What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done to become successful in your coaching career? This is a question that we all might ask ourselves at one time or another. And while the answer varies for each and every person, there are some very common threads.
Making tough calls can be a part of every entrepreneur’s journey. The positive part about difficult decisions is that there is always something to be learned once you’re on the other side.
In this blog post, we asked 8 successful coaches to share the hardest choice they made to get where they are today. They shared real stories about the pivotal parts of their careers where one big decision influenced huge ripple effects in their coaching business.
Read on to see what wisdom these experienced coaches have to share!
Table of Contents
8 Difficult Decisions Coaches Make To Become Successful
- 1. Knowing when it’s time to quit a comfortable job to pursue your business.
- 2. Embracing that you’re not for everyone.
- 3. Determining a niche that you can fully serve.
- 4. Deciding to fully trust yourself.
- 5. Embracing the unfamiliarity of an online business.
- 6. Having the courage to turn away people who don’t seem committed.
- 7. Knowing when to set boundaries and call a client out.
- 8. Choosing to invest in yourself and your business.
- Final Thoughts
8 Difficult Decisions Coaches Make To Become Successful
Here are some examples of the toughest decisions you may have to face in your coaching business.
1. Knowing when it’s time to quit a comfortable job to pursue your business.
“One of the hardest choices I had to make as a coach was leaving my full-time startup role in order to pursue coaching full-time. It meant walking away from the safety net of a cushy paycheck to pursue the uncertainty of my coaching business.
I didn’t quite have the income in my coaching business to replace my salary, so it meant I’d earn 50% less as soon as I left my job. I had to do it. In hindsight, it was the absolute best decision I ever made and it allowed me to replace my full-time income in 6 weeks by doubling down and putting my back up against a wall.
In less than one year of being full-time in my coaching business, I’ve 3x my yearly salary, working less hours and feeling more alive and on purpose than ever before! Seeing clients win every day is a reminder that had I stayed in my job, I’d be paid well but be robbed of my happiness of doing the thing I was born to do.”
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– Ryan Drake, Business Coach
2. Embracing that you’re not for everyone.
“Defining my ideal client was one of my first large hurdles when building my practice. I was so desperate for business, that I was willing to take anyone and everyone. But I quickly learned that I did not enjoy coaching anyone and everyone. In fact, there were some clients who drained me.
I found myself dreading their appointment times. While I certainly needed the money, I chose my happiness instead. I began exploring what it was about the people I enjoyed coaching so much and realized that most of them were female, extremely creative, and had a growth mindset.
Once I knew who I wanted to work with, I started screening clients better over the phone, being more selective in who I offered my time to. Interestingly, I began this journey believing I was limiting my practice but in reality, having a defined niche, grew my practice. I now work entirely off of referrals and frequently have a waitlist during busy coaching months.”
– Claire Pearson, 3PM Consulting
3. Determining a niche that you can fully serve.
“To be a successful coach, I found it essential to make the hard choice in actually choosing a niche. It can be tempting to try to serve everyone, but trying to do so will prevent you from being able to serve people to your fullest.
Once you have a niche, you can fine-tune your ability to serve that niche, and they will receive high-level coaching from you.”
– Chrissy Bernal, Be A Better Brand
4. Deciding to fully trust yourself.
“One of the hardest choices I had to make to become a successful coach was to trust myself enough to find my own way. So much of my education and professional training as a therapist was to work within and follow a system. But that system wasn’t working.
Going out and creating my own system—to make mistakes and learn as I go—has been challenging, and also unbelievably rewarding. When you trust yourself enough to follow what you know, that’s when things really start clicking.”
– Emily Capuria, Balance & Thrive, LLC
5. Embracing the unfamiliarity of an online business.
“As a Lifestyle Fitness Coach, my most significant decision was to go all-in in the online world and face technical issues, social media freakout, frustration, limiting beliefs, and procrastination. You have to become a new version of yourself to have different results—everything I made demanded laser focus and priority on my goal so that I wouldn’t give in. Now I run a very successful business all online, and everything paid off.”
–Mariana Cadore, Lifestyle Fitness Coach
6. Having the courage to turn away people who don’t seem committed.
“The hardest lesson I learned in building my coaching business was to turn away prospects who weren’t 100% committed to transformational change. That can be tough in the early stages when you may feel desperate to gain a new client.
But clients who aren’t committed cause way too much stress and regret for the coach, because we end up caring about the client’s future more than they do. So I test their yes very hard during my initial consultation, almost trying to talk them out of signing up for coaching.
The possibility of my turning them down also seems to push the hesitant ones to a more determined stance. By taking on only those who really want to change, I can charge more to ensure that commitment, and make a real positive impact on the clients I do choose.”
– Beverly Miller, Money Coach Bev
7. Knowing when to set boundaries and call a client out.
“I think one of the most challenging parts of being a successful coach is understanding when to call someone on the carpet and set boundaries (This could be around last-minute reschedules, contract details, or even completing assigned action items!) and when to let things slide.
There are situations where someone is having a rough week and they don’t get their work done or need accommodations for a last-minute reschedule. And there are situations where they are using it as another excuse and need to be called out if they want to grow.
It’s not our job, as a coach, to enable poor performance. It’s our job to call it out, as kindly as we can, and provide a path forward so they can continue to grow!”
– Stephanie Scheller, Grow Disrupt
8. Choosing to invest in yourself and your business.
“One hard choice I made was continuing to invest in myself with courses and coaching. Scarcity became overwhelming. Spending more on my growth than the income I was making from coaching. I wasn’t getting the financial results I wanted and felt like giving up.
My experience shifted when I reconnected with my purpose. “Why did I become a coach?” I sought out support to review my messaging and tested it with my ideal clients. I readjusted my focus and made a commitment to be authentically connected to my ideal clients.
Owning my own unique brand and providing value allowed me to believe in myself with trust in the process. I welcomed gratitude by creating conversations and serving at the highest level I could. There was an ease and flow in the process because I did it in my own way with a connected focus on the needs of the client.”
– Kristin Larsen, Kristin Larsen Transformational Health Coaching
Now that you’ve heard these 8 coaches share the hardest choice they made to become successful, it’s time to take what you’ve learned and put it into action. You can use these lessons as a foundation for the next big move in your coaching business.
When you take a leap of faith and land on a solution to a tough decision, your next steps are to simply observe the outcome and commit to the process. Remember, making hard choices is a part of the journey – so be brave and go for it!
But, before you get started, please make sure you leave a quick comment and let us know which tip was your favorite and what was the last difficult decision you had to make in your coaching business?