Navigating Troubled Waters: Overcoming Challenges in a Coaching Business

A coaching business sounds like a dream. Set your hours, be your boss, and help others overcome a challenge that you’re passionate about.

It’s one of the most fulfilling careers you can have when done successfully.

The coaching industry is a massive market, with the entire industry worth a staggering $15 billion and over 70,000 certified coaches worldwide.

Overcoming Challenges in a Coaching BusinessUnfortunately, many coaches fail to overcome a few hurdles that stunt their growth, leaving many to give up or stay stagnant and never reach their true potential.

In general, the mortality rate of businesses is 50%, within 5 years—staggering numbers. Companies are like people. Both internal and external factors affect our health. If a patient is ailing, a doctor will start with a battery of discovery questions, bloodwork, an MRI, and an X-ray to identify the root cause of an individual’s ailment.  The medical practitioner will provide a prescriptive treatment plan when the diagnosis is completed.

Coaching clients should be the same.  As coaches, we need to identify the root cause of the client’s ailments and then provide prescriptive solutions to help get them better.

The appropriate coaching certifications, such as the Center for Executive Coaching (CEC) or International Coaching Federation (ICF), are crucial as they demonstrate credibility, combined with an individual’s prior business entrepreneurial experience, making your coaching service the optimal choice.

If you’re looking to start or already have a coaching business, we’ve outlined the most common challenges and how to overcome them.

4 Challenges that Coaching Businesses Face and How to Overcome Them

Running a coaching business isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires immense persistence and problem-solving to overcome all the challenges you will face. Here are the most common challenges coaches deal with when launching their business.

1. Struggle to Find Clients

Clients are the lifeblood of your coaching business. Building a strong client base requires visibility and awareness of your services.

That means learning to use digital marketing strategies such as social media marketing, search engine optimization, branding, newsletters, eBooks, content writing, press releases, and collateral and online advertising platforms to reach your desired audience. Many coaches are experts at their craft but need to articulate their value and make themselves known to potential customers.

Solution:

There are dozens of ways to find clients, but the key is experimenting with a method that suits your needs. In the early stages, you may have to perform more outbound marketing strategies like cold pitching, engaging in Facebook and LinkedIn groups or experimenting with online platforms.

As you build your clientele, you’ll want to leverage your experience as a coach and focus on inbound marketing tactics like building an email list, creating SEO-optimized blogs, building a significant social presence, branding your firm through aggressive marketing and collaborating your sales and marketing teams.

2. Undervaluing Your Services

Many coaches fall into the feast or famine cycle, where they undercut their value to win new clients over. Clients are willing to pay more if they know you’re the right person to solve their problems.

Solution:

The key to never undervaluing your services is to switch your mindset from an employee to a business owner. Rather than billing per hour, you charge based on value.

Business owners charge based on the value they believe they bring. Value can be measured in various ways, such as increased sales, traffic, leads, conversions, loyalty, authority, etc.

If you can help your clients generate an extra $10,000 in revenue, it’s not unreasonable to charge a percentage of that amount as your fee.

3. Picking a Niche

Ever heard of the saying, the riches are in the niches?

A niche helps to position yourself as an expert allowing you to charge higher prices. A coach who can prove their expertise and proven results in a niche will establish more credibility to their prospects than a generalist who claims to be a jack-of-all-trades.

If you had foot pain, would you see a general practitioner or a podiatrist? Most people want to hire specialized experts who understand their problems and can provide a tailored solution. You wouldn’t want a financial coach to help you with life coaching issues and vice versa.

Coaches can be generalists, though they should look to collaborate with other coaching firms outside of their niche to provide a compelling case to their prospective clients; thus, they stand a chance to lose to their competitors who may specialize in a specific field.

Solution:

Picking a niche is as simple as considering your credentials and qualifications. Determine where your skill sets and passions lie, along with who you want to serve.

If you’ve got ten years working in the B2B tech space, it’s better to serve that niche. Even if you’re new to consulting, your track record in previous work experiences can be leveraged into your business.

4. Managing Time and Workload

Your calendar will quickly become filled with appointments after you’ve built up a decent-sized client base.

While it sounds great in theory, you won’t have time to yourself or the time to grow your business. Get out of the administrative workload, and you will soon find more time to spend with your valued clients.

Other coaching issues: 

  • Overcoming cash flow issues – Low cash flow can hinder a coaching business’s ability to operate smoothly and impede its growth prospects.
  • Addressing marketing issues – Effective marketing attracts clients and promotes the coaching business’s unique value proposition.
  • Resolving pricing issues – Pricing plays a significant role in the perceived value of coaching services and the business’s profitability.

Solution:

First, this requires setting boundaries such as designated office hours and what you are and aren’t willing to do for clients.

Initially, you can continue to raise your rates; however, there may come a point where your prices aren’t feasible for most clients.

Instead, it may be time to change your business model. Instead of working one-on-one with clients, consider doing group coaching, masterminds, or selling info products with coaching support. Provide your clients a triplicate of choice (a three-tiered pricing plan), as no one wants only one option.

You can even hire and train coaches and/or outsource your coaching to perform the client-facing work, and you become the brain trust of the operation.

The Bottom Line

Coaching can be a lucrative and rewarding career. Unfortunately, often, coaches are left in the dark, forced to fend for themselves.

As mentioned, many coaches come into the industry with distinct experts. For example, a tax consultant is great at helping clients with accounting and taxes but doesn’t know how to market themselves or clearly articulate their value.

A business coach can provide a clear roadmap to help you navigate challenges and conquer the goals you’ve set for yourself. They’ll also help you develop a new crucial skill set in marketing and sales, ensuring you build a long-term sustainable business.

Learn more about Navigating Troubled Waters as a Coaching Business.


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