I was a CEO for 25 years and I’ve now transitioned into my own coaching business. What a journey it has been!
Unfortunately, I have seen too many people transition into coaching and getting it wrong. Some had a great idea, yet lacked the business know-how to convert.
Others were great in business but lacked the coaching skills for success. Many were more like mentors – not being able to resist the urge to ‘direct’ clients on what they should be doing.
Looking back I can see that there were 3 key pillars that enabled me to make this HUGE change in my career – successfully.
If you are just beginning your transition from Corporate life into your own coaching business, here are a few ideas for you to keep in mind for the road ahead.
1. Coaching is helping people find the answers within
The thing that attracted me to coaching in the first place was the new way coaching offered of managing interpersonal relationships such as the ones you have with staff, subordinates, or your boss.
Fundamentally, and I know there are a host of definitions for coaching, but I like this one for now “coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them”.
If we adopt this approach anyone can be a coach! Good leaders may not be qualified in the art of coaching; however, they can still coach. Another example is parents: they coach through child-raising skills and building relationships.
So here I was, armed with a passion for teaching and sharing the wealth of skills and knowledge I’d gained through my career in Senior management. But I wanted to help people find their own learnings from deep within. That approach takes a different set of skills and abilities – ones we need to acquire to be a valued coach.
I sought out coaching training and certification. I’m so glad I did.
So, transitioning into coaching needs to be more than just saying I’m a coach – it requires training. If you are wanting to transition from your corporate job, no matter what level you are at, I highly recommend you learn the art of coaching from a credible coaching school.
2. Seeing my value and packaging it into an offer.
Having been a Chief Executive Officer for 25 years in major not-for-profit public entities, transitioning into a new career in coaching was a real-world challenge for me.
Leaving behind the massive support structures and becoming a ‘lone wolf’, so to speak, was a new experience altogether. No more having a Personal Assistant, Finance, Human Resources, and IT Departments to address my every need. No Executive Team to do the day-to-day management. I was out on my own!
I felt empowered and just wanted to be let loose and start my coaching business. Surely, business people would be lining up to buy my services – how could they resist what I had to offer?!
Reality struck and I started to wonder, what did I really have to offer? And just as important – how could I now make a living out of it?
In the early days my self-doubt grew to a point where I was questioning myself – does anyone really need what I have?
I sat back and considered all those stories I was telling myself and fortunately came to the conclusion that I was truly spoiled with riches in the form of my abilities, experience, passion, and skills.
I could do a lot of things, but how could I transition that into a coaching business… a successful coaching business?
Being good at your ‘trade’ does not convert to being a good coach – you need to know what coaching is about and how to set up and run a business.
3. Using My Business Muscles
Once I become a startup I realized that I, needed to put my old CEO hat back on and use my corporate business acumen on my own small business. If you don’t already have business skills you’ll need to develop your business muscle through having systems, processes, and plans that serve you.
I’ve listed some of the essentials to get you started:
- Business systems: Financials, appointments, continuous improvement plans, business, and strategic plans [know where you are going]
- Brand Strategy: Internal Brand [Purpose, Vision, Mission & Values] Positioning [Your audience, competitors & difference]
- Brand Expression: Character [Personality & Brand Value] Verbal [Core message, storytelling, name & taglines, premises] Visual [Visual identity, brand presence]
Transition is not without its challenges, but if you have a passion for helping others help themselves, a great offer your feel confident about, and a business ‘road map’ and a sound vehicle to take you there, you are on your journey and heading for success. These plans are available and easy to implement for the new or experienced coach.