Ep 215 – 4 Ways to Stop Feeling Lonely in Your Coaching Business

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Episode Transcript

There are so many upsides to having your own business – lifestyle freedom, no caps on your income, the chance to be your own boss, put your unique voice and contribution into the world. And, no more company politics!

But the biggest downside to operating as a solopreneur is that you are solo unless you do something intentional to change that.

Isolation is a contracting force. The longer you go without support, the faster your momentum disappears. You might question your decision to become a coach and quit.

You don’t have a team, a sounding board or even a water cooler connection. And, your clients should not be your only professional connection.

So, what can you do? I have 4 ideas for you and urge you to put at least one of these into place now to create community in the way that fits you best. Whatever you do, don’t put off finding solutions because isolation can lead to depression.

Professional Resources Help You Get Grounded as a New Coach

After training I immediately hired a mentor coach who set me solidly on a professional path with support.

A long -term coaching business mentor is a smart first step. It gives you a brainstorming partner, a way to learn the nuances of success, know best practices and next steps, receive expert feedback and accountability.

My mentor encouraged me to join the Denver chapter of the ICF. It’s a good thing I did, because that’s how I ended up co-authoring curriculum and designing the certification program at Coach Training Alliance. That opened so many doors for me and it’s why I’m sharing this podcast with you!

In the meantime, being in the company of other coaches gave me a sense of belonging and relief from the glazed over eyes of friends and family who had preconceived judgments about coaching and couldn’t understand why I quit my corporate job.

Now, if you’re not near a city with an ICF chapter, you could join ICF Facebook or LinkedIn groups. However, do be sure to create or find something a bit more personal too.

A Coaching Peer Group Will Keep You Inspired

Consider strongly creating or joining a smaller sub-group of peers. Keep your eye out for kindred spirits — coaches you connect to energetically or philosophically. People in your coach training cohort are a good bet.

Being the one to create your own peer group means you can set the ground rules and the tone of the group. You can pass the leadership role around.

I’m an introvert and knew I needed a more intimate group than the local ICF chapter. So, I co-created a peer community with 5 other local new coaches. We met for 6 years. I know this for sure … if I hadn’t had that group, I would have given up on my coaching business.

We kept each other on a professional path, laughed and learned in a co-facilitated discussion and support that was NOT competitive. That’s key.

Some of my clients told me that they’ve joined coach’s groups but stopped going because the coaches weren’t being real. Everyone strutted their successes and acted as if they didn’t need anyone else to succeed.

Well, here’s the thing … success largely comes from helping hands. And, if every coach chose a unique target audience and developed a smart coaching niche around that audience, every coach could be refering ideal clients to each other. Imagine that! This is a dream of mine.

So, coaches, let’s be good to each other out there!

In your peer group, consider pairing up with one other coach for Peer Coaching. Having another coach that’s in more or less the same place as you as an accountability partner can help you manage mindset and big projects. I’ve done this on and off with my favorite colleagues even after getting fully established.

Should You Find a Coaching Business Partner?

Some of my clients have asked me if it would be smart to seek out a partner for their coaching business — another coach to share the decisions, marketing and costs of the business.

I recommend going “partner-light”. Share office space, some equipment, memberships and software. But don’t try to share your business, your website and niche at this point.

While it sounds good in theory to have a business partner, I’ve never met paired coaches that stayed long in that arrangement and their break up was rough.

See, early on, you’re in a developmental phase where you need freedom to explore, test and tweak and to be able to turn on a dime with your preferences. Having a partner complicates all of that.

If you’re serious about this, having a full-on partnership with another coach wait until each of you has fully established in a complimentary niche. You both have a strong following and are financially successful. Then, both of you are standing in your power and can negotiate.

Simulate a Job-Like Environment

If you’d rather be out in the world in community on a daily basis, consider joining a co-working space. Or create an office like environment without the monthly costs by spending part of your work week at a coffee shop or library.

I tend to break free from my office on Fridays and go where they serve my favorite chai and have lots of work nooks. While it’s not an intentional community, it’s still a social scene, and perfect for writing content or doing admin

Now, what intentional thing will YOU do to find or create your professional community? It will help you keep your head on straight and make building your coaching business a lot more fun.