After obtaining my coaching certificate in Paris, I faced the following challenges. I thought sharing them and stating besides how I tackled them, could be useful for new coaches starting their journey as consultants or freelancers.
Challenges and how I tackled them:
- The French market was not educated about coaching and personal development, which means getting clients became a work on itself. My mistake as my market study was obviously not good enough, or I was too optimistic.
- My school didn’t provide a useful professional network for me. So I dedicated time to create mine.
- It was hard to find my coaching specialization or niche, as I was trained as a generalist. This made targeting more difficult. The specialization came later with the experience.
- During the practice I learnt that Life coaching can get very close to psychology and the line that separates both is delicate. I had to be very clear in my positioning and communication so clients would know what to expect. I focused later on professional coaching.
- There are plenty of self-called coaches who organize workshops to market themselves and their services, with very low quality. This creates confusion and sometimes diminishes certified coaches work. I now curate better my networking events.
- I saw some opportunities for corporate coaching, but it is difficult to get one of these jobs when you are starting or if you don’t have the contacts. Also I became a coach to stop working with corporate, so it was not an option. Considering this option at present but only as an independent coach.
- I didn’t feel prepared enough after obtaining the certificate, so I enriched my training with courses, conferences and books to improve my practice. This helped but was a financial investment I hadn’t considered. I discovered many courses for entrepreneurs subventioned by the government, with great level.
- It was difficult to find a coach supervisor that suited my needs. Also they are as expensive. I found one online, abroad.
Challenges that other coaches in Paris shared with me:
- One year after starting their practice, they still don’t have enough clients in order to make a living.
- Other are not happy with the training received and mentioned the lack of support from the school after getting the certificate.
- They don’t want to call themselves coaches due to the abuse of the word.
- They don’t like to sell themselves or their services.
My learning during the following 2 years:
- Coaching is a powerful personal development tool, that works effectively, profoundly and faster than any other practice I’ve experienced. This is my opinion based on my clients results and on my own results after being coached.
- Many people become coaches, without having done the inner growing process themselves. This shows and it doesn’t work.
- A good way to educate the market is to write articles explaining what you do. You can post them where your clients read.
- I connected my coaching practice with my previous working experience as a business developer. This is key. We are not separated from our past and everything is part of who we are today. Connecting everything will only enrich your practice.
- I got all my clients by recommendation or networking and these became my main marketing and sales tool.
- There are different kind of coaches for different objectives and it takes time to find the right coach.
- I love online coaching, and allows me to work with anyone worldwide, to suit my needs.
- To be a coach I don’t need to speak in public or sell myself as other people do. Every person has a convenient personal style.
- Only after coaching many different kind of clients on different subjects, I realized that I wanted to focus on professional themes. .
Conclusion or what I’d say to someone who’s starting the journey:
- To be a good coach, you have to go through the coaching and transformation process yourself. And you must be very resilient as to grow the practice is hard and slow. There are no shortcuts.
- Consider if you have the required resources you need to start your practice (financial, mindset, time), and make a plan and a strategy for a realistic transition.
- Consider having another job while developing the practice and to see if it is was what you expected.
- Make a market research before.
- It’s very difficult to live on coaching one on one. It works better when you combine the practice with another business. Unless you already have a network or a community and the coaching becomes as a tool to solve an existing problem.
- Take time to choose a good school and if it provides you a good business network that’s even better. For that, ask for meetings, assist to their presentation conferences or ask other coaches on LinkedIn.
I hope that this post was useful for you, whether you are a coach, whether you are considering being one, whether you are just curious.