Research Paper By Lindsay Van Niekerk
(Productivity Coach, AUSTRALIA)
Like many ICA students, I’d like to have a better understanding of what a coaching career could be like once I have graduated and am ready to launch my new website and distribute my business cards.
Do I expect business to start rolling in once I tell my network of friends and professional contacts via word of mouth and social media? Will a marketing program get me known to the people who matter, and create interest in the niche area I want to practice? How long should I expect it to take before I have enough regular clients to call it a viable career and what else should I do to first find then turn prospects into clients?
Coaching is different to having a degree in a profession like law or medicine, where it’s fairly clear-cut what the next steps are. With coaching I’m on my own and from now on part of my role is to establish trust, create confidence and be sufficiently convincing that my skills as a coach match the needs of the client. The other important challenge is communicating the inherent value in my coaching, such that the client believes that the service I offer is equal to the fee I will charge. So coaching is a multi-layered skill and in order to survive I will be part salesman, part persuader and have a strong conviction in my abilities.
I want to seek answers to my questions by approaching it like a research paper where I speak to people who have made a successful career with coaching. How did they do it?
Who to ask? That was easy: a mix of recommendations from friends who have worked with remarkable coaches and people who stood out in studies over the time I did my coaching training.
I interviewed several coaches and asked them how and why they became coaches, what it was like in the early days and what its like now. I also asked for advice they would give to newly qualified coaches and what future challenges they see on the horizon.