The Craft of Coaching, Live Q&A: How to Grow Your Coaching Business

How many athletes should a coach take on? Many new coaches try to build their client list quickly, but it's easy to trade effectiveness in the rush for scale.

Throughout his Craft of Coaching series, Joe Friel has hosted several Q&A mentor sessions, answering questions on all aspects of coaching and coach education. In this first part of our six-part mini-series taken from a live Q&A, Friel answers a hugely popular question: How do you build a successful coaching business? After all, athletes want to see results, but how does a new coach amass the results that will attract successful athletes?

Coach Philip Hatzis of Tri Training Harder has put together a thorough strategy for coaches who are eager to build or retool their business. Download his Craft of Coaching playbook here.

Here are some other pressing questions you can explore in Module 4, The Business of Coaching:

Check out the latest module of the Craft of Coaching, The Psychology of Performance, Motivation, and Athlete Development.

Video Transcript

Joe Friel

I started out coaching 72 athletes over the course of a few years, again to build my clientele up. But what happened is I got to the point where I had so many athletes I was coaching that I kind of lost track what everybody was doing. It just wasn’t possible to do a good job for any one client when I had 72 of them to deal with. So you can’t rush this thing. Unfortunately, it just takes time to do it. So again, there’s no way to shortcut this. It’s just a matter of your being diligent and working with your clients to produce the results that they’re looking for, and then doing all you can to make sure people become aware of this.

Now this brings us to the area of marketing, which is a whole new area. If marketing is not your thing, which it wasn’t for me . . .  I discovered this very quickly that I knew nothing about marketing. I eventually had to bring somebody on who knew more about marketing, who could help me get the word out. Coaches typically aren’t . . . don’t have a business background. Typically we have a we have more of a science background than we do a business background. And so finding somebody to help you with that part of the task is really going to be beneficial to your coaching business.

It may cost you something. You may be able to work out a deal with somebody. I’ve talked with many coaches who have worked out a deal with somebody who has got experience, for example, in marking. And they provide free coaching for this person, this marketing expert, who can then help you get the word out about your coaching business.

So be creative, but the first thing you’ve got to do is make sure you’re producing athletes who produce good results. That’s the starting place. Then look for a way to market what you are accomplishing.