Top Five Obstacles to Becoming a Successful Business Coach and their Solutions (Survey Results)

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We surveyed our last 100 coach certification students at the beginning of their coach certification program to ask about the primary obstacle to their success. This post summarizes the replies of those who want to offer business coaching once they complete our coach certification program.

If you’re interested in becoming a coach, you should find some relief in these survey results. They let you know that coaches aren’t supposed to be perfect before beginning their coaching career.

Two things to keep in mind when reading the survey responses in this post:

  • These aspiring coaches hadn’t been trained yet. Some of their concerns come from the general uncertainty and lack of experience that coach trainees endure. We’ve all been there.
  • The great secret all coaches need to understand is this: Coaches are people too. If you’re a coach, you’re going to have the fears and hang-ups people tend to have. The key is to use the training in your own life and never expect yourself to be “beyond” problems just because you’re a certified coach. The coaching tools will put you on a consistently upward trajectory and that’s an amazing advantage. Progress, not perfection.

Don’t wait to be past all your problems before starting or expanding your coaching business. Instead, use the tools you learn in training. Learn as many coaching methods as you can and apply them to yourself. Keep moving ahead.

If everyone required themselves to be problem-free before coaching anyone else, there would be exactly zero coaches on the face of the earth. Your imperfection is not an excuse to deprive yourself of a fulfilling career!

Here are the top five obstacles to becoming a successful business coach, according to iNLP Center trainees.

The obstacles are listed from most common to least common. Remember, it’s not a problem if you experience one or more of these issues or any issue at all. The key is to know it, use the tools provided to overcome it and enlist the support of trainers and other students. This is what your training community is for. And this is specifically what successful coaches do!

obstacles-for-business-coaches_confidence1. Lack of Confidence & Fear of Failure – 43%

Lack of confidence and/or fear of failure were by far the #1 obstacle to coaching success, according to a whopping 43% of respondents.

Trainees were worried about their performance when it came to coaching executives and businesses. Could they pull it off? Why would business executives take them seriously? Worse, what if they tried and failed?

Here at iNLP Center, we help our students overcome their fear of failure and confidence issues in the following ways:

High support. Our team of trainers is ever-ready to answer your questions at any point in your training. You can attend almost-daily virtual classes, email or Skype, call or engage in the private student community. We understand your confidence concerns and are prepared to support you.

Customized training. We help you tailor your training to your individual needs, point out the methods you are likely to find most helpful and coaching you along the way.

Down-to-earth trainers. The iNLP Center is known for having trainers that don’t put themselves on a pedestal. We’re people just like you and we don’t pretend otherwise. Getting NLP or coach training from someone trying to be a guru can be discouraging when you assume the guru is near-perfect and are stuck in the mud of your own imperfection.

Help to develop your program. We’re always here to give you feedback on what you plan to do, even after you complete your training. At iNLP Center, you never have to leave the community and there are never fees for participating other than the original tuition. Have an idea for a coaching program? Run it by us. We’ll help you make it work!

Don’t let fear of failure keep you from taking the next step in your coaching career. That would only guarantee failure and you deserve to give yourself a healthy chance in spite of your imperfections. We all do.

obstacles-for-business-coaches-business-skills2. Lack of Business Skill – 18%

Really? Aspiring business coaches who lack business skill? Yes, 18% of survey responses indicated this concern and it makes perfect sense.

I personally interview all life coach students at the beginning of their iNLP Center program and here’s what I’ve learned. They’ve had some success in business and anticipate passing along what they know to help others succeed as well. Yet, they often wonder:

  • How relevant is my experience to other businesses?
  • I know how to succeed, but do I really know how to coach others?
  • I’m not an expert in (HR, sales, finance, tech) so will I know how to work with people in that department?

And so on. If you’re new to coaching and aren’t at least a little worried about how things will pan out under various circumstances, you may be overconfident and that is a much bigger problem.

The solution to believing you lack business skill (in spite of having success in business) is to appreciate your integrity for wanting to do the best you can on behalf of your future clients. Then, walk yourself through solutions.

  • You’ll learn how relevant your experience is when evaluating new clients.
  • You’re about to learn how to coach others in coach training.
  • Coaching skills apply in most contexts. These are soft skills like communication, team-building and emotional intelligence. They’re always relevant.

If you let this concern stop you, (again, assuming you’ve had some business success) you’ll never discover that this issue resolves itself as you move forward.

 

5 Soft Skills for an Executive Coach

obstacles-for-business-resources3. Lack of Resources – 16%

Resources, in this case, are money and connections. Do you have a start-up budget for your coaching business that fits your vision? If you don’t have the tech skill to create your online presence, can you pay someone to build it for you?

Do you know enough people to network effectively in search of clients? If not, do you know how to build connections and subscribers? And so on. It does take money and connections to build a new business. If you feel you’re lacking here, you’re with a little more than one in five new coaches.

The question is, how much money and how many connections do you need?

Not much of either. It’s also important to understand that neither money nor connections make up for the most important thing in your start-up: your message. If you have the right message, you don’t need a lot of money or connections to get started. And if you had all the money and connections in the world, but the wrong message, you’d fail.

We can show you how to get a fabulous, professional online presence for very little money. More importantly, we help you refine your message so that it doesn’t take many connections to find willing clients.

obstacles-for-business-coaches-time-management4. Time Management – 14%

This is a crucial element of starting a new career, as often you are transitioning from a previous career. Lots of moving parts. It’s important to manage your precious time.

One common time management flaw is underestimating how long things take to get done. From getting proper training to building your business presence and getting clients, it’s a lot of work. Don’t fool yourself.

Almost one in five iNLP Center coach trainees stated concerns about time management, so we’ve developed tools to help. Calendars, checklists, time estimations on courses, convenient access to trainers and practice partners all factor into making the training process more efficient.

obstacles-for-business-coaches-procrastination5. Procrastination – 9%

Ah, the legendary enemy of productivity. Only 9% of students responded with concerns about procrastination, but we suggest you create a plan to overcome procrastination even if you don’t believe it’s an issue. However, after talking to students we’ve found that they do want to have a schedule to keep themselves on track, but are taking an online training to allow for flexibility.

The solution we created to provide the structure without the pressure, is a suggested weekly calendar for getting each section completed. This includes each component of our training – Read, Listen, Watch, Do, and Attend.

Additionally, for iNLP Center students, we suggest making class attendance a priority. Put a live class on your weekly calendar and show up. It’s so easy to do! The engagement with your trainer and other students is motivating. This will inspire you to do the online classwork, which makes classes better, and so on. You can create an upward spiral that guarantees progress.


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About Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is a retired psychotherapist, Master NLP trainer, and practicing life coach. He and his wife, Hope, founded iNLP Center in 2011. For information on coaching with Mike, please visit his coaching website AHA System.

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