Why Do 82% of Coaching Businesses Fail?

Somebody asked me a really good question. The question was this, why do 82% of coaching businesses fail?

We at The Coaching Revolution have quite a strong view on why coaches fail to build businesses, and it starts when we first discover coaching.

I believe that coaching is a superpower. It’s a superpower because a good coach has the ability to change lives, to transform lives, and anything that’s transformational could be a superpower, right?

When we discover coaching and we realise what it is that we have found. We get really excited and passionate about it and we look for somewhere to take a qualification. There are many places where you can take really good qualifications and I tend to refer to them all as ‘coach training school’.

Where The Problem Starts

We arrive at coach training school, and from the very first day, there is an assumption that the client is sitting in front of you.

The reason for this is that we simply can’t learn to coach unless we’ve got a coachee in front of us, can we? As with any professional qualification, the assumption is that the client (or the patient, or the student, or the pupi) is already in front of you, it fits into all categories of profession. From day one, there is an assumption that the coachee is in front of you, but there is very little conversation about how they actually got there.

People who come from an employed position are used to the client (or the patient etc) simply walking through the door. When you’re employed, you don’t have to go out and find the work, the work comes to you.

This failure to address where the client has come from creates a real problem. Most coach training programs don’t teach business development, yet business development skills are a full half of the skill set you need to create a viable coaching business.

To Be Totally Fair

Occasionally, coach training school does give a nod to business development. For example, they might say “give away some free sessions and make them earth shattering. This way, the person that you’ve talked to will have set some amazing goals. Make sure that they feel very motivated about moving towards them and they will want you to take them on as a client”. Of course, you can pick up the odd client like this, but nowhere near enough of them to create a financially viable business.

Another thing coach training school might say is “Oh, you need a niche. You need to think about your niche.” Even less frequently, they may talk about having an ideal client. They may say that you want to have a good think about who that ideal client is.

What You’re Taught On Your Course Isn’t Enough

What I’m trying to say here is that even if business development is a full module of a coach training course, it’s not enough. It’s nowhere near enough.

Knowing that you need a niche is like the wide part of a funnel. The bit that you really need is the tip of the funnel – the detail. You need to have your ideal client defined in great detail. Defining them like this is a lot of work and coach training schools don’t do it in anywhere near enough detail.

Measurements Of Success

To be fair to coach training schools they don’t measure how many coaching businesses fail. The way that they measure success is by the number of people who successfully complete the qualification that they enrolled for. That’s a perfectly acceptable way for a training organisation to measure itself.

However, what that means is that, unlike us, they don’t measure themselves on how many coaching businesses succeed. That’s not where coach training school priorities lie.

That is why coaching businesses fail. Because coaches finish their qualification with a belief that a coaching qualification equals paying clients and it simply does not.

A Caveat

There’s a caveat to what I’ve said. If you have had a long corporate career,  you may well have a little black book of names. These have been garnered throughout your career.  You can go back to these people, and say “hey, look, this is what I do now.” Coaches like that can build really successful businesses with relatively few business development skills.

But what if you don’t have a little black book full of contacts? Well, that’s when you absolutely do need business development skills.

That’s when what we teach at The Coaching Revolution become absolutely fundamental to the success of a coaching business. Would you like to talk to us about how this all works? This is our diary.

You may also be interested in this article: I Don’t Want To Invest, I Need To EARN!