First Steps for Aspiring Coaches

Image by Antony Trivet from Pixabay

A friend reached out to me as he wants to transition to coaching, so I wrote this article for him, and for you, who are also considering a transition towards coaching.

I recall my transition:

When I wanted to transition to coaching, I booked a call to see whether I could be a good fit to be coached by Rich Litvin. I got on a call with one of the coaches of his team, and I remember that strong coaching experience:

I felt terrified. As she asked me: “What do you want? What do you want to create?” I was clueless and scared. And, I felt that this kind of coaching was highly powerful. I thought and felt: “I am not ready for this yet. I first need to get a job.”

So I did, I got a job as a professional career coach at one of France’s top Business schools. I coached all week, and I started building my business on the side.

If I had only two advice to give you, they would be the following:

  1. Make sure you have financial safety First. (If you don’t have money right now, you don’t need a client, you need a job).
  2. Read The Prosperous Coach. Apply it. (You can find my book review here)

If you would like to dive deeper, I put together all these resources and advice for someone who would like to transition to coaching professionally.

I will not talk about coaching certifications here, but as the journey to transition to become a paid coach. Many people have coaching certifications, but have not yet crossed the bridge to actually make a good living out of this skill.

1)   Checking in with Yourself

First, you want to ask yourself:

What do you really want to do?


Do you want to do consulting, training, coaching, a bit of everything?

To help you discern better, you can read my article on Coaching vs. Consulting.

There is an ongoing debate about whether you should specialize or not. I don’t have an answer for you on this.

If you want to know what specific first steps to take, read my Letter to Aspiring Coaches.

Why Coaching? Maybe because it’s the most Generous Profession in the World.

What are your reasons for choosing coaching?

2)   Getting Situated in the World of Coaching

Different Types of Coaching:

To get started, it helps to have a sense of what kind of coaching you would like to perform.

This article distinguishes 31 different kinds of coaching! It can help to familiarize yourself with these.

You don’t have to pick one only, some can be compatible and make good synergies. I like to think about them as ingredients to a cocktail, and depending on the customer you want to serve, and their taste and needs, you can make a unique cocktail that suits them best.

Kinds of engagement as a coach:

Steve Chandler, a legendary professional coach distinguishes these distinct practitioners (the Prosperous Coach, p. 20):

  1. Pro Coach
  2. Part-time Coach
  3. Personal Growth Coach

A Pro coach makes have their primary income through coaching. They make an annual income comparable to that of other professionals in private practice (lawyers, doctors, accountants, …).

A Part-time coach  has a primary profession, which insures primary income, and “coach on the side”, which helps them creating clients by not being needy. Note that coaching in this case is used as a tool, that can be helpful in their primary job.

A Personal Growth Coach received coaching training, but only uses coaching as a tool, and does not get paid for it. They can be in leadership positions, and help their teams grow thanks to the gifts of coaching.

Steve reminds us that none is better than the others, you simply need to figure out what you want and what works best for you.

Levels of Progression as a Professional Coach (the Litvin Levels, from The Prosperous Coach, p. 206 – 209):

Student Coach: I am studying or training to be a coach

Beginner Coach: I have experienced the impact of coaching clients. I have coached at least 50 clients.

Novice Coach: I have my first 10 paid individual clients.

Competent Coach: I can cover my monthly expenses with my coaching income.

Proficient Coach: I can create clients by invitation and referral only.

Virtuoso Coach: I can create clients whenever I choose to.

Master Coach: I can take extended vacations and/or create income whilst I sleep.

The Prosperous Coach gives you more details about these various levels and how to get from one to the other.

3)   If you want to go further on your journey:


  1. The Prosperous Coach, by Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin (in case that was not clear enough already)
  2. Supercoach, by Michael Neill
  3. Books by Steve Chandler, such as 37 ways to boost your coaching practice
  4. Other fantastic books from this great list I compiled

Connect with other more experienced coaches. I would highly recommend to join an experience to receive great coaching and connect with other coaches.

The Rich Litvin Intensive is a lot of fun and insight, and I would also recommend Michael Neill’s programs (although I haven’t attended them personally yet. A trusted friend and coach has, and that would be among the next coaching programs on my professional training list).

Later on, when you want to set up your business right, read and apply Profit First (you can also watch the Ted Talk here). A game changer to create financial stability, predictability and sustainability.

If you are in a job, you can prepare your transition smoothly so that you can start creating a few clients on the side, and once you have the ball rolling, you’ll feel more comfortable to leave your job to go full time on your project. This way it looks more like paragliding than base jumping. If you like to jump, you can learn how here.

What was your biggest insight from this article?

What are your next steps?

If you have any questions about your transition and would like advice, feel free to write to me directly here.

%d bloggers like this: