Many blogs have been written about how to start an online coaching business. But there are two things that make this different from most other guides;
● Firstly, this is not one of those guides that promise to teach you how to fish, written by bloggers who have never actually fished for once in their lives.
I’ve built a successful career in coaching and currently managing an actual life coaching business helping clients from all corners of the world improve their lives significantly.
● Secondly, I’ll show you only practical steps and actionable tips that helped me build a wildly successful online coaching business. Points only. No fluff!
Let’s jump right in.
1. Choose a niche
The coaching sector is so vast that you’ll need to choose a niche to specialize in.
Rather than pursue coaching generally, you’ll be better off choosing one or more of these niches. There are two main benefits to this;
First, it helps prospective clients develop trust in your expertise and capability, grounded in your experience working with people like them with similar challenges.
The second benefit here has to do with marketing since you’ll be able to market your coaching services to this specific audience.
The most popular niches in coaching, however, include;
● Life coaching
● Relationship/Marriage coaching
● Sexuality coaching
● Business coaching
● Leadership coaching
● Job/Career coaching
● Wellness coaching
● Weight Loss coaching
● Spirituality coaching, etc.
2. Develop your coaching vision
In business, being unique, special, and different will go a long way to determine your level of success. This will help;
● Give your coaching business a competitive edge.
● Earn the loyalty of your clientele.
● Get more referrals and clients, etc.
This is where having a vision comes in. And to develop your unique coaching business vision, you’ll need to;
● Reflect on your current skills and your personal passions.
● Evaluate what it is that drives you when you’re working with people.
● Determine your purpose in line with your goals and have a clear picture of what success means to you.
In building your vision, you might also need to consider the areas or niches in which your past experiences have been. This will help shape your view and approach to coaching and define your long-term business goals.
3. Choose and refine your skills
Regardless of the specific niche you choose to specialize in, becoming a coach would require special skills, qualities, abilities, and knowledge.
Along with being a successful coach, I also help aspiring coaches who are trying to get started with the business. Of all of the many essential coaching skills I usually emphasize, the most important ones would include;
● The ability to connect with others with relative ease.
● Empathy – the ability to put yourself in others’ shoes. This is needed for an accurate understanding of your clients as well as their perceptions and concerns.
● Excellent communication skills – includes good listening skills as well as clarity of your vocabulary, body language, and overall communication.
● Defending and protecting your interests.
● Creating and setting healthy boundaries with other people.
● Multiple perspective analysis.
● Being objective and non-judgemental.
● Learning and curiosity, etc.
4. Complete a training/certification program
One of the best things about becoming a coach is that you don’t need any college degree to get started. While there are no strict education requirements to become qualified as a life coach, a background in psychology, consulting, social work, teaching, etc, might be helpful. So, also is it advisable to join accredited training programs and courses from reputable organizations.
There are tons of courses and programs you can take out there.
ICF Accredited Coach Training Programs (ACTPs) are the best and most widely recognized training programs for anyone looking to become a life coach. While there are a ton of these ACTP programs accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), the most popular ones include;
The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the foremost professional coaching association in the world. As the most credible body in this industry, getting ICF certification and completing ICF accredited programs will help raise your profile and credibility as a coach.
While this may not matter as much when working with individual clients, it could make a world of difference when taking on business or corporate clients.
5. Get started with coaching
Most coaching training programs are more theoretical knowledge. The best ones, however, incorporate the proper practical application of this knowledge for implementation in real-life situations. Fortunately, many of the ICF accredited programs out there usually include self-practice training where participants are made to coach each other.
To gain a deeper understanding of concepts and ideas, training efforts can be extended into private learning groups. While there are a lot of good things about self-supportive coaching programs, you can also consider coaching friends or family members for free as well. This makes sense because nothing will teach you better than practice. The old adage that practice makes perfection still remains true here.
6. Promote it on social media channels
Your online coaching business should have a robust online presence. So this is where having social media pages comes in.
The social media channels will help you position your business closer to the audience that needs your services. This can be achieved by creating and sharing valuable content to engage your target audience. Not only can this be a great way to showcase your expertise, but it can also help increase your reach, build relationships with clients and prospects, while also boosting your credibility and authority.
Starting a YouTube channel is also a very cost-effective marketing strategy to engage with your customers.
7. Manage your expectations
Coaching has always been a dream job for me.
And I’m not going to sit here in my chair and tell you that it’s hard work (it is!) or that it has its unique challenges (you already know that), but it’s a rewarding profession, especially if you build your business the right way.
So, while you might have your hopes very high, which is not a bad thing, you need to set clear and realistic expectations especially when it comes to how much work you’ll have to put in, how long it could take before you start to see significant success, and even how much money you can make from coaching.
How much can you make from life coaching?
According to an ICF study that involved 15,000 life coaches from different parts of the world, it became clear that;
● Most coaches make between $27,000 to $210,000 yearly, with a global average of $51,000.
● The average life coach salary in North America and Western Europe/UK are $62,000 USD and $53,000, respectively. and;
● At $73,100 USD, Oceania (Australia) seems to have the highest average among the different regions of the world.
But there’s really no limit to how much you can make as an online coach.
Many coaches rake in more money from other sources like digital product sales, speaking gigs, etc., apart from their primary coaching services. What you really need is a well-thought-out business strategy to achieve your set goals.
8. Start your business
It doesn’t matter whether or not money is your major driver.
While your primary purpose is to add value to others to help them make improvements in specific areas of their lives, you need to adopt a business mindset since, in truth, you’re running a business.
● Start with registering your business whether as a corporation or a Limited Liability Company (LLC).
● Plan your startup costs and expenses and develop a clear marketing and client acquisition strategy.
Everything you do should reflect your purpose.
You have to be intentional with your actions businesswise so you can develop actionable plans to help achieve your goals and coaching vision.
9. Keep adding value to clients
Most curriculums put the timeframe of learning at around two years before you can become a life coach. But generally, it’s believed that you would attain professional status within an average of five years on the job.
However, coaching should be a lifelong learning process, if you’re serious about adding true value to your clients, which of course, is the basis for long-term success. You need to always be on the lookout for better ways to help your client. This profession is all about helping people become better versions of themselves. Your clients’ success will, therefore, impact your professional/business success in a big way.
Here’s a word of advice as you’re trying to figure out how to start your online coaching business; don’t go at this alone! While taking coaching courses is a great place to start, you’ll also need to find your strengths, invest in improving yourself, and ask for help when you need it.
I’ll tell you to;
● create a plan,
● write down your goals, and
● give it a shot when you have the means.
Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back.
If you’re truly convinced that this is the right career path for you, then, by all means, take the leap. Many people will be needing your help!
About the Author
Bijan Kholghi is the founder of www.coaching-online.org and a life coach with a special psychological education in hypno-systemic coaching. His teacher Dr. Gunther Schmidt is the founder of Milton Erickson Institute in Heidelberg (Germany), a direct student of Milton H. Erickson, and a leading figure in psychotherapy education in Europe. His highly effective coaching and therapy method helps people getting aware of their unconscious pattern and gaining control over them. This leads to a more fulfilled and happier life.
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