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How I run my full-time executive coaching business

How I run my full-time executive coaching business

In this post, we’re covering how to become an executive coach. Specifically, how Josh Dietrich went from an industry veteran and operator to full-time executive coach.

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We interviewed Josh Dietrich, a full-time executive coach on how his journey started, where it is today and what advice he has for aspiring executive coaches.

Let’s dive into it 👇🏽

How did you become an executive coach?

I spent 30 years delivering software solutions for higher education. During this time, I held leadership roles across engineering, sales, and product management, leading teams as large as 500 distributed globally.

Throughout my career, I embraced mentoring and coaching, collaborating with leaders across every area of the business. Last year, I decided to follow my passion and launch my own executive coaching practice to serve leaders in higher education and technology companies.

Today, I work with leaders across all areas of a business — from engineering to marketing.


What coaching education programs have you done, if any?

I’m pursuing my Ontological Coaching Certification with the Newfield Network and an ICF credential. My program began in September and runs through June 2022. The program has greatly exceeded my expectations and I offer my highest recommendation.

I am also a certified facilitator for Everything DiSC and the Five Behaviors assessments.

What does your process look like to bring on a new client?

Most of my clients are sponsored by their employers. These are six-month engagements. Each engagement includes an Everything DiSC assessment to understand communication style. We regularly come back to this tool to work through communication challenges.

I conduct a series of 360 Feedback interviews which I compile into an anonymized report back to the coachee. I encourage the coachee to craft a leadership statement and set goals for what they want to achieve in our time together. We have fortnightly coaching sessions throughout the six-month engagement where the coachee drives the coaching territory.

Life coaching clients follow a similar pattern but do not include a DiSC assessment or 360 feedback interviews.

What happens in a coaching session? What's the general flow, what does it look like?

I ask my coachees to define the coaching territory, so each session begins with me asking the coachee what they want out of our time together.

As an ontological coach, I work with the coachee to understand their "Way of Being." How are they seeing the challenge in front of them, and what questions can I ask to help generate an ontological shift - a change in their perspective that unlocks new learning and growth.

Our sessions are filled with a lot of exploration.

At times we'll cover an area where mentoring is more appropriate than coaching, and if I think that will serve, I'll ask the coachee's permission to put my mentor hat on and share my own best practices for leadership techniques like delegation, personal productivity, people management, etc.

How many clients do you have? Who are they? How much time do you spend with your clients?

Most of my clients meet with me fortnightly (every two weeks) and we have hour-long sessions. A few of my life coaching clients meet monthly.

I'm currently working with 20 coachees, and that is probably my ideal coaching load. Most of our interactions are limited to our coaching sessions, however I invite them to message me anytime on the Practice platform and I respond proactively when they do. I love the iOS app because it makes it very easy to be responsive.

What is your pricing strategy?

Sponsored coaching by an employer has two tiers – one for VP and above and a second for Director and below.

Life coaching can be bought in blocks of four one-hour sessions. The second and third blocks are at discounted rates, and beyond 12 sessions, we move to hourly on a per-session basis at my lowest rate.

How are you growing your business? Where do new clients come from?

To date, all my business has come from word of mouth.

I stay connected with my network, publish a weekly blog to LinkedIn and Facebook, and supply a quarterly business update to all clients and prospects.

What are the exact tools that you use? And for what?

  • I use Practice for calendaring and client communications. As soon as they are onboarded, I ask clients to use Practice for all communications so I can stay sane. I also use Practice to collect customer feedback surveys.
  • I use Google Drive for document collaboration.
  • I use Evernote to track all my notes.
  • I use a sophisticated Excel spreadsheet to track my leads and it acts as my CRM.
  • All my coaching is delivered remotely via Zoom.

What’s the next step for your coaching business?

I’d be delighted to continue at the volume and cadence I’m supporting today – I continue to work my network to ensure a healthy pipeline of opportunities. I have a handful of coaches I’d consider pulling into my practice if I reach a level of demand that it makes sense to do so.


What advice would you like to give to upcoming executive coaches?

Grow your network! Make sure you are connected via LinkedIn to everyone you know and build the habit of regularly connecting with anyone new you meet. All my business has come from within my network or referrals from my network.

Always be your authentic self; now, and as you move to coaching.

The single-most important competency in a coaching relationship is trust. When someone is ready for a coach, they are going to look to the people they know and trust. Be worthy of that trust.

Free coaching contract templates

We worked with our lawyers to create coaching contract templates, free for any coach to use. Plus, a couple of sample agreements.