Most people associate coaching models with acronyms like SMART goals. This is especially true if they attended a coaching certification program in which this term referred to a map guiding clients through the coaching process.
While those models come in handy in your sessions, coaching business models are essential for growing your business.
Let’s explore what business models are in a coaching business and their distinct advantages.
What is a Business Model?
A business model is a company’s plan for making a profit. A well-crafted one not only outlines the product or service a company offers but also the intricacies of how it generates revenue, acquires customers and stands out in the market.
It includes the entire customer experience—from the way products are priced and showcased to the channels through which they reach the consumer.
What is a coaching business model?
In the case of a coaching business, the basic model looks like making money by offering coaching services to people who need them.
- A business coach offers services to entrepreneurs who need to overcome certain limitations to run their businesses successfully.
- A health coach may offer coaching to an individual who is having difficulty maintaining a healthy diet.
- A relationship coach may offer services to individuals or couples who are experiencing difficulty in their relationships.
- An executive coach may offer services to busy executives running Fortune 500 companies.
It’s important to note that the model in this case doesn’t refer to what kind of coach you are (that would be your niche or specialty). Instead, it refers to what you offer in exchange for money.
Some coaches combine various business models, while others stick to one.
There’s equal potential for making money with all coaching business models, but they all come with their advantages and disadvantages.
5 Coaching Business Models to Try in 2024
Oftentimes, the one that makes the most money is the one that works best for you personally and, of course, your clients.
You can decide to have multiple coaching income streams or to change to a different business model later as you gain more experience with what works for you.
For instance, in the beginning, you may love doing private one-on-one coaching. However, over time, you may realize that you feel drained by it, and you need to find ways to implement scalability into your coaching model.
The opposite could also happen. Maybe you begin by coaching groups, but then realize you are much better at coaching on an individual level.
As such, don’t assume that once you choose a model, you are stuck with it forever.
1. Private coaching
This is the business model for coaching, where most begin their practice. (If you’ve taken formal coaching training, then it’s likely that you were required to do some one-on-one coaching for credit hours.) It’s also the easiest place to begin because it doesn’t necessarily require you to create modules and manage cohorts like you would in a group setting.
By starting off with private coaching, you also start to notice the patterns your clients are dealing with. It’ll allow you to use that to experiment with other forms of coaching models, like group coaching or offering products.
This model can be extremely lucrative because your brain and your time are the most expensive things you have. As such, private coaching is typically seen as the most high-end service a coach offers.
Additionally, it’s typically (though not always) easier to sell one high-priced product to one person than to sell a lower-priced product to several people.
However, there are some cons to private coaching. The main one is that it isn’t scalable. Since you’re operating on a one-to-one basis, your income is limited by your time.
If you aren’t booked up with private clients and actually coaching them, then you aren’t making any money. You’re also extremely limited in the number of clients you can take on (we’re not machines).
Lastly, private coaching may not be a good coaching model for individuals who thrive in groups. For example, extroverts may be better at group coaching because their strengths lie in managing group dynamics, not one-on-one interactions.
2. Group coaching
The natural progression for many coaches is to move from offering private coaching to offering group coaching. It’s more scalable because it’s a one-to-many coaching model, meaning you are helping multiple people at once.
If done correctly, this can help you make more money without burning out, as some coaches experience in private coaching.
There are a couple of ways you can conduct group coaching at different price points to meet the needs of your audience:
- Long-term group coaching. This is usually a series of sessions done in group form.
- Intensive group coaching. Intensive coaching usually refers to a one or two-day workshop where several people participate.
- Short online workshop. You can also do short, one-off coaching sessions online, depending on what your market is asking you for. For example, they may be asking you to address a topic that can be covered in 90 minutes versus a four-week-long group coaching course.
Of course, this model only works if you thrive in groups and enjoy teaching on a larger scale.
You also have to keep in mind that with this model, you actually have to sell to and close the deal with more people.
This may be more difficult to do in the beginning stages, which is why many coaches opt to begin with private coaching.
3. Selling products
This model is extremely scalable and offers you a form of passive income.
The work is done up front, and then it can continue making you money for as long as you wish. Additionally, you’re not trading your time for money with this model like you are with private or group coaching.
For example, you write a book or create an on-demand course once and then offer it up for sale for as long as you wish.
This allows you to reach many more people because a book or on-demand course isn’t going to cost a person nearly as much money as signing up for private coaching.
Of course, the downside to this is that you would have to sell several products in order to make the same revenue as from coaching.
Additionally, the selling and marketing never really ends. Once you create a product, you have to constantly let people know it exists.
Despite this, it’s still a model worth considering as your business grows and expands, simply because it’s so scalable.
4. Online coaching
The rise of the internet has made it much easier to start a coaching business with low overhead.
There’s no need to lease an office space if you’re taking all your coaching calls online. Additionally, using an online coaching business model allows you to expand far beyond your local area for clients.
This is typically a matter of personal preference that can be dictated by what’s going on in your life.
For example, self-proclaimed financial therapist and coach Bari Tessler decided to make her entire practice online only after the birth of her child, so she wouldn’t have to sacrifice any time with him.
5. In-person coaching
Some coaches still prefer to do coaching in person and meet clients at their offices or homes. This may also look like doing live events or retreats, depending on how far they want to go.
In-person sessions are a good option if you thrive around other people and would like to add a more personal touch to your coaching. It’s also a great model if you hate dealing with technology and prefer to stay within your local community.
Many would claim that you’re limiting yourself by sticking to your local community. However, it actually comes with several advantages, including low-cost ways to advertise and less perceived competition.
Some coaches even make more money by scaling down and going local than by trying to reach many people online.
Again, this depends on your preferred coaching business strategies and how you can be of the utmost service to your market.
Build a Profitable Coaching Business Your Audience Will Love
Coaching models have more to do with your personal preferences, values, and market than with the actual model itself. But the main question to ask is: What impact do you want to make on your clients’ lives?
The more experience you gain in your practice, the more you’ll be able to tell which model works best for you and your clients.
You can fast-track your coaching mastery and unlock the secrets of the pros in our free masterclass, Become a Mindvalley Certified Life Coach. Here, you’ll learn how to maximize your impact, abundance, and freedom in your practice.
The bottom line is, you’re not building businesses here; you’re forging empires of transformation.
Images generated on Midjourney.