If you aspire to become a successful life coach, there’s no shortage of content available to hone your skills and grow a booming practice. From certification programs to business accelerator courses, you’ve undoubtedly come across a plethora of resources already.
But what about community?
In the vast ocean of coaching content, we’ve noticed that the topic of peer support is rarely touched upon. Time to set the record straight: overlooking the importance of your professional network can be a costly mistake. At JRNI Coaching, we’ve learned that the one asset every coach needs is a community of trusted colleagues.
First things first: when it comes to “community”, we’re not referring to fee-based masterminds or group coaching programs. Those are effective, and have their place. What we’re talking about today is peer networks - the kind that comes without a price tag. Whether you’re just getting started or are a seasoned pro, there’s something to be gained from connecting with other coaches in a freely given exchange of ideas, information, and support.
How does participation in a coaching community benefit your business? Let’s take a look...
Expands your scope
Who do you talk shop with? Many coaches are solo practitioners, working from home or coaching as a side gig. When a tricky situation arises in your practice, it’s helpful to have people to discuss it with in order to get a fresh take.
Coaching community is a group of fellow coaches who gather regularly to keep the conversation going about tools, techniques, and business development. You can build yours through events such as conferences and continued education programs, by dialing into the alumni network of the coaching program you graduated from, or in online forums like Facebook groups.
Participating regularly in these communities is an effective way to exchange ideas and learn from fellow coaches. These dialogues offer an alternative lens through which to view your own practice, and help us to discover the diversity of approaches others coaches take when tackling the same business problem or client challenge.
Testing ground for new ideas
It never ceases to amaze us how generous our community can be around sharing resources, creative ideas, and troubleshooting the hard stuff. In JRNI’s alumni network, we see this happening every day. It’s a thing of beauty!
Let’s say you’re in the process of launching your first online course. You can pose a question to your coaching community about which e-learning platform others are using, and discover shortcuts and best practices based on the real-world experiences of the group. Or how about podcasts? Maybe you’re thinking about starting one up, but don’t know where to begin. Your network likely includes people with podcasts who’ve ridden the waves of both success and failure. They're bound to have tips to make the process easier for you!
Cuts through the noise
It’s true that a simple Google search contains an answer to many of our questions. But not everything you’ll find online is accurate, helpful, or relevant to the particular situation you’re in. Would you rather read five articles comparing the merits of all the payment processing systems available on the market, or ask a group of savvy coaches what systems they are using?
People we know and trust are often our best source of information. And let’s face it: shopping your question to a group of like-minded colleagues often yields more relevant and efficient results. What you’ll also get from your peers is nuance and insight into your particular situation.
Practice, practice, practice
For new coaches, there is no tool, workshop, program, or technique that beats good old fashioned practice. But finding willing collaborators to log hours with can be challenging. A coaching collective offers you access to others who are willing to trade sessions, and serve as beta testers for your new offerings.
A supportive community gives you a safe, non-judgmental space to work on new skills, iterate, and improve. An authentic professional network is not one that predominantly focuses on selling services to one another. Done right, good community is a place to freely trade ideas, give one another useful feedback, and find committed practice partners. Business leads are often an organic outgrowth of participation in community, but it’s not the only driver.
Sometimes you’ll have a prospective client that isn’t the right fit for you. In these instances, you may want to refer the client out. Having access to a network of peers in various niche areas can be a great place for you to give and receive referrals.
The beauty of this is that it goes both ways. One day, you might tap the network to help match a friend, family member, or prospect to the perfect coach for them. A few months later, one of your peers might in turn send a new client your way!
Builds enduring friendships
At its heart, coaching is about connecting deeply with people. Whatever your niche or focus area, you’re likely to find kindred spirits within your coaching community. You’ll rub shoulders regularly with people who have similar interests and share your values. Individuals who are curious, and engaged in continuous learning and improvement. In short: people who GET you.
Over the years, what we’ve been struck most by at JRNI is the sense of family that developed around our coaching program. We’ve seen powerful, lasting friendships emerge within our alumni network. Collaboration has also led to new ventures and professional partnerships between our coaches. In this communal space, seasoned coaches often take the time to answer questions and mentor newcomers.
Ready to Step In?
For many people, getting certified as a coach is not only about professional training and career advancement. It’s also about how we show up in the world. Community feeds and inspires us, and can provide the tools and support to do our very best work. We encourage you to find your people, and get connected! Think JRNI might be the right place for you? If you’d like to talk to someone about joining our coaching community, click here to schedule a call with one of our team members.