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Wendy Buckingham / Creator, Life Coaching Professionally
How you set up your coaching space may depend on whether you prefer face to face interaction, phone or by having an online coaching business via Skype or Zoom, or as so many coaches do, a mixture that best serves your clients.
However you are going to meet with your clients you will need the same basic furniture and equipment.
But if you are doing face to face coaching, you also have to think about how you can craft a space that is comfortable for you and private and welcoming for your clients.
My information about setting up a life coaching office for coaches working from home tells you what you need to get started.
As with any business your coaching practice needs systems to keep track of prospective clients, client sessions, coaching session times, payments, expenses and so on.
Your business setup:
You also have to decide whether you are going to set yourself up as a sole trader or a limited liability company or whatever structures are available in your country. Your accountant may be the best person to advise you on this for your particular circumstances.
Payments: And how are you going to take payments? There are lots of options to research to find the one that suite you best such as Paypal and Stripe or even direct deposit.
There are several software program systems specifically written for coaches to take payments and keep track of clients, but they can be pricey and their format may not suit the particular records you want to keep. Many offer a free trial period so you can try before you buy.
To be honest until you reach a point where you really feel overwhelmed, or if you are on a tight budget, I suggest keeping track of clients records and payments with simple spread sheets and folders (physical or online) may be sufficient.
Maybe you are confident about what you can charge. Maybe not! There are more words written about setting fees than almost any other aspect of starting a coaching business apart from how to get clients.
It is vital to get it right if you are going to attract your ideal coaching client, whether it be a niche in life, executive or corporate coaching.
find some useful pointers to help you get it right in Life Coaching Fees.
You also need a system for getting out there in the coaching marketplace and getting known both face to face and online. Marketing your coaching need not be expensive and there are many strategies including networking, clever business cards, writing articles and giving presentations as well as many social media options that can raise your profile with prospective clients.
If, like many new coaches, you are uncertain about how to tell people about your coaching, I recommend you visit Marketing from Within, where my colleague Cindy Schulson has some great free tools including a great branding template. She also offers a mentor program for coaches and consultants that can really help in those early days of getting your message out there.
And check out the affordable marketing ideas at the end of this page.
The Corona Virus has made many coaches, who haven’t done so before, transition to using phone or online platforms to coach their clients. It can be a challenge if you’ve only ever coached face to face but the information and tips in Online Life Coaching will make it a lot easier.
I found remote coaching (which I've done for years) just as effective as face to face for the majority of clients, though there will always be those who are reluctant and need convincing.
So do check out the benefits of phone and online coaching coaching with tips for mastering the technology and also, importantly, looking good on line.
As with any business your coaching practice should be set up so you have protection from the eventuality of legal action. Things like agreements, disclaimers, copyright protection and even a refund policy are critically important.
My lawyer colleague Lisa Fraley, (who incidentally, is also a certified life coach) has made her niche helping coaches with all those legal issues you need to put in place to keep your business and income safe and secure.
Here you can explore the much needed legal tools to protect your business
Some providers of coaching services want you to have insurance to protect themselves against anything you might do in their name, which I think is quite reasonable.
But for coaches working on their own behalf, not giving advice or combining coaching with therapy, personally I don't think it is a "must have" if you have legal agreements, contracts and disclaimers in place.
Life Coaching is unlike therapy or alternative medicine where advice is given. I've asked the question on coaching forums many times - has any life coach ever had to use their insurance when a client has sued them - and to date never got a yes. The few cases I have heard of were because the coach had strayed well outside the boundaries of coaching.
So whilst taking our insurance may give you peace of mind you have to work out whether you really need it.
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