4 Ways To Build A Sustainable Coaching Business

4 Ways To Build A Sustainable Coaching Business
Summary: Starting a coaching business is a big undertaking, to say the least. The following article will outline 4 areas that will not only help you build a solid coaching business but are also sustainable techniques.

How To Build A Sustainable Coaching Business

Each time you provide your coaching services, or a coaching product of any kind, it should be the best. 

1. Build The Best Product/Provide The Best Service

This means that you are up-to-date on the cutting techniques and technology, that the information and coaching services you provide packs the "best punch" possible, and that your products and services act like what Ryan Holiday refers to as a Perennial Seller [1]. By being perennial, your products and services stand the test of time. If not, they will be left in the proverbial dust of other products once they get outdated?

2. Give Your Best Stuff Away For Free

In a similar vein, while charging for your products will eventually be the lifeblood of your business, providing your very best products and services for free is tantamount to building a name for yourself. You achieve this by moving the free line [2] which is basically a concept of deciding how many products and services you should offer for free and how that ties back to your long-term value production.

Blogs are a great example of moving the free line. They offer valuable information for free—information and insights into various areas that you can put into action immediately. It’s a win-win situation as well. By providing useful content for free that can be consumed and used, you also engage with the outside, gain exposure, and provide individuals with useful, actionable information. For example, at AllenComm we use this exact strategy—we provide useful information on various eLearning topics that we have working knowledge on, for free.

Giving away something awesome will help grab a potential client and turn them into a lifelong customer. This is how trust is built. If you provide awesome content, and even better services for free, think about what the client will think about the services and content you charge for. Psychologist describe this process as The Law of Reciprocity [3], which states that when you do something nice for someone (like providing an awesome product or service for free), that person feels uplifted to the point of wanting to do something nice in return (they gloss over your free product, or reveal in the free offerings of a helpful service, and then want to purchase more service or another product in return—which is also a win-win).

3. Focus On A Niche

According to the International Coach Federation (IFC), in 2012 there were approximately 47,500 professional coaches worldwide. By figuring out who and what your target niche is, you distinguish yourself amongst the competition. How do you do that? By asking some specific questions to define your target audience.

Who’s your potential client? What do they look like? What are their worries, their fears, their frustrations? Why would they want coaching in the first place?  Once you’ve addressed those concerns, you can focus on the most important question of all—how can you provide a solution to their problem or issue? When you take the time to picture who your client is specifically—their age, their gender, their goals—you then define the development structure of your content and services. This is where the power of niche marketing [4] comes into play. Instead of targeting every type of person, you focus your material (services and products) on that specific niche. For example, the company Procter & Gamble doesn’t just provide one laundry detergent for all its customers. Instead, it provides a different type of marketing, look-and-feel to each of their laundry detergents [5] (i.e., Tide, Gain, Era). That’s niche marketing.

Defining a target niche for your content, services, and marketing is a great way to distinguish yourself in the competitive market. And, since you only get one chance to make a first impression, you should make that first impression count.

4. Your Clients Are #1

The phrase "The customer is always right" is a nice sentiment, but it’s not pertinent here (besides, the original phrase was coined in 1909—it’s kind of outdated). Your coaching business isn’t focused on customer service anyway. It is about providing coaching services and products to help enhance your client’s personal and professional lives. In fact, ICF defines coaching as "partnering with clients in thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential". Your clients are #1 because they are the lifeblood of your business —they are the reason you got into coaching in the first place, right?

By making sure you build the best product (and provide the best service) possible as well as give away some for free, you set a stage for success. To maintain your coaching business sustainability, you need to pinpoint your target niche and make sure your clients get your undivided attention. Do these 4 things, and you will greatly enhance the sustainability of your coaching business endeavors. And, in the end, make sure you do this because you want to help better peoples’ lives—because your clients are the reason you are here in the first place, the reason you want to help, and the reason you will build a sustainable coaching business.


  1. What is a ‘Perennial Seller’ and Why Do They Matter?
  2. Moving the free line - why it's good for your business to offer more for nothing
  3. How The Law of Reciprocity Can Make or Break Your Business
  4. Business Sanity: Is your business running you?
  5. Procter & Gamble’s Company did the segmentation in their powder laundry detergent field
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