As coaches, there are usually 2 things that we really would love to do. First, we’d like to help clients make real, lasting change. That’s our sense of purpose. Secondly, we’d like to be able to pay our bills. Well, what we really dream of is financial freedom. The ability to leave behind the 9 to 5 while we make a difference in other people’s lives.
Still, only 10% of coaches earn $100K or more. Most of them have 11+ years of experience. There are a lot of coaches out there that struggle and will never get to that point of breaking the 6Bfigure mark.
Why is that?
Years ago, after I discovered I wasn’t going to be happy in a career in Accounting & Finance, I set out on an adventure to master the art and science of coaching. I had a big dream of running my own business, bringing color to people’s lives through having powerful conversations.
A few years into my journey, I hadn’t made as much progress in mastering coaching as I had expected. I spent most of my time lost and overwhelmed in coaching sessions, to the point I wasn’t even sure whether it was for really for me. And I wasn’t the only one. Some of my coach friends were struggling in the same way, and many eventually gave up and applied for jobs. I stuck with it, but realized the journey could have been simpler. So I decided to figure out how coaches could get to expert level faster, which would increase their confidence and help them charge a healthy fee for their services.
Here’s what really got in the way of getting there faster:
1. Imagine this scenario: You ask your client the first question “What do you want to get out of this conversation?” and your client starts sharing their story. They might give you 2 or 3 examples and after a few sentences you start to wonder whether you’ll be able to remember everything that is being shared with you.
This split second wondering means you’ve missed some information, which only makes it worse. Then, you need to ask your next question…after you feed back what you’ve heard. But you don’t remember. And what is your next question?
It’s very easy to get lost and overwhelmed in a coaching conversation.
As a coach you’re not only dealing with your client’s stories, you are also dealing with the stuff that goes on in the back of your mind. The internal dialogue that takes your presence away from what your client is saying. And on top of that, you are trying to follow the structure of a coaching session in the way you’ve learnt in your coach training.
2. Coach trainings run anywhere from 2 (really?!) to 14 (sometimes more) training days. One thing that over 90% of my clients complain about is the fact that they go to these trainings and have high expectations of success. The energy at the training is motivating and uplifting. Then they come home, back into their own environment and poof, “now what?”.
Without a platform for ongoing support to continue integrating what you’ve learnt, your skill level quickly drops. Sure, you can practice with peers but with everyone at the same level you are still guessing whether you are practicing right, and as a result your progress is slower than it could be. And what happens when you then get stuck in a coaching conversation? Your confidence level takes a beating.
3. Most coaches are perfectionists and take on responsibility for their client’s outcome.
And this leads to procrastination.
“Am I good enough?” It’s a question most coaches ask themselves. The funny thing is that the “good enough” is often the same as having to be “perfect”. If you combine that with a huge sense of responsibility for their client’s outcome, and procrastination is your new best friend.
Now, procrastinating out of fear isn’t a fun place to be. What makes it worse for a lot of coaches is that they feel they have to be successful in their lives, and otherwise they feel like a fraud. Or they’re afraid others will think they are frauds.
What happens as a result? You don’t go out and practice coaching. You don’t charge (much) for your services. And you don’t ask for feedback (even though you know that feedback is the food for champions) in fear of not being good enough.
One of the major differences for me (and my clients) in mastering the art and science of coaching, has been the Quantum Leap coaching template© that I hold in mind while coaching. I really didn’t set out to create a system or a template for myself, it evolved over years of figuring out the structure of change. Participants at coach trainings always asked me how I could remember everything my client said, and not get lost. That’s how I discovered I was using a system.
If you’d like to know more about my system and how it can help you in your coaching sessions, go ahead and download the PDF I have prepared for you.