Ten Items You'll Need to Decide in Setting Up Your Coaching Practice

1. Phone
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?

2. Correspondence
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.

4. Finances
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 and how?

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.).

7. Vision
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.

8. Reserve
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.

9. Niche/Market
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 jan@qualitycoaching.com

Copyright © 2001 by 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.




 Home Possibilities About Coaching Leadership & Success Reasons to Hire a Coach
Meet Jan Gordon Testimonials Media Quotes Program & Arrangements Newsletter Sign Up
Articles Mentor

Contact Info

 Jan Gordon

 Phone: 954.590.0592