The Truth about Consistent Income in Your Coaching Business - International Coaching Federation
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The Truth about Consistent Income in Your Coaching Business

Posted by Krista Martin, MBA, CPCC, PCC | August 12, 2019 | Comments (5)

If creating consistent income is a dream for most coaches, why do so few actually achieve it?

One reason is that it’s easy to get lost putting the pieces together—and in the right order—to make it happen. Keeping all the plates spinning, working with clients, and marketing can make even the most devoted coach wonder if it’s really possible to reach this goal.

Guess what? It doesn’t have to be this hard.

In fact, creating consistent income is actually easier than you might think.

It does require a willingness on your part, as the coach, to stretch outside the standard coaching business model of offering your services by the hour or month.

(Most coaches don’t do this, and that’s why so many coaches are frustrated with their results.)

So, the big question is this: If your current business reality doesn’t align with your goals, are you willing to try something new?

If so, let’s dig in.

The Hard Truth

The old model of trading time for dollars doesn’t work.

It’s an outdated mindset that traps coaches with a lower level of income and impact than what they desire. Perhaps it’s an easy way to get started, but that’s where the benefit ends.

When new clients start out and are investing in coaching either hourly or month to month, they are constantly re-deciding if they want to continue. Whether they realize it or not, in the back of their minds, they know there’s an easy out. They aren’t ALL IN.

And that’s not good.

One of my past clients, Valerie, hired me because she was ready to reach a higher income level (her goal was $100,000) while maintaining her part-time work schedule. So, we dug in and looked at her business model and the types of coaching packages she was offering.

The opportunity that we saw very quickly was she wasn’t.

She wasn’t packaging her coaching services and was simply offering the option to work with her one month at a time and to decide, each month, whether or not to continue.

Frustration is a Clue

In the same breath, she voiced extreme frustration. She shared that her clients would often reach a “three-month dip”, right when they were deep in the discomfort of change, and they’d stop showing up. They wouldn’t respond to her emails, calls or texts.

The good news was that they’d often resurface, several months or a year later. The bad news was that the clients had lost all of their momentum and progress.

One of the changes that allowed Valerie to grow her business (and reach her goals), while shrinking her frustration, was to package her services. All new clients understood that they’d work together for a minimum of four months, which allowed her to support them through the pivotal three-month mark.

Did she lose a few clients that only wanted “one-off” coaching services? You bet.

She gained clarity about her ideal clients through this process and realized she was OK losing clients that weren’t ALL IN and willing to invest the time and energy to create real change.

The Courage to Take a Stand

When you create a program, you create value.

You create a container to support the person to achieve what they want most.

For Valerie, a new confidence beamed from her as she stepped away from the old mindset of trading dollars for hours and stepped fully into owning her value and the benefit to her clients of her new offerings.

As humans, we’re wired to take the path of least resistance. So, when following the old model, it wasn’t a surprise that her clients disappeared when things started to shift and felt uncomfortable.

Consistent Clients, Referrals and Income

Not only did her clients stay longer (because they stuck with the process long enough to move through the discomfort of change and reap the benefits), but they were also happy to refer friends and family.

Her business grew and for the first time, she had a wait list. She was smiling more and working with clients that brought her joy.

It’s Your Turn

As you begin mapping out your coaching packages, there are a lot of things to consider.

To get started, take a deep look at your ideal client and what they most need and want to be different.

Then, choose the duration for your coaching program (four months, for example) and the access that your client will receive to you (email, 45-minute coaching calls every week, group calls, text, etc.) You can add on from there but this will get you started.

I’m curious…what’s possible for you, your clients, and your business when you take a stand for your clients and their dreams in this way?

krista martin headshot nov. 2019

Krista Martin, MBA, CPCC, PCC

Krista Martin, MBA, CPCC, PCC, is the president and founder of Make Your Mark and the Six Figure Impact Academy. As a sought after speaker and business coach, she teaches coaches how to attract more clients, make more money, and create a bigger impact. Learn more at

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

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Comments (5)

  1. says:

    Well written and helpful to read this real-life success story.
    I too started off with a minimum duration programme but no longer have one. In fact the ICF codes commits us to allow clients to leave anytime, if I understand it right. I believe Rich Litvin uses the phrase ” … we’ll keep working until you’re done” or words to that effect in client recruitment.
    Looking forward to your views.

    • Thank you for your comment and I’m glad that you found it helpful. (And, I apologize for the delay in responding…I thought that I responded previously but my response wasn’t captured – doh!)

      Yes, you’re absolutely correct that you can set it up different ways and from what I’ve experienced, it’s helpful for everyone when expectations and set clearly up front and discussed. That way the client doesn’t expect to be *fixed* in one session and the coach can also feel out the commitment level of the client.

      As long as there aren’t any surprises and everything is discussed up front in a clear way, everyone wins.

      Based on your experience, what type of programs do you most enjoy offering (set duration vs. short, vs. long, etc.)? And, what have you seen be the most service to your clients? Marrying those two questions is where the magic lies 🙂

  2. Sarah says:

    It is hard as a newbie to understand how to lock people in when we are bound by ICF to let them leave at any time.

    I’m struggling to talk about that with clarity to clients cos it’s a bit contradictory. You want commitment but you can’t ask for it…

    Great article thanks.

  3. Sarah,

    Thanks for your comment and yes, it can feel confusing. By creating the awareness and asking for the commitment up front (helping them to see that while change can happen quickly, it just usually doesn’t happen over night, or even in a month) and asking them to commit to a minimum of 3 or 6 (or whatever number you choose) is powerful. That way they are clear, up front, and if they bring it up to you, say, 2 months into your work together, you can re-discuss at that time. Of course, you can let them out of the agreement at that time and it’s a powerful win when you can bring them back to the initial conversation and remind them of the power of committing to working with you for a minimum of 3 or 6 months will allow them to see the most results and shifts. You can tie them back to their “why” for beginning the coaching program and share that the “dip” is normal and it’s important to work with their coach through the dip so that they can get to what they want most, which is on the other side.

    When you set clear expectations up front, everyone wins. It’s important, too, that you feel clear and aligned with what your messaging is around it so that the potential client is also clear and feels supported.

    From this, what resonates most with you?

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