Andrea Leda Wilborn practices coaching in Portland, Oregon, and is the founder of The Practice Community, an online space where more than 600 coaches interact each week. We hope you enjoy this interview!
Coaching Focus: I equip my fellow heart-centered coaches and practitioners to fully embody and embrace their bravest work in the world. I believe in coaching, but more than this, I believe coaches are poised to help build braver spaces where more and more people have an undeniable experience that they matter.
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Tell us about your journey as a coach.
I am a social worker by training and a life coach by calling. The social worker in me believes that self-development won’t change the world if it is not directly tied to collective success. The life coach in me knows that collective success can’t happen without deep self-knowing and personal excavation.
I’ve always been that girl strangers share their life stories with. It doesn’t matter if I’m in line at the grocery store or on an airplane, I often find myself as the person others tell deep and meaningful things to. I started my coach journey in 2010 after two failed attempts at graduate school to become a counselor. I kept abandoning that path because I didn’t want to be a diagnostician—I wanted to support people to thrive in their lives.
After I completed my coach training I got started by having hundreds of coffee dates. I met with people from my network and started asking people questions about their life: what did they dream about? What broke their heart at three in the morning? What inspired them? What were they called to do with their life? These coffee dates led to coaching calls and coaching calls led to clients. To this day, when I desire to grow my clientele I simply open my calendar up and get on the phone with 20, 30, sometimes 60 people and just coach.
My business has evolved over the years to support other coaches, but at the heart of my work is still working with individuals one-to-one. The depth of coaching is what I got hooked on, and my love for that process has never waned.
We want to destigmatize talking about money, including how much coaches make. Would you please share with our readers any relevant revenue figures from your business?
In my first year (2014), I brought in $4,000. The next year, it was $35,000, and in 2016 it jumped to $175,000. My 2021 revenue was $280,000, and my projected 2022 income is $360,000.
What advice or perspective might you give to a new coach trying to get her first clients? Any advice they should ignore?
Just start coaching. I know this sounds simple, but it works. Offering people an opportunity to experience deep coaching works, and I recommend these gifted calls be 60-90 minutes.
The advice I’d ignore: you do not need a website, business cards, or social media to get started. Once you have five paying clients, then you can commit energy to these things.
What are your thoughts on “choosing a niche” as a coach?
I don’t believe in niching. A niche is defined as “a specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.” People don’t segment themselves the way marketers do. While I do believe that you need to have a sense of the kinds of problems you do and do not work with, a more powerful call sign than a niche is to name a message—a central pillar and aspirational hope you direct your service work to build through those you coach.
If you received an extra $10,000 to spend on your business, how would you spend it and why?
I would host a 5-day coaching retreat for my best clients. Giving people an experience that changes their lives is what coaching is built to do. I will always pour my resources back into the people in my community, first.
When you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or have lost your focus or motivation, what do you do?
I go to my own coach, and she helps me find my center again. Even when things are working beautifully, doubt can knock on your door. I’ve come to appreciate that these moments are seeds of potential for the future, but I need to sit with my doubts and not cast them away too quickly.
If you could put a message on a huge billboard—getting a message out to millions—what would it say and why?
“When you trust you are worth showing up fully for your gift, you will be brave enough to do your work.”
This is my message, and I believe in it because I’ve never met a coach who wasn’t full of hope and the belief in possibility—but I’ve also never met a coach who wasn’t doubtful that they were enough to bring their hope to the world in a meaningful way.
This article was written by the Life Coach Magazine staff. We cover everything from personal development, to coaching tips, to how to grow your coaching business. Follow us on Instagram or sign up for our emails!