Q: I want to be an executive coach in a year from now. I feel it is time that I become an entrepreneur for myself rather than continuing as an employee. This coaching business excites me as it has many of the things that I am looking for after spending quite a bit of time (and money) reading and researching about it. I plan to take up a programme, but before I take a full plunge into this I need your advice on the first few important steps to take before operating my own coaching business?
Potential Student

A: The first thing to do is to define your coaching business in the most inspired way. Let us take an example. If it is a restaurant, you would not want to say that you are in the business of filling up people’s stomachs. This is only performing a task only. Soon you will get tired and even give up on it. On the other hand, if yours is helping people enjoy the best part of their lives through good food, then this is not a task but a meaningful role you are playing in the community with a high chance that you will be remembered for what you are doing for them.

The Bottom Line: So it is the same with your coaching business. What do you want to contribute to the community at large that will leave an indelible mark on what you are doing for them, which will be remembered always? Isn’t this more inspiring for you and everyone?

So what can you do for people in a more wholesome way? If I were to challenge you to expand beyond this product-based idea of “I offer executive coaching to those who have issues in their workplace”, what will yours be in a more wholesome and empowering way? If a suggested one is “supporting leaders to get the most fulfillment in their personal and professional lives”, then what is yours? When you have made this step, then you will know what abilities you require, and where you can find the opportunities to fulfill your vision.

Powerful Questions: What is your bigger purpose for wanting to go into the coaching business? What do you want to see happening when you are finally a successful executive coach? What are your special strengths that can be ploughed back in a coaching business that you want to successfully run? Who can support you in making this vision come true?

Q: I am a psychotherapist with 20 years of practice. Being in this job of treating patients clinically has worn me down. It has become a matter of routine for me doing this day after day. I am getting tired of the clinical type of treatment for my patients as it is somewhat “mechanical” as most of the cases seem rather the same. Somewhat I feel that what I am doing is devoid of the “human” touch and this has robbed me of the fulfillment I am seeking in this work. I am seriously thinking of making a change; to be a coach in a corporate environment. However, some friends tell me that it would be difficult to make it there as there are no “crackpots” for me to repair in the corporate world! Instead there are mostly professionals who need to be groomed to become “corporate superstars”. What is your view on this? Do I fit in here?

A: Forget about those who advise you against doing this. For me, there is a possibility as long as you are mindful and prepared to shed off some parts of the image and practices of psychotherapy that do not fit in there. Re-orientate yourself that corporations are ruled by profits, where executives are required to find ways to win the war of competition and that things have to move faster despite many constraints and scarce resources, etc. So check your value system and ask yourself whether you are willing to make the adjustments.

The Bottom Line: So, when you are all prepared, you can add value anywhere in the organisation. Here are some of them. You can help executives to gain deeper insights on their lives and professional careers. You can also help them to understand the importance of other people in their lives who can support them to gain success. Similarly, they can be helped to develop their character and personality to fit into their professional titles and how they can learn from you on how to communicate and collaborate more effectively with others. Search yourself for more of your gifts to add on to the list of value-adds you can deliver. Once done, you are ready to knock on their doors!

Powerful Questions: What do you want to see yourself in the next 5 years of your life? What can you bring on board from the clinical to the corporate world? What are your values that will make you successful in the corporate world? What are you committed to the changes you need to make?

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