What is the difference between a coaching practice and a coaching business? For many, there may seem to be a difference. Afterall, in both, it’s all about coaching. Surely, it’s just semantics?

But I’d argue there is an important distinction and it’s one that needs to be grasped if you are to achieve your ambitions.

You see, a coaching practice is predicated upon you, the practitioner. It’s about you doing one-to-one work, workshops or events. It is always based on you, the coach, the individual, and what you’re able to give in the moment. Crucially, without you, there is no income! When you go on holiday, your income comes to a stop. When you get ill, your income stops. If you decide you want to take a break from coaching, your income stops.

So what about a coaching business?

A coaching business is about the system that sits behind the way your service and the change you bring about is delivered. The system can be replicated, leveraged and dis-identified with you, the person.

Without you there, the business still makes money and the systems continues to work. No matter if you’re sick or on a Caribbean island sipping cocktails, the systems take care of selling, servicing and managing your clients.

If we look at Animas Coaching School as an example, when I first started the school it was in a sense a practice. It wasn’t a practice like a coaching practice, but was the same in that I did it all! I did the training, I did the sales, I did the bookkeeping: I did literally everything that there was to do.  When I took a break, there was nothing happening in the business. 

Over time, though, I developed systems that meant I could step out of the practice of training, and the business kept delivering the value.  I built a team, we created products, we develop processes for delivering the learning and procesess for supporting our students. None of this requires me, to be ever-present and practising.

So although a practice is a type of business, I would say that when we talk about a coaching business what we are really talking about is systems that allow for scalability and for leverage, so that you, the practitioner, no longer are the sole product.

In a practice: you deliver the product.

In a business: the system delivers the product.

Now, what is it you want your life to look like?

Your decision now doesn’t mean you can’t change. You can move from a practice to a business and some coaches do this by taking on associate coaches or developing additional products or whatever is appropriate for their particular business.

The important thing though is to know what you’re trying to achieve right now and ensure your behaviours and actions map to this. Whether you want to have a business or simply do what you love doing, think about what it is you want and make sure you’re working in the right way to have it.