Building a Business as a Co-Active Coach: 5 Key Steps
Posted on October 27, 2021
Even though it’s been over 20 years, I still have a clear memory of what it was like when I first started my coaching business. Not just any kind of coaching business, mind you, but one that was fueled by my passion for all things Co-Active.
I jumped into my training as a Co-Active coach with both feet, committed to starting a coaching business so I could follow my new calling.
I was also desperate to quit my full-time corporate job! I needed to have an income to support myself, like most people — but I was not willing to put aside my main driver, which was helping people create fulfilling lives using the Co-Active model.
To get started, I read everything I could get my hands on about what was important when starting a new business. I also explored what wisdom was out there specifically about starting a coaching business.
There wasn’t much at the time, but there was just enough to add to my own experience from my work on a US Postal Service executive team and having helped my husband create a successful agriculture-based business.
I put all this information together and committed to building a solid coaching business that expressed the fire in my heart to change the world.
Though I was blissfully naïve about all it would take to succeed over the long haul, I also was delighted to discover I could apply my Co-Active training directly to my business.
After all, Co-Active skills and all aspects of the model are relationship-building tools, and good relationships are essential to business success.
Marketing is, at its essence, cultivating relationships in which you let people know how you can support them to transform their lives.
Listening on a deep level, being curious about people, asking powerful questions: all these can be implemented and used to build your coaching business. It is how I got started and at the heart of what has kept my successful coaching business thriving for 20 years!
What I have found works best when starting a coaching business (or for anything in life actually) is to integrate inner wisdom with proven strategies. Like the Being and Doing. Like the Co and the Active joined with a hyphen.
Though building your coaching business takes effort and time, I discovered five basic steps that helped me build a successful coaching business and keep it growing over time.
1. Get a Niche
One thing I brought with me when I first started my coaching business was the knowledge of how effective having a niche was. It worked when I had a children’s store, in my husband’s fruit business and for the good old USPS. I started with a niche of entrepreneurs who had very small, heart-based businesses, ranging from massage therapists to a bookstore owner.
2. Talk to People
With this niche in place, I then began to connect with these entrepreneurs to find out what kinds of support they needed. This step was super easy. I gave them a sample of coaching, using the Co-Active coaching model, of course!
3. Identify the Pain Within the Dream
In these sessions, I helped them uncover what their dreams were and what was getting in the way — the pain that kept them awake at night. I was able to narrow this down to one or two major obstacles people in my niche shared that were blocking their dream (and the saboteur voices that stopped them from taking risks). In this case, it was a combination of being overwhelmed by too many tasks and a lack of confidence that they could succeed.
4. Ask for the Business
After helping these folks envision how their dream could be a reality and giving them a taste of the magic of Co-Active coaching, I asked if they would like to be my client.
Let’s not leave the Co out of the picture here! The inner wisdom, the Being of business building.
I remember Karen Kimsey-House saying that the coach is the instruments of a coaching relationship and, like any instrument, it needs to be tuned up and cared for on a regular basis. Which leads me to step number 5.
This is perhaps one of the most important aspects of building a successful coaching business. Fulfillment is a radical act, and starting a coaching business is one of the most radical and fulfilling things I have ever done. It takes courage and the ability to be with failure — not just once but in an ongoing way.
Success is built on the learning that comes with trying things out and failing at many of them. The more action you take, the more learning there is!
This is also where leadership is most needed. Tune into your Leader Within for guidance on a regular basis. Take responsibility for creating your world. Get support from a coach to make sure you nourish your body, mind, and spirit — and stay connected to this amazing Co-Active community.
These are the exact steps you can take — right now! — to build your coaching business… and the steps you can keep taking on larger and larger scales to sustain a successful coaching business that will support you financially while it fulfills you personally.
My passion has not died with the years. In fact, it has grown to the point I now believe Co-Active coaching and leadership is what’s needed right now to bring light to our world.