Advice to would-be coaches

By John-Paul Flintoff

I sometimes receive emails from people planning to work as a coach, or to become a writer.

I’m always keen to offer encouragement, but frequently unsure what exactly the individuals want from me. Of course, it differs from person to person, but often it’s essentially a request for permission – permission to do what they are doing, in many cases, already.

I had a request like that this week, asking if I could “shine some light on how to move forward on the path to coaching”, and to explain what I did to end up where I am. (Where am I?!)

I wrote an email back. And I thought it might be useful to post what I wrote here:

I have a sense (I may be mistaken) that you feel that where you are right now isn’t quite good enough. I bet it is!

What did I do? I did much the same as you are doing. I followed what I felt most strongly drawn to, and trusted that the people who want me will find me.

The most difficult – and delightful – work is recognising that the path itself is valuable, not only the final destination.

If your question is how to find clients – you will find them everywhere. Just give people space to talk about what matters to them, and they will probably find themselves saying, Wow, what was that?! Then you can explain that coaching is what you do.

Many people will be interested in receiving coaching. Some will not be able to pay you much, or even at all. The question to ask yourself is: how much does it matter? If it matters a lot, you will need to find connections who are willing to pay. And there is no easy way to describe how you do that.

But I am sure you will work it out.

I hope this helps.

Posted: January 30, 2015