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Coaching as a business is changing primarily because many coaches cannot make a decent living applying the outdated 1-1 Coaching Model that most coach training schools recommend. With this Model a coach only offers 1-1 coaching services. S/he may offer some group coaching as well, but typically the focus is on getting hired to provide coaching.
There is no question that coaching is a powerful methodology that really works to transform a client's level of awareness, understanding, and motivates them to take the action needed to achieve their goals.
In theory it makes sense that if you have a great service that yields the results your prospective clients want, they would be clammoring to hire you. Right?
Theory is very different from reality when it comes to a coaching business, because there are two major obstacles facing coaches:
1. Most prospective clients don't want coaching! They don't understand coaching; they have no experience being coached; and therefore aren't interested in buying coaching services. Coaching is a service most clients need to experience and understand before they make a long-term financial commitment to a coaching program.
People want a solution to their biggest problem and they want it in a format they are familiar with (e.g., a seminar, a book, a report, etc.). And they want a quick fix.
This is obviously a huge issue for coaches, especially since the second challenge is:
2. Almost all coach training schools recommend a business model that relies on the coach selling 1-1 coaching services only. That is the traditional definition of "coaching." In addition, there is an industry stigma associated with other forms of helping - like consulting or educating - when combined with "pure coaching."
So if your clients don't want "coaching" and that is the ONLY service you are selling, what's going to happen?
You will struggle to get coaching clients, and your business will not be financially viable. And because most coaches use this ineffective business model it is no wonder that half of all coaches make $25,000 or less a year.* That just isn't acceptable. Is it?
Understand this is NOT your fault. If you have been using the 1-1 Coaching Model as the foundation for your business you probably know it doesn't work, BUT likely aren't sure what does work!
At ICA we do know what works and we have been applying this highly successful business model for years.
Every prospective client wants a solution to their biggest pain or challenge: a single wants help figuring out why they keep making the same mistakes in partner selection; a parent desperately wants help to improve their relationship with their teen; someone considering a career transition wants help getting clarity about their career strategy and path, so they make the right choice for the long-term; a person who has struggled all their life with weight issues wants help changing their relationship with food, so they can become healthy.
These are the real issues facing your prospective clients. When people seek help, they DON'T think of coaching first! They think of solutions in a format they are familiar with: books, seminars, etc.
This means you need to design your coaching business based on what your prospects want. And there is a difference between what people WANT and what they NEED.
Once you understand that most prospects don't want the service you are offering (namely coaching), give them what they DO want so you can engage them and begin to build a relationship with them. THEN, give them the experience of coaching within the context of the service they paid for. Once they understand how coaching works, they will realize they need it and then they will want it.
In other words, don't try to sell propsects coaching, even though that is what they need. Sell them another service, program or product you have and let the integrated coach-approach experience sell them on the next step in their journey to self-development - coaching. Your conversion rates will reflect the validity of this strategy. And, it will change the way you do business, both out of necessity and because it actually works!
Coaching is just ONE method of supporting your clients to achieve their goals. And not every prospect or client wants coaching, so you need a program, a seminar, a special guide/step-by-step process, etc., that identifies their challenge AND promises the SOLUTION.
Consider these services or products as the client's entree into your business. Once they have experienced you and your program, then you can offer them the next service or product that will go deeper into resolving the issue they have - and that might just be 1-1 coaching.
So what DOES WORK, is a different paradigm for a coaching business. One in which you have several different programs, services and products, allowing your client an opportunity to build a relationship with you - getting to know, like and trust you.
ICA's coaching business model recognizes that 1-1 coaching is only one of many different programs, services and products you offer your clients. This is what you know as "multiple revenue streams." That term is not simply marketing hype. It is precisely what will generate the income and lifestyle you want. But it will also enable you to bring your gifts and passion to the world. You can't help others if you can't make a living.
AND, because coaching works so well, you can apply the coach-approach to all the other elements of your business even when those offerings are not directly related to coaching. In other words, by applying coaching principles and methodologies such as creating rapport, reframing, asking open questions, active listening, etc., you are using a coach centric approach that unifies and defines your business and your brand.
Therefore, a business model that applies a coach-approach, requires that you have basic coaching competencies and skills as the foundation for your overall business. It is what differentiates YOU from everyone else.
But real business success as a coach requires a combination of:
Coach training (competencies and skills)
Specialization (targeting a specific niche market - going narrow and deep)
Applying a business model that really works and one that leverages multiple revenue streams (Click the example on the right for larger view of a Singles Relationship Coach Business Model)
Business training that gets you to market quickly and efficiently so you can earn income immediately
Ongoing support and mentoring from experienced and successful coaches
Access to tools and resources that specifically fit your business and area of specialty
And that is where we come in. ICA is the first and only coach training school to apply this combination of "success factors" in a cohesive, tangible way, bringing leading-edge, innovative thinking to the coaching industry. And that impacts our coaches directly, who benefit from our vision of what a coaching business needs to look like to be highly successful.
We invite you to join us and we look forward to helping you create your own successful coaching business.