Coaching is not easy. It takes a lot of time and patience to help your clients get the results they want. This is why it’s important to have a coaching philosophy that aligns with the needs of your clients.
In this post, we are going to dig into what a coaching philosophy is, how to create your own, and why you need one. Let’s dive right in!
What is a Coaching Philosophy?
A coaching philosophy is one statement that details everything you value pertaining to your methods and approach to coaching including your purpose, objectives, principles, and values.
The International Coaching Federation (ICF), has worked to solidify a certain code of ethics when it comes to credentialed coaches. Having a coaching philosophy? That is a big part of that code, one that gives clear guidance on how you, as a coach, are not advisors but instead, active listeners, committed to helping your clients.
Why do you need a coaching philosophy?
You’re a coach, and you need to be absolutely clear about your methods, about the direction you are hoping to lead your client to, and exactly how you get there. A coaching philosophy is as much for you as it is for your client. It will impact how you coach your clients.
How do you write a coaching philosophy?
In this section, we are going to dive deep into how you write a philosophy that embodies who you are as a coach, how you help your clients and summarizes everything you stand for in one statement.
But before you do that, you need to get clear on a few things.
Step 1: Define your ideal coaching client
Ask yourself, who is my ideal client, and what’s the best way to help them?
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This is not about developing a client base, although that is a very important part of coaching; after all, what is a coach with no one to coach? But first, you need to find the right clients, ones that require the services you are offering, and need the particular skill set and experience that you bring to the table.
If you are a business or executive coach, then your ideal client might be women who are leaders whether at work or in their own businesses. As a result, your coaching philosophy may focus deeply on developing emotional intelligence and leadership skills.
As a health coach, your clients are more varied, in that each one will have different emotional and mental needs that are affecting their health. In that case, a more customized, tailored-to-fit approach, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach would work better.
Being a coach and having a good coaching philosophy will help you attract clients that are a perfect fit for you. Having a good coaching philosophy is the difference between you looking for ideal clients and your ideal clients looking for you.
If you need help finding your ideal clients, check out our free Ideal Client Avatar Worksheet in our free resource library.
Step 2: Define your personal why
Why did you decide to start coaching? What motivated you?
Feel free to include personal anecdotes, ones that will help your clients connect to you. Do you have a quote that changed the way you viewed life? Do you have a saying or mantra that perfectly defines your values? Go ahead and put it in your coaching philosophy.
Your personal ‘why-did-I-decide-to-coach?’ is what draws customers to you! Other people who are either dealing with the same circumstances and are looking for someone who has been there and done that to guide them through the process will be attracted to your why.
To learn more about discovering your why see ‘5 Steps to Defining the Why Behind Your Coaching Business’.
Step 3: Define your coaching values
Remember that your coaching philosophy is a statement of purpose that includes your core values as a coach. You cannot lose sight of your vision and your core values! This is what gets your client’s the results they need.
For example, if you are a life coach and a major part of your coaching philosophy is accountability, then your coaching programs may include detailed check-ins and accountability tracking calls to keep your clients focused on their goals.
If a client is slacking on accountability, you’ll notice right away and address it quickly vs allowing a client to fail each month over and over again.
Step 4: Write your coaching mission statement
A mission statement combines your values, beliefs, and your objectives to help you enunciate your philosophy. Leave no stone unturned and no room for doubt.
This statement details your mission as a coach, what you intend to do during the coaching process to help your clients reach their end goal, and exactly how you plan to do that.
To learn more about writing a mission statement in detail, see ‘How to Write A Mission Statement for Your Coaching Business’ and check out our free mission statement worksheet in our free resource library.
Step 5: Write your coaching vision statement
Your vision statement describes which direction you want to take your coaching business, and should explain the future position and course of your company.
Remember that there is a difference between your mission statement and your vision statement. Your vision statement provides a route, a course of action, and a destination for your coaching business and your mission statement highlights all that you plan to do to get to said destination.
Step 6: Write your coaching philosophy
So, you’ve identified why you started coaching and used that to set and define your core values, your methods of coaching, and your objectives. You’ve got your ideal clientele narrowed down, and you have your statements of mission and vision.
You’ve essentially written down your coaching philosophy. Now, you just need to summarize it into one statement. Here’s an example:
My coaching philosophy is to create an environment that encourages overweight women to aggressively push through their limiting beliefs and accomplish superhuman things during and between sessions. Together, we face their fears and demons boldly and unapologetically through ruthless honesty and loving accountability.
As you can see, the example statement covers all the steps outlined above. Here’s a breakdown:
- Ideal Client: overweight women
- Personal Why: face their fears and demons boldly and unapologetically
- Values: ruthless honesty and loving accountability
- Mision: create an environment that encourages
- Vision: accomplish superhuman things during and between sessions
Using Your Coaching Philosophy
Now, how do you use your coaching philosophy when you are actually coaching your clients? Here’s one powerful tip:
Your coaching philosophy is your reference for developing a coaching plan, structuring sessions, choosing methodologies, and getting clients unstuck. Whenever you are lost, come back to your coaching philosophy as a reminder of what you stand for and what worked for you.
REMEMBER! Keep in mind that your coaching methods and vision are an extension of you, and who you are. Your ability to coach someone else comes from having experience in the field, and you are trying to impart or share that experience with your clients.
I hope this helped you understand why you need a coaching philosophy. This statement should include why you do what you do as well as the principles and values that guide how you go about doing it.
If you are just getting started, we suggest starting with one sentence (or even just a few words) outlining this philosophy so that every time someone contacts or interacts with you in any way they know exactly who they are dealing with and can make informed decisions on whether to hire you or not.
Have you started writing down your own coaching philosophy? Let us know by leaving a comment below!