Someone shared a video with me this week. It was from their training school and it was one of two sessions that they had been given on the theme of ‘business development’. They were just starting out in growing their coaching practice.

To go back a bit, we’d been having a conversation this coach and I. They were telling me that despite the business development training they’d received, they didn’t feel like they understood what they should actually be doing in order to find clients.

I sit, looking at my screen, feeling utterly lost she said. I’m very conversant with business development, but I can’t see how it’s relevant when it comes to finding clients?


Defining Business Development For A Coaching Practice


Back to this video. I watched it, and to say that I was surprised is an understatement. In it, a well-known man – within the coaching industry anyway – was talking to a roomful of graduating students. They’d done their coaching qualification and now they were off into the big wide world with their new skill. This was part of their day of business development training.

Developing your coaching practice is about understanding the different lenses you may find yourself using at any given time, he started. He then went on to explain that with different clients, you might find yourself using different coaching techniques. With one client you may find that it’s simply pure coaching, but with the next you might find that you use some Gestalt techniques, or maybe bring some mindfulness into play.

Everything this coach talked about was to do with the practise of coaching and nothing whatsoever to do with developing a coaching practice. No wonder the coach I was talking to was confused!

I understand that developing your practise can be described as business development. However, the coach who attended this day thought that what she was learning would help her to find clients. Her understanding of the words ‘business development’ were totally different to the definition that this training organisation had. But – and this is the thing really – the training organisation never said we are talking about the development of your coaching, not your coaching practice.


Confused People Do Nothing!


As this coach thought she’d been taught everything she needed to know about finding clients, she spent her days sitting at her computer wondering what she was supposed to do. Understanding ‘different lenses’ didn’t give her the first clue about how to set about marketing her business. Thinking that this was her failing. She thought that she had had marketing training. That once these lenses had been figured out, she’d be off. She had no idea that she and her training provider were talking at cross purposes.

That confusion led her to do nothing. But in doing nothing she felt like she had failed. It’s like trying to unravel a ball of string, but without having either end she said.

Personally, I wish coach training providers would stay in their lane. They can be the best providers of training on how to become a fabulous coach, but I have yet to see one that teaches marketing effectively. (I’m happy to be proven wrong though, if you know of one?)