You’re a life coach, or at least aspiring to be, but you’re feeling a little hamstrung by how different you want your practice to be. In fact, it might be SO different that no one else is even doing it -- coaching while painting and hanging out with horses? A super specific niche of people, a subcommunity within a subcommunity? A mixture of tarot, coaching, astrology and… and… you get the picture.
If someone else has built a unique, slightly off-kilter coaching practice -- why not you?
Once you’ve made the decision to become a coach and build a life coaching business, one of the first things you’re bound to do is research. You read everything there is about life coaching. You engage with established coaches to know more about how the business works. You join Facebook groups and follow hashtags on Instagram. You invest in exploring the new path you intend to take.
The first real step is coach training, and getting that certification so you can finally launch your own unique practice. But once you’re done with your coaching certification and you have to do the serious work of building your business - advertising, marketing, networking, etc - this is when most creatives, including coaches, lose their sense of creativity.
There are proven and tested ways of building a coaching business - effective marketing strategies, advertising techniques, technical stuff. But if you look at the life coaches you’ve deemed successful, they’re all different in some way because they created their own path. They solve real problems for the people they serve, and they show up authentically as they are -- warts and all.
If you’re ready to forge your own path as a coach, and especially if you want to serve a really unique population -- it’s time to take stock of a few key ideas.
Get comfortable with the uncomfortable
if you're doing something very few people have done, it might get a little weird. Things might not go as planned. Begin to think of yourself as a mad scientist, trying things and seeing what happens. Banish the idea of "failure" from your mind. Instead, replace that concept with "This is all learning, this is all valuable information, even when things don't go as planned."
It's time to try stuff, throw the metaphorical spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks.
Evaluate your unique skills and how best to make them shine
First off is to evaluate your unique skills. If you got your life coaching certification from a reliable coaching program, you have most likely developed a solid coaching and business skill-set. However, this doesn't mean that skill-set should determine your business direction.
If you want to explore and discover other paths, one of the best ways is to first evaluate your own existing skill-set and your own unique passions and talents to know which aspects you need to improve and what can set you apart from other coaches. If you have a heart for a certain population, you likely need to make sure that your skills are in line with your vision and have a clear path for making them shine.
Visualize the kind of unique coaching path you want and write it down
Next step is to visualize things. What does your unique path look like? What are the things you focus on in terms of your practice? What does your lifestyle look like with this kind of career path? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you have a better vision and a better view of what your business and life would be if you begin creating your own path as a coach.
Don’t stop at visualizing. Write it down. Cut pictures out of magazines and put them up on the walls. Draw it, jot it down on a note-taking app, write or on a journal... whatever works best for you.
This way, you get to easily revisit your vision whenever you need to. It’s easy to fall into the traps of how society does things and lose sight of what we originally envisioned for our life and business. What gets documented gets improved.
Deeply understand the community or clients you are hoping to serve
It’s likely that you already understand and value this community because you have a heart to serve them -- but if you haven’t yet, do some research. Understand how they think, where they hang out, what their goals are, what makes them tick. This will help you target your coaching practice to help solve super specific issues that speak to them directly.
Make sure your goals support your vision
Having a clear vision is one thing. Having goals that support that vision is another. Whatever you visualize in your coaching practice, be sure your business goals align with it. In other words, create a life coaching business model that matches your vision. If your goals and your unique vision are mismatched, then you’re going to find it hard to make progress towards the life you want.
Focus on you, not on other people
Ever googled something like “how to start a coaching business from scratch” and caught yourself following exactly what someone else did instead of developing your own methods? Often we start off by copying others before we figure out the path that truly speaks to us, and emulation is one way we can learn when we are just starting out.
However, keep reminding yourself to focus on you and not on other people. Comparison is a particularly vicious form of self harm. Focus on what makes you happy, what speaks to your soul, what feels right for your business. Focus less on what others have to say who have no skin in the game, and focus on how your words and methods are impacting your desired client.
Creating your own path as a coach is not just about understanding the unique technical aspects of a business. It’s also about choosing joy. This is YOUR business and you can choose, over and over again, to build it joyfully with compassion and kindness. Choosing joy doesn't mean building something and focusing only the fun parts. Choosing joy means reframing when necessary and seeing the good in everything, learning lessons, and limiting the stress. Break societal barriers. Break the standards. Incorporating joy can positively affect your process in more ways than you can count.
Get weird with it
The things we often love stand out to us. We notice a single sunflower standing tall in a rose garden. We’re drawn to a beautiful color or shape that catches our eye unexpectedly. If you have a heart to build a weird, wacky, wonderful coaching practice -- there’s room for you in the world of coaching. We always say here at JRNI Coaching that your story is your gold and we believe that we do our best work when we connect deeply with our purpose and use it to help others.
Ready to get certified and start helping your own unique population? Get trained and become a coach with JRNI Coaching -- where imperfect people find their perfect calling.