You might be wondering, “Why hire a business coach when you’re one yourself?”
The thing is, it benefits not only your revenue but also makes you a better coach by experiencing what your clients experience firsthand.
Hiring one for the first time can be intimidating. You might be feeling like you’re supposed to know these things. After all, it’s what you make a living out of.
If you’re concerned about “How much does a business coach cost?” then career coach Robbie Swale might offer you a new perspective on this: seeing it as an investment and focusing on earning it back by growing your business.
Here are six reasons why working with a coach is the best move you can make to scale your practice, told through the lived experience of Robbie himself.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn in February 2019 by Robbie Swale and has been edited for punctuation and clarity.
I was speaking to a client of mine, a coach. We were just finishing our final session. Extraordinary things had happened for the client in her life, and her coaching business. She said, reflecting on the power of the work, “I just don’t understand coaches who don’t have coaches.”
And I don’t either.
Because if there is one thing a coach can do to have the greatest positive effect on the success and impact of their coaching business, then it is to hire a coach for themselves.
And that’s what this article is about. It’s about how, if you want to start a successful coaching business, then you should consider hiring a coach.
Having your coach will not only be a joyful, powerful, and inspiring journey, but it will also be singularly impactful on how successful you are in making this coaching thing your livelihood.
1. It’s the Quickest and Easiest Way to, Let’s Say, Triple What You Know About Selling Coaching
I was running a group supervision call with a colleague, supporting several new coaches with the challenges they were having in the first few months after completing their coach training. On this particular call, the common business coach challenges they brought were mainly around how best to enroll new clients.
This included everything from contracts to the actual mechanics of the conversations with prospective clients. I couldn’t work out why I found it so confusing that these coaches were asking these questions.
Where did I learn this? Because only some of it had been when I studied in the same coaching course a couple of years before. And then I realized that the three coaches on the call had never hired a coach.
Hiring a coach once would have shown them the answers to almost all their questions; seeing what went through their minds as they decided which coach to hire, or seeing what the coaches did and what made the difference.
In fact, they would have learned so much even from coaches they decided not to work with.
While I was studying coaching, I read The Prosperous Coach, a fantastic book by Rich Litvin and Steve Chandler. One of the things they say in the book is: Hire a coach. After all, who would (as they say, memorably) trust a doctor who told you they didn’t go to the doctor?
So after I finished my training, I went out and spoke to coaches. It was fascinating, and the lessons I took away helped me create new ways of being and behaving in my business that I could believe in.
That included ways I didn’t want to be.
And you just can’t learn all that from a 10-step webinar program. You need to play in the real world.
2. It Will Make You a Much Better Coach, Faster
The section above is about the enrollment process, and there’s so much to learn there. But hiring a coach will gift you so much more than that: It has the potential to change and inspire the way you work and change lives every day.
So hire a coach who hasn’t trained in the same place you did. Hire one who has developed themselves over the years. Hire one who’s better than you. And then learn from them. Because seeing people in action is inspiring and enlightening.
It gives you a feeling for how a different coach plays the game: how they lead and when they follow, what questions they ask and when, how they play with exercises and assignments, and what it’s like when they do.
It supports you in going through one of the most important shifts that a coach needs to go through to do their best work: the shift into trusting that you can create your own coaching style as well as your own coaching business.
That shift partly comes from seeing how other people do things and thinking, “I could do that. But would I?”
What did it feel like when they said that, or sent you that email or assignment?
What was the outcome?
Would you do it like that? If yes, then start doing it. If not, then why not?
As another client of mine said to me recently, “There shouldn’t be any shame in copying what others have done.” Absolutely. You’re here to serve your clients, to support them as best you can, so borrow what other coaches have said and done to change your clients’ lives.
I heard someone say once: there’s no new wisdom in the world, but when you share the age-old wisdom, you give it your flavor, and that makes it new. So use what your coach uses to serve your clients as best you can, and give it your flavor.
3. It Will Guide You Through Your Money Issues
I’ve spoken to many coaches, and most (if not all) of them have at some point in their life had this thought “Is my coaching worth $X?”
Often, this challenge (working through our resistance to charging for our time) is one of the things that holds coaches back from running a successful business, from having the money they need, the money that is the lifeblood enabling them to change the world.
Now, hiring a coach doesn’t always resolve that—although it can, if you focus your work there—but it can answer a bigger and often underlying question: Is any coaching worth $X?
Because once you have paid a coach $1,000, $2,000, or $10,000 and seen and felt what you got in return, you will know this. It will be a part of your experience. Was it worth that money? If yes, why? If not, why not?
When looking for a development opportunity in 2017, I came across a program I wanted to do: Brené Brown’s Daring Way Certification. It was in Houston, Texas, and cost $3,000. Plus, of course, I had to go to Houston. This seemed like an enormous amount of money until I shifted my perspective to look at it as an investment in my business.
I did this almost by accident, by asking myself this question: How many extra clients would I have to get to make this investment in my business—of about $4,000 including the travel—worth it? I was charging £1,500 for my typical engagement at the time, so the answer was easy: three.
Then I thought, would being able to say I am an accredited Daring Way facilitator lead to me getting three extra people, ever, to work with me? That ever there, that’s important. I can add that in there because I’ve made a commitment to coaching for the long term. And with that commitment—and making the commitment is important if you want to make a success of your coaching business—the answer came to me: It was a pretty obvious yes.
In the end, I didn’t go for that training, but that opened something up for me in how I looked at investing in myself. It was the final push that opened the door to “If I do things differently, I can create more money for myself.” It was the final nail in the coffin of “There is a scarcity of money available to me.”
For many of you, entrepreneurs and business owners especially, this may not be new, but for me, it was, and the shift was important.
4. It Will Teach You—Deep Down—What It’s Like to Be a Client
The sales process is not the only part of working with someone that you will learn from about receiving coaching. You will also learn more about every stage of the process.
About three months into the Prosperous Coach Salon, I was getting worried. I hadn’t made as much money during the program as I thought I would.
My thoughts were all over the place…
Is it working?
Will I get the value I want?
Am I doing it wrong?
Will I regret taking part in the program?
Has this all been a terrible mistake?
And until I wrote down my worries to try to process them, I wasn’t able to see how funny it was. When I looked down at it in writing, I laughed out loud because this is something I speak to my clients about all the time.
From my earliest clients, I had begun to see how it happens for people, often about one-third or halfway through their coaching. They worried about it; they felt like enough progress wasn’t being made.
It’s the period in the middle of the hero’s journey (that’s what a commitment to changing your life and changing yourself is) that Joseph Campbell calls in the belly of the beast, where you most want to give up, where it feels most hopeless.
I had seen this, so I often shared that this might happen with clients near the start of our work. I had felt it before myself, but this time, with more money on the line—more money than I had paid for almost anything ever—I felt it so much more strongly. And after I had had the experience of that during the Salon, I was able to notice it even more with my clients and develop extra compassion for them at that stage in their journeys.
I was also able to learn from how Rich prepared us for it and then how he worked with the members of the group (including me) on our concerns. I was also able to see how that stage is sometimes a necessary part of the process, as Campbell, Steven Pressfield, and so many others tell us. From that moment and that realization, things really started to shift for me in Rich’s program. My growth and engagement accelerated.
It’s not just that, though, that you learn about what it’s like to be a client. It’s about all stages of the process and the journey.
You learn about the beginning of engagements: How do you set them up to be powerful?
You learn about the ends of them: what kind of ending serves you when you’re a client? How can you make the way you end your engagements even better and gift your clients a powerful ending?
And you learn about how a coach manages, supports, and works with their clients throughout the process. Then you can reflect: What would you want more of or less of, and how can you deliver it to your clients at each stage of the process?
5. It Will Transform Your Belief in Coaching
“What do you actually do, Robbie?” said a friend of mine to me a couple of years ago. “As far as I can tell from your articles, you just listen to people and reflect back what they say?” It wasn’t said with malice, but I felt at least a dash of skepticism.
My stomach dropped. It played into my doubts: Is coaching even a thing?
How can sitting and listening to people, reflecting things to them, and asking questions make such a difference?
Why do people pay money for this? Is this a real job? Am I about to get found out?
But, inside me, something was different from how it had been a year before when my confidence and my belief in coaching were far more fragile. I was more confident. I believed more. Some of that came from seeing the results for my clients: From seeing my income go up and reading the feedback people had given me.
The belief came from the feeling I felt every time I left sessions with my coach and seeing the things I achieved with that energy and momentum. Things I didn’t think myself capable of. It came from understanding the value of making a commitment to work with someone for several months and to work on myself.
6. It Will Keep You On The Right Path
Coaching is hard. Being an entrepreneur is hard. It isn’t for everyone.
It has downs to go with the ups, struggles to go with the successes and stress to go with the joy. I’ve spoken before about how important it is to make a long-term commitment to coaching (indeed, I believe that’s true of any venture), because committing to the long term will free you in the present.
Making a commitment frees you to do so many things: To make investments in yourself, to create long-term relationships, and to not be chasing the next client desperately. But making a commitment only works if you can stay committed.
There’s a reason that we do what we do, that we love coaching. It’s because it’s an incredibly powerful way of developing yourself, meeting challenges, getting through struggles, and relieving stress. I remember thinking early on in my business, “Wow, this coaching I’m getting is so valuable. Even if all my business does is pay for this, it’ll be worth it.”
If you hire a coach, it will keep you invested in coaching. It will help you keep your belief and your faith, and it will help you stick with this thing, even when you’re doubting, even when you feel like giving up.
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