12 Steps with milestones, towards becoming a successful Life Coach  

There are proven reliable ways to become a successful life coach, along with some common roadblocks that you will face on this path. Use the InnerLifeSkills life coach roadmap, to help you to navigate towards your success and to avoid the common roadblocks.

 I’ve created a 3 phase roadmap for you.

The 3 phases are:

  1. Research phase
  2. Education phase
  3. Marketing phase

1. Research phase

You must know exactly what questions to ask in order to choose the right direction for you.

If we were heading on the journey together, we would need to research where we are now, and where we want to go to. We’d do this before we took one step on our journey.

This phase will save you time and money if done properly.

Please make sure that you find the answers and get a real understanding of the following:

  • Knowing what coaching really is and what it isn’t, for example, understand the difference between coaching, mentoring and counselling.
  • What inspired you to take this path? Find your reason, your “why” for becoming a coach.
  • Why you must choose an ICF accredited course, Narrow your options down to 3 accredited courses to choose from.
  • Knowing in principle if you have what it takes to be a coach.
  • How much will it cost in terms of time and financial investment to become a coach? Compare the prices of your 3 top choices, and the duration of the courses.

2. Education phase

With your research done, it’s time to commit to a path of study to become qualified as a professional coach, to gain all of the competencies and skills that you need to be successful.

Aim for these 3 milestones.

1. Achieve ACC (Associate Certified Coach) competencies – here you are able to coach goals, action plans as well as build rapport and accountability.

2. Achieve PCC (Professional Certified Coach) competencies — here you are able to coach inner obstacles, like fear, self-esteem, procrastination etc. as well as coaching inner wealth like excavating strengths, helping someone to find their wisdom and inner resources.

3. Achieve MCC (Master Certified Coach) competencies – here you are able to coach a variety of specialties, including youth coaching, business coaching, inner wisdom coaching etc.

With PCC or MCC competency levels, you are ready to go to market, to start the next phase.

 

3. Marketing phase

What if a life-changing book, had a blank cover that didn’t communicate to others the value of what was inside the book?

Don’t be a life-changing book with a blank cover. It’s not easy to be able to find clients as easily as you think it may be.

Coaching skills are not enough. You need a proven strategy to ethically go to market.

I strongly recommend the following 5 Step Strategy.

1. 3 NICHES — Choose 3 niche markets.
2. 3 SERVICES — Custom build your coaching services.
3. 3 SYSTEMS — Build your 3 magic numbers.
4. 3 INCOME STREAMS — Charge + get ICF credentialed.
5. 3 MULITIPLERS — Maximize your impact + income.

Each step has 3 solutions that you need to implement.

By now you can tell I like the number 3 🙂 I like the simplicity of focusing on no more than two or three things at a time. When building your coaching career it will be the same.

It’s as important to know what not to focus on, as it is to know what to focus on. It can be overwhelming and confusing when there are so many things that you could be doing, to know which one is the priority.

By following this roadmap, let’s declutter the noise for you so that you know exactly which things to focus on doing.

1. 3 NICHES — Choose 3 niche markets.

Whilst you study as a coach, start narrowing down the answers to the question, “Who do I want to serve?”

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, factors that you want to consider when making these choices. Remember to remain flexible at all times about choosing your niche markets. Niche markets are opportunities, there are often discovered along the journey. You will need a place to start.

What is a niche market and why does it matter?

Amateur business builders, make the mistake, thinking that they must try to serve everyone. This will dilute your message and is almost a guaranteed path to failure. I want you to succeed, so that you can go out there and change lives, don’t make the mistake of trying to market to everyone.

  • I’ve often heard coaches start by saying; “I want to coach men.” or “I want to coach personal growth.” The first is a vague market and the second is a vague product.

    A niche market is a narrow focus market. Instead of “men” or “women” here are some examples of successful niche markets that I have seen:
    • Preteens in private schools with bullying issues.
    • Female Powerlifters.
    • Middle managers in the logistics industry.
    • Aspiring authors.
    • Orthodox Jewish female divorcees.
    • Christian youth leaders.
    • Parents of toddlers at nursery schools.
    • Recovering addicts.

Imagine trying to create a helpful article that solves the problems of a broad market like, “women”?

The problem with a board market is that they don’t have very specific, significant problems.

What specific problems do all women have? There are arguably no common specific problems.

When targeting a niche market, we have the advantage of being able to determine specific significant problems that are shared across the market.

It’s likely, that all female powerlifters share common goals and face problems, for example, injury recovery time. Most aspiring authors will face problems like choosing between self-publishing and publishing.

Do you see how, by having a niche market in mind, you could focus on speaking the common language of their most specific problems?

People are only willing to listen to us, when we speak to their specific problems.

If you cannot show them how coaching will help them to solve their specific problems, you cannot market to them. Choose at least 3 markets and make sure that they are niche markets.

Why find 3 and not 1 niche market?

This is a journey of discovery, you may find out that one of your markets is not suitable, and then at least you have two backup plans.

Now that you understand what a niche market is, look at the factors that you need to wake up to and consider when finding niche markets to serve.

Factors to consider when marketing to a niche market.

How lucrative is the market?

If you need to earn income as a coach, your market needs to be willing and able to afford your services.

When choosing a market, consider the amount of money that they spend on similar services like consulting, self-improvement and courses.

A lucrative coaching market is usually a market that is willing to invest in the services of psychologists, counsellors, consultants and self-improvement books and courses.

If the market that you absolutely love and care about does not have the money to afford being coached then you need to get creative about how to earn money as a coach.

One possibility is to have a second market that is very lucrative, that compensates for your more charitable work.

Consider also, creating a coaching service that is sponsored or endorsed. The third is to have a premium coaching product that pays for your more charitable service. For example, a wealthier client pays a premium that includes paying for a charity coaching session that you offer for free.

How credible are you in the market?

Even though it is true, that with master coaching skills, you can coach anyone anywhere, that doesn’t mean you should. We are not credible in all markets.

Credibility is established through life experience, passion, trust, qualifications and work experience.

Consider your other qualifications, life experience and work experience that would give you natural access.

I’ve trained coaches who have turned other passions and interests into markets that they serve as professional coaches. I’ve also trained coaches who combined other areas of expertise with their coaching skills, in order to create unique brands for themselves.

3 Case Study Examples

Phil Keye

Phil Keye

ILS Master Coach

Phil was an extramural guitar teacher, who became an InnerLifeSkills Master Coach. Using these strategies he has built a successful youth coaching brand.

He still combines guitar playing with his youth coaching.

Eduan Pieterse

Eduan Pieterse

ILS Master Coach

Eduan was a corporate manager who used his ILS Master Coach skills to secure corporate coaching, executive coaching and team coaching contracts.

Monique De Beer

Monique De Beer

ILS Master Coach

Monique is a successful physiotherapist who now uses her InnerLifeSkills Master Coach skills to offer life coaching to her patients, to attract new clientele and to coach businesses in the wellness industry.

How easily can you build a database of prospects in this market?

Don’t think that social media is the only way to go. Even with spam issues and full inboxes, email is still the most effective form of marketing. Your database is gold. Start building a database as soon as possible.

When choosing a market, how easily you can build a database for that market?

This is linked to the question, “How easy is it to reach this market?”

By reach, I mean having conversations with them. Choose markets that you can easily connect to.

How much competition do you have in this market?

Don’t be afraid of competition, in fact it’s a good sign if there is coaching competition in your niche market.

It proves to you that you have a market. But what you will need to do however is to distinguish yourself in the market, by offering more value or by offering something unique.

 

How much do you care about this market?

Take care of your market. If your hearts not in it, don’t choose a market just because it’s lucrative.

Search amongst the groups of people out there that you share interests and values with.

What if I don't know who my niche market is?

Please don’t panic about choosing your niche markets. Focus on getting your studies and education phase done.

For most coaching students, the journey of studying and practicing reveals the niche markets that they choose to start with.

With InnerLifeSkills coach training we will show you how to find your markets.

2. SERVICES — Custom build your coaching services.

Don’t start with “what type of coaching you want to offer,” instead start with “Who do you want to coach?”

The who must be before the what.

Many people make this mistake, they try to determine what products and services they want to build, and then spend time and money building websites and marketing material for these products, before ever taking them to the people that they want to serve.

This is like cooking meals in a restaurant before your clients have ordered their meals. If you want to have happy clients in a restaurant, you would first go and get their order.

Yes, you might have a menu of choices, but you need to listen to your clients to make them the meal that they want.

Similarly, the best way to be successful as a coach is to first have conversations with your niche markets, to establish their priority problems, and to build coaching solutions for those specific problems.

This means custom building your services.

Study a form of coaching that gives you the flexibility required to customize your services easily on the fly.

Much later when you have proven a particular market and service combination, then invest in creating websites and other marketing material to solidify your brand specialization.

3. SYSTEMS — Build your 3 magic numbers.

It took me 30 years to learn that marketing can be simple. It comes down to 3 numbers, that I call the 3 magic numbers.
If you work every day to grow your numbers, you would find success relatively soon.

So what are my 3 magic numbers?

Do this exercise with me now, but promise me that you won’t be despondent or disheartened if your numbers are low. There are likely to be low. This is good news because now you will know where you are and the only way is up.

 

Magic number 1: “How many people know your name?

You don’t have to write down the exact number, estimates will do. None of us know the exact answer to this question, but we have some idea.

Look at how many people are on your contact list, how many friends on social media. How many people know about you? Even vaguely, they might not know your exact name but they know of you. This will do for your first number.

Here are some ways to grow your first magic number.

  • Consistent brand awareness — your name or brand is clear and obvious.
  • Building social media following, with consistent brand building.
  • Have a strong online brand that is consistent.
  • Pay for Facebook or Google AdWords advertising, to increase brand awareness.

Now write this number down.
For your second magic number, you’re going to harvest this out of the first number.

Magic number 2: “How many people know your specific solution?”

From the first number, how many know your specific solution?

Guess roughly how many of them would be able to tell someone else what it is that you do and what your specific solution is.

If this number is low or non-existent, now you know where you need to focus. Growing this specific number is critical to success.

Here are some ways to grow magic number 2.

  • Ensure that your specific solution is so obvious and easy to understand that someone else could repeat it to five friends without making a mistake.
  • Create regular consistent online content that is valuable to your market and that establishes how your brand solves specific problems for your market.
  • Offer talks, formal or informal, that helps people to be aware of your solution.
  • Create collaborations with other experts that serve the same market that you do, but that are not competitors.

Magic number 3: “How many people have said, “Yes” to being on your database?”

It’s not enough that people are aware of your brand and your solution, they need to say, “Yes”, and you need to give them the opportunity to say, “Yes” easily.

What is yes? It’s an opt-in.

  • It’s when someone hands you a business card and gives you their phone number to contact them.
  • When somebody says, “Please send me information.
  • When somebody fills in your online form to receive information.
  • When somebody clicks on a Facebook “Follow” or “Like” button.

The best and most secure way to grow this number is to have a proper email database system. Like for example ConvertKit.  Full disclosure I am a ConvertKit affiliate because I use their product and believe in it enough to refer others to the system.

I’ve used many email database systems over 20 years, including Ontraport, Infusionsoft and GetResponse which have all had their advantages and disadvantages. My personal preference is for Convert Kit because it’s so easy to use. These days time is everything. I love any system that helps me to do my job more effectively.

 

4. INCOME STREAMS — Charge + get ICF credentialed.

There are always dips in the world economy when people are afraid to spend money on what they perceive to be nonessential things. This is why you don’t want to rely on one market, or on one income stream.

Don’t do this:

Jane only offers life coaching to people in her community. When the neighbourhood hit a downturn, Jane was not able to sustain her income and gave up her dream of being a life-changing coach.

Do this instead:

Jane offers youth coaching to the local school, executive coaching to financial planners online, and life coaching to people in her community. When the neighbourhood hit a downturn Jane was able to sustain her income because she had multiple income streams and served different markets.

While her life coaching work dipped, she worked to discover yet another market, and started offering group coaching, to women wanting to lose weight — she collaborated with a local weight loss group.

Janes’ ICF PCC credential also enabled her to secure referrals from people actively looking for certified ICF coaches online.

So what’s the message?

Build at least 3 income streams, have multiple markets and strive towards getting ICF credentialing. The combination can make you weatherproof in the global economic tides.

5. MULITIPLERS — Maximize your impact + income.

Anyone with experience in selling time will tell you the downfalls of making an income one hour at a time.

For your long term strategy, in order to maximize your impact, making more difference in the world and changing lives, as well as maximizing your income earning potential consider the following solutions.

  • Offer coaching packages, bundled sessions, e.g. 12 sessions.
  • Offer long term duration packages, e.g. 1 year of coaching.
  • Offer group coaching to people with common problems, e.g. weight loss coaching.
  • Offer added value packages, e.g. include email support, an ebook, videos and other content to make your coaching services more valuable.
  • Offer only premium products, by adding value and bundling packages consider offering only high ticket premium services.
  • Offer passive income earning products, creating online services or courses that earn money for you while you sleep.

By the time you reach master levels of competency, your coaching services will have the power to change lives. Make sure that you are rewarded for this, so that you can continue to do the work and reach more people, this is an honourable vision.

Be smart about including multipliers in your roadmap towards becoming a life coach. I want you to be able to take holidays and still earn income; to change lives easily without sweating about how to pay your bills.

 

Final message from Colleen-Joy

This path tests us all.

And we have earned the privilege to change lives and to be successful at it. But for many of us, it is worth the effort.

I have been actively involved as a mother while earning excellent income as a professional coach, having been invited to work around the world, my coaching career has enabled me to see beautiful countries and meet many incredible people around the world. I want you to be able to do the same.

Use my roadmap. Share it with others who share your vision.

The world needs master coaches changing lives.

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