how to start a coaching business

16th November 2018

Let’s start with this premise: not all UK coaching businesses are created equally. Being a largely unregulated profession, we have to accept that there are inexperienced, untrained coaches on one hand, and highly-skilled, widely experienced coaches on the other. This article is aimed at those wishing to make a success of their coaching business in a professional and self-regulated way, so that you can add value to the clients you see.

start a coaching business – the warm up

Before you get busy with business plans and thoughts about premises, fees, and more, there is a wealth of groundwork that needs to be laid – with you. The most successful coaches, whether practicing as a life coach, executive coach, or something else, didn’t land up at the starting line of starting a coaching business by accident.

Behind you should be a raft of life experience, skills, and aptitudes, which lead you to believe you can make a difference as a coach. And believe in yourself, you must.

Belief in yourself as a coach won’t just happen. You need to know yourself, and develop yourself. At the end of the day, no matter which business path you take, the number one resource in that business will be you, so start at that point. Know your strengths, know your weaknesses, know your chips-on-the-shoulder. Assess yourself honestly and compassionately, and work on those doubts and insecurities. Know what your own Unique Selling Point (USP) is. You’ll be successful for being different, not the same. Make sure you know your values – these will be challenged whilst also becoming the lifeblood and personality of your business.

The most successful businesses grow from passion. So know where your passion and dreams lie, and then you’ll have the drive to make your coaching business a success. Everything else will flow from this, and always come back to this.

start a coaching business – the starting line

Having been through the warm-up, which will be a combination of many years’ experience, as well as concerted thought processes, you’ll be ready to start considering the reality of starting a coaching business.

At this point, we would urge – don’t give up the day job straight away. Four in ten businesses in the UK don’t make it past the 5 year mark. If you can, keep other avenues open until you’ve got a big enough client base to make it your primary income stream.  We find most coaches who train through Animas take this step-by-step approach and it always proves a wiser option.

Next you need to start expanding your business acumen, and building foundations. This means it’s time to start taking your new coaching business seriously. This starts with the training, experience, and credentials to your name. This is especially important as coaching in the UK is still largely unregulated. We therefore suggest you take responsibility for self-regulating.

Fortunately this is made possible through reputable coaching bodies, such as the International Coaching Federation (UK) and the Association for Coaching. Taking the conscious decision to go down professional training paths, from either of these two organisations, will stand you in good stead.

An excellent course for those wishing to start their own coaching business is the Accredited Diploma in Transformational Coaching, which is suitable for those wishing to become a life coach, executive coach or internal coach within an organisation. Once you’re on this pathway, you can start building your coaching credentials.

Alongside this, it is sensible to find a coach for yourself, and start actively working on building your network. Through having your own coach you will create the space and time you need to get your business to flourish, as well as being able to draw from experience. Your network is essential because the vast majority of people will find their coach through recommendation. Ultimately, your network is going to be vital in getting you the experience and recommendations you need. Once you’re fully operational, your network will continue to be the springboard for discussion, encouragement, and all the things you take for granted in your colleagues now.

start a coaching business – the main race

Only once all of the above is in place are you ready to actually start your coaching business. Now is the time to feed everything you’ve gained from the above in to a business plan. In the UK we love self-employment, we do it well. We are a nation of entrepreneurs and self-made people. This means there is a wealth of help and support out there for starting a business. Two excellent starting points are and Business is Great Britain, also a Government run service. This will set you on the path of business plans, registering, self-employment, tax and more.

Hopefully by now you will have a clear understanding of your own passions, skills, and aptitudes, and therefore be able to decide on your coaching niche and what will set your coaching business apart.

As you begin to build a client base, you’re going to find yourself wearing a multitude of hats from book-keeper to marketer, blogger to web designer. Self-employment brings with it a plethora of tasks away from the ‘main aim’ – so get help when you need it, delegate, and don’t feel you need to do it all at once. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Importantly, continue to put away funds for Continuous Professional Development (CPD). Remember, you’re responsible for regulating your own coaching business, and this requires dedication and a desire to continually improve and develop. Ensuring that your chosen CPD coaching courses are worthwhile is of key importance.

start a coaching business – marathon not sprint

Finally, remember that starting any business is a marathon, not a sprint. Success will build and grow with dedication and passion, and through remaining true to your values. Mistakes will happen, sometimes it will be hard, but stand up, dust down, and remember why you chose to start your coaching business in the first place. Be persistent and good luck!

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