Four Steps to Add Coaching to Your Speaking Business

By Jane Atkinson

So, you want to be a coach? Let’s look at four steps you can follow to add coaching to your speaking business.

Many of my clients are adding coaching to their mix of offerings. Personally,  I think it’s a great idea. Coaching between speaking engagements is a great way to bring in additional income to your business.

Many of my clients are drawn into coaching because they’re very good at their expertise. Therefore, the coaching you offer should line up with what you speak and write about. This will further enhance your position as an expert in your particular area.

So, you want to take the plunge into coaching? Here are four steps to follow to ensure success:

  1. Get educated.
  2. Find your niche.
  3. Pick your fee.
  4. Map out your time.

Step One: Get Educated

 Add Coaching to Your Speaking Business - Jane Atkinson

Just like speaking, coaching is an industry all it’s own. You need to learn about the many nuances, such as what coaching works and what doesn’t. I recommend programs from Coactive Training Institute (CTI). They were fantastic to help me get focused on the client and not on myself.

As you learn more about the coaching industry, here are some things to consider:

Coaching vs. Consulting. The coaching training I received made me realize my work was a combination of both coaching and consulting. Coaches draw out answers that clients have inside of them. Consultants advise clients on what they should do.

My work is usually a combination of both. Sometimes my clients really need to take ownership of a decision. At other times, my coaching toolbox comes in handy to help a client through a crisis.

Do you need to get certified? If you know your stuff inside and out, you may not need certification. That said, the coaching industry would be far better off if the thousands who claimed the title of “coach” really knew what they were doing. Getting certified helps if you don’t have a lot to back you up and you want that extra credential.

Step Two: Find Your Niche

Four Steps to Add Coaching to Your Speaking Business - Find Your Niche

Once you’ve decided you’re going to add coaching to your speaking business, the next step is to choose your niche. Just as it is with speakers, coaches who try to help everybody get exhausted. Narrow your niche, and you can thrive.

Even weight loss coaches can narrow their focus. At Brooke Castillo’s coaching school, some coaches assist people in losing 100 lbs., while another helps with the last 10 lbs. Another weight loss coach helps only practicing physicians.

You may choose to only coach executives, or small teams, or dentists. Ideally, your speaking market will match your coaching market since your audience will be ripe with potential clients. That said, a coach can sometimes narrow a focus more than a speaker would (100 lb. weight loss vs. 10 lbs., for example).

One way to narrow in on your niche is to  ask yourself, “Who would pay for my coaching?” Will people look at your coaching to solve a problem? If you stick to coaching within your expertise, this decision becomes much easier. If you coach on something outside of your norm, you’ll have to learn more and set up an additional stream of marketing. That means extra work you may prefer to avoid.

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.  Okay, so people keep asking you “how do I get started as a speaker”?  Does that mean you hang up a shingle as a speaker coach? I realize that many people have done that.  But I want you to consider how much revenue you’ll earn from it vs. concentrating on booking another high fee engagement. It may be more of a distraction than a profit center and now you’re serving two different markets.

David Avrin, a friend and customer experience speaker, was inundated by colleagues who wanted to “pick his brain” about their successful outbound sales process. The problem was, meeting these requests took too much time from his main focus. So, he and his assistant Tiffany Lengyel decided to pull back the curtain and share their process in a once-a-year interactive retreat. Later, they created a video version of their process and mindset.

Step Three: Pick Your Fee

Four Steps to Add Coaching to Your Speaking Business - Pick Your Fee

How much do you want to charge for your coaching? Think about what an hour of your time is worth, then work out packages from there. Some choose to charge more on the front end for the “get to know you” time investment.

You may decide that you only want to sell one hour at a time with no commitment. Or, you might offer a package of three months with two calls per month. It’s all yours to design and play with.

After more than a decade, I’ve determined that my one-on-one programs work best with a year of coaching. One call per month helps people stay accountable to build their dream business. Calls are made through Zoom, and face-to-face is rare. I recommend that you try things for yourself and decide what works best for you and your client’s success.

Step Four: Map Out Your Time

Four Steps to Add Coaching to Your Speaking Business - Map Out Your Time

Decide how many days a week you want to coach and what your hours will be. Remember, you teach people how to treat you and what to expect from you. If you’re going to be the “all access” coach that allows people to text you on the weekends, go for it, but do it consciously. My clients know that I value a balance between work and family time. That means if they email me on a Friday, they may not get a response until Monday. Coaching is far less “urgent” than competing for speaking engagements, so be sure to set expectations properly when you start with new clients.

Once you’ve decided what your hours and availability will be, do yourself a favor and invest in an online calendar scheduling program. After several years of coaching and running my calendar manually, I went to an online calendar system. It has saved me hours every week going back-and-forth with clients on email about dates. We now use Acuity. It is a brilliant tool, but it may be a bit more robust than you need at the start. Do your research and find an automated tool that will work for you; you’ll be glad you did!

If you are looking for additional streams of income, adding coaching to your speaking business is a terrific way to fill in the blanks on your calendar and to smooth out your cash flow. If you are flat out booked with speaking gigs, it may not be for you. However, if you have the bandwidth and the opportunity keeps presenting itself, the increased revenue is worth a look.

Need help to set up your coaching practice? Consider our Focus 40 coaching session, a sample session for a fraction of the normal price.

See you soon, Wealthy Speakers!