If you’re thinking about becoming a coach, you already possess an entrepreneurial spirit. Chances are you’re planning to go out on your own and offer freelance or contract-based coaching services. It’s also likely that this isn’t your first job. You’ve probably gained experience in another field over the years, acquired leadership qualities, and have the earned wisdom to mentor others –– all of these make you an excellent candidate for business coaching.
If you like the idea of putting your skills to work and helping companies and entrepreneurs succeed, here’s how to become a business coach.
The business of business
If you’ve read the phrase “helping businesses succeed,” you must have your own version of thoughts. While some of you may have envisioned helping an entrepreneur launch their business, others might have thought of assisting a manager in taking their team in a new direction –– both are valid. Business coaches take on a variety of cases. They:
- Help business increase productivity
- Aid companies in improving profitability
- Foster better teamwork
- Improve management skills
- Motivate and guide entrepreneurs to start a new company, create a business plan, and take the first steps toward their launch
- Allow employees or entrepreneurs at any level to become organized
- Enable companies to move in new directions
Steps to becoming a business coach
Now that you know how business coaches can help their clients, learn how to become one.
1. Get real-world business experience
There’s nothing better than sharing your own experiences and lessons learned from being in the trenches. Your life stories can have a stronger impact than books. Your clients can read up on business consulting and get a headstart on their businesses, but your hands-on knowledge is invaluable. The best way to walk others through making a business plan is to have created one yourself and infuse your tutorial with first-hand knowledge.
2. Earn a degree
Coaches aren’t consultants who explain how a business can change course. Instead, they work with a company’s management to set goals and find creative or innovative ways to achieve them. If you plan to work in this niche, you should know how businesses work. Earning a related degree is a great way to do that. Consider pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business, finance, administration, or marketing.
3. Enroll in a certification program
Even if you’re highly knowledgeable, earning a certification is like getting a seal of approval on your credentials. How to become a certified business coach, you ask? Consider attending an online or in-person business coaching certification course, such as the International Coaching Federation (ICF) or:
4. Start a business coaching program
This step is the moment of truth — You set up your coaching practice and put your business planning and organization skills into action.
- Outline a plan including what you’ll offer –– business coaching services, programs, and costs.
- Decide how you’ll market your services, and take a hard look at your finances — set goals for your finances and the growth of your coaching business.
5. Start small
Take on a manageable amount of coaching clients, and gain hands-on experience. Learn how involved coaching sessions are and how much energy and time they entail. This way, you only bite off what you can chew moving forward. You could also shadow a successful and experienced business coach before hitting the ground running.
Tips for becoming an excellent business coach
Accredited business coaches never stop learning. Always stay updated on your trade and seek continuing educational opportunities to polish your professional coaching skills. Here are a few more things you can do:
- Pick a niche: Become an expert by focusing your coaching career on a specific aspect of helping businesses. Some common niches in the industry include:
❍ Small business coaching
❍ Online business coaching (e-commerce)
❍ International business coaching
❍ Family business coaching
- Know your competencies: Introspection is important, so know your strengths and weaknesses. Whether you train small business owners and start-ups or business leaders, you should be self-aware to impart your knowledge better. You can even structure your business around them. If you’re an excellent active listener, perhaps it’s time for you to conduct workshops.
- Get familiar with each client’s field: Before you take on a new client, read up on what they do. Career coaches can work with just about anyone, from new entrepreneurs CEOs. Focus on both the client’s industry and their interest areas to get to know them better. This way, you can better cater to their needs.
No matter what kind of coaching you do, what niche you focus on, and what your unique gifts are, always stay organized to keep your business running well. As you take on more clients, you’ll have more data to manage and track. Consider getting a customer management system (CRM) to help.
Practice’s coaching platform allows you to store client data, send messages and documents, and receive payment all in one place. You also have access to our resources on coaching, such as worksheets and templates for documents you’ll likely need. Try it today.