Sunday, April 14, 2024

How to Get Your Start in Business Coaching

When you want to get into business coaching, it’s probably because you often feel that you can make a real difference to business executives. Many have been promoted into the position or applied for it but have fresh challenges to resolve or have never led an entire company before. Either way, sensible guidance is going to be paramount to their success.

How do you get started as a business coach in the UK? That’s what this article is all about.

What Experience Do You Have in Business?

It will be a common question that may prospective clients will ask. It’s all very well that you say you are a ‘business coach’ but what actual business experience do you have?

Obviously, it’s useful to have worked in business first. Sure, some millennials have branded themselves as coaches in one form or another, but business is different. It’s where the rubber meets the road. It’s not possible to fake it. The advice will be incorrect and the executive you’re training will either know this immediately or try to put the advice into action and find it falls flat.

So, do get some well-rounded business experience first. Managing a team of people is better. Running a company – your own and someone else’s is better still. Are you then ready to run a business coaching company? Not quite yet…

Now You Need Business Coaching Training

Knowing that you wish to be a business trainer and armed with relevant business know-how, the experience puts you in the driving seat. Great! But have you ever trained people who aren’t your subordinates on how to run a business, a start-up, or their own department?

The answer is probably not.

This is where business coaching courses come in. They’re structured, organised, and take you step-by-step through what you need to know and how to think.

Armed with appropriate business coaching qualifications, not only will you have a newfound confidence that you can be a persuasive and helpful coach, but that you’ll have the credentials to back that up. And once you have completed excellent business coaching courses from the BCF Group – a leader in the field – you’re ready to proceed to the next step.

Thoughts on Finding Your First Clients

It might be useful to take the approach of being a business consultant at first, rather than a full-blown executive coach where much is expected from someone who’s only just started out in this fresh new direction.

This way, you can tinker with other business ideas for start-ups or side hustles. These are something to talk about when you’ve already left your previous employment or taken a sabbatical. It allows for the fact that you are splitting your time and covers for the reality that you haven’t had any business coaching clients previously.

It’s a useful approach that’s still being honest while not giving the first potential client serious misgivings about hiring you.

Be Ready to Prove Yourself to Get the Gig

It’s difficult to prove yourself if you haven’t provided coaching to clients before.

In which case, then it’s the time to call on business contacts, friends with companies, and anyone else who’ll trust you to come in and lend them your ear. Depending on how widely you’ve been developing your network towards the long-term goal of being a business coach, it should have become wide enough that you can call upon it now.

Also, still, be prepared to prove yourself. This includes sharing information on successful projects, mentoring of work colleagues and their future growth, and other points of interest. While you cannot yet show video and/or written testimonials from business coaching clients, this is the next best thing.

Overinvest in Your First Few Clients

It’s necessary to overinvest in the people that you coach.

What you don’t want is to create the impression from them that:

Well… yes, they did come in and talk to me. They gave me a few ideas to play around with. I tried a couple of their suggestions. I eventually got promoted. But I’m not sure how much they contributed to that.”

Instead, it needs to be much more of a hands-on approach. Something more akin to a life coach for a business executive, which involves:

  1. Listening to the client
  2. Strategizing workable solutions to business problems
  3. Making practical suggestions for empowering teams
  4. Following up to adjust the approach based on the initial feedback

By using this kind of coaching strategy with various touchpoints and updated with further discussion and feedback on how to best proceed, a client can feel that you’re really listening. But more than that, there’s genuine interest, concern shown, and a desire to see them succeed.

Rather than paying lip service and making a few bland, obvious business suggestions, you’re delivering a tailored, more personal business coaching service that has a meaningful impact on their results going forward.

Get Testimonials & Referrals to Bolster Your Client Roster

When you’ve taken the approach discussed above with your first clients, it shouldn’t be a matter of needing to ask for a testimonial. Often, delighted executives seeing greater success than they’ve had in the past will be suggesting it.

In fact, not only will they be willing to recommend your services, but they’ll likely already be suggesting the coaching to their friends and colleagues.

Often, these referrals flow naturally by extension of the previous investment of your time and expertise. Beyond that, sure, it’s possible to advertise in business periodicals, look to get booked on business podcasts, and to speak at conferences (virtually or in-person, depending on what circumstances permit). But all that comes much later. In years two or three, when there’s enough validation, the good word will be spreading quickly in the business community, and bookings will become far easier. Getting your start in business coaching isn’t easy. Oddly, it’s a little like acting in that you want to get that part in your first play or TV role, but no one wants to risk it and you don’t have a body of work to prove yourself. Similarly, to enter the coaching world, it’s necessary to find ways to bridge this obvious gap initially and work to establish yourself as a sought-after name. It won’t happen overnight but if you pre-plan it, get credentialed, and work your plan, it can happen in a relatively short space of time.

Claire James
Claire James
Claire is an accounts manager at Fire Digital UK, an online publishing and content marketing company based in the North West.

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