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If you are thinking of becoming a coach, you probably want to know how coaching is measuring up as a career in this time of economic and social upheaval. The good news is professional coaching is gaining respect as a profession, perhaps in part because of the economic uncertainty, forced career changes and drastic efforts of businesses to make their operations efficient and productive in the midst of financial challenges. To illustrate that growth, consider these statistics: as of 2020, there were approximately 53,300 professional coaches at work that bring in a combined $2 billion in revenue. As an industry, coaching is thriving.

As business owners, coaches set their own rates and those rates vary widely. Coaches earn anywhere from $25 per hour to $300+ per hour. Standard hourly rates for coaches coming out of a certification program are $100-$150 per hour, but those can be higher depending on the coach’s background, other expertise and location. The biggest difference in coaching rates, though, is determined by what type of coaching you are doing. The coaching industry is generally divided into executive coaching, business coaching and life coaching.

The International Coach Federation routinely studies the coaching market, with landmark studies taking place in 2007, 2012, and most recently in 2017. This study found that the average income for full time coaches was $61,900 and for part-time coaches that figure was at about $26,000 a year. This was consistent with more recent findings in the latest Sherpa Study that average annual incomes for coaches range from $55K to $116K. Sherpa provides training and research for the coaches industry and is known for its research and education based programs and reports. The ICF study saw an expansion of coaches globally and a recently-estimated industry income of $1.9 million (US Dollars). You can read a summary of the latest study here.

According to Julia Steward with the School of Coaching Mastery, newly graduated life and business coaches are typically charging $100 – 200 per hour, while more established coaches may be charging up to $600 per hour. The salary you make as a coach is determined by factors such as the type of coaching you do, your location and other factors such as how you position yourself against the competition.

If you are like most coaches, you’re often looking for ways to maximize your profit. Let’s look at several ways top coaches in the industry are making a six figure income.

Corporate Coaching

Corporate Coaching, also known as executive coaching, has continued to serve as an effective tool for organizations and growth is not expected to slow any time soon. Corporate coaches offer their services to large business entities and often specialize in focus areas such as leadership, team building or sales, among many others. Services offered to clients may include face to face coaching for top executives down to front line employees, team coaching, training programs, assessments other customized coaching programs.

Businesses are looking for specific results and often hire coaches to solve a specific problem. Coaching may be focused on outcomes such as talent retention, effective teams, increased sales or minimized downtime during a corporate restructure. Because of these high-stakes results, executive coaches make more than other coaches, on average. According to the this Sherpa study, executive coaches earn approximately $325 hour compared with $235 per hour for small business coaches and $160 per hour for life coaches.

The fact is, large companies can afford to pay for more coaching and they do. You can certainly make as much as an executive coach as a specialized life coach, but generally speaking, executive coaching pays more than life coaching or small business coaching. Corporations also offer more earning potential per client than an individual or small business client. Corporations can typically buy more services at a given time. As a corporate coach, you can sell coaching services, training, customized programming and assessments all to the same client—at the same time. The work is also spread across many people or divisions. These factors all contribute to more income for executive coaches.

Establishing a Specialty

It seems like common sense, but one of the biggest mistakes new coaches make is trying to be everything to everyone. The idea of passing up a potential client is unthinkable, so they sell their services to anyone who will listen. Coaching is explosive right now, which also means more new coaches are entering the playing field. The more you can specialize and raise yourself above the competition, the more successful you will be as a coach.

Even if you are a business or executive coach, you can narrow your services to a specialty. Without a specialty, you could try to provide general coaching services to any corporations that will work with you. With a specialty, you can focus on a specific outcome like developing leaders, increasing sales or retaining top talent. Establishing yourself as an expert in a given area will make you more attractive when compared with your competitors.

You may also choose to focus on a specific industry. Perhaps you have experience in the oil and gas industry that gives you a better understanding of their needs than your competitors. Establishing yourself as the expert will result in new business, repeat business and referrals as people want to work with someone who understands their needs and produces results.

When you choose a specialty and become the authority in your area, you can streamline your products, your marketing and your services. You have a clear focus and know exactly what results you want to produce from your business. This focus results in more clients as you can get your message out to your targeted audience consistently. Having a specialty also leads to more referrals as you become known as an expert.

Capitalizing on Writing and Speaking

Writing and speaking are great ways to enhance your credibility, build an audience and make more money as a coach. Many people take the approach of writing a book, but you may also be able to accomplish the same goals through a successful blog. The idea is to position your self as the thought leader in your specialty area. By doing this, you become the “go-to” person in your field. As a result, when a person or organization is facing the same problem you happen to have published expertise in, you are the person they seek for help. You may also make money on the sale of the book or be paid for speaking engagements, so the additional business that you get makes this a win from three angles.

If you don’t know where to start when it comes to writing, don’t feel overwhelmed. Start small by expressing yourself and organizing your thoughts on your blog, and then move on to longer form essays. When you feel like you have enough to say on your chosen topic, it’s time to begin working on your book.

The idea is to get your unique ideas out in the marketplace and get in front of your target audience consistently. From this, you build a connection with your audience. Further, you are providing them with value and resources even before they hire you. This also creates a sense of trust within your audience. Clients need to trust you as their coach. Once you have that connection, they won’t want to hire anyone else but you to help them succeed.

Diversifying Income

Finally, most coaches do more than just coach. Coaches making six figures offer many products and services in addition to one-on-one coaching. Think about what else you can offer your client. Depending on your specialty, additional services may include training, consulting, assessments, surveys, online classes and group coaching. You may also have products to sell such as a book, motivational recordings or other products you have created to supplement your business. You may also resell products that align with your specialty area. For example, think about a health coach that provides personal training and supplements along with coaching. What have your done or created that will allow you to offer more to your clients? Turn your talents and output into varied profit streams for your coaching business.

There is truth to the saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” The more you have to offer clients, the more your potential revenue. Further, by creating products that aren’t based solely on your time, such as a book or other information product, you can literally be making money while you sleep. Coaching is a business that can be profitable and enjoyable. Like any business, the more you put into it and the more creative you become, the more money you are destined to make.

What Does a Life Coach Do?

by Kristie Santana

If you’re thinking of becoming a life coach, you probably want to know exactly what coaches do. What does a coach provide to his or her clients and what does the typical day of a life coach look like?

In today’s post, we’ll be answering both of those questions and explaining exactly what a life coach does.

Life coaches work with their clients to help them achieve goals, overcome obstacles, and make changes or shifts in their lives — both transformative and modest changes alike. The coach works with the client as a partner, knowing that the client has the answers to create the changes they seek. The role of a life coach isn’t to give advice or “tell the client what to do,” but instead to help the client uncover or reconnect with their strongest values and motivations, which will then help the client achieve the goals they set out to complete.

A life coach is almost like a sculptor who can look at you and see the potential for you to achieve all that you desire. Through specific strategies and skills, the coach helps you define yourself and create the life you envision. Coaches help you focus, provide direction, challenge you, support you, motivate you and celebrate with you. Life coaches help you create a plan, detail action steps and hold you accountable for following through. They use skills that include observing, listening deeply, asking empowering questions, challenging, and motivating.

Unlike therapists and counselors, coaches do not delve into the client’s past (at least, not for long) or try to uncover any deep-seated psychological issues that might be impeding the client’s current progress. Life coaching is based on the principle that the client has the intrinsic ability to determine and achieve their goals. Everything is based on the present and what you want to achieve moving forward.

There are many different types of coaches including:

  • General Life Coaches
  • Life Balance Coaches
  • Health Coaches
  • Small Business Coaches
  • Executive Coaches
  • Personal Finance Coaches
  • Relationship Coaches

Coaches work with all types of clients from people who are full of momentum and want to take life to the next level to people who are stuck and need a coach to nudge them in the right direction. So how does this happen? Where and how do coaches meet with clients? Coaches meet with their clients in different ways, depending on their location and the type of client they are meeting. Let’s look at how coaches meet with their clients and then we will look at how a day in the life of a coach could look.

Virtual Coaching

Even prior to COVID-19, coaches have been at the forefront of the remote meeting trend, and 2020 has only served to make remote work even more popular. With the current variety of virtual options (Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, etc), remote coaching provides the same potential for real human connection and transformative change with the added convenience of meeting from home. This is also a useful tool if you normally coach face to face, but either the client or coach is traveling and needs to do the session from a remote location.

Face to Face Coaching

In some cases, life coaches meet with their clients face to face. This can be based on the preference of the coach or the client or the type of coaching being delivered. For example, executive coaching is often delivered face to face at the workplace of the client. This isn’t always the case, but most often, work performed for businesses is done face to face. Some people just prefer a face to face meeting. One way to help clients overcome this if you are local is to offer your first session face to face and following sessions remotely. Group coaching is typically done face to face based on the nature of the sessions and topics, but even group coaching can be accomplished remotely.

Coaching By Phone

When the situation calls for it — e.g. a poor internet connection, client preference, an older or less tech-savvy client — coaching over the phone is still a possibility. Coaching by telephone has many benefits and has been proven effective by life coaches for decades. Telephone coaching allows coaches to work with clients in any location of the globe, as long as the time zones are manageable by the coach and client. The benefit to clients over using services like Skype or Zoom is that the conversation is usually uninterrupted by connection issues or technical difficulties.

A Day in the Life

Like any business, a day in the life of the business owner can vary widely. The following two examples are based on a life coach who coaches individuals and an executive coach who targets large companies. Consider the average day of both coaches.

Gayle, Certified Life Coach

6:00 am: Gayle wakes up, checks his email and plans his day. He has two new potential clients that learned about him from his website. He emails them back to schedule free sample sessions that he offers to help people know what coaching is all about.

7:00 am: Gayle goes to the gym, showers and has breakfast with a fellow coach he met at a local coach federation meeting.

9:30 am: Gayle has four client appointments back to back. He allows 30 minutes between each to recap the previous session and prepare for the next.

1:30 pm: Gayle has lunch and checks his social media accounts and emails. He makes a few posts and comments and responds to potential clients.

3:30 pm: Gayle has a free sample session with a potential client he met at the gym last week. She signs on for coaching to begin next week. Gayle prepares and sends out her new client package and forms.

5:00 pm: Gayle recaps the day and plans for tomorrow.

7:00 pm: Gayle attends a local meet and greet for young entrepreneurs. Afterward, he makes a list of people to follow up with the next day.

Pat, Executive Coach

7:00 am: Pat gets her day started by meeting with local professionals at a coffee shop near her house. She has gained several clients from this because many attendees are executives in companies in the area.

8:00 am: Pat puts together a proposal for a company she has been trying to work with for several months. Her proposal details her customized leadership program and how she can impact the mid-level managers at the firm she is targeting.

10:00 am: Pat has face to face coaching sessions with the sales team at one of her client companies, an office supply company. She meets with four sales people for 45-60 minutes each. She has a six month contract with the company with the goal of helping the sales people achieve higher sales using new techniques the company has recently implemented. She is also able to have lunch with her key contact at the company, ensuring that she is continuing to build the relationship and provide customer service.

4:00 pm: Pat holds a webinar for the personal banking team at a local bank. The bank hired her to provide a series of six webinars on enhanced customer service and communication strategies the team can use with customers.

5:00 pm: Pat follows up with leads, checks email and prepares for the next day.

Conclusion

As you can tell by now, no two coaches will follow the exact same formula, and each practice looks, sounds, and feels different from any other. In short, a coaching practice is a reflection of the coach, and the approach each coach uses often differs significantly from one coach to the next.

In the end, this is exactly why becoming a coach can be so much fun. You get to craft your business around what matters to you, at a pace that works for you, and using methods and techniques that make sense to you. Few other careers offer this degree of flexibility (both personally and professionally), and you’ll grow to love this creative freedom as you become a seasoned coach, helping your clients achieve the life they’ve dreamed of.

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