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How to start an executive coaching business

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Updated on:
January 4, 2023
January 4, 2023
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If you’re interested in starting a new career and are looking for an exciting, unconventional, and fulfilling role - executive coaching might be the right fit for you.

Knowing how to start an executive coaching business is not as hard as you might think. In fact, anyone can do it. An executive coaching business can be a great way to make money while helping people reach their potential. It’s a challenging but fun and rewarding career, and if you’re up for the challenge, here’s how to get started.

What is the difference between business and executive coaching

First things first. You need to be clear on the type of service you're offering your clients and how it might differ from regular business coaching. After all, there are many similarities between the two, right? Well, yes and no. Here are the key differences between business coaching and executive coaching:

Business Coaching:

  • Focuses on achieving short-term goals
  • Helps small businesses or individual entrepreneurs develop their ideas into actionable plans
  • Suitable for individuals who need help structuring a business plan and setting achievable goals

Executive Coaching:

  • Focuses on long-term personal development
  • Works with high-level executives to enhance performance in leadership roles, communication skills, decision-making ability, etc.
  • Suitable for experienced professionals that have achieved a certain level of success and want to take their career to the next level.

Now that you’re clear on what executive coaching entails, it's time to get the ball rolling.

What Are the Steps To Take To Start Executive Coaching

Getting started with executive coaching is not as complicated as you might think. As long as you’re willing to put in a bit of planning, have a dedication for growth, and have the desire to help - you can become a successful executive coach.

There are a few basic steps to follow in order to know how to start an executive coaching business:

  1. Learn About Executive Coaching: The first step to starting an executive coaching business is to understand what executive coaching entails. It’s important to understand the different types of executive coaching and how it works. It’s also important to learn about the different methods and approaches to executive coaching.
  2. Get Certified: The next step to starting an executive coaching business is to become certified. You’ll need to find an accredited program and complete the required courses and exams. This will demonstrate to potential clients that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to be a successful executive coach.
  3. Develop a Niche: Once you’re certified, the next step is to develop a niche. This is important because it will help you differentiate yourself from other executive coaches and make you more attractive to potential clients. www.hellobonsai.com/blog/how-to-write-a-coach-bio

Consider what type of executive coaching you want to offer, who your target clients are, and what types of problems you want to help them solve.

  1. Create a Business Plan: Creating a business plan is an essential step to starting any business, and it’s especially important for executive coaching. Your business plan should include a description of your services, objectives, marketing strategy, pricing, and expenses.

It should also include a financial plan that outlines how you plan to make money and how you plan to manage cash flow.

  1. Build Your Network: Once you’ve got your business plan in place, the next step is to build your network. This can include attending conferences, networking events, and connecting with other professionals in the industry. It’s also important to create a website and use social media to get your name out there.
  2. Start Your Business: The final step is to start your business. This includes setting up your office, getting the necessary licenses and permits, creating a coach bio and logo, and getting your first clients.

With a good plan and the right strategies, you can start your executive coaching business and be on your way to success.

Note: Try Bonsai's software to get access to invoice, contract and proposal templates for life coaching. Our library of pre-made templates allows you to easily customize and send these documents to new potential clients. Try a 7-day free trial here.

How long should it take to become an executive coach

You're probably wondering how much time you should allow yourself to get the necessary training and credentials and complete all the steps we will outline in this article. After all, we know time is of the essence, and you're anxious to get out there and begin this new chapter in your coaching career.

The good news is that becoming an executive coach doesn't take long. It's essential to keep in mind, however, that the amount of time needed for training and getting certified as a coach depends on your experience level and desired specialty.

If you’re new to coaching, or if this is your first venture into executive coaching, you should plan on investing at least six months to a year into gaining appropriate education and certification.

This may include completing relevant coursework such as business leadership classes or participating in an accredited Executive Coaching program from a recognized institute like the International Coach Federation (ICF).

On the other hand, if you’re already an experienced coach or have a management or business development background, you may be able to start your executive coaching business as soon as you become certified.

Depending on the program and certification requirements, this could take as little as three months. In addition to completing coursework and gaining certification, it’s wise to set aside at least two more months to prepare your business plan, marketing materials and setting up operations.

This should allow plenty of time to get everything in order before launching your executive coaching business.

Define Your Executive Coaching Strengths

One of the most important and often overlooked aspects of understanding how to start an executive coaching business is defining your strengths. You need to have a clear understanding of what it is that you bring to the table and what makes you stand out from the competition.

In order to do this, you need to have a good knowledge of yourself and your own strengths and weaknesses, so you can effectively coach your clients. Focusing on your strengths and finding clients that these strengths will benefit the most will help you to become a successful executive coach.

You should also be clear on what areas you specialize in. For example, do you specialize in helping executives develop leadership skills, or do you focus on helping individuals with career development? Knowing what you’re best at will help you better focus your efforts and market your services more effectively.

Once you’ve identified your strengths, the next step is to develop your executive coaching skills. There are several different ways to do this, such as attending workshops, reading books, and taking online courses.

It’s important to stay up to date on the latest trends and techniques in executive coaching. This will help ensure that you’re offering your clients the best advice and services possible.

Use Your Strengths To Develop an Ideal Customer Profile

The next step is to use all of this information to develop an ideal customer profile. This will help you to identify the types of clients you want to target and the types of people that you think would be most likely to benefit from your services.

Think about what the ideal customer looks like, and consider their industry, their job role, their challenges, and their goals. Having a clear understanding of your ideal customer will help you to better tailor your services and target the right people.

Network To Increase Your Reach

Building relationships and networking is key to finding clients and building your business. Attend conferences, mastermind groups, and events related to executive coaching, and make sure to connect with everyone that you can.

This could include other coaches, business contacts, and influencers who could refer potential clients to you. You should also consider joining online forums and groups to increase your visibility and network with other professionals.

Once you have everything running, you should still implement these practices out of habit to keep up your professional development. By keeping up with the latest techniques and trends, you’ll reap success for years to come.

Be Clear With Your Branding

Having a clear and consistent brand is important for any business, and it’s especially important if you’re starting an executive coaching business. Your coaching brand should convey the type of coaching services that you offer, and it should be consistent across all of your marketing materials.

You need to create a brand that conveys your unique value proposition and sets you apart from your competitors. This includes creating a coaching business name, website, designing a logo, and creating content that reflects your expertise and your approach to executive coaching.

Your branding should be specific to your ideal customer profile, and it should highlight your strengths as an executive coach. This could be anything from working with CEOs of large corporations to helping first-time entrepreneurs develop their businesses.

Define Your Coaching Package Pricing and Path To Profitability

In order to make money in executive coaching, you need to have a clear understanding of how you’ll charge for your services.

Will you charge by the hour, by the session, or by the package? Will you offer a free consultation to attract new clients? Will you incorporate extras that you can up-sell to interested clients?

It’s always tricky to determine what rate to set when starting out. If you charge too little, you won’t make a profit; if you set your prices too high, you might drive away business.

The best way to find the right service rate is to research what other executive coaches charge. This will give you a good starting point and allow you to adjust as needed.

You mustn’t undervalue yourself or your expertise. People tend to assign a higher value to things that cost more, so pricing yourself too low could hurt business in the long run.

Here are some average prices that executive coaches typically charge:

  • Group coaching rates: $200-300/hour
  • 1-on-1 coaching sessions: $300-400/session
  • Membership fees: $200-300/month
  • Coaching courses: $1500+

Of course, these prices will vary depending if you’re just starting out or if you have years of experience behind you. Once you’ve picked your price, your next step is determining

You should have a very good understanding of what the path to profitability looks like for your business.

It’s important to sit down and calculate your goals for your business and then calculate the number of clients that you need to achieve your goals, as well as the number of hours that you’ll need to work to reach those goals.

You should have an understanding of the costs associated with your business, such as marketing and advertising, technology, and office space. Also, it’s important to have a plan in place for how you will manage your business, such as setting up systems, processes, and team members.

Start a Website and Get Testimonials

Having an online presence is key for any business, and it’s even more important for executive coaching. Make sure to create a website that showcases your services and your experience.

You can also use your website to collect testimonials from past clients, which will be a great way to show potential clients that you’re a credible and reliable coach. Be sure to ask every client if they are willing to give you a testimonial, as these will go a long way to marketing your business.

Get Referrals From Your Most Successful Clients

Another great way to get more clients for your executive coaching business is to leverage referrals from your most successful clients. Ask your clients for referrals to their network or colleagues, and you may be surprised by the results. You can also use referral programs to reward clients for referring new business to you.

Wrap Up

Now that you know how to start an executive coaching business, you can get started right away pursuing your new career. Be sure to follow the steps, build your ideal customer profile based on your strengths, and be clear with your branding. Once that is done, focus your efforts on networking, marketing, and gathering referrals.

After that, the only thing left to do is to find tools that will take your executive coaching business to the next level.

The tool that we recommend is Bonsai.

Bonsai is a must-have for executive coaches. From easy scheduling to intake forms to client CRM, there’s a reason it’s trusted by over 500,000 business owners!

Bonsai is the best full-stack suite of business tools for coaches, consultants, and more. You can start your free trial here today!

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