Why Most Coaches Fail To Build A Sustainable Business

By admin / April 13, 2011
By: Louise Yates
Category: Coaching

Each year thousands of well-intentioned hopefuls train, get certified and join the throng of optimistic dreamers hoping to make it as a professional and successful coach. Sadly however within a year of qualifying most coaches fail to earn a fraction of the income they had hoped for and many end their dreams by returning to employment.

So why do most coaches fail to build a sustainable business?
Firstly, sadly to say, one key reason is that they just are not good enough. This doesn’t mean to say they are not good…but just not good enough. Many coaches undergo expensive initial training and then think that is it and don’t invest further. However excellent coaching skills (like any skills) are developed over time with experience and continuous professional development. All coaches should invest in further development and should all have a good coach.

This is just one part of the picture. The primary reason for most coaches failing to ‘make it’ as a coach is that while they have the technical skills to provide a great service for their clients sadly they lack the commercial acumen which will enable them to develop a sound business model which will give them the financial rewards they need to sustain themselves.

Many coaches shun the commercial side to coaching focusing only on developing their technical coaching skills and tools, only to find that they are unable to secure the clients they need.

This lack of commercial acumen encompasses a number of areas:

  1. A failure to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market. Too often coaches fail to specialise and develop a niche in an effort to secure any clients and in doing so fail to stand out from the thousands of other coaches out there competing for the same business.
  2. A failure to recognise the costs inherent in running a business. There are always costs associated with running a business such as marketing your services through websites, networking, business cards; costs of fuel or use of premises; accountancy services; phone calls etc. And this cost isn’t just about cost in terms of money, we also talking the cost of your time too.
  3. A reluctance to sell. If you have a business you also have to sell your services. Many coaches have an understanding of selling, represented by hard sell techniques employed by certain industries. Perhaps if more coaches realised that they are probably some of the best trained people to sell, by asking questions, really understanding potentials clients’ needs and then only providing what will benefit their client, then they may overcome this barrier to selling.
  4. A lack of marketing expertise. Many coaches feel stuck when it comes to marketing their business. Most training courses focus on coaching skills development and do not encourage coaches to develop their marketing skills. I have heard of some coaches who qualify as a coach, tell a few people and then wonder why the phone doesn’t ring.

So in summary if you want to develop a successful business you need to continually work on your own professional development but more importantly develop your commercial skills.

Louise Yates knows how to build a coaching business from her experience running a performance coaching enterprise. She has also written extensively about effective coaching models.

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