There are real-life superheroes with a natural talent for helping and supporting others. These people are life coaches, and they have one of the most rewarding and fulfilling professions.
As a life coach, you can empower and motivate others to achieve their goals, overcome obstacles, and improve their lives. However, starting a coaching business requires more than just a passion for helping others. Your vision must include a strategy for developing, maintaining, and growing an idea into a fully functioning practice.
In this post, we’ll walk you, step by step, through starting a successful life coaching business.
Current State of the Coaching Industry
The coaching industry has experienced significant growth in recent years and is expected to continue growing in the coming years. According to the International Coach Federation (ICF), the coaching industry was valued at $2.85 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow by 6.7 percent from 2020 to 2027.
The pandemic accelerated the demand for coaches by highlighting the need for support and guidance during times of crisis. It also emphasized creating new opportunities for virtual coaching and led to a shift in priorities and values for people and organizations.
How much money do life coaches make?
In terms of income potential, the coaching industry offers excellent earning potential for coaches willing to work to build a successful coaching business. According to the ICF, the average annual income for coaches in North America was $61,900 in 2019. However, this varies depending on niche, experience, and location.
Executive coaches, for example, can earn significantly higher incomes than coaches in other niches. It’s also worth noting that income potential is not solely based on coaching fees, as coaches can also generate revenue through speaking engagements, book sales, and other related services.
Steps for Starting a Life Coaching Business
Every business, across every industry, requires a well-thought-out plan; the life coaching industry is no different.
Whether you’re a seasoned coach looking to take your business to the next level or a brand new coach just starting, these steps will show you how to build a solid foundation for your life coaching business.
Understand the legal difference between a coach and therapist
While coaching and therapy share some similarities, they are distinct professions with different regulations and requirements. In general, coaching is focused on helping clients achieve specific goals or improve their performance in a particular area of life, while therapy is a healthcare service that treats mental health disorders.
Operating within your scope of practice as a coach can shield you from legal troubles and help you provide the best services to your clients.
Aside from the legalities, consider other ways to boost credibility for your coaching practice. Organizations like the International Coaching Federation have programs designed to build your coaching skills and help you showcase your dedication to your business through certification.
In addition to becoming a certified life coach, you can also look into obtaining licenses to provide more services, especially if you have the desire to provide mental healthcare services.
Choose your niche based on your ideal coaching client
Give some thought to the type of individuals you want to work with. Ask yourself, “Who can my skills help the most?” and then write a detailed description of that person. This will give you a starting point for finding your niche as a coach.
In terms of popular niches, several areas of coaching are in high demand. These include career, health and wellness, relationship, executive, and business coaching. Other niches that are gaining more popularity include financial coaching, parenting coaching, and spiritual coaching.
Regardless of your niche, always put your ideal client first and focus on consistently adding value to their lives.
Choose your coaching model
What type of coaching services do you want to provide? How often? In what kind of environment?
These are important questions to ask yourself while building out your overall offer. What will bring the most benefit and value to your ideal client?
Think about that as you review the most common coaching models below.
1:1 coaching involves working closely with individual clients and providing personalized guidance and strategies to address their needs.
This model can provide impactful results for both the coach and the client, but it may be less scalable than other models due to the time spent with each client.
Group coaching allows you to engage with multiple clients simultaneously, potentially leading to increased revenue for each session.
This model provides scalability and encourages additional learning from other group members. Group coaching may deliver less personalized attention than 1:1 coaching.
Corporate coaching focuses on supporting organizational employees, usually targeting skills such as leadership or teamwork.
This model fits coaches with a corporate background but may demand more specialized training and certifications.
Remote coaching has become increasingly popular due to its accessibility and scope. Coaches can connect with clients worldwide through live or pre-recorded sessions.
This model is highly scalable and cost-effective, but it can be tricky to make deeper connections with your client due to distance.
Workshops and seminars involve presenting at conferences or conducting workshops, enabling coaches to impart their knowledge to larger audiences.
This model can enhance credibility, but planning, marketing, or attending these events will require more money and effort. This model works best for established coaches who’ve spent more time building their brands.
A hybrid coaching model combines two or more coaching models, catering to a wide range of client needs and preferences. This method allows coaches to be more versatile and expand their market reach.
When deciding on your coaching model, evaluate the scalability, level of personal interaction, and potential earnings associated with each model to determine the best fit for your coaching practice. Remember, you can always modify and improve your coaching model as your practice evolves and your ideal client’s needs change.
Develop your offer
Your offer will be your bread and butter. The more effort you pour into your coaching offer the more you can expect to get back. When you take the time to create an irresistible offer, you’ll easily attract the clients that need you the most and you’re able to provide the best service possible.
There are four non-negotiable starting points for creating an offer that will sustain your business.
Highlight your unique value proposition
A unique value proposition combines your particular experiences, knowledge, and approach to coaching and is what sets you apart from other coaches in your niche.
Every coach has a unique style and approach to working with clients. Reflect on your core values, beliefs, and the methods you’ll use to achieve results. Your coaching philosophy should resonate with your target audience and be a key factor in attracting your ideal potential clients.
It’s crucial to reflect on the type of change or impact you want to make in your clients’ lives. Consider the specific challenges you wish to help clients overcome, the personal and professional growth goals you’d like to support them in achieving, and the tools or techniques you’ll use to facilitate their progress.
By clarifying the results you aspire to deliver through your coaching practice, you can develop a compelling coaching approach that resonates with your ideal clients and leads to transformative and lasting change.
Structure your coaching package
Start by choosing the best format for your coaching sessions based on the needs of your clients and your personal preferences. Options include in-person meetings, video calls, phone calls, or a hybrid option. Each format has pros and cons, so consider factors such as accessibility, convenience, and the nature of your sessions.
Then, consider the frequency of sessions (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly), each session’s length, and the program’s overall duration (3, 6, or 12 months). More frequent sessions provide better support and accountability, while less regular sessions give clients more time to implement changes and reflect on their progress.
Program duration will depend on how much support your client will require based on their needs, the time it may take for clients to achieve their goals, and the level of support they require. Extended programs can help with impactful life transformations, while shorter programs may cater to clients seeking quick results or solutions to specific issues.
Determine your pricing strategy
Set a price for your coaching offer that reflects your value while remaining competitive within your niche. Consider factors such as your expertise, the complexity of your program, and the level of support you offer.
Here are four tips for creating a pricing strategy:
1. Research market rates to investigate the current rates for coaching services in your niche to give you an idea of the typical price range and help you position your coaching offer competitively.
2. Always factor in your costs and desired income. Calculate your expenses, such as marketing, software, and office space, and the income you want to generate from your coaching business to help establish a pricing structure that covers your costs and allows for a sustainable and profitable business with unlimited growth potential.
3. Offer different pricing tiers or package options to cater to various client needs and budgets. Try to include different levels of support, session frequency, or additional resources. Tiered pricing or packages can also help you upsell clients to higher-priced options as they progress in their coaching journey.
4. Regularly evaluate your pricing strategy based on client feedback and market trends. Be willing to adjust your prices as needed to ensure they remain competitive, reflect the value you provide, and support your business goals.
Create an Efficient Marketing Plan
As a new coach, you’ll want to keep your marketing plan as efficient as possible. A great marketing plan will help you attract clients, establish credibility, differentiate yourself from your competitors, and optimize resources, among other benefits. By developing a solid marketing strategy, you’ll set yourself up for success in the coaching industry.
Choose the right marketing channels
Your selected marketing channels will determine if your marketing efforts, and dollars, are being used efficiently. You should choose the most appropriate channels to reach your target audiences, such as social media platforms, email marketing, content marketing, or paid advertising.
Social media is an excellent way to engage with your target audience, share valuable content, and build relationships. Popular platforms include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Focus on platforms where your target audience is most active and engaged. For example, if you’re targeting young professionals, LinkedIn might be a more suitable platform than Pinterest.
Use email marketing to build a relationship with your subscribers by providing valuable content, offers, and updates. Segment your email list to deliver personalized content and improve overall engagement.
Content marketing is the most affordable option for spreading the word about your coaching practice. Content marketing includes creating content in various formats, such as blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, and case studies. To boost your content further, you can use search engine optimization (SEO) to improve visibility and drive organic traffic to your website.
If your marketing budget allows it, consider investing in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising on platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or Instagram Ads to reach a larger audience.
Create valuable content
Your number one goal with content creation is to provide as much value as possible to catch your potential client’s attention and hold that attention for as long as possible. Develop content that addresses your ideal client’s needs, concerns, and interests. You can create valuable content by using the AIDA model.
Make it easy for your audience to take the desired action by providing clear instructions and removing any barriers to conversion.
Following the AIDA guidelines will help you create amazing content that will help you establish credibility and trust with your audience.
Network and collaborate
Networking and collaboration are essential for your coaching business growth and development. By connecting with professionals in the industry and some outside the coaching industry, you can build valuable relationships, gain new insights, and create opportunities for mutual growth.
Here are a few ways to expand your network and collaborate effectively:
Attend industry events by participating in conferences, workshops, seminars, and trade shows relevant to your niche or complementary industries. These events provide a platform to meet like-minded professionals, exchange ideas, and form partnerships.
Become an active member of online forums, discussion groups, and social media groups related to your industry or complementary sectors. Engage in conversations, share your expertise, and build relationships with other members.
Leverage social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to connect with industry influencers, thought leaders, and potential collaborators. Engage with their content, share your thoughts, and initiate conversations to build rapport.
Get listed on directories that feature coaches in your niche. See our top suggestions for coaching directories here.
Partner with other professionals to create co-authored blog posts, guest articles, podcasts, or webinars to help you reach new audiences, share expertise, and build authority in your field.
Organize or participate in local networking events or meetups in your area. This allows you to meet other professionals, develop relationships, and identify potential collaboration opportunities.
By actively networking and collaborating with professionals within and beyond your niche, you can increase your visibility, build a strong reputation, and create new opportunities for growth and success.
Empowering New Coaches: Launch Your Life Coaching Business with Confidence
Starting a life coaching business is a rewarding journey that allows you to make a real difference in people’s lives.
With that in mind, remember that success in the coaching industry results from dedication, persistence, and a constant focus on providing value to your clients. By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way to launching a thriving life coaching business and helping others achieve their full potential.