Some people are destined to help others, and becoming a life coach is a fantastic way to do so.
However, starting a business out of it can be scary and intimidating. There are a lot of unknowns. On the plus side, though, there are also a number of benefits that go along with it, including connecting with people, pursuing your passion, and discovering your worth.
So if you’ve got that inkling that this is a path you want to explore, then let’s get down to why you should and how to start a coaching business.
Why Start a Coaching Business?
Whether you’re business savvy or working up the courage to start, there are a number of great reasons to build a coaching business of your own. But here are five statistics that may give you the push you need:
- 80% of clients reported improvements in their self-esteem or self-confidence, thanks to coaching.
- Coaching has been shown to have positive effects on performance and skills, wellbeing, coping, work attitudes, and goal-directed self-regulation.
- The coaching industry is booming. In the United States alone, the revenue in 2022 is marked at US$1 billion. What’s more, it’s expected to increase with the world opening back up in this endemic period.
- The average annual income from coaching is US$62,500 in the U.S.
- Coaching has a 221% return on investment.
There are plenty of reasons that show how powerful coaching can be. As the founder of The Inner Game, Tim Gallwey says, “Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It’s helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”
So with your knowledge and experience at hand, let’s explore how to start a coaching business.
7 Steps to Starting a Successful Coaching Business
People want more out of their lives. And because of that, coaching services are in high demand.
Enter Ajit Nawalkha, co-founder of Mindvalley Coach (formerly known as Evercoach by Mindvalley)—Mindvalley’s certification coaching platform. He has helped many learn better coaching techniques to impact clients as well as start and grow their ventures.
“Many people talk about how to start your coaching business, but not many are really there to contextualize if you already had a job or if you already had a career,” he says.
Whatever your situation may be, whether you’re coaching on the side or full-time, here are seven steps on how to start a coaching business, with insights from Ajit.
1. Define your ‘why’
Why—the infamous three-letter word that can leave anyone feeling exasperated. But when you get to the bottom of anything and everything you do (or want to do), your ‘why’ is your north star.
Identifying and defining your ‘why’ helps you gain clarity. And even in those unmotivated moments, it’ll help you push through.
You can try the 5 Whys Technique to get you started. Here’s a demonstration of how it works:
Your ‘what’: “I want to get a coaching certification.”
- Why #1: Why do I want to get a coaching certification?
Answer: “Because I want to start a coaching business.”
- Why #2: Why do I want to start a coaching business?
Answer: “Because I have a lot of knowledge and expertise.”
- Why #3: Why do I want to use my knowledge and expertise?
Answer: “So I can make an impact in someone’s life and help them succeed.”
- Why #4: Why do I want to make an impact?
Answer: “So I can feel like I’m making a difference in the world.”
- Why #5: Why do I want to make a difference in the world?
Answer: “Because it makes me feel good and happy.”
This method allows you to realize real insights into yourself. So, like a curious child, constantly ask yourself, “Why?”
2. Define your niche
Finding a niche is an important aspect of starting your coaching business. It creates focus and an area of progress.
Let’s say you’re a woman who has a background in family counseling. Your niche could be coaching women who are in a marriage or perhaps those who are ending one.
However, if you’re unfamiliar with both topics—being a woman as well as family counseling—then more than likely, you won’t be able to establish an authentic connection with your clients. You’ll be doing a disservice to them.
“What happens when you’re trying to help anybody and everybody is that your conversations are not directed,” says Ajit. “You’re not showing up for exact meetings looking for a particular type of person, a particular type of conversation.”
Ask yourself who your market is and who you can help, so you can create engaging content that attracts your ideal clients.
3. Pick a business model
There are so many different business models out there. But picking one that you connect with can be like buying a lottery ticket and hoping it holds the PowerBall numbers.
Ajit points out that new coaches often try to do too many things. It gets you overwhelmed and doesn’t get you results. And when you don’t get results, you tend to lose motivation or think it’s not the right thing for you.
Instead, he suggests picking one model that feels right to you and that you feel excited about. For example, if you’re comfortable with meeting someone in person, you can consider a one-on-one model. Or if you want to grow your clientele internationally but don’t want to travel so much, then you can learn how to start an online coaching business.
Ajit advises sticking with the model for three to six months to see if it’s a model that works for you.
4. Identify your MVP (minimum viable product) and offer it to your clients
It’s called baby steps for a reason and when it comes to your business, your minimum viable product is your first baby step into the coaching world.
MVP is a product that offers the bare minimum and you can offer it straight away. It’s something that…
- Has just enough value that people are willing to use it or buy it initially.
- Demonstrates enough future benefits to retain your clients early on.
- Provides the opportunity for your clients to provide feedback so you can improve or add features as needed.
Let’s say you’re a life coach. You may want your MVP to solve a pressing problem, such as creating small motivational triggers for your client to overcome their Monday morning blues.
“The benefit of coaching is that you don’t need to project the entire trajectory of your client journey when they’re starting to work with you,” explains Ajit. “All you need to know is where does the client want to go at the end of the journey and where is the client most likely to start?”
And identifying your MVP will help reach the potential clients who have a need you can address.
5. Tweak and test everything
You’ve probably heard this saying before: the one thing that is constant is change. And because life is constantly happening, your coaching business will have to as well.
Take the pandemic, for instance. Coaches needed to learn how to adapt through Zoom calls, webinars, and coaching apps in order to survive or thrive (or both).
According to Ajit, with your coaching business, you need to continuously look at:
- How you can create better results
- How you can engage better with your clients
- What more you can or need to learn so you can grow your business
- How you can keep evolving
If you can go ebb with the flow, you may learn to be resilient in business and find it sets you apart from your potential competitors.
6. Keep your mindset in the right setting
“Some days, you will find yourself really wanting to do the work to build your business,” Ajit explains. But life happens, doesn’t it? “That’s where it will be critical for you to have a system to keep your mindset right.”
Psychologist Carol Dweck and her team looked into whether companies can profit from a growth mindset. They found that those with this particular mindset as opposed to a fixed one tend to accept their failures and turn them into success. The employees with a growth mindset are also happier and more innovative, which leads the company to experience significant advantages.
She says, “When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world — the world of fixed traits — success is about proving you’re smart. In the other — the world of changing qualities — it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new or developing yourself.”
So stay in a learning environment. It’ll help you keep your mindset in the right setting.
7. Review everything every 60-90 days
Change, of course, is inevitable. So what may be relevant now may not be in a month or two.
For example, a group coaching program you’ve run in the past may have made a huge impact on the participants. But because different people view things differently, there may be a chance it’s not as effective in the next round.
Ajit suggests looking at the following aspects of your business model every 60-90 days:
- Your learning environment.
- The possibilities that you may not have tapped into.
- Your coaching techniques and methodologies.
- Evaluate everything that you have done prior, so you can make an informed decision moving forward.
- Review coaching prices in order to match your upgraded skills and experience.
It’s important to learn how to read the room and adjust your coaching to fit the needs of your clients.
“As a new coach, somebody who’s starting this new career as a side hustle or as a full-time career, [it] is paramount for you to know what’s working and what’s not working,” he explains. “And as a follow-up step, you wanna take out what’s not working and you wanna double down on what’s working.”
Great Change Starts With You
A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.— John Wooden, American basketball coach
If you’re ready to awaken your greatness as a coach, there’s no better time than now. And you can start with Mindvalley’s Certified Business Coach Program.
With Ajit guiding you, you’ll discover how to:
- Create your unique coaching business plan,
- Attract your ideal clients, and
- Develop effective coaching skills that create results.
Because the truth is, your greatness has no limits, even as a coach. So take that first step and find out what you’re really made of.