Ten Items You'll Need to Decide
in Setting Up Your Coaching Practice
What telephone number
will you use? Will you use a separate number from your home/office
or the same? Do you have the phone services that you'll need?
(There are a range of services available, such as voice mail
and call forwarding to your cell phone.) Will you call your clients
or will they call you? Will you have a toll free number or let
your clients bear the cost of the call? Do you have a suitable
telephone and headset (even for your cell phone)? What type of
voice mail will you utilize?
How will correspondence
reach you? Do you want your mail delivered to your home office,
or to a P.O. box? (There may be privacy or safety issues involved
in this decision.) Also, do you have a robust and flexible email
program (e.g. Eudora or Microsoft Outlook)? Some email programs
provide other integrated tools, such as a contact manager, journal,
schedule, calendar, etc.
3. Business Structure
What will your business
structure look like? Will you incorporate and what form will
this take? There are several options (LLC, Sub-Chapter S, etc.)
Seek professional advice from your accountant and/or lawyer to
decide what works best for you. Think through what systems you'll
need to support the business you want.
How will your customers
pay you? Will you accept checks only or will you get a merchant
credit account? Will you arrange a pre-payment bonus for customers
willing to pay in advance? Will you invoice, and if so, when
5. Marketing Material
Marketing material is
the message that you deliver to potential customers. It may take
awhile to discern what your unique message is. In the mean time,
use material that your coach training institute &/or mentor
coach provides. Seek support from fellow coaches. Our coaching
community is generous; most of us are quite willing to share
information &/or resources.
6. Organizational Systems
What information do you
need and how will you organize it so as to create a system that's
efficient, effective and effortless? Anticipate what you'll need
in order to create a system, even if you revise it later. Better
to start somewhere than not start at all. Prevent chaos by consulting
with an organizational specialist (professional organizer) to
set up the system so all you need to do is maintain it. Consider
contact management software (e.g. Act! or Goldmine), financial
software (e.g. Quicken or Microsoft Money), a paper or softward
calendar (Franklin Planner, Microsoft Outlook, etc.), and a PDA
(e.g. a Palm Pilot, Handspring Visor, etc.).
A market and niche often
require time to develop. It's not too early to envision how you
see yourself and your business. Do you see yourself having a
solo practice or do you envision building a structure that would
include associates? (Also consider the possiblity of joining
an establishied coaching company.) Can you imagine coaching as
your sole career & livelihood, or do you see yourself offering
non-related products or services concurrent with your coaching
practice? Don't worry that you might not know the answers yet
-- just live with the questions.
As long as you think
it will take to build a sustainable practice, it most likely
will take longer. Building a sustainable practice requires time,
energy, commitment, perseverance, strategy, and support (financial
and emotional). Transitions take time. Do the people in your
life understand and support your endeavor? If not, now's the
time for open discussion about how to build or enhance their
support. Without a reserve of support (all types), your transition
to a coaching practice will be immensely more difficult.
It's not necessary to
know what niche & market you'll serve in order to begin a
coaching practice. In as much as many coaches begin coaching
with former or current work associates, be open to all possibilities.
Have coaching conversations where ever you are and see who comes
to you. You may be surprised that the niche and market that's
drawn to you are quite different than who you thought they would
be. Stay open to possibilities.
10. Passion & Commitment
Being a coach and building
a practice can be difficult. You will experience unforeseen challenges.
These challenges will test your commitment and decision to build
a coaching practice.
In order to coach, there must
be nothing that gets in the way of the listening. This means
that you can't close the door to your own struggles and experience.
You can't avoid your personal life if there's something that
needs to be acknowledged... and expect your coaching practice
to excel. Integrity involves paying attention to and handling
everything that's in your life -- whether you like it or not.
This can be confronting.
That's why it's so important
to know your passion and commitment. Knowing your passion and
commitment will help pull you through the challenging times.
Stay close to your passion and live from it -- this is what draws
you to coaching. Commitment is what anchors you during the rougher
times. Know both your passion and commitment.
Jan Gordon, LCSW is an Executive and Personal Coach who finds great joy in helping her clients achieve outstanding results! Ms. Gordon provides coaching to individuals and teams who are dedicated to enhancing their personal power and sense of fulfilment. Her coaching embraces the concept that challenge provides opportunity. Visit her website at: www.qualitycoaching.com. Jan can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Jan Gordon. All Rights Reserved. This content may be forwarded only in full, with copyright/bio/contact/creation information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Jan Gordon is required.