Envisioning Your Ideal Practice
Originally published in Coaching for Transformation
Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. —Carl Jung
An important step in building a coaching practice is establishing a compelling vision. Just as you help clients create visions for their future, do the same for your coaching practice. You may have a good idea of how you envision your practice, who you want to work with and the impact you want to have, but getting it out of your head and onto paper will help you clearly communicate your vision and plan for success. When thinking of your business, consider the following questions:
What dreams do I have for my practice?
Who would I love to work with (ideal clients)?
What coaching specialties or niche interests me?
What does an ideal day/week/month look like?
Where do my passion and dreams for my coaching practice intersect?
What is the impact of my coaching for my prospective clients?
Where do I see myself working (home office, external office, client site)?
My ideal business has:
Number of Clients:
Types of Clients:
Hours per Month:
Monthly Revenue from Coaching:
Monthly Business Expenses:
Monthly Net Income:
What will I have once this vision is a reality?
Some ideas to consider to let your creative juices flow:
Create a vision board for your coaching practice, getting in touch with all that’s within you that’s ready to come forth. Hang it where you can see it every day, visualizing everything you want to create.
Put your vision in writing and share it with everyone you know or meet.
Feel the fullness of your passion so others can feel it too.
Use constructive feedback from others to fine tune your vision.
Ignore negative or fear-based criticism. You’re in the dreaming stage—the planning and reality checking comes later.
Some other things you can do with your vision:
Journal about your vision and see what insights arise.
Set an intention that can bring your vision into being and keep it alive for you each day.
Act as if your dreams are already a reality. When you stand in the fullness of your vision, you carry yourself differently, which boosts your confidence.
Enlist trusted friends to use your vision as a starting point for creating huge, outrageous visions for your coaching practice. You may become energized by the big dreams they imagine for you, and put ideas into motion that create an even bigger reality for you.
Dare to dream big!
Another thing to consider: instead of only coaching individuals, consider working with groups. While individual coaching can be a profitable model for some coaches (particularly executive coaches), many coaches find it beneficial to have multiple streams of income. Be open to other possibilities that appeal to you, including teaching, facilitating workshops, working with corporate teams, nonprofits or social activists—the list is endless. Think broadly—including multiple passions—while building your practice, then narrowing to where your passion, impact and profitability lead you once you’re established.
Getting clear about you
In a coaching business, you are your product. People choose to hire you as a coach because of who you are, what you value, how they resonate with you and what you can do for them. Just as you would intimately describe the details of a physical product you were selling, be clear about you as your product and the quality of service you will provide. Consider the following questions:
What am I passionate about?
What causes and people do I really care about and why?
What are my strengths, challenges and talents?
What are my core values?
What authentic qualities am I most proud of?
What do I enjoy doing?
What aspects of business do I dislike doing and how can I get it done? (e.g., who could I hire
to handle that aspect of my business?)
What’s unique about me that will benefit my clients?
What value will clients get from working with me?
Developing confidence and overcoming fear
Whenever we take a chance and enter unfamiliar territory or put ourselves into the
world in a new way, we experience fear. Very often this fear keeps us from moving
ahead with our lives. The trick is to feel the fear and do it anyway. — Susan Jeffers
For many new coaches, fear and lack of self-confidence get in the way of establishing successful coaching practices. This is especially true for coaches who do not have experience running a business. You may wonder, “Who will pay me to coach them?” “Am I really worth $100 - $200 an hour, or more?” “Can the people I want to coach really afford fees in that range?” “Can I really earn a living as a coach?” While these questions are common for many new coaches, beware that they may be coming from your inner critic. You have big, new dreams that are taking you out of the realm of the familiar. You may feel comfortable and masterful in your former profession, but tentative and uncertain of your skills and value as a new coach. In this critical juncture, lack of confidence in your abilities, immobilizing fear of the unknown and undercharging clients can all adversely impact your ability to launch a successful coaching practice. Consider the following questions:
How am I feeling about myself as a coach right now?
How do my experience, wounds, talents, gifts and dreams contribute to my confidence as a coach?
What are my underlying fears or concerns?
Which qualities and strengths that contributed to success in my past professions are also valuable in my coaching practice?
What skills do I need to strengthen?
What will I do to continuously improve myself?
What are some strategies I can use to deal with inner and outer critics who doubt the viability of my dream?
So what are some ways to feel the fear and do it anyway? A master certified coach shared two things that she attributes to her success: she has worked with her own coach for the entire 15 years of her coaching career, and she changes coaches from time to time to benefit from different coaching styles and experiences. Another executive coach meets with a mutual support team of coaches every Monday morning for 90 minutes. To create your own support system, explore some possibilities:
Hire a coach/mentor to support you in getting really clear about your vision for your practice.
Work through any fear or confidence issues.
Design strategies, action steps and accountability.
Acknowledge your progress and success.
Set realistic fees.
Align yourself with other budding entrepreneurs and people who want to enhance their business. Join an existing group such as a Mastermind group or Ladies Who Launch (http://www. ladieswholaunch.com/) or start your own group of like-minded individuals. Meet with them regularly as an opportunity to:
Learn, share ideas and encourage one another.
Brainstorm, receive support and offer feedback.
Establish accountability by investing in each others’ success.
Develop confidence while sharpening your business skills.
Create a full support team that may include a coach, mentor, accountant, attorney, marketer or others. Network with other coaches to learn how they overcame some of the obstacles you might be facing.
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