How to Start a Coaching Business: 16 Shocking Mistakes New Coaches Make [PART ONE]

Are you thinking about starting a coaching business?

Are you the ‘goto coach’ for friends and family?  Already helping them with tough problems and big decisions?  Perhaps they’re even suggesting that you should become a coach?

Deciding to start your coaching business is an exciting time, but it can be a bit scary and uncertain…  With all the conflicting advice out there, blindly starting this business could be a ‘mistake waiting to happen’…

What are the biggest mistakes people make when they start a coaching business?

Most of the mistakes new coaches make when starting their coaching business stem from one primary mistake: Coaches think that the coaching business is based in good coaching.  NOT true.

Although coaching might be the service (or product) provided in your coaching business, it’s not at all about coaching.

Doubt me?

Many of the top coaching businesses in the world don’t even provide very good coaching.  If the coaching business was about coaching, these businesses wouldn’t survive or even exist.

In this article series (and videos above), we’re going to talk about the 16 deadly mistakes every coach must avoid.  In this first part of the series, we’ll cover the first 4 of these mistakes, which are most commonly made in the early stage of the coaching business startup process:

We’ll also discuss:

  • 1:35 The 3 Big Stages of Starting a Coaching Business
  • 2:35 The ‘Big Picture’ Early Stage Mistake in a New Coaching Business
  • 02:50 EARLY STAGE MISTAKE #1: “You Have to be Great Before You Can Be a Great Coach” (And How to Get Rid of Any Doubts That You Might Not be a Good Enough Coach)
  • 5:07 Comparing Yourself to Others
  • 9:40 Common Coach Insecurities
  • 10:30 3 Typical Sources of Coaching Problems
  • 12:08 Making a Great Coaching Income Versus Average Coaching Income
  • 13:17 EARLY STAGE MISTAKE #2: “If Your Client Fails, You’re a Crappy Coach”
  • 17:40 EARLY STAGE MISTAKE #3: “Coaching Is Not a Legitimate Profession”
  • 20:00 EARLY STAGE MISTAKE #4: “Having an Entitlement Mindset”

If you want to skip forward to any of these topics, you can click on the (above) time codes to skip to that part of the video.

Stages of Starting Your Coaching Business 

1:35 Over the 15 years I’ve been working with new coaches, I’ve found that people typically start their coaching business over the course of three stages:

  1. EARLY STAGE (this is when you’re imagining, researching, and considering becoming a coach)
  2. MID STAGE (this is when you’re learning coaching, getting certifications, and going through coach schooling)
  3. LATE STAGE (this is when you’re starting to actually practice coaching, and working to launch your coaching business)

Each of these three stages have their own common, but deadly mistakes… 

…the kind of mistakes that can kill your chances of starting your coaching business.  

2:05 Although typically people don’t even start their coaching business until late stage (after they’ve been certified)… this is not what I recommend.  

You should start your coaching business (or, at least start practicing coaching regularly) by the time you’re in MID STAGE (when you’re learning coaching and getting certifications).

For instance, if you’re learning coaching as a student of Master Coach University, you’ll be coaching during any and all of our certification programs.  We believe that the best way to get started as a life coach is to learn coaching by doing it, not just reading about it in a textbook. 

The best way to start is to learn by doing.

EARLY STAGE MISTAKES: Imagining, Researching, & Considering Becoming a Coach

First, let’s talk about the earliest stage that every new coach goes through as they start their coaching career.  

2:35 In this early stage of starting your coaching business, when you’re… 

  • Researching about becoming a coach
  • Imagining what it would be life to be a coach
  • Considering whether or not you should become a coach

…there’s one ‘big picture’ problem you’ll likely encounter…

I call this problem “getting ready to get ready”.

In layman’s terms, the problem is not taking enough action.

You’ll notice that, for the most part, these four problems are deeply associated with (or contribute to) this bigger picture problem… ‘lack of action’.

EARLY STAGE MISTAKE #1: You Have to be Great Before You Can Be a Great Coach

2:50 A lot of times, the first conversation I have with someone interested in becoming a coach is helping them answer this question: 

Would I be a good life coach?

A lot of times a candidate to become a new coach will say this me:

“I have to be better in order to be a coach.”


“My flaws disqualify me from being a coach.”

My flaws disqualify me from being a coach.”

The mistake here?

If you’re obsessing over these kinds of questions, you’re making your potential as a coach about you.

Stop making it about you!

Here’s a few more versions of the same mistake:

  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m not rich enough
  • I’m not smart or skilled enough
  • I’m not experienced enough

3:15  I’m Not Rich Enough

Let’s talk about “I’m not rich enough.”

Compared to whom?  

How rich is rich “enough”?  

Are you worried about people judging your economic standing?

Why would your clients even need to know?

The truth is, few if any clients will ever ask how much you make, it’s considered rude.

3:25  I’m Not Experienced Enough

Let’s talk about “I’m not experienced (or accomplished) enough”.

This mistake also includes 

“I’m not knowledgeable enough.”


“I don’t have enough expertise.”

I like to call this category of mistakes the “results first” lie.

This idea of needing to have substantial accomplishments under your belt before you start coaching others is just not true.

You don’t need to accomplish ANYTHING to coach ANYONE.  

You don't need to accomplish anything to coach anyone.


Because if you know how to coach, then the coaching itself will add plenty of value to any client. 

Most people won’t know (or even be that interested in) how successful you are, so don’t worry about it.

3:50  Coaching is not about being a perfect role model of success or offering yourself up as an example… It’s about the coaching process.

I like to call the coaching process “the process that leads to progress”.

A coach is not a guru, and never needs to be.  

The real value of coaching is the PROCESS of coaching.

Not even YOU (as the coach) are really that valuable to your client (other than the fact that you need to do a good job facilitating the coaching process).

Some of the gurus new coaches follow can be misleading to a coach, because these gurus sometimes love to call themselves a coach… 

How to Start a Coaching Business: 16 Shocking Mistakes New Coaches Make
Some of the gurus new coaches follow can be misleading to a coach…

So new coaches think that’s what a coach is… 

  • a prophet 
  • A messiah 
  • A guru

Here’s another lie for you…

4:15  The Expertise Lie

I like to call this one the “expertise” lie.

The expertise lie states that the best way to get started as a life coach is to be an expert and give advice.   

Coaching is giving advice, so if you’re not an expert in an area you can’t coach people because they won’t listen.”  

People assume… “Coaching is giving advice, so if you’re not an expert in an area you can’t coach people because they won’t listen.”  

Or people sometimes have this fear… “I don’t want to mislead anyone to think I’m an expert, because I’m not.” 

In reality, this is not an issue for most coaches.

4:35  Here’s the truth:

If you’re giving advice to your clients, you only have to be one step ahead of the client at all times.

Your client probably already knows the first step they need to take, anyway, so you really don’t need to dish out large amounts of advice.

Your client already has the answers inside of them.

Your client has the answer inside of them.

You’re taking them through the coaching process to discover those answers and help your client process and take action on those answers.

If your client really needs some strategic guidance, you can even refer them to a book or course and support them in following through on those solutions through your coaching.  You may not even need to discuss those advanced ideas in depth.

5:05  BOTTOM LINE?  

Coaching is not about giving advice.  

Coaching is a process.  

Our role is to help clients to TAKE ACTION, not necessarily to train them or ‘tell them all the answers’.

Your client may be very successful in an area but we all have blind spots.  The process of coaching helps your client discover these blind spots.

Even experts may find it quite difficult to help someone else to change without learning and using coaching skills.  For example, the best players in sports rarely become one of the best coaches.

5:30  What if your whole coaching model revolves around giving advice and helping your clients with high level expertise (beyond the coaching you’ll give them)?

In that case, you may need to pursue becoming a subject matter expert.

You’d be surprised about how little time this takes.  Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Learn about the subject 1 hour a day.
  2. take action on what you learn daily. 
  3. Stay at least 1 step ahead of your client. 

5:40  I’m Not Skilled Enough

Let’s talk about the terrible “I’m not skilled enough” complaint.

You’re not born knowing how to do anything and coaching is no different.

If this is a concern for you, then get a mentor.  Follow their teachings and develop your coaching skills.  If you want to become smarter or more skilled, you need commitment to drive your improvements.  

The truth is… you can always be ‘more skilled’.  

It’s unlikely you’ll ever reach your own skill limits unless you work your entire life to improve them.  

But even if you did reach your own limitations of skills and intellect, the sheer determination required to reach those limits would make you quite valuable to almost any client.

Comparing Yourself to Others

5:07  Most of these ‘I’m not _____ enough’ fears are very much based in comparing yourself to others.

This ‘comparison practice’ is quite debilitating, even when you do it for business insights (through keeping an eye on the competition).

Comparing Yourself to Your Competitors

The competition isn’t paying attention to you because they are too busy succeeding to concern themselves with what you’re doing, so don’t waste too much time paying too much attention to them.  

Let me give you a little illustration to demonstrate what I mean…

6:15  If you’re familiar with Micheal Phelps, he’s a gold medal winning swimmer.  

There’s a famous picture of him swimming at the olympics.

He’s reaching out for the finish line.

There’s a competing swimmer in the next lane.

How to Start a Coaching Business: 16 Shocking Mistakes New Coaches Make
Don’t pay too much attention to your competition! Copyright: lightpoet / 123RF

The competitor is turning his head to look at Michael Phelps as they are both reaching toward the finish line.

That’s what the competition is… Micheal Phelps.

Micheal Phelps is just focusing on the finish line.  

The coaches with this obsessive need to compare themselves to everyone else? In this case, they’re signified by that competing swimmer, paying too much attention to Phelps winning, and thus distracting themselves from their most important focus… winning the game themselves.

So don’t make it a constant practice to oogle the competition too regularly.

6:45  When you do notice the competition, look at them as if you’re one of their potential clients who is considering hiring them.

Are there any weaknesses that you can take advantage of?

Are there any strengths that your competitor has that you might want to adopt or position yourself against?

You can win business from a competitor either way because you bring something to the coaching relationship that they don’t.  

7:00  For instance, when I was first teaching sales to organizations, I would contact a new prospective client and ask them if they’d be interested in me going in and doing a training for them.  

However, sometimes they’d tell me “We just had an international trainer come and train us last week”.

We just had an international trainer come and train us last week”

Sounds like I’m about to be shut down, doesn’t it?


I’d share this with them, and still win the business…

I’d explain to them how working with me was a great advantage compared to working with a super successful international trainer.

What was the advantage of working with me?

First, that super-trainer could only come in one time per year.  These organizations needed more regular training intervals compared to that.  I was local, so I could come in any time they needed someone to run a training session for their people.

Second, when that super-trainer did have time to show up, all they’d do is sell seminar tickets.  

I love seminars, but seminars are generally limited in terms of how much value they can bring to a sales organization.  When I came in, I could give them that personal attention.

Third, that super-trainer was EXPENSIVE.  

Kristoffer Thompson speaking to an audience
Kristoffer Thompson speaking to an audience…

I was successful enough to get results with my clients, but my fees weren’t anywhere near as expensive as that super-trainer, so my potential client could still easily afford me.

See why I was still preferable to hire over that super successful trainer?  

Little old me – beating a big-time trainer for local coaching business!

Bottom line?  

Sometimes that’s the case with the competition.  

Maybe the client you’re talking to can’t afford your hot-shot competitor, but they can afford to work with you.

Maybe you can bring a different angle of value to your client in comparison to your competition.  

In those kinds of situations, you’re the best coach for that particular client.

8:00  You need to understand what your ‘unique selling proposition’ is and how you can be of more benefit to the marketplace than the competition Is.

Figure out your ‘USP’.

Accentuate it.

And, finally, use it…

…and you can win business.

You’ll always lose business to the competition and you’ll always win business from the competition, as long as you actively compete in that marketplace.

8:20  Comparing Yourself to Your Client

Another ‘bad idea’ comparison would be when you compare yourself with your client.

Some new coaches will say “I have to be better than my client in order to coach them.”

Not true.  

Michael Jordan’s coach wasn’t a better basketball player than him.  He DID help Jordan improve his game because he was a great coach.

Players can’t think of everything while they are playing the game.

For example, some new coaches may feel they don’t qualify to coach a business owner, especially if that coach hasn’t yet run a successful business themselves, but…

You qualify to coach business people because you had to understand and execute your own business process enough to start the coaching process with that client in the first place.

Even if your business isn’t yet ‘successful’, by the time you’re coaching a businessperson, you’re likely already somewhat ‘ahead’ of them, just by virtue of the fact that you’ve made progress and strides in your own business… 

You can help that client to do the same for themselves, whatever their version of that progress is.

It’s not your job to be better at your client’s business than they are.

Kristoffer Thompson

It’s not your job to be better at your client’s business than they are.

It’s your job to be good at your own business…

…so you can support your client in transforming…

…so your client can become better in their own business.

9:15  This is the same when it comes to intelligence.

You don’t need to be smarter than your clients.

Smart clients don’t need coaches who are smarter than them, but almost every smart client can still benefit from great coaching. 

Smarter people can tend to overcomplicate things and they may need help from you to focus on what really matters to get the result they want…  Simplifying, perhaps.

A really smart client might overthink things, getting caught up in ‘analysis paralysis’, and then they sorely need your accountability coaching, for example.

9:30  Never compare yourself to others!  You’ll always either think too highly of yourself or too badly of yourself.


9:40  Here’s a great example of how insecurities can get the best of us…

“My biggest mistake, [I] stopped doing youtube videos five years ago. With the wrongful belief that I was not good enough. Now, I see some old colleague who never stopped. Now they have high paying clients, courses, books, and business conferences. 🙂 I’m happy for them!” – Ofelia

How to Start a Coaching Business: 16 Shocking Mistakes New Coaches Make

Set aside your issues and insecurities and discuss them with your own coach.  Remember that insecurities can hurt not only you and your coaching business, but rob your client of value as well.

Never make your potential client have to look around your insecurities to see the benefits that coaching can bring to them.

Nobody is perfect.

You’ll never be perfect.

Let it go.  

It’s not about you. 

How to Start a Coaching Business: 16 Shocking Mistakes New Coaches Make

In fact, what you may think is ‘wrong with you’ may be exactly what’s ‘right with you’.  

10:15  I’m Afraid That I’m a Bad Coach

Somes a new coach will get discouraged in early coaching experiences… 

The clients they try to help don’t act right or are unhappy with the coaching process.  They start to think they’re a bad coach.

So, then that coach starts to AVOID coaching.  


See why this ‘I’m a bad coach’ mindset is dangerous?

And, to be fair, coaching as a service does come with it’s own batch of problems, especially when the coach is brand new to coaching.

3 Sources of Coaching Problems: 

Here are 3 simple ways you might categorize the ‘source’ of the problems that emerge within a coaching relationship…

PROBLEM SOURCE #1: It’s the CLIENT’s Fault… The Coach Was PERFECT:

Let’s talk about who’s responsible for the results in the coaching process…

10:30  Every client has a responsibility to cause their own success.  

That said, not every client is willing to change in order to succeed.

Why might one client get great results while another client (even when working with the same coach) does not get the same results?  

Simple… Because the client didn’t follow through. 

In this case, the coach was perfect… they provided amazing and valuable coaching.

You don’t want to blame yourself as the coach if you didn’t do anything wrong!

10:50  Sometimes coaching is like being a chef.  

How to Start a Coaching Business: 16 Shocking Mistakes New Coaches Make
……………….Sometimes coaching is like being a chef.

The chef cooks a gourmet meal, and serves it to the customer, and yet the customer refuses to eat it.

Why might a client blame the coach for the client’s own lack of performance?

Because it’s easier to escape than it is to change.

Sometimes a person who is unhappy with the results coming from their coaching sessions will point their finger at the coach, rather than admit their own shortcomings to themselves.

Don’t automatically assume that if a client isn’t getting results (or is unhappy), that YOU did something wrong.  It ain’t necessarily so.

The truth is, the best coaching may cause a client to feel uncomfortable at times.  A client’s discomfort may actually be a sign of good coaching!

PROBLEM SOURCE #2: It’s the COACH’s Fault… The Client Was PERFECT:

11:28  What if you didn’t do a good job in your coaching responsibility?  Let’s say that you really KNOW that you screwed up with your client.

It’s going to happen… more than once. 

You can’t avoid mistakes if you’re going to coach people.  Just make sure you learn from your mistakes.  

My mentor, Dr. Donald Moine once told me “You’re either earning or you’re learning.”

You’re either earning or you’re learning.”

Dr. Donald Moine

This meant that you’re either succeeding, or you’re learning how to succeed.  

That’s all failures and mistakes are… lessons on how you’ll need to change in order to succeed.

So, when you make a big mistake with your coaching, don’t quit coaching!  Instead, learn from your mistakes.

You need to IMPROVE your coaching, not avoid coaching people.  

You need to IMPROVE your coaching, not avoid coaching people.”

Kristoffer Thompson

PROBLEM SOURCE #3: BOTH The Coach And The Client Have Some Responsibility For The Problem:

11:42  In every coaching relationship both the coach and the client have some responsibility for the success of the coaching relationship.

Never take your client’s responsibility and make it your responsibility.  It’s not your job to clean up your client’s side of the street.

Concentrate on improving YOUR side of the coaching equation.  

There’s always something you can improve… 

So, take any problems and failures in your coaching as an impetus to get better, rather than quit.  

Quitting helps NOBODY.  

Even if you help someone 5%, that’s 5% more than the client received before you showed up.  

Bottom line… you don’t have to be great at everything to be a great coach for your clients.

12:08 The Other Side of The ‘Not Good Enough’ Debate… Making a Great Coaching Income Versus Average Coaching Income

While you don’t have to expect perfection from yourself as a coach, there’s another sticky side to this ‘total acceptance’ mentality, and it’s one of the issues that can stop someone from starting their coaching business.

What is this issue?

A coach’s mindset around having a great COACHING INCOME.  

New coaches ask me all the time, “What is the average income of a life coach?”

Why do they ask that?

Other than for curiosity’s sake, it’s a way of them saying, “I’m average, so I want to know what I’m gonna make!” 

or “I’m going to make what the average coach makes.”

I’m going to make what the average coach makes.”

That could be a real problem for them.  


What if they want to make a lot more than the average coach?

If you decide to be ‘average’ and yet want to make above average income…

…That’s like saying “I want to be a mediocre person and yet make above average income.”

If that’s your mindset about this, perhaps it’s time for a reality check!

(NOTE: If you want to learn how to start your own coaching business, then check out this webinar, called “How to Start Your Coaching Business in 30 Days  During the webinar, I’ll cover how to get your first paid clients fast and make it feel natural for you. Click HERE now to attend the webinar.)

For the ambitious coach, in the case of generating larger incomes…

YES, You’ll need to be GREAT…

…Because you actually want to make a great income.  

12:40  That doesn’t mean that you can’t coach people if you’re not great, just don’t expect to get rich.

Coaches with mediocre standards and expectations don’t get rich in the coaching business.

The coaching business doesn’t work that way!  

For those who are ok with making a few bucks running a side business, there’s no need to be anything more than average.  

However, if you’re asking this ‘income’ question beyond a 5 minute Google-search, then either…

…You really want to achieve greatness, but got scared or stopped at some point during that journey to greatness.


…You’re looking for guarantees and certainties of exactly how much money you’re going to make as a coach (regardless of the amount – This might keep you stuck as well.).

If you’re only intending to hit the average income, then you’ll stay stuck in mediocrity (at least income-wise).  

Either raise your standards, or resolve to be at peace with lower coaching income.

Bottom line?  Be careful thinking that you’re entitled to some grand income if you’re only committed to mediocrity…

EARLY STAGE MISTAKE #2: If Your Client Fails, You’re a Crappy Coach

13:17  This is a typical personal growth mantra:

“Whatever happens… take responsibility.”

Some newer coaches try to expand that idea a bit too far.

They think, “Whatever goes on with my client… I’m responsible.”

Or worse…

“Whatever goes on with my client… It’s my fault.”


Your client is your teammate.  

Your coaching client is your teammate.

On any team, every member has a role they must play for the team to be successful. 

The client is 100% responsible for what they say, think or do that leads to their results in their life.  

Whatever goes on with my client… It’s my fault.”

The Coach is responsible for taking on the role of coach in their client’s life.

But the coach is NOT supposed to take on the role of their client’s parent.  

When your client gets big victories or losses, those victories / losses are your clients, not yours.  The coach doesn’t get the trophy in the olympics, and they don’t lose the big endorsement deal if the athlete loses.

13:50  You can’t do your clients pushups for them.  Each client is responsible for their own results.  You can’t save people, they have to save themselves.

You can’t do your clients pushups for them.  Each client is responsible for their own results.  You can’t save people, they have to save themselves.”

Kristoffer Thompson

You’ll never help anyone succeed if you take on responsibilities that are not yours.  

If you carry the responsibilities of others on your shoulders, you’ll burn out.  You’ll also frustrate yourself by trying to control your client, and your client will likely sense that and rebel against it. 

How to Start a Coaching Business: 16 Shocking Mistakes New Coaches Make
Don’t frustrate yourself by trying to control your client. Your client will likely sense this and rebel against you.

Lastly, you’d be wasting energy and emotions because you literally have no choice in the matter.  Your client will make their own decisions and choose their own actions and there is nothing you can do about it… except help them to see the options available to them.

Need more proof that your clients are 100% responsible for their own results?  

If your client makes a big sale… 

…you’re not getting ANY of that money.  

If your client gets physically fit… 

…it isn’t going to make you look any better in an outfit.

14:35  Every Coach Has Clients That Fail

You can do a great job of coaching a client and they may still fail.

You can do a poor job of coaching a client and they may still succeed.

You can coach 2 clients to accomplish the same goal in the same way that worked for millions of people, and 1 or both of them may still fail to accomplish the goal.  

Be careful of passing premature judgement in deciding if your client succeeded or failed.

You don’t know your client failed until they’ve stopped trying.

You don’t know your client failed until they’ve stopped trying.”

Kristoffer Thompson

It’s not over until it’s over.  

There’s always a next step in the coaching process no matter what kind of results your client is currently getting.

If your client quits, the coaching should help them recommit.

If your client fails, the coaching should help them improve.

In fact, if your client fails… they just need your coaching that much more.

You will never coach perfectly.  You’ll never do a perfect session.

15:13  Fear of Harming Your Coaching Client 

Some coaches will worry about ‘hurting’ a client.  They’ll say something to the tune of “I need to learn more or I’ll end up hurting my client, or maybe my client will get mad at me.”

I need to learn more or I’ll end up hurting my client.”

I’m going to tell you something important here…

It’s almost impossible to harm a client.

You just can’t screw up a coaching client that’s already screwed up (Assuming your client is mentally sound).

Even a client whose life is a mess?


If the client is a mess, they may still be a mess after they work with you, but you’re not the one that caused the mess.  

You’ll always be learning more.  You’ve probably been helping people your whole life.  

There are people you can help right now.  

Go help them.

Never let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do.

Never let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do.”

Kristoffer Thompson

15:30  Let’s talk about clients getting mad at you.  

If your client gets mad at you, it could be an indication that the coaching is getting to the real issue they have.

You might think that a client’s upset is a sign that they don’t want you to really coach them, but no client really wants a coach that holds back from sharing what they might see, especially because the coach is afraid of hurting the client’s feelings.

Coaching Clients Will Get Mad at You

Bottom line, clients WILL get mad at you at some point.  

It will be a result of something that they are triggered about. It won’t be because of something you did wrong.

It is possible that there are some clients that get mad because they’re not a fit for your coaching, but that’s not your issue.  You can never say the right thing to the wrong person.  Those clients are probably just not your niche. 

And, don’t worry about being ignorant about something your clients ask you for.

If you don’t have the expertise to give a client an answer on “how to” do something, just coach them towards discovering the answer they already know… or help them research an answer and take action on it.

You’ll hurt clients more by holding back on your coaching because of fear of hurting their feelings than you ever will by sharing with them what you see, or asking them a good question.

16:05  I remember when I was coaching the Dean of Master Coach University, Jeffrey Sooey.  We would do practice coaching together so I could get stronger in my coaching skills through the practice and feedback from him.  

After the coaching session we were talking about why I was coaching in a specific way, and he said, “Kris, that was the best coaching you gave me throughout the entire coaching session.  Why are you holding back?  Why are you editing yourself?”

Why hold back?  Why are you editing yourself?

That moment changed my coaching philosophy (and my actual coaching) forever.

See, I wasn’t trained to be straight and powerful in my coaching.

I was trained to always agree and be ‘positive’.

I was trained to never challenge a client or have any sort of disagreement with them.

You know what I discovered?

Once I stopped editing myself…

Once I was straight with my clients…

Once I challenged my clients…

…my clients got significantly better results.  

Not because I was confrontational with them, or running around like a bull in a china-shop.

16:50  The point?  You never want to water down your coaching.  

You never want to water down your coaching.”

Kristoffer Thompson

Share what you see, and leave it up to the client as to what to do about it.

There is no trophy for the coach or client who makes the fewest mistakes on the way to their goal.  Coaches are modern explorers, we live on the edge of clients’ comfort zones.

Anyone who has had a sports coach understands you don’t have to like your coach – it’s irrelevant to the coaching relationship.

17:10  Coach VS. Friend

How to Start a Coaching Business: 16 Shocking Mistakes New Coaches Make
A friend will hold back from sharing critical feedback. That’s why we don’t hire friends.

There’s a big distinction between being a coach and being a friend for your clients.  

A coach is there to “care-front” you to the next level.

What do I mean?

The coach shares anything that’s holding you back from your goals… any insights the coach has… regardless of whether it hurts your feelings or not.


Because the coach really cares about your long term results.

Sometimes, a friend will hold back from sharing something that might hurt your feelings because they don’t want you to be mad at them.

That’s why we hire coaches.  We don’t hire friends.

EARLY STAGE MISTAKE #3: Coaching Is Not a Legitimate Profession

17:40  Treating coaching as if it’s not a legitimate profession is a big mistake.  Some people will talk about coaching as if it’s not a real job.

Sometimes I hear things like:

Is life coaching a con?

“Are coaches or the coaching business in general just one big scam?”

“Is life coaching a viable business?”

“Am I going to get sued for coaching people wrong?”

Am I going to get sued for coaching people wrong?”

Is life coaching a legitimate career?

18:00 Underneath these surface questions and concerns is one big fear:

“I will be judged or look bad to others if I become a coach.”

If becoming a coach would make you look bad to other people, then they probably already look at you badly.   There will always be people that will judge you positively or negatively.  

The real issue is this… How do you feel about yourself in your own judgement?

18:18  You get paid money for coaching thus coaching is a real job.  

If you can do it once you can do it 1,000 times. 

The truth about life coaching is that a coaching business will render consistent income if you treat it like you do your ‘day job’, showing up on time each day, and doing the work.

The very nature of the coaching business creates consistent income because clients pay monthly.  

It’s a monthly income strategy. 

As the coach, you benefit from the stable income, while your client can still get tons of great coaching without going broke in the process from paying up front.

Try that in most other solo-preneurship opportunities or sales/relationship jobs!

Are coaches or the coaching business in general just one big scam?”

In these other professions, you usually need to make sale after sale after sale in order to continue your ongoing income.  In coaching you don’t need to do that (unless you want to) because your new client pays you each and every month.

19:09  Too Many Coaches Who Just Coach Other Coaches?

A commonly said life coaching criticism is that coaching is not a legitimate business because so many coaches happen to do nothing other than coach other coaches.

I can’t speak for those coaches, but let me say…

My fellow team members and I didn’t start out coaching coaches.  

We still coach plenty of non-coaches. 

Then why do so many coaches coach other coaches?

Here’s my take:

Because, once a coach has successfully built their own coaching skills and coaching business, some of their successful clients decide they want to do the same thing for a living.  These clients are ready to pay it forward, and their original coach ends up helping them in their new coaching goals as well. 

This is a sign of the power and value of coaching itself, rather than a sign that coaching is somehow a pyramid scheme or confidence scam.  

19:45  Bottom line?  Coaches aren’t roaming the earth trying to convince people to become a coach.  That’s just not the case.

Here’s a little contrast to shine a different light on the issue…

Do you know why there aren’t any ditch diggers mentoring other people to become ditch diggers?

How to Start a Coaching Business: 16 Shocking Mistakes New Coaches Make
There aren’t any ditch diggers mentoring other people to become ditch diggers.

Because… no one wants to dig ditches for a living.

Coaching is just a popular profession.

I cover more on the statistics and details on the coaching profession (and it’s legitimacy) later in this video series.

EARLY STAGE MISTAKE #4: Having an Entitlement Mindset

20:00  That brings us to the last big mistake new coaches make in the ‘early stage’ of starting their coaching business… having an entitlement mindset.

Here’s a few signs that you might have an entitlement mindset (HINT: Lots of new coaches think these thoughts.):

  • “I shouldn’t have to pay the price to start my coaching business.”
  • “The coaching business should be easy/fast/cheap, or I’m out.”
  • “The coaching business should feel good all the time.”
  • “The coaching business sounds like hard work.”
  • “I have no clue where to start or how this works, therefore I’ll table it for now.”
  • “I don’t want to have to struggle to make much money.”
  • “It’s going to cost an arm and a leg to become a life coach.”
  • “It’ll take years to become a life coach.”

These kinds of mindsets drive people to spend all their time and money to get certified, and then nothing happens after that.

All these supposed problems and complaints are just a function of an entitlement mindset.  

So how do you handle this?  

Simple, get to the truth. 

How to Start a Coaching Business: 16 Shocking Mistakes New Coaches Make

Let’s simply tell the truth about each of these ‘issues’ to resolve them, once and for all:

20:46  Takes too much time?  

The time will pass anyway.  

If you delay because of this, then it will cost you the time it will already take PLUS the time you delay. 

Too lazy to get your business started?

If you are lazy, but you’re really passionate about coaching, then your current laziness probably won’t hold you back (even if it has held you back in other areas).

Ever hear the old saying “Those that don’t do, teach”?  Now some people say “Those that don’t do, COACH”

Perhaps this is true!  And, if it is, you might be a perfect fit for the coaching business.

Think about it…

Maybe you don’t care to help yourself and take action on your own interests.

Rather, you like helping others accomplish things for themselves.

21:17  In that case, you might not be lazy at all…

…maybe you’re just a nice person!

you might not be lazy at all…  Maybe you’re just a nice person!

Kristoffer Thompson

Maybe you’ve always done things for yourself and that is why you’ve been apathetic about it.  If, instead, you did things for others (like coach them) it would inspire you and you’d find it easy to get to work (as such a nice and helpful person).

That said, laziness can definitely kill a business, and the coaching business is no different.  If you’re going to be lazy in your coaching business, don’t waste your time starting it, because it’ll fail.

But remember, lazy is as lazy does.  

If you simply take enough action, you cease to be lazy.  That means you can change your lazy ways any time you want.  

21:47  The coaching business sounds like hard work?  

As a coach, you’re doing something important, and the really important things are rarely easy.

There is no ‘hard’.  

There is only what is required to get a result. 

And how hard is it really?  Hard compared to what?

I bet you’ve done all sorts of ‘hard things’ in your life that make starting a coaching business look easy.  Don’t sell yourself short!

Think the coaching business should feel good all the time?

If you always feel good, you’re not growing.

22:02  The coaching business will cost too much?  

If you’re overly focused on the cost to start a life coaching business… you’re missing out on the value of what you could probably figure out how to pay for.

If you're serios about getting the value, there's always a way to pay the price.

The truth is, if you’re serious about getting the value, there’s always a way to pay the price.  So, if you’re using this ‘cost thing’ as your reason to stop the progress, just be honest that you’re not committed to making it happen.  

It’s never about the cost.  

Whatever you decide you’re gonna pay either way.

You’ll either pay the cost of having a coaching business, or you’ll pay the cost of not having a coaching business.

22:25  Costs of Starting a Coaching Business

There are actually a few aspects to the cost of a coaching business that are quite helpful.

The coaching business has a high acquisition cost, true.  The cost of:

  • Getting certified and trained
  • Building your business
  • Building your website
  • Marketing
  • Mentoring for you

But that’s the worst of it.  The coaching business ultimately has a low maintenance cost.  Once you’re established, it takes much less investment to keep the business running.

How to Start a Coaching Business: 16 Shocking Mistakes New Coaches Make
The coaching business has a high acquisition cost, but a low maintenance cost.

That’s it… all the typical mistakes new coaches make in the early stage of starting their coaching business.

I hope that you took some great value out of this discussion about these ‘early stage’ mistakes!

So What did I miss?  

Any other mistakes new coaches make?  If you disagree with any of these mistakes, let me know your point of view… 

I’d love to hear your feedback, so make sure that you leave a comment with your thoughts or questions.

By the way, if you want my help with starting your own money making coaching business, Master Coach University is holding a webinar in a few days called “How to Start Your Coaching Business in 30 Days” that you can attend for FREE.  Just go to the link I give you HERE to attend:

How to Start Your Coaching Business in 30 Days

In the webinar, you’ll learn how to get your first paid clients fast and make it feel natural for you.

Click here to subscribe

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