Why Your Coaching Business Isn’t Working

A Blog Post by Brian Miller

Coaches provide clients new awareness, and sometimes it is the coach who needs the awareness. The most frustrating aspect of coaching is not the coaching. It is everything else. And who knew how much “everything else” there would be? Unfortunately, it is the rare coach who has clients knocking at all hours on their door. We find that we must network and market and package and account and define our niche. This isn’t what we signed up to do. Our desire is to help people, not run a business. Welcome to the world of small business owners. I assure you most electricians don’t want to sign contracts and run a payroll. They want to install wires into your house.

If you want a small business, and coaching is a small business, then you need to learn how to think about your business. Like your clients, you need a new awareness. In his book, The E-Myth Revisited: Why most businesses don’t work and what to do about it, Michael Gerber brings an important awareness to our situation. We not only need to work in our business. We need to work on our business.

What’s the difference? Working in our business is doing the work we’ve chosen to do. For us, it’s that hour that we’ve set aside to coach our favorite client and enjoy the discovery as they figure out how to move from where they are to where they want to go. Working on our business requires us to analyze what we do and streamline it to make it go quicker and smoother. It also requires us to begin to dream about what would make our business even better. We begin to develop a vision of what is possible.

Gerber says we need three hats. The first hat is the technician hat. We already know about this hat. It’s our favorite hat to wear. This is the hat we wear when we coach. This is our typical working hat when we’re working in the business.

The second hat we need is the manager hat. Even if we are the only technician in our business, we still need someone to manage us, and if no one else is available to do it, then we will have to manage ourselves. The manager makes sure we are working smoothly and efficiently. Systems are designed so that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time we get a new client. (Check out the Strong Start system we created.) Other systems are developed to make sure we are bringing in new clients.

The manager may discover that some of the tasks we don’t enjoy can be offloaded onto to an employee. This is especially true for those of us who blog or podcast. We create the content, but we don’t have to be the one to get the content onto the internet. That just requires a system that almost anyone could repeat again and again. Someone would enjoy doing that work. It just isn’t me. I’d rather be coaching.

The third hat we need is the entrepreneur hat. Someone needs to think about the future of our business. How can we grow the business to the point it can support us financially? The technician doesn’t know how to do this. Neither does the manager. Instead, we need to put on the entrepreneur hat and begin to dream about what is possible. Nobody else is going to grow our business, and until we do, we will struggle with making our business sustainable. We may not be in it for the money, but without stability, the frustration won’t be worth the effort.

If you had a coach (and you should have a coach), consider how much awareness you might be able to gain about your business from the following chart.


By working in each of these areas, not only in the business but on the business, you can finally get your coaching business to start taking some steps forward. Take a minute and coach yourself through this awareness. What hat do you need to start wearing more often? When are you going to do that? What resources do you need to better wear that hat?

What are you learning even now that could help you grow your business? Let me know.