The Business of Coaching® Intro Chapter

Real success is finding your lifework
in the work that you love


Congratulations on your decision to be a personal and/or business coach, a rewarding and satisfying career! The profession of coaching is experiencing unprecedented growth and being a coach is not only a fulfilling experience, it can also be profitable.

I’ve found that the most successful coaches play three distinct roles within their businesses:

  1. The insightful and compassionate coach who supports and challenges clients
  2. The confident and enthusiastic marketer who enrolls and retains clients
  3. The savvy entrepreneur who establishes and manages the coaching business

All three roles are needed and no one role is more important than the others. Being a gifted coach does not ensure that you are prepared to run a successful coaching practice. The business of coaching is just that – a business. Using your coaching skills of intuition, listening, and curiosity is just a portion of what is needed to make your business successful. Even if you only coach one person for a fee, you still have a coaching business, just a small one.

This book is focused on developing your entrepreneur and marketer roles. You’ll find out how to start a coaching practice – from crafting your business vision and plan, to picking a company name, setting up your financial accounts, insuring your business, and paying taxes. You’ll also learn how to manage and grow your business – from developing a marketing plan and marketing materials, to executing that plan and networking effectively. In addition, you will learn how to successfully transition to the world of self-employment and stay focused and organized.

Starting and growing a coaching business is both a “doing” and “being” adventure. There are tasks and activities to undertake (the “doing” aspect) and you may find yourself wondering if you are doing them correctly or if you are missing something. If you are concerned about this, stop, relax, and take a deep breath. This book and the companion workbook will walk you through all of the steps.

One of my objectives in creating this book is not just to assemble and impart this information to you, but to help you realize that establishing, managing, and marketing your business need not be complex, confusing, intimidating, or burdensome. It’s not rocket science! The activities themselves are not difficult, and nearly all the information you need can be found in this book and the companion workbook.

My second objective is to explicitly address the “being” aspect of your business, a topic that is typically overlooked by many small-business start-up books. How you “be” in your business – how you think of yourself, your business, your purpose in the world, how your thoughts translate into action and behavior – will have a powerful impact on your success. In fact, it is a key driver of your success. I’m going to point out how your thoughts and perceptions can facilitate (or hinder) your business success.

My third objective comes from my passionate commitment to the coaching industry. Our industry will only be as strong and successful as the individual coaches within it. If we all have professional, ethical, profitable, and successful businesses then that will be the standard for the industry. Wouldn’t that be great? If, instead, we do not provide excellent service to our clients, have dubious ethics, and manage our affairs and our businesses in an unprofessional manner, then our industry is doomed to failure. I want us all to be wildly successful coaches, and for the power of coaching to reach the entire world.

Together, we can achieve this vision!

I’ve written this book for both the novice and the established coach. Once you’ve read this book, none of the topics covered will remain a mystery to you. Furthermore, the workbook contains activities that cover each of the chapter topics as well as additional resources (print and web based) to assist your continued learning. You will find this bookset to be a valuable resource for your business library, and by the end of this book you will be managing and marketing your business with confidence and enthusiasm.

How This Book Is Organized

I’ve tried to arrange the topics of this book to be in order of when they might be needed. The book is ordered in a logical sequence, starting with you and your business vision, then traveling into the worlds of legal, financial, marketing, and day-to-day operations. That said, there are two ways to approach the book: start at the beginning or read what you need, when you need it.

I recommend that you read through the book in order, completing the associated activities in The Business of Coaching Workbook as you go. For each chapter in this book, there is a corresponding chapter in the workbook which contains action steps, charts, inquiries, and resources for nearly all of the topics in the chapter text. In this way you will learn the information for each business element and will then apply what you learned in the workbook. Even if you have an aversion to workbooks, please check this one out. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Enjoy the journey!

In Section One, the focus is on you – your business vision and plan, how you see yourself as the leader of your business, and opportunities for collaboration. In addition, we’ll cover my “Recipe For Business Success” which provides a big-picture overview of the business start-up and growth process. These topics work together to provide the foundation for your business.

Section Two ventures into the world of business legal issues, such as legal structures, business and personal insurance, and local and state requirements.

The financial elements are addressed in Section Three, including budgeting, record keeping, financial accounts, invoicing, taxes, and saving for retirement.

Section Four is focused on your marketing role: developing a marketing plan and a brand identity, attracting clients, claiming a niche, creating marketing materials, marketing activities, as well as developing effective networking skills.

Section Five covers topics focused within the four walls of your office: transitioning to self-employment, staying focused and organized, addressing procrastination and setting up your Internet access.