In many careers there comes a point where pivoting is necessary or desirable. For successful business professionals, one of the more natural pivots occurs when people move away from practicing business and start coaching or consulting others.
This transition can be refreshing and exciting, but you’ll want to keep the following points in mind:
1. Establish a Mission Statement
Any successful career in business coaching starts with defined goal setting. And at the heart of goal setting is personal reflection. You need to sit down and be honest with yourself in regards to why you’re making this career move and what you want the outcome to be. In particular, you need to be capable of answering the following questions:
- Why do I want to be a business coach?
- How would I best describe my approach to coaching?
- How long do I hope to be a business coach?
- What results am I aiming for as a business coach?
By answering these questions, you’ll develop a concrete mission statement. The results may surprise you, but they’ll be accurate and straightforward.
For example, after answering the questions, your mission statement may look like this: “To be a low-cost business coach for the next five to ten years with the intentions of helping local small business owners thrive in the midst of large scale corporate competition.” This mission statement presents a targeted goal that will guide you to make specific choices and decisions.
On the other hand, if you hadn’t answered the questions, your non-verbalized mission statement might instead look like this: “To be a profitable business coach for a few years.” A vague statement like this provides very little guidance.
2. Implement a Business Model
Once you have your mission statement and goals in place, you can focus on establishing a business model that compliments these objectives. As a consultant, your business model will essentially consist of two main components.
For starters, you will need a business model for your practice that explains your pricing strategy, lead generation techniques, and plans for future growth. Secondly, you will need a business model for how you’ll help your clients scale their own businesses. Let’s discuss the latter for a moment.
Most business coaches choose a standard model and then make their own tweaks and adjustments. One common framework is the GROW Model (Goal, Reality, Obstacles, and Way Forward). This model was introduced in the 1980s and is a systematic way of looking at business problem solving. You may also want to consider the SMART Model (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound), another commonly-used model.
After identifying a model to use, you can establish consistency and give your business a solid foundation to build upon. When viewed through the lens of your mission statement, you’ll have a clear understanding of where you’re headed.
3. Attach Your Name to Intellectual Property
While your initial focus should be on finding clients and offering them exceptional coaching, you need to start thinking about the bigger picture. Many business coaches use their coaching firms as catalysts for additional business endeavors. Take Michael Port as an example. He turned his successful coaching stint into a much more lucrative career by creating comprehensive intellectual property.
The beauty of his situation is that each aspect of his business feeds the other. His coaching experiences lead to more speaking and writing opportunities, while these opportunities simultaneously help him land more clients. It’s a beneficial two-way road.
You may not have time to write a book or develop a curriculum when you’re just starting out, but it’s smart to begin brainstorming. Think of ideas for books, programs, courses, webinars, and speaking topics. Then keep these in the back of your mind as you invest in your clients.
4. Find the Right Clients
Being successful in business coaching is all about finding the right clients. If you cast your net too wide, you’ll waste a lot of time on clients that don’t align with your goals. If your reach is too narrow, you’ll wind up without any clients at all. The key is to identify a niche and heavily target it. The more clients you get in the same niche, the easier your job will be.
5. Leverage Your Experience
The final tip is to leverage your past experiences. When choosing a niche, it’s a good idea to focus on a topic or issue that comes natural to you. For example, if your past career was in HR, it may be natural to work with clients on developing leadership. This organic crossover will make you better at what you do.
Success Lies in the Details
If there were a magic formula for business coaching success, everyone would become a business coach. The best thing you can do is soak up as much information as possible from reliable sources. Pick bits and pieces from that advice and then develop a strong plan of attack. In the coaching world, success lies in the details.