There are a lot of coaches like you who are trying to escape the first stage of coaching and get to the next level of professional coaching.
What is Stage 1? A stage I often call the not enough stage, because there’s not enough clients and not enough money.
This stage is where most coaches live and why the majority of coaches don’t make enough. If you aren’t familiar, you can read up on all 4 Stages of a Professional Coaching Business here.
TODAY, I WANT TO TELL YOU HOW YOU CAN MAP YOUR OWN ESCAPE OF STAGE 1.
Let’s start here:
ESCAPING THE FIRST STAGE OF COACHING AND BECOMING A PROFESSIONAL COACH IS ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE.
Not only have I done this in my own business, but I’ve watched and helped dozens of coaches do this inside the Coaching Dojo.
It’s not always easy – in fact, it can often be very challenging – but it’s absolutely possible.
Here’s how the change most often happens in my experience:
THE PHASES OF ESCAPING THE FIRST STAGE OF COACHING
- 1. 0. STRUGGLE AND DENIAL –
Struggle and Denial – This phase lasts for years for many coaches.
You got into coaching because you loved this work. Some of you were the person your friends came to for advice; you loved having the big conversations, the ones that really matter.
And so you started a business, maybe you left your job, or did it on the side. But in either case, you started excited and lived on that excitement.
You took a course, hired a coach with a great sales page, got a certification.
But it didn’t work. You didn’t do the work, you checked email instead. Or you did the work but it didn’t click right away, and so you took another course instead.
You knew it wasn’t working, but you just moved from one course to the next, one teacher to the next. Hoping that the next thing would be the answer.
Let’s call this PHASE 0.
- YOU REALIZE IT ISN’T WORKING
You Realize It Isn’t Working – One day something clicks inside of your, or breaks inside of you.
This is when you realize that it isn’t working.
It dawns on you that all of the “standard” advice has gotten you to where most other coaches are, in a cycle of constant struggle.
For some people, this means hitting rock bottom: maxing out your credit cards, having to move back in with you parents, or relying solely on your partner’s income.
At other times it’s an inspiration that causes it to change. A determination to succeed where others have stumbled.
This is PHASE 1.
- YOU MAKE A COMMITMENT, (PROBABLY WITH SOME ENTHUSIASM)
You Make a Commitment (Probably with Some Enthusiasm) – Phase 2 is when you decide to change how you’re doing everything. Maybe you finally make a BIG investment into your coaching. Or hire a really incredible 1-1 coach, or set up a home office, or create some sort of structure for yourself.
You decide you’ll make it no matter what, you decide to really get good at professional coaching, and really learn how to enroll clients even if it’s hard.
For most people this ‘surge’ of commitment lasts a few days for others it’s a few weeks, but it rarely last a month.
This is PHASE 2.
- YOU DISCOVER IT’S HARDER THAN YOU THOUGHT
You Discover It’s Harder or Different Than You Thought and You Struggle A Little – You start to realize why all those step by step methods were so appealing.
The process isn’t as simple or clear as others make it out to be. This can cause most coaches to stumble or even quit this new path.
If you stick with it you can move beyond this phase but that’s easier said than done.
The challenge is that this didn’t match your expectations. All of those sales pages made it seem like becoming a coach was easy, anyone could do it.
And so when you encountered setbacks, confusion, and uncertainty it brought up fear and doubts in you. Maybe you did some free coaching, but it wasn’t mind-blowing.
Perhaps you proposed some coaching and people told you they’d think about it and then never got back to you.
You bought the course that promised the stars and you got a bunch of confusing videos and worksheets instead.
It can be discouraging. Sometimes coaches simply don’t do the work or keep chasing the next sexy fix. It’s a sign they aren’t really ready to blaze their own trail which is vital for making out of stage one and becoming a professional coach.
This is PHASE 3.
- YOU STICK WITH YOUR COMMITMENT AND BEGIN TO SEE PROGRESS
You Stick With Your Commitment and Begin to See Progress – If you move beyond this initial struggle and stay focused on your commitment to do the work, to keep getting better as a coach, to learn from every conversation and enrollment call you have, you’ll soon start to see some progress.
This will feel inspiring and hopeful. You’ll start to have coaching sessions you feel proud of.
You’ll sign a client or two. If you get to this stage CELEBRATE!
Very few people make it this far.
You’re probably in the top 10% of coaches who experience real traction in their businesses.
Let’s call this PHASE 4.
- YOU HIT RESISTANCE AND RETURN TO PRACTICE (OR NOT)
You Hit Resistance and Return To Practice (or not) – At some point, you’ll face some sort of set back.
It’s inevitable. You’ll get 3 or 4 no’s in a row. A client you love will want to quit. You try to raise your prices and do an awful enrollment call.
While this phase is not necessarily the end of your escape velocity, it is for many coaches.
They hit this second wall of resistance and they give up, or distract themselves, or grope about for an easy answer and all of these lead back to PHASE 0 and back to the endless cycle of struggle so many coaches know so well. But it doesn’t have to be the end.
You might get discouraged even hopeless. You might not even want to think about coaching anymore or your commitment, because thinking about it makes you feel like a failure.
But you remember why you did this, you lean on your support and the rhythm of your practice and you decide to face this failure head-on. You focus on the basics and you start again.
This is PHASE 5.
- YOU FIND YOUR PRACTICE GROOVE
You Find Your Practice Groove – This phase feels a lot like PHASE 4, because again you start to make progress on a consistent basis.
At this point, you get into a groove of connecting with clients, serving them powerfully, and signing them as clients. In this phase you encounter challenges but you learn to use them to keep growing. Or maybe not.
You might actually just be in a repeat PHASE 4 here and if that’s the case you might have to lean HARD on your practice and your commitment as you go through a few more cycles of Stage 4 and 5.
But when you do finally reach PHASE 6 it can start to feel like you’ll never have to worry about going totally broke or failing as a coach, because you develop this confidence that you can coach your ass off and sign clients.
This is PHASE 6.
- YOU STUMBLE IN STAGE 2 UNTIL YOU RECOMMIT
You Stumble in Stage 2 Until You Recommit – At this final phase of the Stage 1 escape plan, you’re entering Stage 2 of coaching growth which is all about “too much” (too much to do, too many clients, and too many opportunities).
And while this may sound great, at some point you might get so scattered and distracted you forget about the fundamentals and the simplicity of practice, or you might get overextended and get caught up in a get rich quick scheme just to find yourself low and cash and clients again.
After all, that desire for easy answers didn’t go anywhere, so it’s easy to get caught chasing them again.
I see this most often with coaches who’ve been at this for years and find themselves struggling to make ends meet, even after creating some success.
Some of these coaches go back to years of PHASE 0 thinking maybe the first escape was a fluke. But some others remember what got them there in the first place and they recommit, to being a professional coach, to serving people powerfully, and to enrolling people in what’s possible.
This is PHASE 7.
THE GOOD NEWS:
It gets easier the 2nd and 3rd time around because the fundamentals become more and more obvious!
So, as you can see, it’s not a straight and narrow path. That’s why I so often rail against all these people that offer a paved roadway out of stage 1 because they often hide the truth of what it takes.
There are ups and downs. Moments of great hopes and dark nights of the soul.
There are days where it all works and days where nothing seems to work
There are paths to escape and move beyond STAGE 1, but not at the pace we’d like and not as smooth as we’d like it to be.
This is the process of growth and change… The same one we learn to lead our clients through.
Next: Read up on the 6 Keys you need to ESCAPE the first level of building a coaching business. | Join us at Open Mat Sparring each month.
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