Center for Coaching Certification

How to Get Coaching Clients

The top two ways to get coaching clients are referrals and presenting.  For referrals start with reaching out to your professional and personal network.  Social media is an option as is networking and simply reaching out to current connections.  Let people know about your training and what you offer.  Ask your connections to help you make other connections.  Ask people to refer prospective clients. The International Coach Federation, ICF, is the top source for getting coaching clients.

For presenting, many start with free presentations at various organizations such as Rotary, professional membership chapter meetings, religious organizations, community centers, and educational institutions (for example the Center for Coaching Certification hosts guest presenters).  As you build your reputation and expertise, reach out to businesses and offer inexpensive training programs.  The next level involves submitting proposals to conferences.  When you present, provide great, usable content for the audience to demonstrate your credibility and then give them you contact information for more. 

Network both online and face-to-face.  To network online, engage with social media.  Create profile pages, connect with people, post, and participate.  People will notice your questions, your answers, and your activity with others.  To network face-to-face, research networking or special interest groups, how often they meet, plus where and when.  Some events are open networking and others are professionals gathering with colleagues.  Choose which groups to engage with based on your coaching niche.

Get creative and collaborate.  For example, if you are a wellness coach collaborate with insurance agencies on workshops or even individual wellness coaching.  If you are a business coach, collaborate with your small business centers or chambers of commerce on programs, groups, and individual services.  If you are a career coach collaborate with local high schools and colleges to create programs and provide services.  As an executive coach reach out to mastermind groups or HR groups such as SHRM or HRCI.  If you are a life coach connect with youth groups, religious organizations, family services, community centers, and volunteer groups to present, offer a group program, or to be a resource.  Keep going with this brainstorm: who can you collaborate with to create a win/win for them, for you, and for prospective clients?

Ultimately getting clients is about helping others and letting people know what you offer as a coach.

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How to Start a Coaching Business

As silly as it sounds, it is important to say that before you start a coaching business, become a coach.  Initial training is often a 30-hour program, so continue on for the next level so you are qualified for membership and also then join the International Coach Federation.

Once you are trained as a coach and want to start your business, decide whether you will incorporate or acquire a business license.  Check on your local and regional requirements.  In the United States for example, each state has a Secretary of State office and website with information on the different types of licenses and corporations, plus information on how to get it and what it means for your business.  To complete this process requires choosing either a business name or electing to use your own name.

Next, set up your infrastructure.  If you are a US based corporation this involves getting an employer identification number.  Open a business bank account.  Decide if you will manage your own accounting or hire someone.  Determine what insurance makes sense for your business.  Choose how you will take payments from clients.

Infrastructure also refers to having an office.  Be sure your work space is private and comfortable to be in.  Include having a good computer, internet connection, and telephone system.  Develop your coaching agreement and other forms you plan to use.  Outline your process for explaining coaching, signing clients, and the coaching relationship.

Business Plans help you organize your thinking, your efforts, and prepare for your strategies.  Include in this a Marketing Plan.  The length of these documents is based on what will serve you as the business owner and also the person making it happen.  A multitude of resources are available online and many are provided at the Center for Coaching Certification on the coach login page for graduates.

Once you have your business set-up, it is time to get clients.

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How to Get a Job as a Coach

While coaching is often seen as a business opportunity, some want to enter the profession as an employee.  Increasingly organizations are hiring people with coaching certification in combined roles or as coaches.  Jobs for coaches are usually within HR, Talent Development, or Organizational Development.  Companies request or even require coaching certification prior to hiring people for a role that includes coaching, and if an internal employee is moved into a coaching role, often the organization will pay for training.

Please note: while companies developing coaching programs may turn to internal training, the best results are from external training because the internal team usually lacks the level of coaching specific knowledge required.

If you want a job coaching within the corporate environment, the more specific training and experience you have the more qualified you are for the job.  Here comes the catch 22: the training is available – when it comes to experience the challenge is that the opportunities to gain experience are offered to those with experience.  For this reason, many acquire the training and then take on coaching opportunities in their current position.  This is a great strategy for getting a job in coaching in your current organization or elsewhere.

Alternatively, you can get creative.  Start your coach training and volunteer to coach people through nonprofits or religious organizations.  Consider, too, the incredible number of opportunities for group coaching based on areas of interest.

There are consulting and coaching firms that hire or contract coaches.  Sometimes they also want expertise in consulting, training, or facilitation.  Depending on your related background, they may bring you on board knowing that your coaching experience is limited if you already have the coach training.

Getting a job as a coach starts with training and gaining as much experience as possible.  Then, as with other jobs, research the opportunities, develop a fabulous resume, and in addition to getting your resume out there, network.  Of course, working with a career coach makes a huge difference and is worth the investment.

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How to Become a Coach

Coaching is the second fastest growing profession in the world and as such, many are asking how to become a coach.  Ultimately the answer is essentially the same as with any profession: get the education, build skills, and be accountable.  Unfortunately, some think that becoming a coach is as simple as hanging out a shingle.  How impressed are you with a professional that fails to invest in their own training? While there are many jobs that provide the initial training while you are working, as with other professional services, coaching calls for initial training, starting to work, and then getting more training.

The first step to becoming a coach is coach-specific training.  Find a training program that is approved by the International Coach Federation, ICF.  Yes, there are other programs and they may or may not provide quality content and effective delivery.  Because the coaching profession is maturing to a stage of self-regulation and the largest self-regulating organization is the ICF, the ICF has standards for approving training programs.  Choosing from the hundreds of options available there simply makes sense.

The intention of training is to develop your competency as a coach.  The ICF has 11 Core Competencies and developing these is a process over time starting with an initial certification and then completing your qualification as a coach with advanced training.  For example, the Certified Professional Coach class we offer is an initial step to learn coaching.  For those marketing themselves as a professional coach it makes sense to complete the ICF membership requirements with either the Certified Master Coach or the Certified Coach Specialist programs.  This is true for several reasons: 1. It is required to qualify for membership with the ICF and 2. The combination of programs develops an appropriate level of competency for doing the work.  Sometimes people ask how long to wait between classes.  The answer is completing your training as soon as your budget and schedule permit.

Membership in the ICF is much like saying, “Now I am a coach.”  Consider it the equivalent of earning your degree in coaching.  The ICF does have processes in place to go beyond the initial qualification as a coach to earning credentials – much like a Masters or Doctorate degree.

Please note that until you are trained on the coaching Code of Ethics, you will not know what you do not know.  Ethics in coaching are different than ethics in other professions.  Reading the Code of Ethics is only a start because it is in coach training that you really learn the implications and application of the complete Code of Ethics.

Becoming a coach means completing coach training, developing your competencies, knowing and living the Code of Ethics, and joining the ICF.

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Coaching for Project Managers

First, what is a Project Manager (PM)?  The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines a Project Manager as change agents: they make project goals their own and use their skills and expertise to inspire a sense of shared purpose within the project team.  Project managers cultivate the people skills to develop trust and communication amongst a project’s stakeholders.  In the case of a PM, coaching is a great asset because coaching involves adjusting to different styles and motivating follow through.

A PM works with their team as well as individuals.  Coaching also works with teams and individuals.  Coaching supports exploring options and empowers people to arrive at their solution.  Coaches partner with individuals to strategize and plan their actions.  If a PM completes coaching certification, then they are enhancing their skill set for moving a project forward and motivating follow through.  Whether to help meet a milestone on the project or to move past a challenge, coaching makes a powerful difference.

After the PM has built a relationship with an individual on the team, examples of questions that coach training teaches the PM to utilize include:

  • What is the status of your involvement with the project now?
  • What motivates you to move it forward?
  • Where do you want the project to be?
  • What is your plan to meet your milestones?
  • How will you support meeting project milestones?

As the PM, use coaching skills to discuss projects with individuals or team members.   This will support gaining a better snapshot of the progress and how to move the project forward.   Specific techniques from coaching support deepening the conversation for complete information on project specifics that affect the outcome.

To learn more about coach training, visit us at or complete the contact form at and our team will get back to you!

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Using Your Coach Training Skills with Colleagues

Often meetings with colleagues have an added element: we want them to complete something without having the authority to enforce their follow-through.  Coach training provides skills that are applicable.  This blog follows the format of the previous examples.

To simplify the example, C is the person who completed the coach training.  P is the person with whom they are talking.

The scenario: colleagues are meeting.  One colleague, C, wants another colleague, P, who is behind schedule, to follow-through with their area of work.

C: How are you?
P: Fine.

C: Good to hear.  What is your status?
P: I told you, we are stuck because we cannot get the parts.

C: Makes sense.  What are the options?
P: Wait until the parts come in.

C: Makes sense.  What else is possible?
P: Putting pressure on the vendor.

C: OK.  What else?
P: Check with another department to see if they have extras we can have and when ours come in they will be replaced.

C: OK.  What else?
P: Ask the boss for an extension.

C: OK.  What else?
P: That‘s it.

C: OK.  Which approach do you want to use first?
P: Check with the other department.

C: Then which idea is second?
P: Call the vendor and explain the problem.

C: OK.  And then?
P: Talk to the boss.

C: Makes sense.  How can I best support you?
P: Well, actually, if you go with me to the other department that will help.

C: Absolutely.  When do you want to go?
P: Let’s walk over there right now.

C: Perfect.  Thank you.
P: Glad we are working together on this thank you.

By accepting responses and asking for options, P applied coaching skills and moved the project forward.  Graduates of coach training will recognize the questions and the words used.  Coaching is a powerful process because it is a positive and proactive way to empower others.

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Coaching Skills for Performance Improvement

As a continuation of the previous blogs, this one focuses on coaching skills for performance improvement.  Completing coach training develops these skills for use in many roles in addition to those of a coach seeking coaching certification.

To simplify the example, C is the person who completed the coach training.  P is the person with whom they are talking.

The scenario: An employee (P) has been sent to HR (C) because they are not meeting performance criteria.

C: Hello P, how are you doing?
P: Not so good I guess if I am here.

C: What is your understanding of the reason you are here?
P: My boss is not happy.

C: Let’s figure this out together.  What is your understanding of what your boss wants?
P: Well, she wants me to submit my reports by the deadlines.  It is just that I have to get information from others to do it.

C: That makes sense.  What are your options for getting the information on time?
P: Well, I guess I can send a reminder a day before.  Maybe I can ask my boss to tell them they have to get it in.  Or I can let them know if it is not in I will use the status from the previous week with a note that no updates were provided.

C: Those are great ideas.  What else will it take for you to make your boss happy?
P: Well, she says I am too rude.

C: How can you change that so you are polite and respectful?
P: I guess I just have to think before I talk.

C: Good idea.  Let’s explore that thinking together.  What are examples of the rude language.
P: Um, well, I guess I kinda told someone they were stupid.

C: OK.  What else?
P: Well, I told someone if they didn’t turn their report in on time they were getting fired.

C: OK. what else?
P: That’s it.

C: OK.  What will you say instead in the future.future?
P: Um, maybe that if they have questions they can ask?

C: Great.  What else?
P: Ask why they aren’t submitting their report?

C: Excellent.  What else?
P: Maybe offer to help?

C: Wonderful.  Seems you have a great plan.  How do you feel about it?
P: Well, I guess that is how I want people to talk to me so it feels better.

C: Absolutely.  What will your boss think?
P: I guess he will be happy?

C: It seems you have done a good job of figuring out how to handle this.  When will you make this happen?
P: Right away.

C: Perfect.  Please send me an email outlining your plan by 2 today so we know it is handled.
P: OK.  Thanks.

In this conversation, instead of telling the HR person used coaching skills so that the employee essentially developed their own performance improvement plan plus committed to writing it up.  This increases the likelihood of follow-through and also supports employee ownership for addressing the concern.  Coaching questions and language along with the approach of a solution focus while empowering others works.

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Coaching Skills as a Workplace Skill

In the previous blog, we shared the coach training participants are often completing their coaching certification to learn coaching as a skill for other jobs.  An example showed coaching as a skill in our personal lives.  Now we are shifting to examples of applying coaching skills at work.  To simplify the example, C is the person who completed the coach training.  P is the person with whom they are talking.

The scenario: A boss (C) is checking on a project that was assigned to a specific employee (P).

C: One project that I want a completion timeline for is X.  What is the timeline?

P: Well, a few things have come up.

C: That makes sense.  Given these things that came up, what is your plan to complete the project.

P: Actually, I was hoping you were going to tell me.

C: Because this is your project and I am confident in your abilities, I want you to do the planning.

P: Oh, ok.  Can I get the plan to you later?

C: By what time today will you have the plan to me?

P: Oh, by 3 I guess.

C: Is that a guess or a commitment?

P: A commitment.

C: Thanks.  I look forward to receiving it and am happy to talk it through with you at 3.

P: OK.  I will come to your office then.

In this example, P was initially evasive.  Using coaching questions with a focus on the ownership for the project belonging to P, C moved the conversation forward.  P choose the commitment to create a timeline and the time for submission.  The coaching skills effectively served both C and P.  More examples to come in future blogs.

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Coaching Skills Applied in Other Roles

Often times participants in coaching certification classes have jobs other than coaching.  Their reason for engaging in the coach training is because coaching skills are applicable in all jobs and, in our personal lives as well.  This blog series will provide examples in multiple scenarios.  Start with a personal example.

Parent: What do you want to do this weekend?

Child: I don’t know.

Parent: Then let’s plan to clean the house and after we can go to a movie.

Child: Well, I really want to hang out with my friends.

Parent: OK.  When do you want to hang out with your friends?

Child: I don’t know.

Parent: Given that you don’t know when, how do you want to plan our time?

Child: I am not sure.

Parent: Options include checking with your friends, scheduling our time and then using remaining time to hang out with friends, not planning time with friends and waiting to see if you do hang out with them, inviting them to join us for a movie, or staying home to clean and not planning anything else.  What are your ideas?

Child: Um, I guess we can decide when we are cleaning and going to a movie and then I can talk to my friends to figure out the rest.

Parent: Sounds good.  I remember you like to sleep in, so let’ plan cleaning at noon on Saturday.  Which chores do you want to do?

Child: Uh, clean my room I guess.

Parent: Makes sense.  Then what?

Child: I guess I can do my laundry.

Parent: Awesome.  Then which household chore do you want to do?

Child: I suppose I will mow the lawn.

Parent: Sounds like a plan.  How much time do you think it will take before we have free time?

Child: So, if I am smart I can get done quicker and have more free time.  I guess it will take about three hours total.

Parent: Excellent.  So, with time for eating, getting ready, and maybe a break, we will be done by 4 at the latest.

Child: Yeah.

Parent: What movie do you want to see?

Child: Can I check on that and let you know?

Parent: Sure.  I am thinking Saturday night around 7 so we have time if your friends want to come and we can eat too.  What are you thinking?

Child: That works.

In this conversation, the parent asked coaching questions, used clear and direct coaching language, and empowered the child to make choices.  Because the child is involved in the decisions, follow through is more likely.  The next blogs will give work examples.

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Remember this: Failing to Plan = Planning to Fail

Planning takes time.  Time to think, explore, consider, reflect, define, choose, prioritize, strategize, and get specific with action steps.  The barrier to dedicating time for planning is, ironically, time!  Think about it – how often do you dedicate the right amount of time for planning?

The best resource for planning and moving toward success is a coach who has completed their coaching certification.  Working with a coach means scheduling time to plan!  During coach training, tools for time management are explored.  Coaches also discuss co-creating tools specific to individual clients.  The more a coach is aware of tools and how they work, the easier it is for them to brainstorm resources with clients.  The more a coach works to design tools and partners with clients to create tools, the more effectively that coach helps future clients.

The basic coaching process includes asking questions so clients think about what they want, explore the possibilities, choose their priorities, develop strategies, and define actions.  On an advanced level, coaches learn to “do it now” during coaching sessions.  This may involve researching tools together, brainstorming resources, or designing tools or processes specific to the individual client.

Coaching is a process that includes planning to succeed.

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