Coaching is a career that’s driven by passion. People who embark on the journey towards becoming a coach want to help people, see others grow, and be part of the powerful changes that people experience.
However, while all of that is amazing motivation for starting a coaching business, it’s not the only aspect you will need to consider. In the end, a coaching practice is a business, and that requires you to think of it as such if you want to achieve long-term success.
And that’s why developing a coaching business plan should play an integral role in how you make decisions.
But what is a coaching plan? And what are the steps to creating one?
Let’s answer these questions below.
What is a Coaching Plan?
The biggest shift in perspective that coaches have to go through is the realization that they are running a business. Even though helping people is at the heart of everything you do as a coach, you still need to think about how you will attract new clients, expand what you offer, and what methods you’ll use to reach the goals you set out.
In fact, if you don’t treat your coaching as a business, you will be doing a disservice to your clients. Many of them won’t ever discover you and what you can offer, and you won’t have processes in place to help nearly as many people as if you adopted a business-like approach to your coaching.
And that’s where a coaching plan is an indispensable tool.
Basically, it’s a way to build a comprehensive strategy for attracting the very best clients, increasing your presence, and positioning yourself as the expert in your field that you truly are.
With a coaching plan, you can avoid getting distracted by the various opportunities or approaches you could take and can instead focus on implementing the strategies and steps that you set out from the beginning.
That way, you can actually build something that will provide you with a steady stream of new clients instead of taking part in countless unfinished ventures that didn’t have enough time to develop into anything meaningful.
With a coaching business plan, you can gain control over how you spend your time and plan ahead more realistically. If you know exactly what you need to do today and a month from now, you will always be moving forward and growing your coaching business instead of getting bogged down by the countless opportunities that are available.
But what are the actual steps to building a thriving coaching practice? Well, it comes down to five key elements that you will need to implement into your coaching plan. Let’s explore them below.
Steps to Developing a Coaching Plan
Developing a coaching plan doesn’t have to be scary. Even if you have no experience running a business, you can use a few simple steps to clearly understand what you’re trying to achieve, who you want to help, and how you’ll ensure that you always have plenty of clients to work with.
Let’s go over the five essential steps that every good coaching plan should include below.
Succeeding as a coach isn’t easy. No matter what industry you are operating in, there are probably quite a few established coaches that you will be competing against. Therefore, you’ll need to have a lot of motivation to push through the difficult periods and stay on the path you set out for yourself.
And that’s why it’s essential to commit to the plan wholeheartedly and without any doubts.
You need to have a crystal clear understanding of why you want to become a coach. At the surface level, you probably already have a rough idea, as most coaches enter the field because they want to help others.
But why exactly are you the type of person that wants to help others? And what else appeals to you about the coaching lifestyle?
You need to think about how transforming people’s lives will impact you, what type of life you could create for yourself and your loved ones, and what kind of freedom you could attain if you are successful.
If you’re going to make a significant commitment to your coaching career, you’ll need to answer these types of questions and really understand your underlying desires and aspirations. They will then serve as a well that you can draw from when the going gets tough, which will allow you to stay resilient and focused on the long-term goals above all else.
Don’t rush through this step of the coaching plan, even if it may seem abstract and not as action-packed as you might like. Without the proper motivation from within, you will face obstacles every step of the way that will be much harder to overcome.
And this step will also help you figure out what type of lifestyle you want to create. Only by meeting your personal and financial goals can you remain focused on helping clients, so you need to have a very good understanding of what type of coaching business model you want to implement, including which group coaching framework will work best in your situation.
Forming connections is at the very core of any coaching process. And so, it’s not surprising that it should be an essential part of a coaching plan as well.
Your ability to connect with people on the medium you choose to communicate through will play a key role in how successful you can be. And to form strong connections, you need to consider how you will nurture a safe space for people to open up during all of your communications.
Whether you’re getting on the initial call with a client or planning group coaching sessions, you need to have a proven process for connecting with every person you work with and inspiring them to take the actions they need to take.
Since you will likely be working both online and offline, you need to figure out how connecting with people will look on both.
Whether you’re talking in person, on Zoom, on the phone, or through an all-in-one coaching platform, you need to have a way to connect with people on a personal level and build relationships that can grow into more opportunities for you to grow as a business.
This might also require you to think about your own strengths. Do you do better in one-one one coaching situations? Or do you prefer to inspire and help multiple people at once? This might help you structure your coaching plan accordingly so that you can build the type of coaching business you enjoy putting effort into.
No matter how you look at it, having conversations will be a big part of your coaching business. The good news is that if you’ve chosen to be a coach, chances are you’re already very good at having meaningful conversations with the people you work with.
But when building a coaching plan, you need to be strategic about how you talk with potential and current clients. Successful coaches must have insightful and meaningful conversations on a consistent basis, which requires a proven framework you can rely upon repeatedly.
You need to have a proven process for running productive coaching sessions. It should include asking the right questions, listening to the real meaning behind what your clients are saying, and finding ways to communicate valuable insights that change how the people you work with see their situation.
The good news is that there are plenty of coaching models to choose from, such as the always-popular GROW and OSKAR structures. But you must leverage these types of frameworks together with your personal experiences, as truly powerful conversations materialize through sharing personal experiences and forming connections that reach beyond the professional relationship of coach and client.
A coaching business is only possible if you have clients that are willing to pay you. Having conversations and helping people succeed is rewarding, but you won’t be able to continue doing that for long if you can’t support yourself from your work.
That’s why you need to think through the process of getting people to say a resounding “YES” to your offers and deciding they want to hire you to help them. And that requires an understanding of sales techniques that will get people from where they are before they hear about you to deciding that your services are the perfect solution to their problems.
But how can you do that?
Well, the conversion step can actually be broken down into actionable steps of its own.
First, you need to zero in on the core challenge or obstacle your ideal client is trying to solve. If you’re a health coach, this might be solving their health issues, and if you’re a business coach, this might be a specific professional challenge they need help overcoming.
If you can call out that issue and offer a proven and effective solution, it will be very hard for your ideal customers to ignore your message.
Then, it will come down to creating an appealing coaching package around solving that problem, and you will have a much easier time getting people to line up for your offers shortly after first discovering you.
At this point, you should have a pretty good understanding of what type of coaching business you want to run. You should know the ideal clients you want to serve, how you’ll reach them, how you’ll work with them, and how you’ll get them to trust that you can help them.
The final step in creating a comprehensive coaching plan is figuring out how you put together all of the ideas you’ve developed up to this point into a cohesive and action-based plan.
As a coach, you probably know how important it is to take structured action and figure out precisely what you need to do next to get closer to your ultimate goals.
So, once you have the basic ideas you want to implement, it’s now time to lay them out in sequential order, prioritizing what needs to be done first and how you can get started right now.
One thing to remember as you build out the plan is that you must always come back to the core reasons why you want to be a coach in the first place. That motivation is what should drive every decision you make, as that’s the only way to ensure you maintain focus and remain motivated throughout the many hurdles that you are sure to face in the future.
Write out your plan in as much detail as possible and give yourself deadlines for achieving different goals and milestones. As you discover more about the type of coaching business you want to run, you can always tweak your approach a little. Still, this original coaching plan should be the basis for everything you do in the foreseeable future.
In coaching, helping clients always comes first. But at the same time, you need to have a coaching plan that considers how you want to help people, what type of lifestyle you want to create, and how you will grow your coaching business.
By following the five-step process listed above, you should get answers to the most critical questions about the type of coaching business you want to create, which will give you the confidence to pursue clients and expand into new areas.