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Wendy Buckingham / Creator, Life Coaching Professionally
Many coaches have a challenge marketing themselves in order to get clients. They just want to coach! One solution is to take advantage of someone else's marketing expertise by getting listed with a life or executive coaching service that promotes and/or provides coaches to individuals and companies both in person and, more recently, online.
The clients of companies who use these services are usually medium to large businesses who choose to outsource their coaching needs rather than use internal coaches.
And on a smaller scale, some entrepreneurial individual coaches leverage their coaching by creating a website that lists and promotes other coaches as their team, under their brand. They may charge a fee or commission to these associate coaches.
There are some great and some not so good coaching providers, so be sure to check out any you are thinking of joining using the six things to know and questions to ask further down on this page.
Coaching providers are quite different from the numerous directories where you are simply invited to enter your profile for no charge or a fee with no further help. Coaching providers actively support their coaches by either finding them coaching jobs or passing on genuine leads.
A company offering executive coaching to business will sometimes employ a team of appropriately qualified coaches either on contract or salary.
These companies will usually require their coaches to have credible coaching credentials, a level of experience and indemnity insurance. They may also, but not always by any means, want you to work exclusively with them.
The good news is that with the right well-established company, even if you are not actually an employee but work on contract, the chances of a good flow of executive coaching jobs is usually pretty good.
The provider of coaching services promotes coaching and its stable of associated coaches on its website, listing their niche or speciality. The prospective client visiting the website chooses a preferred coach from that list
You as the coach are then given the details to follow up with the prospect to check if you are a good match and close the deal.
The organisation invoices and collects the fees and pays a percentage to you, for
your services. These can vary from 50/50 to 80/20 in the coaches favour. You may be able to negotiate when you have proved yourself.
Again there may be a requirement for their associates to have a valid credential or certification and indemnity insurance.
When you join this type of coaching organisation, you are able to put your coaching profile on their website, which promotes coaching in a general way and lists the member coaches.
Your profile will
link directly to your contact details where the prospect can choose to contact
you further about the coaching jobs they may have available.
This is a referral method used by some coaching schools for their graduates, either as a value add to their training or you may be asked to pay a commission on any clients you get. One of the coaching schools I trained with (Results Coaching Systems) had such a system for its graduates and was the source of many of my early clients.
Unfortunately, it's not that easy and you will need to do a bit of your own research on Google or asking around. For both life and executive coaching look for coaching companies who advertise having a team of coaches - a clue can be "meet our team" in the navigator bar.
You can then look at the services offered and see who is on their team, check out whether they have a good referral system and decide if you might be a good fit to approach them.
One of the most recent entries into the coaching provider scene, (encouraged by the restrictions of Covid) are providers of online coaches and coaching for both individual and groups.
These organisations also may require you to take extra training in their coaching system in addition to any certification or credentialing you may already have. They may also pay you by the hour directly, making their money from the margin they charge the client.
There are many players in this field for you to check out including: BetterUp and Coach Hub. The links I have given you will take directly to their home pages, and if you scroll down to the bottom you'll find links to information on joining their coaching team. You might also find these article about "The Flourishing, Surprising, Badly Needed Market For Online Coaching" and "Online Coaching Is So Hot It’s Now Disrupting Leadership Development" interesting.
Many of the independent life coaching associations have a referral service for their members. Some, like the International Coach Federation (ICF) will only list you in their referral function if you hold and ICF credential with them. Others are not so fussy and all you have to do is join to be able to list your profile and get referrals.
Before joining an association with a view to using it as a referral source, make sure they actually have a referral function and don't simply allow you to list your profile as a member.
You can find a list of independent life coaching association to check out here.
If you coach under the banner of a life or executive coaching service you may be required to use THEIR coaching system and format rather than your own.
However, it is usually possible to do your own stuff within these formats and, if you are getting good results, chances are you won’t be questioned.
Being listed on a coaching providers website as an associate can be a great way to get yourself known and out there.
However, the actual value is only as good as the promotion the organisation does on your behalf and the number of prospective clients they attract to their website offering coaching services.
So do a search on the web for the types of coaching being offered (life, business, executive).
When you do a Google search, does the site come up on the first couple of pages and are they advertising. If not you have to wonder how prospective clients find them.
Don’t just search for the organisation by name as, of course, it will come up on page 1! Rather search by type of coaching.
Some life coaching sites that have a team of coaches have an invitation to "click for a free introductory session". The host organisation will pass this onto you unchecked and you are obliged to follow up and give your time.
I've found a lot of people who are not good solid prospects and just want to see what they can get for free will take advantage of this. So unless you are prepared to give your time to all comers, make sure that the invitation on the site also includes some way of qualifying people as acceptably serious prospects for life coaching.
Of course you could qualify them yourself and weed out the duds, by sending out a pre-session questionnaire such as the one you will find in the Coachability Test on my page on what to ask in a Discovery Sessions.
Try contact some of the coaches listed on the site to see how many good leads or actual life or executive coaching jobs they are getting. Go for coaches who are in the same country and have a profile offering similar coaching to you.
I did this when I was considering joining a very well know and well promoted organisation (which actually turned out to be just a directory) After the feedback I got from other coaches in Australia I decided it was not a good move. However I heard from other coaches in the US that it worked for them.
Where the organisation is taking you on as an associate and will be paying you an hourly or daily rate to coach their clients, ask "How much work can I expect to get a week/month".
Again try to talk to one of the coaches they employ or list to find out how good the flow of work is. Of course you may have to start small and get more as the organisation becomes more confident of your coaching ability.
Some of the companies you will come across only provide you with a system, support and a few leads, but you still end up being expected to do most of the marketing yourself and generate your own clients.
So do check out this before you sign up to see what sort of marketing support is offered. The system may be great but if you still have to get out there and promote yourself it sort of defeats the object of leveraging your marketing.