Corporate coaching contracts are the holy grail for a significant number of coaches.
This particular kind of coach often come from a corporate background and have frequently coached in that environment in an employed role. It’s not unusual of them to have taken their coaching qualification as part of their employed role. They’re used to coaching in the corporate environment and they want to do that for themselves.
Let’s explore some of the myths of corporate coaching, and have a reality check at the same time.
1 – Corporates Only Employ Big Firms
That’s not true.
It’s likely that they get a lot of their coaching delivered by big associate companies, but they are open to engaging an individual coach if they’re the right coach.
2 – If You’re Not On A Preferred Supplier List, You’ve No Chance
Also not true.
If you need to be on a preferred supplier list, then there are ways you can get on it. A PSL isn’t a locked list, it’s a way for an organisation to manage its purchasing processes. If someone within the organisation wants to buy a particular coach, that coach can get onto a PSL.
3 – My Ideal Client Is Someone In HR
It almost certainly isn’t.
Ok, there may be one or two of you who actually want to coach HR professionals (we have mentees who do just that), but usually, the reason coaches give me for thinking an HR person is their ideal client is that ‘HR hire coaches’.
An ‘ideal client’ in a corporate setting is often not the budget holder. The ideal client should always be the coachee.
4 – My Ideal Client Is The Budget Holder
Again, it’s probably not.
Like HR, budget holders will definitely need you to offer them *comfort, but they are rarely the focus of your marketing.
*By comfort, I mean a sanity check – reassurance that what you’re offering to provide to their direct report is actually what’s needed.
Reality Checks About Corporate Coaching Clients
To run alongside the myth-busting, I felt it only fair to include reality checks, so here are the ones that most coaches seem to misunderstand.
1 – My Organisation Will Give Me A Contract
So many coaches have fallen foul of this. They thought that if they left and set up their own coaching business, that their former employer would give them a contract – after all, who knows how great a coach they are better than their employer?
It is incredibly rare for a former employer to give coaching contracts to former employees. Of all reality checks you can get – this is the biggest.
2 – Lead Time
The lead time from beginning to market to corporates to getting an inbound enquiry is normally several months. The lead time from that enquiry to starting a contract can be up to a year. Don’t quit your day job thinking that corporate clients are waiting for you. They’re probably not.
3 – I Have To Quit My Job To Build A Corporate Coaching Business
No you don’t. Unless you have a safety net of income (or money) from elsewhere, it’s a good idea to build your business while you’re employed. Our corporate mentor Liz O’Neill did just this and is now rocking her corporate coaching business. Her clients include household name organisations.
4 – You Need Credibility With Potential Corporate Clients
This is an interesting one because coaches believe that their qualification is what gives them credibility. It’s not. Liz (mentioned above) has literally never been asked by any client about her coaching qualification.
The credibility that I’m talking about is your background.
You don’t have to have held a particular role to be able to coach someone in that role, but if you have an eye on C-Suite and you’ve never – for example – managed a team, then you’re not going to be the coach for them. Not even if you have an executive coaching qualification. You need to be seen as the ideal coach by your particular ideal client, and if you’re not credible to them you won’t.
I’m very happy to talk to you about any of these points if you’d like to. You can find my diary here.