The coaching industry is ripe with opportunities for aspiring life and business coaches. There are countless avenues for launching a successful coaching practice, from life to business coaching to other specialized niches. Another route involves the concept of franchising.

For decades, franchising has been a staple in the business world, providing entrepreneurs with a structured pathway to owning and operating their own businesses. 

In this post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of franchising in the coaching industry by detailing its advantages, potential pitfalls, and key considerations before making a commitment. The ultimate goal is to empower you with the knowledge to enable you to decide on the best business model that aligns with your personal and professional aspirations as a coach. 

So, is a coaching franchise right for you? Read on to find out.

Market Overview of the Coaching Industry

Before we take a deep dive into franchising, it’s important to understand the current state of the coaching industry and other business models that are available. 

As of 2023, the global coaching market is experiencing rapid growth, with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) estimating its worth to be nearly $3 billion. Recent growth stems from increased awareness about the benefits of coaching, advancements in technology that enable virtual coaching, and a greater focus on personal and professional development. 

Most market trends indicate a continued rise in the demand for coaching services, promising a bright future for newcomers and seasoned coaches alike.

Regardless of the market size and potential, the success of any coaching practice largely hinges on the choice of its business model. A business model is a blueprint for how a coach delivers value to clients and generates revenue. It covers service offerings, pricing, marketing strategy, client relationships, and revenue sources. It’s crucial to align this model with your coaching expertise, the needs of your target audience, and the overall market dynamics.

In the coaching industry, some standard business models include one-on-one coaching, group coaching, online coaching platforms, coaching networks, and franchises. Each model has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, and the choice often depends on various factors, such as your preference for autonomy, appetite for risk, financial goals, and the level of support you desire.

Understanding these models can differentiate between a flourishing coaching practice and one that struggles to gain traction.

What Is a Coaching Franchise?

A coaching franchise is a business model that allows a coaching practice (the franchisee) to operate a business under an established brand (the franchisor). In simpler terms, franchising is like leasing or renting a business model. It allows coaches to enter a business that has already established its brand, business processes, and customer base. This significantly reduces the risks associated with starting a business from scratch.

In the coaching industry, a franchise typically involves the franchisee delivering coaching services under the franchisor’s brand. The franchisee leverages the franchisor’s established methods, materials, and reputation to attract and serve clients. In return, the franchisee pays the franchisor an initial fee and ongoing royalties.

Franchising in the coaching industry begins with a potential franchisee identifying a franchisor whose brand and business model aligns with their interests and values. Then there’s usually an application and vetting process to ensure a suitable match. The franchisee then signs a franchise agreement, which outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

Following this, the franchisor provides the franchisee with training and support to set up and operate the coaching business. This often includes guidance on using the franchisor’s coaching methods, business operations training, marketing and sales support, and sometimes even help to find an appropriate location if the franchise involves a physical presence.

Prospective franchisees must understand that while buying into a proven business model with an established brand, they must also abide by the franchisor’s rules and methods.

a coach discusses setting up a coaching franchise

What Are the Benefits of a Coaching Franchise?

The decision to become a franchisee in the coaching industry carries a unique set of benefits that are worth considering. Here are some of the key advantages associated with choosing a coaching franchise.

Be associated with an established brand and reputation

With a franchise, you gain immediate access to a recognized and trusted brand. This advantage lowers startup risks because it reduces the time and resources needed to build brand recognition from scratch. 

Operating under a reputable brand name can accelerate client acquisition because trust and credibility are key in a client’s decision-making process. 

Gain access to proven business systems

Franchises offer tried and tested business systems, which can simplify operations and increase efficiency. This can be particularly beneficial for coaches who are new to business or those who prefer a structured approach. 

From client management systems, billing processes, to service delivery protocols, you can leverage the franchisor’s existing structures and processes.

Get specialized training and support 

As part of the franchise agreement, franchisors typically provide comprehensive training on their proprietary coaching methods, tools, and business operations. This training, combined with ongoing support, can significantly shorten the learning curve and equip you with the skills needed to run a successful coaching practice.

Benefit from marketing and advertising support

Franchisors often provide marketing and advertising support, which can be a game-changer, especially in the initial stages. They have concentrated marketing strategies that benefit all franchisees or provide resources and guidance for localized marketing efforts. This support can significantly enhance your visibility and attract a wider client base.

Be a part of a collaborative network

As a franchisee, you become part of a network of coaches operating under the same brand. This network provides a sense of community, opportunities for collaboration, and a platform to share experiences, challenges, and solutions.

3 Things To Consider Before Choosing a Franchise Model for Your Coaching Practice

While the benefits of owning a coaching franchise can be substantial, it’s essential to navigate this decision with a clear understanding of the potential drawbacks involved.

Here are a few things to consider before entering a coaching franchise.

1. Costs and Fees

One of the main challenges to consider is the financial commitment. Becoming a franchisee typically requires an upfront franchise fee, which can vary significantly depending on the franchisor. This fee gives you the rights to use the franchisor’s brand, systems, and support. However, this is just the initial cost.

In addition to the startup fee, franchisees are often required to pay ongoing royalty fees. These are usually a percentage of the franchisee’s gross income and are paid as a part of the ongoing agreement to benefit from the franchisor’s brand and support. 

In some cases, franchisors impose additional charges for advertising or other services. These ongoing costs can be significant and should be carefully considered when evaluating the franchise’s financial viability.

2. Limitations

Another potential drawback is the limitation on your control and creativity. As a franchisee, you are expected to adhere strictly to the franchisor’s established business model, methodologies, and protocols. This could limit your ability to innovate or tailor your services to specific client needs. 

It’s important to consider how much autonomy and creative freedom you desire in your coaching practice, and if this aligns with the franchisor’s expectations.

3. Time Commitment

Becoming a franchisee is a long-term commitment. Franchise agreements usually span several years and breaking this contract prematurely can result in hefty penalties or legal implications. This is why it’s crucial to be sure of your commitment to the franchisor’s model, the coaching industry, and the geographical area you will be operating in.

Top 3 Coaching Franchises 

As the coaching industry continues to flourish, several franchises have emerged as leaders in the field. Here is a closer look at these top three franchises.

1. ActionCOACH

ActionCOACH is known as the world's leading business coaching franchise.

Established in 1993, ActionCOACH is known as the world’s leading business coaching franchise, with its presence in over 70 countries. ActionCOACH offers a variety of services, including executive coaching, group coaching, and workshops. They are known for their proprietary business coaching system, which focuses on areas such as sales, marketing, team building, and financial management.

What sets ActionCOACH apart is its extensive franchisee support. The franchise package includes extensive training, access to their proven coaching system and materials, ongoing learning opportunities, and powerful sales and marketing tools. Franchisees also benefit from their robust global network, offering opportunities for peer support and collaboration.

2. FocalPoint

FocalPoint is a franchise network of business coaches.

FocalPoint is a franchise network of business coaches, known for its association with management expert Brian Tracy. FocalPoint coaches use Tracy’s methodologies and principles to help businesses improve their productivity, performance, and sales.

FocalPoint offers training to franchisees, covering Tracy’s proven techniques, sales training, and business management skills. As a FocalPoint coach, you’re also provided with a wide array of coaching resources, including workbooks, audio programs, video training, and online tools. Their ongoing support includes marketing assistance, mentorship, and access to their network of coaches worldwide.

3. The Growth Coach

The Growth Coach, a globally recognized coaching franchise

The Growth Coach is a globally recognized coaching franchise that focuses on business and sales coaching. They offer a wide range of services, from one-on-one coaching to group workshops, targeting small business owners, managers, and sales professionals.

The Growth Coach stands out for its emphasis on work-life balance, encouraging franchisees to build a flexible, scalable business. Their low overhead model, with the ability to work from home, also appeals to many prospective franchisees.

Determine What’s Best For Your Coaching Practice

Franchising is one of many business models available to those aspiring to build a career in coaching. It offers a range of attractive benefits such as access to an established brand, comprehensive training, marketing support, and the ability to leverage proven business systems. These advantages make it a convincing option, particularly for those new to the coaching industry or those seeking a structured pathway to starting their coaching business. However, a franchise isn’t without its challenges that range from costs to creative control. 

In the dynamic world of coaching, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution but the best business model is the one that aligns most closely with your vision for your coaching career, your desired lifestyle, and your commitment to serving your clients effectively. So take your time, weigh all your options, and choose the path that feels most authentic and promising to you.

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Written by The Coach Factory Team

We're a team of coaching enthusiasts who hire and work with coaches. Members of our team run businesses in the coaching industry or provide services that support coaches, and several of us are coaches ourselves.

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