To navigate the ever changing, demanding and highly competitive job sector, more individuals are seeking career coaching services to boost their career. This has resulted in more demand for impactful career coaching services. As a career coach, it can be a rewarding profession, both financially and in terms of job satisfaction.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to start a career coaching company that can prove to be a success for you as well as deliver the desired professional turnaround to the client.
What does career coaching do?
The role of career coach is to gain insight into the client’s issues, help them understand their strong and weak points, assess their skillsets & help them identify realistic career goals, make them aware of unrecognized professional opportunities and encourage them to pursue them, support them to chart out a feasible career strategy and urge them to take accountability for their own professional growth that will result in achieving desired goals.
It is a misunderstanding that career coaches help clients find jobs. They do not, instead they help the client figure out what jobs will suit their abilities and how to give themselves the best chance of getting those jobs.
How to start a career coaching company?
Here’s a step-by-step process on how coaches can start career coaching companies…
1. Create a business plan
Before starting your career coaching company, it is necessary to prepare a detailed business plan. A business plan brings focus and clarity about the scope of the business, its upfront expenditures and potential revenues, target clients, competition, roadblocks that may need to be navigated, possible missteps that need to be avoided, etc.
Make sure that you conduct thorough research about the industry, market trends as well as upcoming lucrative opportunities and create a business plan that is true and realistic, especially about your financial situation. Importantly, also design a business plan that leaves room for change should it be necessary. No business plan is fool proof and there may be instances where you will have to be flexible and change your approach as the situation demands.
A business plan will generally cover your business vision, your unique service offerings, business model, choosing a comprehensive but user-friendly coaching management software, effective time management, attractive offers as well as branding, sales & marketing strategies.
2. Name your business
Choosing the right name for your career coaching business is important. The name should reflect your coaching services, stand out and should be easy to remember. It is not as easy as it seems, zeroing in on that perfect name can be a real challenge. So, take your time and make sure you make the right choice, after, just like your own name, the company may well end up with it for a really long time.
Another important point to remember is to make sure the domain name you have chosen is available for registration and trademark.
3. Identify your business model
As a career coaching business, you can either opt for a sole proprietorship or a general partnership or an LLC (Limited Liability Company).
A sole proprietorship has a single owner whereas a general partnership will have multiple owners. These are basic business structures that can be formed quickly and at a low cost. The downside is that you (or in case of a partnership both you and your partner) are also liable for any debts or claims in case the business declares bankruptcy or is sued.
An LLC, unlike a sole proprietorship or partnership, is a separate entity from its owners. And though it requires more paperwork and cost, it is a legally a safer option. In case of insolvency or litigation the owner/s are not held personally liable for recovery.
4. Select your coaching niche
An important consideration in how to start a career coaching business and make it a success is to identify your niche as a coach. Nuances matter in business and having a specific career coaching niche will help you target the right clients (mid-career guidance, career transition advice, career mentoring, top level career expertise, group career coaching etc.).
Selecting your coaching niche makes it easier to establish your business, target the right type of clients, establish coaching methods, stand up against competition, generate more leads, offer attractive pricing & earn more revenue, etc.
5. Develop your distinct coaching method
Effective coaching is finally all about delivering a transformative impact to your client. What is the process that will get your client from where they are to where they want to be? Define the tools & techniques that you will use that will make the result possible.
Questionnaires, worksheets, goal setting forms, goal tracking, SWOT analysis, time management, strength analytic tools, financial analytics keyboard, mid engagement review, project management & tracking, impact assessment, completion report are some of the well-known tools that coaches use to help their client achieve their objectives.
6. Structure your offers and pricing
One of the trickiest jobs is to get the pricing right. As a career coaching business, you may find it difficult to figure out what you should charge exactly for your services. One of the simplest things to do is to look at what your competitors are charging and go ahead from there. But don’t just blindly copy what others are doing, use their pricing as a reference point and then prepare your own offers and pricing options based on your services.
Understand that your clients will come from different backgrounds and financial capabilities. Have multiple coaching packages, with varied pricing & services, to appeal to a larger audience. You can develop wide-ranging packages that offer monthly or 3-monthly coaching sessions, even full-day or half-day sessions, seminars and workshops, yearly packages, etc.
7. Design your website & branding elements
Developing your own website is important as that will be your primary connect with your potential as well as actual clients. The website should ideally be designed from the client’s point of view – the content and information they will need, ease of navigation, etc.
Your company logo is another vital factor in your brand recall. The logo should be designed in such a way that it is easily identifiable, reflects your coaching service and creates an immediate connect with the clients. Select the colour carefully, don’t use too many colours, stick to 3-4 distinct ones or you can opt for a black & white. Any line or words should be written in a manner that makes them fully legible.
Your website & logo are key elements of establishing & marketing your career coaching company brand, both online and offline, and will help you reach out to your prospective clients and grow your business.
8. Have all your legal & financial aspects in place
Another legal aspect that needs to be covered is creating a coaching contract. Make sure your coaching contract is drafted taking into consideration rights of both the parties – you and the client. This legally binding document is necessary to protect both you and your client in case of any problems or misunderstandings of terms in the future. The contract should include certain clauses such as limitation of liability, intellectual property rights, confidentiality, payments & late fee, and disclaimers, among others. You can either buy a legal template online or get a good lawyer to draft one, but don’t use free downloadable templates that are available online as they might not be legally acceptable, and you may have a problem customizing them to your specific requirements.
9. Market your business
Now that all the key parts of your career coaching business are now in place, you can start devising an actionable marketing & sales strategy. Your potential clients need to know of your coaching services, only then can they sign up! Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, email via the creation of vlogs, podcasts, blogs & articles, affiliate marketing, SEO, etc. are some of the multiple marketing channels available to you. In addition, a well-planned sales funnel – creating customer awareness, competitive analysis of offerings, multiple coaching packages & pricing options, sales calls & follow ups for client onboarding – is also a must in converting potential clients into actual paying clients.
10. Get certified
Getting yourself certified is not a requirement; many top career coaches don’t have any certification. But if you are just starting out, changing professions, looking to upgrade your industry knowledge, or you feel that your background does not align to coaching requirements, then getting accredited can be the smarter option. Not only does it involve extensive training, learning and gaining actual coaching experience, but you can also learn a lot from your supervisor/mentor’s experience. Also, having a recognised certification improves your qualification in the eyes of the client and gives you professional legitimacy.
As a career coach your main job is to help your clients understand the true picture of their present professional situation and empower them with multiple tools to bridge the gap between reality and aspirations in order to achieve not just job fulfilment but also career growth.
For you as coach, the next step in your professional growth may be to start your own career coaching company. We hope this article has given you a starting point when you think of how to start a career coaching business and run it successfully!
1. How do I start a career coaching session?
The first step is to connect with your client to understand their mindset, create a secure setup where the client will feel comfortable opening up, have a defined process to get the optimum output during the available time, and make sure to only focus on one or two maximum areas of priority, identify the topic for the day and then begin actual coaching.
Ask the client to reflect on where they are presently in their career and where they wish to be, their most valuable skills that will take them a step forward in their career, what they do and don’t like about their present job, and encourage them to be open to different opportunities.
2. What does it take to become a successful career coach?
Your clients who hire your services as a career coach are looking to your expertise to help them effect a turnaround in their professional lives. So, having excellent communication & interpersonal management skills, staying updated with the industry trends, job opportunities, and upcoming sectors is necessary. Besides this, you need to have a strong work ethic, maintain honesty in all professional dealings and actually deliver the change that the client expects to make a success of your career coaching practice.
Simply.Coach is an enterprise-grade coaching software designed to be used by individual coaches and coaching businesses. Trusted by ICF-accredited and EMCC-credentialed coaches worldwide, Simply.Coach is on a mission to elevate the experience and process of coaching with technology-led tools and solutions.