We all have voices in our heads—the voice of doubt and fear that always seems to pop up when we consider taking a big leap in life. I refer to these voices as mind monkeys. Sometimes the mind monkey is a cappuccino monkey, tiny and therefore easy to ignore. On other occasions the mind monkey is a massive silverback gorilla that stands up on its back legs and roars at us and this is much more difficult to ignore.
It’s normal to feel afraid when you’re considering something so important as starting a coaching business, but what if those mind monkeys are wrong?
What if everything you fear could go wrong didn’t happen?
What if everything went right?
The Role of Fear in Decision Making
As coaches we are well aware of the fact that just because we think something that doesn’t mean that it’s true. However we all find it easier to remember this when we’re thinking about our clients’ thoughts and not our own!
It’s normal for people to be afraid of failure. Fear of the unknown is a powerful force that stops many coaches from making the decision to start a coaching business. Yet fear also plays an important role in the decision making process; it can help us make more thoughtful and informed decisions.
Fear is an alarm system that alerts us to potential risks and helps us analyse them more carefully. It can also serve as a motivator, pushing us to take action and make sure we do our research before making any major decisions. However, fear also causes us to focus too heavily on the negatives and overlook potential positives – those silverback gorillas pop up all over the place, but they are very difficult to recognise as gorillas.
Overcoming Your Fears
But how do you overcome your fears and recognise a gorilla when you meet one?
The first step is to recognise that the gorillas exist and understand where they are coming from. Analysing your fears logically can help you come up with ways to mitigate them, whether through research or simply talking it out with someone who has already gone through the same experience or – of course – a coach.
Some risk-taking is necessary for any growth and success. Taking calculated risks is part of being an entrepreneur—if everything always worked out perfectly, there would be no need for innovation or creativity. Don’t let fear hold you back from getting started; instead, use it as an impetus for making intelligent decisions about building a coaching business that suits you.
The Non-Existant Mind Monkey
Interestingly the mind monkey that should be in our heads when we think about starting a coaching business is peculiarly silent. I’m talking about the mind monkey that says ‘I don’t have good client acquisition skills so I need to do something about this’. That mind monkey seems to be off duty in the heads of most new coaches.
For some strange reason, coaches think that posting ‘humble-bragging’ posts on LinkedIn about what a fabulous coach they are and how wonderful their clients think they are is marketing.
They think that talking about confidence, resilience and overcoming limiting beliefs are the way to go – I mean who could possibly resist a coach who tells us that they’re quite brilliant at helping us overcome limiting beliefs has to be someone people would choose to work with, right?
What Is Coaching?
In the same way that the majority of people don’t understand what coaching is the majority of coaches don’t understand what marketing is. This is a crying shame because a lack of skill in this particular area kills more coaching businesses than anything else.
Remember that the skills and qualifications that most coaches have in abundance are coaching skills. They often also have other related skills such as practitioner qualifications, facilitation certificates etc and all of these skills, every single one of them, sit firmly on the delivery side of your business.
The skills that the majority of coaches do not have are the skills necessary to create the opportunity to actually do that delivery and these skills sit on the other side of your business scales. These skills are marketing and sales skills.
Contrary to popular belief amongst coaches marketing, if it’s done properly, it is both comfortable and effective. It is also a process, not an event which means that throwing up a website and hoping for clients isn’t going to work.
Starting a coaching business isn’t easy – but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming either! Recognising your fears and using them as motivation to learn more about what you’re doing is one way that successful coaches have utilised their fears when starting out.
Don’t let those mind monkeys stop you from reaching success. With the right attitude and knowledge, you can build whatever coaching business you want to.