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The 4 Biggest Mistakes Coaches Make When Starting Their Practice

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Primary Blog/Coaching/The 4 Biggest Mistakes Coaches Make When Starting Their Practice


The 4 Biggest Mistakes Coaches Make When Starting Their Practice

March 29th, 2023

by Don Markland, CEO - Accountability Now ~ Read time 7 minutes

In our Coaching Academy, we have worked with over 1500 coaches. During that time, I've personally interviewed well over 1000 coaches and learned a lot about what works and what doesn't with coaches. As well, I've made plenty of mistakes myself. In all of that time, I've noticed a pattern of what really gets in the way of coaches not succeeding. Starting a business as a life coach can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, there are some common mistakes that coaches make when starting their businesses that can hinder their success. In this post, we'll discuss the four biggest mistakes coaches make when starting a business and how to avoid them.
Before we dive into the four biggest mistakes coaches make when starting a business, it's essential to address one critical factor that underpins all of them: faulty expectations and mindset. Too often, coaches come out of practitioner training or certification school with visions of grandeur, believing that their certification alone will attract clients. While having a certification is essential, it's not enough to build a successful coaching practice. Passion for coaching and serving others is also important, but it's not enough to differentiate yourself from other coaches in the market.

To succeed as a coach, you need to have the correct mindset and realistic expectations. In future articles, we will explore this topic more in-depth. For now, it's important to understand that building a successful coaching practice takes time, effort, and a lot of hard work. With the right mindset, however, you can overcome challenges and obstacles and achieve your goals as a coach.

Mistake #1: Not Having a Coach Marketing Plan

One of the biggest mistakes coaches make when starting a business is not having a coach marketing plan. A marketing plan is essential for promoting your coaching services and reaching your target audience. Without a plan, you may struggle to attract clients, which can lead to a slow start for your business.

Why a Coach Marketing Plan is Important

  • A marketing plan outlines your goals and strategies for promoting your coaching services, such as creating a website, building a social media presence, and networking with other professionals in your industry.
  • ​It helps you identify your target audience, create messaging that resonates with them, and position yourself as an expert in your field.
  • ​A coach marketing plan also helps you measure the success of your marketing efforts and make adjustments as needed to achieve your goals.

How to Develop a Coach Marketing Plan

  • Identify your goals and objectives for your coaching business.
  • ​Determine your target audience and create messaging that resonates with them.
  • ​Develop a content marketing plan that includes blog posts, social media updates, and other forms of content that will help promote your coaching services.
  • ​Build a website that showcases your coaching services and provides information about how you can help your clients achieve their goals.
  • ​Utilize social media to engage with your target audience and promote your coaching services.
  • ​Network with other professionals in your industry to build relationships and generate referrals.

Enhance Your Coaching Marketing Plan

  • Utilize the power of questions to engage and attract clients
  • ​Develop a compelling coaching marketing message

Mistake #2: Not Finding Your Niche

Another mistake that coaches make when starting a business is not finding their niche. Many coaches make the mistake of trying to be everything to everyone, which can make it difficult to stand out in a crowded market. It's essential to identify your niche and focus your coaching services on a specific area where you can provide value

Why Finding Your Niche is Important

  • Focusing on a specific niche allows you to establish yourself as an expert in your field and differentiate yourself from your competition.
  • ​It helps you attract clients who are looking for your specific expertise and services.
  • ​By specializing in a niche, you can tailor your coaching services and messaging to meet the unique needs of your target audience.

How to Find Your Niche

  • Identify your unique strengths and the areas where you have the most experience and expertise.
  • ​Determine the types of clients you want to work with and the problems you can help them solve.
  • ​Research your competition to see what niches are already being served in your industry.
  • ​Tailor your messaging and marketing efforts to speak directly to your target audience and position yourself as an expert in your niche.
  • ​It helps you attract clients who are looking for your specific expertise and services.

Mistake #3: Neglecting Business Development

Coaches often make the mistake of neglecting business development when starting a business. While coaching skills are essential, running a successful coaching business also requires strong business skills. Neglecting business development can lead to a lack of clients, financial struggles, and a stagnant business.

Why Business Development is Important

  • Business development is essential for creating a sustainable coaching business that generates a steady stream of clients and revenue.
  • ​It involves developing a business plan, setting financial goals, and developing a pricing strategy that reflects the value you provide.
  • Business development also includes ongoing education and training to improve your business skills and stay up-to-date with industry trends.​

Foster Transformational Change

  • Develop the skills to facilitate powerful and lasting change in your clients
  • ​Utilize practical exercises to hone your coaching abilities

How to Focus on Business Development

  • Create a business plan that outlines your goals, objectives, and strategies for achieving success.
  • ​Develop a pricing strategy that reflects the value you provide and is competitive in your industry.
  • ​Set financial goals for your business, such as revenue targets and profit margins.
  • ​Invest in ongoing education and training to improve your business skills and stay up-to-date with industry trends.
  • ​Create systems and processes that streamline your business operations and make it easier to manage your coaching practice.

Mistake #4: Not Hiring a Coach

The fourth and often overlooked mistake that coaches make when starting a business is not hiring a coach themselves. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of starting your own business and forget that you can benefit from the guidance and support of a coach as well.

Why Hiring a Coach is Important

  • Hiring a coach can help you stay focused and accountable for achieving your business goals.
  • ​A coach can provide guidance and support on developing your coaching skills, improving your business operations, and building a successful coaching practice.
  • ​Coaches can also provide valuable insights and feedback on your coaching services and business strategies.

How to Hire a Coach

  • Research coaches in your industry who specialize in areas that you want to improve in, such as business development, marketing, or coaching skills.
  • ​Schedule a consultation with potential coaches to discuss their coaching style, approach, and fees.
  • ​Choose a coach who is a good fit for your personality, coaching style, and business goals.
  • ​Establish clear goals and expectations for your coaching relationship, and communicate them with your coach to ensure you get the most out of your coaching experience.


In conclusion, starting a coaching business can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By avoiding these four common mistakes, you can position your business for success and achieve your goals as a coach. Remember to develop a coach marketing plan, find your niche, focus on business development, and consider hiring a coach to guide you along the way. By following these tips, you can build a thriving coaching practice that helps your clients achieve their goals and live their best lives.

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Don Markland

CEO, Accountability Now

Don Markland is the CEO and owner of Accountability Now™, a Jacksonville-based Executive Coaching and Business Strategy firm. With over 20 years of experience in marketing, leadership, and business growth, he is recognized as the #1 Business Coach in Florida and #1 Online Trainer in the US.

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