5 things I wish I understood fully BEFORE I decided to become a Life Coach

Life Coaching is a tough business.  One that just about everyone seems to think they’d be amazing in, and maybe they are right.  A lot of people are empathic, great listeners and offer great advice.  The world needs those talents and needs them in lots of locations and with lots of groups of people.

Life coaching is a bit more than being a great listener and offering great advice  though. For example one of my favorite sounding boards isn’t a coach, he is a person of too many passions to succinctly describe (and none of them would be adequate anyway), which is why I seek his counsel often.   But I don’t think he gives me life coaching, he gives me friendship and counsel.

I don’t pay for friendship.

I do pay for accountability, objectivity and to learn new tools and techniques to optimize my life.

When a client signs up for coaching with me, that is what I want to give them – I want them to find that so that they can have healthy friendships where they can receive friendship and counsel and offer it in return and whatever else they want in life.

As I hit my three year anniversary as a coach I find my business in a tougher place than it has ever been.  It is the hill that won’t seem to stop going up.  But I am determined to see its peak and am not going anywhere.  Why would I?  I feel like I just figured out why I am coaching and what I am here to coach people on!

The Art of Living Dangerously as the core of my work emerged a couple of months ago and I feel like I found my message.  It took three years, but I am so glad it is here.  The Art of Living Dangerously is about creating the life you feel meant to live. It is not about following a step by step method or program, it is about getting some guidance and intense one on one work to allow you to create your path one step at a time.  I have some information on the (un)program here if you are interested.

There are 5 things I have learned as a coach over the last three years that would have been amazing to fully understand starting out – I knew them, but understanding them has been a journey.  If you are feeling the call to coach, here are a few things to think about:

  1. There is zero stability (at certain points).

As a coach, your paycheck is entirely dependent on someone else being willing to part with their money for optimization of themselves.  And women, who make up my primary niche, can be terrible at investing in themselves.  I partner with people who know there is more to life than routine and retirement and want to give more in life through creation of a lifestyle that feels on purpose and prosperous.

There is a need for consistent recruitment, consistent attention, tracking, and vigilance about building a pipeline of potential clients if you want to reach that point of stability.

Too often the perception that it is simple – hang a sign and people will flock.  That would be nice, but you have to create the stability through your own actions and continued actions focusing on delivering your core message and service to your clients and potential clients.

  1. Not every client will do the work.

Often, those who could benefit most from coaching have over committed themselves to the point that coaching feels counterproductive to them instead of the enable it can be if they allow it a) in their life and b) let it work.

They may make the monetary investment, but they will not truly invest in the spiritual, emotional and physical work necessary to invest in the shifts and growth to get them to where they want to be.  They keep seeing the what, but refuse to see the how.

Some of these people can come around in time, I was one of these kinds of clients.  I worked with my coach for almost 3 y ears before real change occurred externally.  Internally, I was sometimes conscious of the change, sometimes not but there it was happening.

Intuition is huge here – learning to trust whether the client will ever listen or is too deeply rooted in their beliefs to want to change.  The client has to want it as least close to as much as you want it for them. You can’t take it personal when they don’t want it as much as you do for them.

  1. Sales and Marketing is a HUGE part of this career.

You can dislike sales and marketing, but you still have to do it. The ‘aha’ I had around this was when I realized when I really believed in what I was offering to clients as a transformative experience,  it felt good to offer to someone I knew I could truly partner with to create the change they want in their life.

If you authentically 100% believe in what you are offering, it isn’t sales, it is service.  If you offer it to people only when you know they can benefit, it isn’t sales, it is service.

  1. You have to talk to people.

As a business owner you have to reach out to talk to people, you cannot just wait for them to find you.  For many, many reasons people will not reach out: sometimes they don’t know they need to, sometimes they are simply afraid to. One on one or live interaction is imperative to doing this work, not just hiding behind a computer updating social media hoping that someone will find you.  They will find you that way, but not as greatly as if you get out and see them.

  1. Focus on the Service, not the Money.

Money pays the bills, we can’t ignore it.  But when you offer a service that is valuable and focus on delivering that service – people will want to pay for it.

There is a coffee house in my neighborhood that is an exact example of what not to do.  I don’t want to give them my money because every single time I go in there, it takes way too long to have my order taken – I will often stand at the counter for a minute or longer as 3 or 4 employees walk right by chatting with each other about one thing or another and not even acknowledging that they have a customer.  Then it is always as if it is there first day there as they scramble to find a coffee cup or pastry container or whatever I ordered, and these are counter people who have been there a while.  I go there only when I am severely caffeine deprived and the alternative is closed because I don’t like to give them my money.  I usually leave irritated at best and angry more often than not.

On the other hand, across the street, there is another coffee place that I adore – amazing service, great product, good interaction and I enjoy giving them my money.

I’d always rather be place 2 than place 1 in my business.  I want people to feel as though they are cared for, they get what they ordered and they are happy to pay for it.  I do what I can to focus on the service.

Hindsight is a tricky thing. 

I did  all I could to prepare myself for this business.  I took a certification course, I worked with a coach, I took classes, I used mentors, I did all I could to keep arming myself.

But being able to step back and look at what I wish I had fully grasped when I started, these are the fundamentals I am not sure I could have known fully without the experience of doing or not doing them and seeing the results then correcting or adjusting where needed.

The key I have found is continued focus on self-awareness, growth and expansion.   This is where The Art of Living Dangerously (un)Program serves aspiring coaches and people who seek to create a life they feel meant to live.  It is to create that environment, lifestyle and energy of self-awareness, growth and expansion that is uniquely suited to you and your business aspirations.

If you have inclinations toward a coaching or healing career, the Art of Living Dangerously is a great place to explore this path and lay down the framework for your exact right business and lifestyle.  Learn more here and claim a free 30 minute strategy session to discuss your options.

If you are already a coach or healer – what do you wish you had known when you started out that you have learned along the way?  I have shared my personal learning – what is yours?

Jennifer Murphy lives dangerously as an artist, life coach and writer.  Learn more about her and how individual or (un)program coaching can help you create your path at www.nolimitslife.guru

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