The 7 Elements to Building a Successful Coaching Business

There are plenty of great coaches who have amazing programs, delivering amazing value, however struggle building their own business. This is the result of poor or non-existent ‘business systems’. Often the coach will build their clients business operating systems yet neglect their own business systems.

When I started my coaching business in 2007 with one client, I would hustle to pick up new clients through my network until my capacity tapped out. There was no system or rhythm, just a lot of blood, sweat and tears. If a client left or needed to pause coaching, I was left with a hole in my cash flow and no quality leads to fill the gaps.

With no defined business development system in place I lacked a pipeline that could produce consistent quality leads. This is a killer for any business. Problem for me is that I lacked systems across my entire business. The more I filled the top of my sales pipeline with leads, the more would fall out the holes at the end due to a lack of systems.

Get Your Coaching Business House in Order

To build a successful coaching business you first must get your house in order. If you want to improve the quality and number of your leads, you first need to improve the quality of your service delivery and client engagement. If you want to step away from doing the day to day coaching, you first need to build scale and leverage into your delivery.

For example, it is a waste of time and money networking, going to events, advertising, and posting on social media if there is no system in place to capture the lead, nurture the lead, qualify the the lead, or to convert the prospect into a paying customer.

Over the years I have tested and measured a lot of theories, strategies, and tactics. Whilst I achieved some wins there was also plenty of losses. It was not until I identified all the key elements, and importantly how the key elements interacted, that I finally got my house in order.

Know Your Market

Importantly, prior to building your coaching business operating systems you should have already identified your target niche market. This should be based on answering the following questions:

  1. Relatable – Does my story and experience relate to the market?
  2. Master – Am I the master at solving the markets problems with great solutions?
  3. Win-Win – Do you like the market and can they pay for your services?

7 Elements to Building a Successful Coaching Business

The following are the key elements I used to successfully build my coaching business, and to assist other coaches build their businesses.

Element 1 – Consistent Delivery

Let us flip the traditional pipeline upside down, rather than start with lead generation, we will start with retaining existing clients. Too often existing clients can be neglected when focused on winning new work, leading to the client feeling underwhelmed and undervalued. As a coach, clients expect you to bring your ‘A-Game’ 100% of the time. Clients expect consistent delivery. As soon as delivery drops questions on value are raised. Get the basics right first.

  • For consideration – Never be late, always deliver your assigned actions on time, always respond to client requests same day (or at least acknowledge received), consistent meeting timings, implement automated email/sms client meeting reminders.

Element 2 – Add ‘Surprise’

Rather than neglect your existing clients focus on adding more value. Look to add an element of surprise into your programs that will deliver value. Awaken your clients so that they understand the true level of expertise and value.

  • For consideration – provide an extra one on one session, implement a group Q&A video call with an external topic expert (this was very useful during COVID19), send a recommended book, email topical relevant information, call to check in.

Element 3 – Nurture Community

Each individual business owner has a story to share. It is very powerful when individuals share ideas, learnings, and experiences within a ‘like-minded’ community. Having the community organically respond to questions and provide support enriches the overall client experience. Let the power of community engagement drive the discussion and the value generated.

  • For consideration – implement periodic (weekly/fortnightly/monthly) online community Q&A video calls, create social media groups (Facebook, What’s App), create separate project groups (use Slack channels), periodic (6 monthly/annual) community events.

Element 4 – Build Scale

With your ‘house in order’, client engagement will increase, value delivered will increase, and importantly client churn will be reduced or eliminated. Now will be the time to consider sustainable growth, and with it how to build scale into the business. The question that is often hard to answer, “how can another coach deliver the same client experience as me”? Most coaches when they start out trade time for money. You cannot scale this model. Scale requires leverage. How to leverage your IP, programs, and experience into a system that can be replicated without you. Essentially remove the principle coach from the day to day delivery.

  • For consideration – implement ‘off the shelf systems’ to deliver your learning content (LMS applications), automated progress tracking and reminders (action notifications), financial metrics scoreboard (tracking ROI), centralised client meeting scheduler to record notes and assign actions (assign accountability). We created TheCUBE business coaching software platform to roll all these functions into one solution.

Element 5 – Refer a Friend

At this stage clients are feeling the love and experiencing positive results. Coaches have been recruited and trained in ‘the way we do it here’ operating systems. With scale and leverage new business development velocity can be ramped up, without the concern of losing control.

  • For consideration – simply, with a community of raving fans, ask to refer a friend. Offer a ‘reward’ (financial, special, upgrade) for referrals and conversions.

Element 6 – Win-Win Partnerships

With most of the coaching now delivered by team members, and systems driving ‘proactive’ communication (not reactive), the owner of the coaching business now has a lot more quality time to invest in building ‘partnership’ relationships within their industry of expertise. Think win-win. Think who will benefit from your expertise, knowledge and programs.

  • For consideration - what industry member associations and industry suppliers will benefit from leveraging your services. Think how can you position yourself as the link to further enhancing relationships between the association and the member, as well as the supplier and the customer. Educate the value of the relationship.

Element 7 – Reinforce Credibility

Every market is cluttered. There are plenty of 'social' coaching experts peddling their wares that distract potential prospects. It is important that you stay relevant to your industry and as well as stay ahead of the needs of your community. Build content that will raise your profile, reinforce your credibility, and that can be repurposed through your industry partnership channels.

  • For consideration - how does your community consume information? What content can you create that is topical and super valuable - Blog, podcast, whitepaper, book (audio/hardcover)?

Implementing the above elements will provide the foundations of your coaching business systems to acquire, engage and retain your clients.

Matthew Jones
TheCUBE Founder & CEO

TheCUBE is a powerful business coaching platform allowing coaches to deliver greater results and life changing value to more clients with less effort.

Book TheCUBE demonstration today.