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Aren’t coach training skills so juicy? You can’t wait to get out there and use them. For new coaches that’s where most of their investment of time, money and energy is spent – on coach training. Soaking in the techniques.
But the reality is that it’s tricks of the trade that will help you earn well and stay in business. Coaches need business training specialized to coaching businesses as much as coach training.
I did not give a thought to business skills until I floundered in my fledgling business and then I scrambled because I had already let go of my job.
Along the way I learned that it’s not only okay to be a beginner but it helps to get the most out of the beginner mindset. Learning incrementally is how you integrate what you’re learning.
So let’s start with that …
The #1 Skill You Need to Be a Successful Coaching Business Owner
… is the ability to learn from your mistakes. You need to be willing to make them then use the concept of “continuous improvement” to guide you forward. It’s a helpful attitude that will help you shut down mean self-talk like: “I’m no good at this!” or “I can’t make money at this!”
Learn the foundation from a single coaching business mentor to start and then stay open to learning opportunities every day. Thinking about mistakes as opportunities will help you’ll grow fast and have fun with your business in the first year.
And, hear this … if you aren’t willing to learn and stumble so DO NOT start a business.
There’s nothing wrong with choosing another path to coach besides starting your own business. Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone.
There are some organizations that hire coaches as either employees or contractors. You’ll likely earn less than you can as an entrepreneurial coach but you won’t have the hassle of marketing. Expenses will be low too.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating free lancing or being an employee of a coaching organization because I’ve never done it although I’ve had clients who started that way.
See, I knew that I wanted to have my own business long ago. I came to a decision in my late 30’s that I did not ever want to have a boss again. I wanted to do things my way and enjoy all the freedoms that come with entrepreneurship. I LOVE IT! I hope you will too.
Did I fully understand the responsibilities of running a business at first? Not at all!
And that’s the #2 critical skill — take responsibility for your success every day. That means you faithfully do what must be done and learn not to sweat it.
It’s not just about showing up for clients. That’s the easy part. It’s showing up for ALL OF IT. Sure, some new things feel uncomfortable. Some require training or expert support. But if you keep showing up your comfort zone grows surprisingly large! I had no idea that I would know how to do so much so well.
I never shirk publishing a weekly podcast episode. Is it a lot of work? Yes, but it’s also a huge joy for me to know that I’m providing real practical support to new coaches. And it’s the most effective way to attract my ideal clients. It’s so gratifying to hear in a Discovery Call that they’ve binge listened to episodes.
At first, few coaches love the idea of marketing but you can learn to enjoy it especially if you approach marketing and sales in a non-salesy way, which is what I teach coaches.
Do you hate the idea of social media? I get it. But, here’s the reality, unless you have a ready-made network of people longing to hire you already or some platform you can use to funnel a steady stream of clients to you, social media is a central part of attracting clients for most coaches.
You will find your way and you only need to learn to master one social media channels that’s ideal for your audience. You can do it! And you’ll probably enjoy it!
Timely, Thoughtful and Respectful
The #3 essential business skill is timely, thoughtful and respectful. Seems obvious right? But it’s interesting how being good at coaching doesn’t necessarily translate to good communication in other aspects of your business.
For example, quality written communication is, unfortunately, a skill that people are increasingly poor at because of texting and social media. But written communication is a HUGE part of running a coaching business. You need to create documents, write excellent emails, possibly blog.
I’m not just talking about have less typos or using good grammar. The big pitfalls of poor written communication start with slow response and incomplete reading.
If a client or colleague emails you read it completely, respond thoroughly and craft your language respectfully. And make your paragraphs short. No one likes to read big paragraphs! I can’t tell you how often I get an email from a new coach that’s 500 words long in one paragraph. Not good.
The 4th essential business skill continues with respect. Respect yourself and respect others. This isn’t easy and it’s worth continuous improvement.
3 Ways to Show Yourself Respect
- Do what’s right for you rather than people pleasing. (Episode 218 is all about people pleasing. Check it out.)
- Set strong personal boundaries. Don’t let anyone walk on you. But that doesn’t mean you should go “off” on them either.
- Live in integrity.
3 Ways to Show Respect to Others
- Show up on time. Be responsive.
- Show compassion and kindness but don’t be patronizing.
- Be grateful and thank others for their help.
And the #5 top skill for being successful at your coaching business is decisiveness. This one takes practice.
Nearly every coach I’ve met is a perfectionist in mindset if not in habit. I used to be too. There’s a tendency to over analyze, second-guess, trust others over themselves and experts and slide back after making a decision.
One of the things I teach my VIP clients is the concept of getting to good enough. That’s not sloppy work. It’s working smart. And it’s critical to be agile in your business to succeed.
- Gather some, but not ALL information.
- Take guidance from your intuition.
- Apply thoughtfulness and creativity, then edit strategically.
- Finalize and move on to the next thing.
I’ve worked with coaches who are FAST! They know what they want, what’s important to them, and they also can take direction, run it through their filters then decide. That decisiveness is a highly prized in the marketplace.
I’ve also worked with coaches who are slow to decide and act because they don’t trust the process or themselves. It’s important to give yourself some rein and remember, be okay with mistakes.
It’s better to move forward with an educated guess than it is to endlessly study, mull, agonize and slowly getting to market. Perfectionism actually holds you back in life.
Are you going to take weeks to accomplish one task? No way. Get to good enough and move on, which will literally pay off in higher income, more ideal clients and more joy in your business.