You can be the best coach in the world, but if no one knows about your services, then you’re not going to have any clients. Understanding how to get coaching clients is a crucial part of running a coaching business.
My coaching business was created in my mind, and began in my bedroom. I didn’t have a guide, a mentor, or any solid advice about finding clients. But what I did have was a desire. A desire that held and ignited me like nothing had ever before. I had questions running around my head like, ‘How do I make this happen?’, ‘How do I establish relationships and find clients?’, ‘What type of clients do I want to be working with?’.
Today, I coach clients from all corners in the world. My mission is to enable people to become empowered in their own lives and to start living consciously. I have put together five steps below to help kickstart the process of the client cycle.
1. Don’t Overthink It
Want to know something that will surprise you? We coaches have actually been coaching clients for years. It might have taken place in that supermarket line, during a train or plane ride, or even waiting in the playground to pick children up from school. Coaching conversations can and do exist everywhere. Turning those conversations into potential clients, though, is a different story.
The key here is to realise you don’t ‘find’ clients, you ‘create’ clients. Start having conversations with people and tell them what you do. Don’t just tell them though, show them what coaching is. Have a powerful coaching conversation with someone. Ask them how they felt at the end and if they found it useful. If the answer is yes, offer another conversation the following week where you can deep dive further. People always remember how you made them feel, so make them feel heard.
2. Utilise Social Media
In my experience, Instagram is the best platform for coaches to use because there is such a strong community of coaches. Coaching can be a lonely profession, so other coaches and user accounts are technically your colleagues. There are many benefits of interacting with other coaches and building a community. When running your own business, support from other coaches is invaluable. Even just sharing tips and ways of working can enable you to have different perspectives on running a business. There are many coaches out there that have years of experience, and also understand the mistakes you can make when first starting out. Start a conversation with them and suggest you have a coffee over zoom – in my experience, people are more than happy to share their story.
You can also utilise hashtags so your content lands in front of the right people, which leads to more followers. If being on camera is more your style, Instagram allows you to upload videos and go ‘live.’ This means your followers are hearing and seeing you in real time – a great way to speak directly to your dream clients.
Become clear on your intentions for using social media. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is the purpose of this platform for my business?
- Who are my audience and ideal clients and where can I find them?
- Am I using social media authentically?
You can plan posts in advance and can even use online tools to schedule and post them for you. I also want to add here that it’s okay to take a break from technology. You won’t deliver your most creative and effective content if you’re burnt out and exhausted. What is your body telling you? What is your mind telling you? Learn how to honour your needs so that you can produce your best work – you can’t pour from an empty cup.
The core of coaching teaches us that we are here to empower our clients – don’t forget to also empower yourself in the process.
Your First ‘Call to Action’ Post
In my personal experience, I used Facebook for my first call to action post. I hadn’t yet made a coaching Instagram account, but I wanted to get the word out. For me, it worked perfectly as many of my friends and family shared my post. From there, my client base grew within one month and I found myself booked up with several calls in my diary everyday. Some people who reached out to me were friends of friends, and others were completely new connections. I still feel that same excitement I first felt when potential clients reach out to me, I don’t think that butterfly feeling will ever subside. Your first call to action post represents you showing the world that you’re serious about this, and ready to start the journey. Relish in posting about your venture, celebrate calls being booked in the diary, and allow yourself to feel the seed starting to grow.
My original call to action post contained:
- Why coaching has been my lifelong dream
- Which certificate I am qualifying with and what my business is
- What am I looking to achieve (offering free sessions for practice clients)
- A call to action (direct message or email me)
Think about what you would like your first post to achieve. What would be a successful outcome for this post? Perhaps it’s to simply inform people of what you’re doing, or maybe it’s to actively find coaching clients. Then work backwards and include the information needed to make that happen.
3. Nail Your Initial Exploratory Sessions
Once you’ve made others aware of your mission, it’s time to book introductory calls.
The first initial call is a time where you can connect 1:1 undisturbed with your potential client. You can explain more about who you are as a coach, how you operate and discuss your coaching style. It is a great opportunity for you to begin finding out why this potential client is interested in coaching, and what is going on in their life at the moment.
This should be a time where you can begin to decide whether you can coach this potential client and for them to decide if they can work with you. Being a coach/client fit works both ways, so it’s vital to keep this in mind. Start the call by just getting to know them – why are they here, what have they done so far with their self development, and why have they decided to take action now? Have a transformational and powerful coaching conversation with them. Ask challenging and intriguing questions – you need to move the needle for the client within the first call, but also slow down the process of signing them up. Another successful coach said to me ‘just slow down the entire process’ – when you are rushing and focussing on if they’re going to invest, you take yourself out of the present moment with them.
Personally, I offer a couple of initial calls free of charge before discussing rates. The reason for this is so the potential client receives powerful coaching. Rather than being told what coaching is, they can begin to feel and experience it within themselves. One word of advice? Never bring up fees and rates after your first initial call. Always ask if they have found it useful, if they have then offer another call. Only talk about what an investment would look like once you know they’re interested.
4. Clarify Your Ideal Client & Your Offering
Once you start building up your client base, you’ll notice what kind of client you particularly enjoy working with. This takes time, and I can guarantee that your business model and dream client will evolve time and time again.
Many business coaches emphasize the importance of identifying your ‘dream client.’ Here are some questions to help you kickstart that process:
- Do I thrive in individual sessions or group sessions?
- How do I feel about speaking in front of a group?
- When is my coaching at the most optimum level?
- What concepts and topics do I resonate with the most and want to coach on?
5. Ask for Referrals
Word of mouth referrals is one of the most powerful marketing techniques. The best part is that you’ve already built a reputation with the referral through the original client.
It is empowering to ask your current clients if they can help you. Your clients can share your social media content with their network, write testimonials, and spread the word about your coaching from their own experience.
You might be wondering when would be an appropriate time to ask for a referral. If you’ve made good progress with a client and the client is gaining value in the coaching, you can simply ask ‘is there anyone else you know that could benefit from coaching?’
Building a coaching business is not an overnight success. You will see a lot of other coaches on social media managing their businesses in different ways. You don’t need to try to emulate or compare yourself to someone else. Trust the process. Trust the journey. Most importantly, trust yourself.
Olivia is an inclusive and transformational life coach based in London. Born and raised in the UK, she studied life coaching with Animas and now owns a global coaching business. She built her business up during 2020 and left the corporate world to pursue her dream. She is a general life coach, but tends to specialise in fear/anxiety, belief systems and narrative work.
When asked what the most rewarding part of being a coach is, she says that helping clients gain awareness is the most valuable gift you could give. To move your life from living unconsciously, to consciously will transform yourself and the way you see the world.
Olivia now coaches clients from all corners of the world, and describes self development as the true ‘love of her life’.