries for themselves.  Once you start giving advice you are crossing the line between being a coach or being a consultant.
  • Self-employment.  As mentioned previously, being self-employed can be an advantage to being a coach or it can be a great challenge.  When you have your own coaching business you are relying entirely upon your own resources not only to start your own business but also to maintain it.  You may have to be prepared to experience a lull in your business from time to time.

If you are considering becoming a coach be sure to research carefully before making an abrupt career change.  There are many aspects of coaching that you should be fully aware of so that you are prepared for the advantages and disadvantages of coaching.  Hire your own personal coach to get a feel for how the process works and what is involved.  Ask plenty of questions and take notes.  Take the time to take a good look at your own personal qualities to decide if you have what it takes to start your own professional coaching business.

If you are looking for educational institutes where you can earn your coaching certificate be sure to find a school that is accredited.  If you are spending time and money for your coaching education you will want ensure that you will be receiving an accredited coaching certificate at the end of all your hard work.

How To Start Your Own Coaching/Consulting Business – Lesson 11: Types of Coaching

If you are considering becoming a coach one of the many decisions that you will have to make is to determine what type of a coach you want to be.  In other words, you will want to decide in what area you want to specialize.  Whether you are interested in family, business, careers, relationships, or work/life balance you will want to find an area that interests you and in which you will excel.

There are several different types of coaching areas on which you may consider focusing.  These include life/personal coaching, business coaching, management coaching, leadership coaching, and career coaching.  There are many other areas from which you could choose to direct your energies.  Each area of coaching comes with its own challenges, rewards, and specifications.  It will be up to you to determine in which area you are best suited.

  • Life/Personal Coaching.  This type of coaching mainly focuses on an individual’s personal life but a good coach will know that it is important to integrate the personal life with the professional.  Life coaching helps individuals to recognize their dreams and goals.  The successful coach asks the right questions and lets the individual discover the answers to those questions.  The coach/client relationship is based on trust and communication, encouraging the client to open up and realize their potential in a safe environment.

    During this type of coaching the client is taught to set practical goals and work persistently towards achieving them.  The coach’s job is to help the client come up with innovative and creative ways to find solutions to different problems.

    A good coach helps the client to stay focused, consistent, and persistent.  There may be times when the client is challenged and frustrated.  The coach’s focus is on clearly recognizing this frustration and working with the client to utilize new solutions and ideas.

    The main purpose of life/personal coaching is to motivate the client to achieve a sense of balance and fulfillment in their personal life so that they are better able to face the challenges in the entirety of life.

  • Business Coaching.  The concept behind business coaching is simple: to help the client achieve success in their business life.  Clients who are involved in a business-oriented world are usually trying to develop their business and succeed.  They may need help developing their business or they may need to learn to become more confident when facing business challenges and problems.  A business coach helps the client to transform ideas and strategies into viable action while maintaining a high level of confidence.

    Business coaching will help clients to start a new business, increase their profits, market themselves effectively, implement new business ideas, and work more effectively in less time.  When a client learns to take control of their business life they will become more successful and profitable.  Business success affects all areas of a client’s life and helps to transform their entire lifestyle.

    Business coaching is exciting, challenging, and often has immediate results.  A good coach sets a pace for transformation that is set by each individual client while at the same time pushing them forward towards precise goals and task.

    A business coach will help the client define goals and achieve them, brainstorm creative and intuitive ideas, and inspire confidence.

  • Management Coaching.  This type of coaching is very specialized.  Coaches are trained to help business managers succeed at their job and learn new ways to find answers to the management problems.  Many times a coach will help a client who has promoted to the managerial position and who has no idea what role to play or what challenges will be met along the way.

    Business coaching focuses on the issues that are faced in the business environment.  Managers will learn how to deal with difficult and new situations, as well as develop new skills and methods of working with other employees.   A successful manager will be striving towards increased productivity, improved performance, better staff communication, and increased profitability.

    A good management coach will create a professional coaching environment that is conducive to developing the company’s vision by working with business managers in a new and innovative way.

  • Leadership Coaching.  The goal of leadership coaching is to help leaders become more effective in leading those around them.  New leaders will learn how to prepare for new challenges while experienced leaders will learn how to be more effective in their leadership role.

    During the coaching process a good coach will teach a leader how to enhance their already existing strengths and how to recognize their unique contribution to others as a leader.  Leaders will learn to become competent in their role and understand the importance of what they are trying to achieve.

  • Career Coaching.  This type of coaching helps clients to make the transition from one career to another.  A career coach will often act as the client’s job search partner, helping them to explore possibilities and viable options.  If there are any personal issues impacting a client’s career, a career coach can help to identify these issues, isolate them, and guide the client in solving them.  Another job that the career coach deals with is assisting the client in developing a realistic and successful job search campaign.

No matter what type of coaching you decide to specialize in, you will be certain to find your own personal satisfaction as you watch your clients succeed and excel in their personal and professional lives.

When you have decided what type of coaching area you would like to focus on, you may want to determine what kind of an environment you will use for coaching.  You may want to limit yourself to one-on-one coaching where you are working with one client at a time.  Another coaching format is a group environment, where you will be coaching more than one individual at a time.  You will have the same experience as one-on-one coaching but with the added benefit of having clients share their experiences.

How To Start Your Own Coaching/Consulting Business – Lesson 10: An Introduction to the Coaching Business

Coaching is a process of helping individuals achieve success in relationships, careers, and life in general.  A coach is someone who works on a personal level with an individual to help them realize their goals and dreams.  A coach is very much like a consultant but the differences are very precise and distinct.  Where a consultant is likely to present individuals with the solution, the coach is there to ask the correct questions and point clients in the right direction for the answers.  Although the coaching method concentrates on coaching the individual the final outcome is a benefit to individuals, families, and organizations.

Coaching focuses on a specific task and encourages individuals to find a solution.  The reason that someone hires a coach is because something in that person’s life isn’t working.  Perhaps they have a lifelong dream or goal that has not yet been realized.  Or perhaps they want to start a business.  No matter what the individual wants the final result to be, a coach is there to help them make the desired changes to realize the goal.

Coaching helps individuals to become alert and aware of the goals that they want to achieve.  Coaches help individuals to understand that they must make changes in the way that they think, the way that they act, and the way that they focus on long-term goals.  A “partnership” is formed between the individual and the coach that promotes a structure of guidance and support.

There are many benefits to individuals considering using a coach to achieve their goals and dreams.  Some of these benefits include:

  • Clarifying what the individual wants from life.  A coach will help a client to recognize what is important in life, where energy is best focused to realize this importance, and where to begin.
  • Setting healthy and motivating goals.  A coach helps the client to recognize what goals and dreams they really want to achieve instead of focusing on expectations that are often instilled in the individual by society and family.
  • Accelerate business and personal growth. Individuals will learn how to focus and work towards finalizing their goals.
  • Increased communication skills.  Individuals will learn how to effectively communicate their needs and desires both in a professional and personal environment.
  • Set priorities and follow through.  Clients will learn to be persistent and complete a task.  They will learn how to become more effective, efficient, and productive in all areas of life.
  •  Find a healthy balance in life.  Individuals will understand the importance of having a balanced spiritual, mental, and physical lifestyle.

Coaching is becoming more and more popular as people recognize that they want to change and improve their life.  There are several criteria that individuals will want to meet before they make the final decision to hire a coach.  These criteria are:

  1. They must have at least one goal that can be achieved through the help of a coach.  The individual should recognize the requirement of growth to reach this goal.
  2. They are ready to actively participate in the coach/client relationship.  The client should be committed, willing, and ready to take any action necessary to begin meeting goals.
  3. Be prepared to find a suitable coach.  Many times it may take a bit of effort and time to find a coach with whom the individual feels a sense of trust and communication.
  4. Be dedicated to answering the questions and completing the tasks that the coach determines are vital to the changing process.

Coaching comes with a lot of flexibility and room for growth.  One of the most important qualities of a good coach is the ability to have an avid interest in assisting people to achieve their goals.  A successful coach cares about each individual as well as about the outcome of each and every coaching assignment.

How To Start Your Own Coaching/Consulting Business – Lesson 9: Consulting Overview

By applying the techniques documented in this e-book, we believe that anyone out there can become involved in the extremely rewarding, highly profitable world of consulting.  In closing, we just want to emphasize that the core competencies of the successful consultant are organization, proactive behavior, and consummate professionalism.

This career choice can be summed up in one word, and that word is “autonomy”.

If you are interested in taking control of your personal freedom and professional future, then you should seriously consider a consultant path for your career.  The amount of control you can have is unparalleled in other career paths, and the benefits, after your “dues are paid” greatly outweigh the negatives.

For those of you about to take a step to emancipation from the shackles of the typical corporate ideology, we wish the greatest of luck, and happy consulting!

If you are interested more in a Coaching Business… stay tuned for tomorrow’s “An Introduction to the Coaching Business”!

How To Start Your Own Coaching/Consulting Business – Lesson 8: 15 Consulting Tips

  1. When approaching someone for the first time looking for a potential client, do not ask for their help or for a job, ask them for advice.  Although there are some charitable folks out there who like to help people, everyone loves to give advice.  You can accomplish the same thing you would by asking for help, simply by posing your question in the form of “asking for advice”.
  2. Make the advantages of your services easy to understand.  Be clear and concise whenever you are communicating the features and benefits of your services.  Be sure to explain what it is that you can do, and more importantly, why your client will benefit from securing your services.
  3. Set yourself apart are through great serviceAlways treat the customer as #1.  Be willing to go the extra mile for your customers.  This will garner you more hat you ill ever know in the realm of word-of-mouth referrals.
  4. Work for referrals. Word of mouth is the least expensive, most effective way to get new business.
  5. Don¹t try to be everything to everyone.  You know what you do well, and you should capitalize on that.  At first it may be necessary to take jobs that you would rater not be doing, but you will find that shortly after, if you do the footwork, word of mouth, as well as other forms of advertising will carry you to a point where you can pick and choose your clients.  Pick and choose well
  6. …just as customers screen you, you should decide who you want to work for. If you have the opportunity to do so (i.e.: enough business), screen your clients.
  7. Never sell, help people buy.  No one likes to be “sold to”, but it’s all in the delivery (see tip #1).  When you honestly put your client¹s interests above your own, you will become a better consultant, a better partner, and a better team member for your client.  When you put the customer first, you earn a long-term loyalty that is an order of magnitude more profitable than a one time quick sale, no matter how large that one sale would be.
  8. Use online marketing as much as possible.  Dollar for dollar, the Internet is the most cost effective method of advertising.  Start with a web site, but don’t stop there.  Targeted e-mail marketing (not unsolicited, untargeted spam) can work wonders for all kinds of businesses.  Internet message boards are an awesome vehicle for homegrown grassroots guerilla marketing.  For the cost of a broadband Internet connection, you will have an entire planet of ‘net users to get the word out to, all it takes is a little experience, and a little skill.
  9. Partner with other businesses that serve your market.  This can be especially effective when you have two up-and-coming startups who service similar, yet not competitive markets.  It can also be helpful to talk to people working for established companies that serving the demographic you wish to reach.
  10. Create free publicity for yourself whenever possible.  Even if it means giving away some of your work for free.  There are times when “2 birds in the bush” are worth more than “one in the hand”.
  11. Shift the risk to yourself and you will profit. A realistic guarantee makes it safe for potential customers/clients to try your services.  Very few people will take advantage of a generous guarantee compared to the extra business it can generate.
  12. Be personable.  To build relationships you have to build a personal connection with people.  It is critical to be personable without being phony.

  13. Be opportunistic.  A career as a consultant means having to be on your toes and on the lookout for opportunities whenever they may arise.  Always be prepared to do business in a different way and accept things as they come to you.  While you are paying attention to every possible way to advantage yourself also make sure you are…
  14. Flexible.  Flexibility is a core quality of all successful consultants.  While you cannot be everything to everybody, it is important some times to be as “much as you can be” at any given time.  Consultants are not hired on as extraneous staff for “just in case” scenarios.  Consultants are hired because they are needed right now because they are the cream of the crop.  Consultants get things done and they get it done yesterday.
  15. Don’t be too proud to give your work away.  There will be times, especially near the beginning of your career that you may find the need to work a little overtime for free, or perhaps even give away an entire project or two.  While giving away your skills may not seem like the most cost effective thing to do with your time, if you are opportunistic (see #13) and have the insight to know when a little freebie here could potentially mean a lot of paying work at a later time, it will definitely pay off.