Coaching is a long journey. Any unplanned journey may lead to some unpredictable circumstances which are at times not good. Any coach who is successful today has devoted time and effort to visualize things and then moving to create them. All these goals, steps, and strategies that a coach decides to follow at the beginning and along the coaching journey together makes a coaching plan.
A coaching plan is very important. What amount of growth and success you achieve and in what time depends on how solid your coaching plan is. Planning helps coaches to analyze their present situation. In the process of making a plan, the coaches become self-aware. A coaching plan makes it easier to set short-term and long-term goals. Planning brings clarity to the coaching process. Building a coaching plan helps in anticipating the problems that the coach may encounter and preparing to face them in advance.
When a coach has a plan which guides all their coaching strategies, there are fewer chances of committing mistakes and regretting later on.
As you see, there are some amazing benefits of building a coaching plan. If you are an aspiring coach you must not neglect the importance of a coaching plan.
Do you want to know what makes a great coaching plan?
Do you wish to know the areas that you must focus to build a great coaching plan?
I hear a ‘Yes’?! That’s great 🙂
This article covers all the points that you must know to build an ideal coaching plan. By the end of this article, you will not only know the importance of a coaching plan but also the right steps to make one for yourself.
Before we dive in, let us understand points that you must focus on before creating a coaching plan.
What Should You Consider Before Making Your Coaching Plan?
To build an amazing coaching plan, you have to first be an outstanding planner. This means that you must be completely aware of yourself before you begin. You must know yourself professionally as well as personally. Ask yourself:
What skills and experience do you have? Do you think that’s enough to start a coaching business?
Do you want to polish your skills? If yes, how will you do that? Do you want to go to some training courses?
What are your strengths and weakness?
Why do you think coaching is the right career choice for you?
Why would someone hire you for your coaching skills? Have you been previously praised by colleagues/friends for your skills?
Becoming self-aware means a thorough introspection of oneself.
Not only knowing oneself is important but also being aware of the conditions around you is equally important.
Are you enough mentally and financially strong to start a coaching business?
Would it be better if you start as a freelance coach?
Who all makes your support system?
If your coaching business takes time to succeed, will you be able to sustain yourself/your family?
Once you have clarity about yourself and about your present situation, it would reflect in your coaching plan too. This will help you in building a clear coaching plan that you are confident about.
Know the current market trends
Do you want to build an outdated plan? No, right? So, you must do proper market research before building your coaching action plan. You should know the current coaching trends and strategies. At the same time, have some knowledge of how they differ from the ones that existed before.
Spend some time researching the US coaching industry. You must have a solid command of your coaching niche. Know all the aspects that revolve around your coaching niche. You can do this by talking to experienced coaches in your niche and seeking their guidance. Always keep yourself updated with all the changes that are part of the industry evolution.
Know your target audience
Till now, you know about yourself and your market. Great!
Now it’s time to know more about the section of the audience that you want to target. Many coaches coach a wide range of audiences for the beginning. I would rather prefer specialization with a small set of the target audience in the beginning. Later on, you can decide to expand the set of your target audience.
You must make yourself aware of the pain points of your target audience. If you are aiming to be a budget coach, who do you want to coach? Will you go for young adults or family coaching? What age groups? What region? Individuals or groups?
You must have a picture of your ideal prospects in your mind. This will help you to orient your coaching plan around them. In this way, you will be able to tailor your coaching strategies and process around your target audience.
What makes your coaching plan unique?
Before creating your coaching plan, keep in mind that it has to be unique. Now think of ways in which you can make it unique.
You may start by crafting a coaching philosophy that is extremely creative and innovative.
You can also think to add few creating elements in your coaching session that make them different from others.
Explore your creative side. Check out what others are doing and think what can be done so that our plan id different and better than others.
Do a competitive analysis before you craft your coaching plan
It is always good to learn and get inspired by the senior players. If you find coaches in your niche that have been doing well, you must learn the tricks and strategies that they applied. This will help in validating your thought process. This doesn’t mean getting swayed away by their coaching plan and adopting it. Rather, try to take the key elements that you think are indeed valuable and will help you to succeed as well. It is always a better idea to first make your coaching plan and then look for others’. This will ensure that you benefit from your originality and at the same time collect some external points to add to it.
Quick Steps to Make the Most Amazing Coaching Plan
Now, let’s see what steps you must include for building an amazing coaching plan.
Choose your business structure
In the USA there are four main types of business structures.
- Sole proprietorship
- Limited Liability Company, or LLC.
The form of business structure that you choose will affect several factors. Many of these will decide what future your coaching business has. Some of the things that a business structure decides is:
- How you are taxed
- What is your legal liability?
- What will be your cost of formation?
- What will be your operational costs?
Before you choose a business structure, you must understand the details of each structure. Along with this, you should also know what are the pros and cons of the different types of business structures.
Decide where and how to invest
You need to prioritize some of the basic yet crucial things in your coaching plan. Your investment strategies are one of them. Where and how much you plan to invest will depend on several factors including:
- What type of coaching model do you have (One-to-one, online coaching, etc.)?
- What amount you can invest?
- Your current expertise
- What are your top priorities? etc.
Suppose that you are going to conduct one-to-one coaching sessions. In this case, you will have to plan for the infrastructural cost. You must have a nice place to conduct your coaching sessions. But if you are planning to have online coaching sessions then you would be investing in online tools and platforms.
You may not be a social media expert or might need someone to look for your web presence. In this case, do you plan to hire freelancers? Or do you want to create a team of designers, marketers, business development executives, etc?
You might even want to just begin from some corner of your house with the least investment and that’s absolutely perfect. What you must do is analyze your present condition and then decide your investment strategies.
Take care not heavily spend in the beginning. For instance, in the beginning, you can go for organic marketing rather than paid marketing to cut costs. As you proceed, you can better tweak your investment strategies to suit the time and demand.
Plan the management of resources
The efficient management of resources helps you to make more profit. Here, ‘resources’ mean anything which is a part of your coaching practice. It can be the place that you take on the lease for conducting your sessions or your team.
One good step to ensure that you manage your resources well is to plan your budget. A good coach is excellent in budget management. You don’t need to worry too much about the future but just have a clear vision for a couple of the upcoming months. The management of resources will help you to prepare in advance for any hardships.
Choose your coaching model
Not all coaches choose to have a coaching model as a part of their coaching plan. But, it is always good that you have a coaching model in place to guide your coaching practice. Coaching models provide a framework for your coaching practice. They streamline your coaching process and help you to be on track.
There are various coaching models that you can choose from. These include the GROW coaching model, OSCKAR coaching model, CLEAR caching model, etc.
Often you will see that the mode via which you conduct your coaching is also considered as a coaching model. That is, one-to-one coaching, online coaching, or a combination of these are also coaching models or rather coaching business models to be specific.
Panning for your coaching model is important. The first thing to plan is which one to choose. This will again depend on a number of factors including your comfortability and your target audience.
After you make a choice, plan for how to execute your coaching model in a way that it brings you the most benefit.
Identify initial steps to crack your ideal clients
The beginning can be difficult. There will be a lot of questions that would come in your mind.
How will I approach my audience?
How do I convince them to hire me?
Why would they hire me?
What is important is that you are confident about yourself. This is only possible when you have your initial steps in place to crack your ideal clients. Just think for some time.
Is conducting a free webinar/seminar a good idea?
Do you think, starting a video series to show your expertise will help?
What about free workshops or group coaching sessions?
In the beginning, take care that you are more focused to build your network offline and online. Once people start noticing you and realizing your worth it won’t be difficult to proceed smoothly.
Each coach has unique strengths and one’s own methodology to crack their first ideal clients. Discover the ones that you have and get on cracking. Here are some steps that will help you to crack your first clients fast.
Plan your coaching sessions
Coaching sessions are the most important part of your coaching process. Through the sessions both the client and coach understand whether or not the coaching process is worthy enough. Every coach wants to see the clients happy and satisfied at the end of the session. But, this is extremely difficult. Only by planning for the sessions properly will make them successful. While planning the coaching sessions you must take care of the following:
- What is going to be the length of your coaching session?
- How will you conduct the coaching session (depending on your model)?
- How will you begin?
- How will you make sure that you can make the most out of your coaching sessions?
- What will you do to ensure that the client is not lost in between?
- How will you take feedback to make sure that the session was fruitful for the client?
- Will you ask the client for referrals? If yes, how?
- How do you plan to take the follow-ups?
Many coaches turn the coaching sessions into monologues. Never commit this mistake. Plan your coaching session in a way such that it is tailored to your clients. Also, take care that your coaching sessions don’t covert into meaningless conversations.
Plan the coaching questionnaire
The coaching questionnaire is an important part of the coaching plan. Depending on the niche you should have a great coaching questionnaire for your client. Though each client is different and many of your questions will be extempore depending on the answers of the client. Still, it is good to have a questionnaire that can suit diverse clients and their situations. This will help you to ensure that no important stuff is left to ask. Your questionnaire should be a combination of different types of coaching questions including open-ended questions, hypothetical questions, etc. Here are some great coaching questions that every coach must ask.
Make a dynamic coaching plan
While making a coaching plan, keep this in mind that your coaching plan is dynamic. Often it happens that coaches have limited exposure to clients and situations. They create their coaching plan based on this limited exposure. If you go in this way, you will find it difficult to use your coaching plan to fit various needs.
It is not important that you must have a wide range of exposure to make a diverse plan. What is important is that you can think through various angles. You must include all the possibilities even if there are fewer chances for them to occur.
You can always tweak your coaching pan as per the needs but if sometime later you feel that the entire plan needs to be changed then this would mean the plan lacked clarity at the beginning itself.
Decide top coaching strategies
Planning your coaching strategies should be a part of your coaching plan.
What are the tools and coaching techniques that you are going to use?
How will you market your coaching business?
What are the strategies to bring customers onboard?
How are you planning to establish a strong referral system?
What are the add-ons that you will be providing your customers?
Your coaching strategies will make your coaching process robust. Make sure that your strategies are aligned with your coaching skills and the recent coaching trends.
Plan how you will price and package your coaching services
Pricing and packaging your coaching services will decide what profit you make and at what time. Also, once your business starts growing it would be difficult to change your pricing and packaging strategy. The reason is that it becomes a part of your brand and one of the reasons why people choose you over others. So, it is extremely crucial to plan your pricing and packaging strategy so that you can stick to it for long and earn benefits too.
There are different ways in which one can price and package their coaching services. These include.
- Hourly based model
- Fixed-price model
- A model based on a fixed term (3-months package or 6-months package)
- Contract-based etc.
Learn how to price and package your coaching services in the best way so that you can plan effectively.
Plan for a rainy day
Now you have a coaching plan that has all your steps and strategies in place. Great!
But, many times it happens that things don’t happen as per our planning. In your coaching journey, you will face many unpredictable situations. To tackle them, it is always good to have a backup or a Plan B ready.
What if your coaching strategies are unable to fetch clients?
What if there is a need to change your coaching business model?
What if your team isn’t performing as per the expectations?
What if the coaching industry starts making losses because of a global pandemic?
What if you are running out of money and unable to sustain at some point in time?
Don’t think much or worry about your future or failures. But yes, if you have a backup plan ready to deal with difficult situations if the initial planning fails, it would be amazing!
Decide the steps to take for your personal growth
Undoubtedly the coaching journey will teach you a lot. But at the same time, there are other ways that you can use to ensure your personal growth. Reading good books and watching videos can be one.
Plan the ways which you think will help you to excel. This can be building top qualities that every successful coach has.
Also, decide the metrics that you will use to evaluate your growth. How will you judge that you are improving? Clients’ feedback can be one way. You can also use some coaching tools to assess and track your performance as a coach. You can also go for assessments for coaches and assess your capabilities as a coach.
Coaching demands continuous learning and progress. It is important to plan for your personal growth so that you become a better coach with each passing day.