Starting and Running a Coaching Business: The Complete Guide to setting Up and Managing a Coaching Practice
Aryanne Oade,(2009) Howtobooks: Oxford.
This book provides the newly qualified coach some principal guidelines or tool-kit to help the start up your own coaching business. It is good for both the newly qualified coach to stay informed about the option of starting their own business someday or has particular value for someone who intends to be an independent coach and may not have a business background and needs solid advice. The book guides the reader through a maze of things that the new business owner needs to address. It is comprehensive and above all practical in its approach. It encourages you to personalise the process of setting up your own business, to keep control of it yourself and do as much for yourself as possible. It aims to build the individual to the point where they can take personal responsibility for problem-solving and decision making as the process gets underway. The key areas include the issues that crop up for coaches that are going to be working on their own and how to best sell and market your business.
There are a total of ten chapters and each deal with very specific aspects of being an independent coach, highlighting as it goes the various pitfalls that the individual needs to watch out for.
In Chapter 1 ‘Running your own coaching process’, the reader is challenged to identify why they want to coach and why indeed do they want their own business, pointing out along the way the upsides of being your own boss and the potential rewards of doing same.
Chapter 2 provides a structure for the coach to ensure that they have clearly defined their ‘coaching offer’. It takes the reader through the process of describing their coaching offer and in doing so structuring it, differentiating it and ultimately defining your nice. Without this your business will never get off the ground.
Chapter 3 is essentially about ‘Managing Yourself’ and goes through the advantages and pitfalls of working from home, emphasizes time management as key to success while at the same time managing your anxieties to avoid being overwhelmed. It is all about getting the balance and maintaining or managing your energy so that you will be future focused on developing and supporting your business.
Chapter 4 is all about ‘Selling and Marketing Your Business’. It encourages the reader to identify how to sell and who to sell your service to. It also brings the reader through the process of having marketing materials such as logo, brochures, website set up, advertising and even professional stationary. It discusses the value of getting referrals from current clients and also takes the reader through the issue of ‘how much to charge’ and the fee structuring process that each coach must nail down for themselves.
Chapters 5 and 6 brings the reader through the key points of managing client and coach relationships and makes sure the reader realises that trust as key to a client engaging a client. It also advises and reminds the reader of the importance of boundaries and the importance of the coach continuing to receive professional coaching themselves from a supervisor. The advantages and disadvantages of having/not having a supervisor are discussed. Chapter 7 deals with the issue of continued professional development of a coach. The process of feedback from clients is highlighted as the most basic form of personal evaluation, but the ability to ensure regular self-evaluation needs to be an in-built part of being an independent coach. The book also advises that member ship of professional associations and bodies are also marked as being important and advisable for someone running their own coaching business because it will keep you abreast of developments in the profession as well being a potential source of referral.
Peer networking is also touched upon in Chapter 8 and this is highlighted as being a key opportunity for coaches to receive support and another means build professional networks and possible referral opportunities. The final two chapters deal with client confidentiality issues, professional ethical standards and managing your business’s finances. The reader is talked through the pro’s and con’s of making the choice of being a sole tradership or a limited company for your coaching business. Records keeping, vat registration and working environment are all discussed. Banking, insurance, invoicing and the development of a business plan which will continue beyond the start-up stage are also worked through, as well as the importance of considering whether or not you may need independent financial consultation with professional accountants as your business grows.
Overall this book is an excellent book to ease the doubts that a potential independent professional coach has to consider when considering a start-up. It also deals with ongoing professional developing and in particular lays emphasis on continued development and working with a supervisor so that the individual has a sounding board to discuss issues with. Overall this is a book that benefits all coaches considering that big step, becoming independent and self-employed.
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