The Coaching Business Backslide: How to Get Out of Your Own Way

You’ve invested a lot of time, money and passion to become a professional coach. No doubt, you’ve already made a difference in people’s lives.

But that initial push to learn how to coach and build your business foundation can quickly turn into disillusionment if paying clients don’t beat a path to your door at the get-go.

Impatience slows manifestation. Is it time to get out of your own way?

After 16 years of mentoring, I witness 3 main ways that coaches get in the way of their own success at this stage:

  1. Allowing doubts to crush momentum after a few coaching prospect rejections.
  2. Hiding behind the computer, constantly repositioning their niche, website and messages.
  3. Becoming paralyzed, afraid to get out there consistently to build trust and enroll clients.

Sound familiar? Here are 3 ways to think differently about your blossoming business …

Check Your Expectations

Expectation is a possibility killer because it lacks the most essential ingredient of possibility thinking – being open to outcome.

Words to live by: Happiness is low expectations. The idea isn’t to settle for less or shut down when challenged.

The idea is to BELIEVE in the journey. Set goals and create a vision. Then, make it happen with courage and grit. After all, isn’t that how you’d coach your clients?

That’s why self-made entrepreneurs are so celebrated. They believed and persevered.

But, if you ask them, they’ll tell you of delays, unexpected challenges and learning from mistakes … many mistakes.

There’s a lot of rhetoric out there that might make you think any coach can and should become an instant phenom.

But, if you pause for a moment, you’ll see that the people selling that message are working very hard at their own success. They’ve got a profitable niche, smart messaging, conversion processes, clear offers, and a team working with them to build their own little empires one day at a time.

Like every other entrepreneur, they built their empire on delays, unexpected challenges and learning from mistakes.

Give Yourself the Gift of Momentum

Consistency + congruence = leverage.

Leverage rocks! After 18 months of consistently blogging to my audience with a congruent message, I started enrolling clients from Google searches! I earned more with less effort.

One day – when you’re not tapping your foot with expectation – your efforts will arrive at a critical mass and something unexpected and wonderful will happen that takes your business to the next level.

Faithfully nurture your reputation and show up consistently.

Look at it this way …

If you get a cavity in a tooth, you wouldn’t stop brushing your teeth would you? You’d improve your habits. Maybe even become an avid flosser.

If your child falls while trying to walk do you encourage her to stay down and give up? No way. You let her fall on her bum and show her how to get back up.

So get out there every day with enthusiasm for your message, your value and your offer. Enjoy people. Even if they don’t hire you … right away.

Your ideal coaching clients are out there. Keep waving your arms so they can see you.

Yes, there are ways to get attention more quickly and enroll clients more easily at higher fees. It takes congruence – connecting the dots between your audience’s desires, your message and offers. It’s an art. I can help you with that.

Timing Does Matter

Sometimes, you begin to build your coaching business but there’s not enough room in your life to bring it fully into reality.

If you’re gainfully employed or have a family you’re caring for full time, there’s often not enough drive left to stay the course and grow your coaching business into a thriving livelihood.

Your options? Create a transition plan, clear space and redouble your efforts. Or, put your business to the side until you’re willing to take that leap. No shame.

But if you want it now, shrug off doubt and expectation, and aim for leverage!

What ways have you got in your own way to build your coaching business? How have you built leverage to reach that moment of critical mass where you thrive?

Move fear on its way quickly

Fear can be a great ally. It puts you on notice that you’re at the threshold of realizing more of your potential. If you step through the threshold, despite your fear, you’re likely to never look back because action replaces fear with inspiration. Your creativity and motivation take over and propel you forward.

Sometimes fear speaks loudly and literally paralyzes you, even though some part of you knows you were meant for this next step. I’m afraid, I want to run away! If I slow down long enough to be with what I’m feeling, I realize that what I’m running away from isn’t tangible at all. It’s merely a thought.

“It’s fear of outcome, not the outcome itself that causes pain.
– Larry Crane, The Release Technique

Fear is inevitable. Everyone feels it. So the goal isn’t to stop feeling fear, but rather transform it and be back on your way as soon as you can. Try this quick step-by-step process to get your mojo back on line.

A Life Coach’s Perspective on the End of the Mayan Calendar

Like many, I am still reeling from the heart-wrenching tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school last Friday. The grief and shock of an event like that is unspeakable. And I know that we are all praying for the families and for healing.

What else can we do? Resolve to seek light in the darkness.

On a much different level of gravity, it is the darkest time of the year and also a time predicted by some to bring the end of the world. As everyone knows by now, the 5,125-year celestial cycle known to the ancient Maya as the Long Count comes to an end (according to some scholars) this Friday on winter solstice.

Mayan CalendarMuch hyped as a prophecy of the end of the world, I choose instead to see this as the end of the world as we know it and the birth of a kinder way of living on this planet. An elder of the Mayan nation states that the prophecy actually calls on all people to unite and change the way we live, in order to usher in an age of harmony, prosperity and peace. Others have picked up this view, calling for acts of love to help “gentle the birth” of a new era of peace.

The best tool I know to gentle any transition is mindfulness. Rather than covering up the pain we feel, learning to be with it and to believe that, paradoxically, tough times hold a priceless gift for us. If we don’t allow ourselves to get stuck in the pain, or the story of the pain, we honor ourselves and can return attention to what we want our lives to be.

Hey Coach! Got Gumption?

This post has been updated.

I love entrepreneurs. I’m blessed to work in groups full of heartful coaches and consultants who bring their amazing brilliance from different walks of life to the task of building their coaching business. Interestingly, as different as they are, they have the same “garden variety” fears and their beliefs are always the only thing that gets in the way of success.

That’s about being human.

Getting stuck, breaking through, taking a leap of faith, and then… ah… evolving. That’s the dynamic cycle of human life.

For some, it’s like a game and they become facile at the quick leap. So what is it that those people have going for them? Is it super intelligence, advanced degrees, the best connections or being set up financially that results in success?

Smiling Woman Balancing Earth on Finger

No, it’s gumption! It’s having the guts, the spunk, the chutzpah — to accomplish something against all odds.

My mom had good ol’ fashioned southern gumption. It got her through the Great Depression, navigated her through business school, moved her away from dustbowl poverty to a place she thrived near the Rocky Mountains that she loved. She put four kids through college against all odds and gave us all the advantages she never had – all by gumption.

And now I realize that it’s not my degree, certifications, knowledge or confidence that got me to where I am now. It’s gumption. (Thanks mom!) And that’s a relief because I can reach inside myself to draw on that strength over and over.

So… how about you… got gumption?

Stop Letting Fear Keep You From Playing Big

Fear is actually a great ally. It signals opportunity (unless you’re living out in the wilderness and then it can signal “run”!) But seriously now… fear puts you on notice that you’re at the threshold of realizing more of your potential.

If you step through the threshold despite your fear, you’re likely to never look back because action replaces fear with inspiration. Your creativity and motivation take over and propel you forward.

But you do have to decide… to risk transforming yourself. Without decision, commitment and action it’s not possible to get any closer to what you want. And, indecision out of fear is a joy and creativity killer.

“It’s fear of outcome, not the outcome itself that causes pain.
– Larry Crane, The Release Technique

So here you are… wanting with all your heart to have a financially successful coaching business helping others make decisions and take powerful actions to get what they want. You have important decisions before you. Who is your niche market? What is your message? What offer will be irresistible to them? And, what can you do today to attract more clients and income?

But if you’re paralyzed with fear and need to make a decision now, what do you do?


Five Steps to Move Through Fear and Decide

1. Greet Fear as An Ally.

Everyone feels fear, no matter how confident or capable they are. Fear is inevitable.

So your goal isn’t to stop feeling fear forever, but rather shift to seeing fear as an ally and harbinger of opportunity. Make it a friend, and then the pain of it is fleeting. (And by the way, it will visit you less often too.)

5 Power Plays to Get Out and Stay Out of Stuck-ville in Your Business

Have you ever been stuck to the point of feeling paralyzed and unable to move forward in your coaching business? It can become a negative pattern that looks something like this…

You send out an email or two, do a teleseminar, or make a couple of calls (all the while believing you’re “bad at this”.) If your expectations aren’t met you declare “well, that didn’t work!” That starts a downward spiral where all actions cease and you’re officially stuck.

That was me early on in my coaching business. One day I was complaining to my mentor coach about my small clientele, my micro leads list, and my dismal income. I said: “Judy, I’ve worked so hard and it’s just not happening. This must not be what I’m meant to do!”

My coach allowed a long meaningful silence to fall between us for a few moments and then she gently asked: “Rhonda, what exactly have you done over the last 90 days to get clients, build your list and income? How many times have you actually invited someone to hire you?”

I realized, as I gave her my short list of actions, that I’d done very little that could actually result in paying clients. In fact, I’d been spending most of my time on low payoff actions and unrelated distractions! That’s because I’d try something once or twice and then give up quickly with big spaces of inaction and sadness in between.

I had no plan, I had no strategy, I was shooting from the hip and hoping, hoping, hoping that some single effort would unleash an avalanche of clients ready to spend thousands on my coaching and I’d never have to market again.

My coach helped me take a long look at my scarcity mindset and loathing for marketing tasks. She helped me open my mind to see things differently. Then she had me put together a promotional campaign for the next six months and break that down into daily activities. What a huge relief it was to wake up in the morning and focus in on those high payoff tasks.

That’s when I stopped being a reluctant entrepreneur and became a true entrepreneur. But there was another sea change too… I stopped expecting everything to work out immediately. I realized that to become truly prosperous meant taking one action after another without judgment, allowing things to germinate in the unseen world and letting the Universe surprise me, which it often did!

Get Out of Stuckville

Ready for some unstoppable momentum? Here are the five things to put in play now:

1. Commit to one decisive direction
If you know what you want to do and you’ve confirmed that it strikes a deep resonant chord with your target audience, commit now to becoming a master at reaching and serving those people.

If you’re uncertain what to do or who to serve, commit to one focused direction — anything! (You know that I favor the niche market method because it requires no particular expertise, specific knowledge or skills.) Then, pursue that direction with steadfast determination.

Let the magic begin! Some of the best things in life come from simply showing up day after day and doing your best even if it doesn’t seem like your high calling or life’s purpose. This is how the Universe conspires to bring you incredible opportunities, great alliances and meaningful connections!

The only real mistake is not deciding, not committing and not taking consistent action. The Start-Stop-Stuck pattern is a form of self sabotage.

2. Play big
Play for keeps. Be as bold as you can to stand out in the crowd. Do it your way and let your brilliance shine. Okay, I know that’s a lot of “rah, rah!”, but it’s true… no one ever gets to six or seven figures by playing small.

3. Plan your work
If you don’t have a step-by-step plan for your next promotional campaign, you’re more likely to fall into the Start-Stop-Stuck pattern and end up feeling alone and discouraged.

If you’ve ever caught yourself thinking that other entrepreneurs easily get all the clients or make a huge income, take the time to watch closely what those people do. They have lots of things in play ALL THE TIME! Anyone who earns well and has lots of clients has set in motion a well-laid plan. For example, they post a series of 10 – 15 emails, use their blog and social networks to reinforce those emails, deliver enrolling webinars– all sorts of things done in concert to bring about their big results. You can do those things too with a plan.

4. Work your plan without expectation or judgment
So much is happening in the unseen world. The seeds you plant will germinate in their own time. That’s why it’s wise to plant a lot of seeds and keep watering them in faith!

Absolutely, set intention for a specific result. Vision for what you want in living color and high detail. But then release attachment. Expectations become feelings of entitlement and then quickly… disappointment. If you didn’t reap the results you wanted, ask yourself: “What ELSE can I do right now to improve my results?” Then get to it.

5. Develop the “Gift” mindset
Have you ever noticed that people who seem to expect little, but think big and act boldly seem happier? They are often healthier too. Great opportunities and money flow to them thank to their positive mental attitude.

Try this… look for the gift in everything. No matter what happens in your business or life, no matter what results you get from your actions, see the gift. Be grateful for the results that have come your way, for the clients you do have. Believe that more are on their way. Stay in action.

Share your comments and your own power plays to stay out of stuckville here.

What is a Big Idea worth to Your Bottom Line? – by Melanie Benson Strick

This is a guest post by my friend and colleague, Melanie Benson Strick, The Big Idea Catalyst…

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Ideas are a dime a dozen.”  Especially when bright shiny object syndrome kicks in and you start chasing all kinds of opportunities without any real clarity of what’s a viable business idea.

But what about a big idea?

How is that different from all the other ideas swimming around in your head?

The Big Idea is different.

It’s the idea that energizes you to play a bigger game while tapping into the core of your purpose. It’s probably something very similar to what you have always wanted to do (and started your business to pursue in the first place) but you couldn’t ever figure out how to make money with it. So you dismissed it.

A Big Idea is aligned with what’s important to you – so instead of compromising your freedom or diminishing your bank account the big idea feeds it.

When you launch the big idea it takes your credibility and impact to new heights, positioning you as the thought leader in your industry.

The key is to find the “Big Idea” that is the right one – the one that aligns with what your prospects are craving that you have a fire in your belly to bring to the world. One that isn’t a copy-cat of someone else – it brings your unique genius so it stands out as the only logical choice to the people your serve.

The Big Idea is a game changer. It causes you to shift into being the person you’ve always meant to be – someone who has the confidence to pull off an idea at this level.

Here are some examples of how a few of my clients tapped into their Big Idea:

–          A well-known six figure coach wanted to bring her trademarked branding system to more people but didn’t want to coach them all. She felt her lifestyle freedom was shrinking and she deeply desired to have more time to create and recharge. We developed a certification system to train other coaches how to use her branding program. When she launched this level of a program, she skyrocketed her credibility into a new dimension while positioning herself for an additional seven figure income stream.

90 Day More Joy and Prosperity Challenge

You know how when the house is clean you feel somehow freed up and renewed? Or that great feeling when you purge old clothes and stuff from your life?

Our businesses need that kind of clearing to be healthy too. But it’s not just about catching up on filing or clearing off your desk. It’s about reducing energetic drags… the things that get in the way of innovation, creativity, and courage to take big leaps.
cleaning out energy drains from your coaching business

I’m on a big jag to clean up my life and business. Something came over me. Maybe it’s something in the stars. A friend told me today’s eclipse is all about letting go of big things that are holding you back.

Or maybe it’s just that I’m tired of feeling tired. I’m done with that! So I’m cleaning up my act in every corner and cranny of my life and biz.

Last weekend, my husband and I cleaned out our garage (our storage unit really). We did a lot of recycling, shredded old documents, cleared out the stuff from our mother’s passing and moves, passed forward things others need that we don’t any longer, and took stock of what we still have.

I felt like a huge weight was lifted off me with one project. And I’m ready to get back even more energy.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Release. Receive.

How does this relate to your coaching business?