Updated: Oct 5
Reflections on my Two-Year Coaching Journey as an Executive Coach, Personal Empowerment Life Coach and Entrepreneur
26th September, 2023. An otherwise regular day transformed into a milestone for me as my coaching log revealed an achievement – I had reached my 1000th one-on-one client coaching session, amounting to 1020 coaching hours. As a Personal Empowerment Life Coach and an Executive Coach, this journey has been nothing short of an odyssey.
The Journey to the Milestone
This beautiful expedition started in May 2021 with the desire to empower individuals to unearth their latent potential and help them realise their aspirations. I coached my first client on 29th May 2021. By July of that year, I began coaching paid clients. Aiming to achieve 100 client coaching hours within a year to attain ACC accreditation with the International Coaching Federation, I set off on this professional journey.
Two years and four months later, I have coached more than 200 clients from 150 companies across 6 countries on the way to 1000+ 1-on-1 client sessions.
If someone had told me on that day in May 2021, as I welcomed my first client, that in 2 years, I would become a PCC-certified ICF coach, completing an incredible 1000 coaching hours, recognised among the top 10 coaches in Asia, featured alongside accomplished entrepreneurs in India, and honoured by the Ministry of MSME, Govt of India for my contributions; I would have deemed it beyond the realm of possibility.
But dreams manifest even when you don’t expect them, and here I am.
Reflections From My Two-Year Coaching Journey
The 1000+ 1-on-1 client sessions spanning over two years have been a profound learning period for me. With gratitude in my heart for all the people who gave me an opportunity to work with them during this period, I am sharing some invaluable learnings that have shaped my approach and understanding of coaching and entrepreneurship during this period:
1. Develop a Coachpreneurial Mindset
Running a coaching practice isn’t just about being a coach; it’s about being an entrepreneur. It took time to realise that prospecting clients is the first step to coaching them. Once I shifted my mindset to think like a “coachpreneur”, my business started to gain traction. Focusing on coaching and entrepreneurship has been crucial in propelling my practice forward.
2. Look Beyond Digital Advertising
In the initial months, I experimented with digital advertising on various platforms. However, I soon learned that success isn’t merely about throwing money into ads but about reaching the right audience directly. Digital Ads are one-way communication mediums that don’t work when your coaching mode is primarily a 1-on-1. My shift towards targeted engagement and away from digital ads surprisingly led to significant growth in my business.
3. Focus on Process Over Numbers
I didn’t set out with the goal to achieve 1,000 coaching hours within two years at the outset of my coaching practice. Instead, my focus was on reaching out to 15 potential clients every week and having preliminary coaching conversations. This emphasis on the process, engaging with people, and fine-tuning the approach led to a significant increase in client conversion rates and, ultimately, in achieving the 1000th 1-on-1 session milestone.
4. Practice Consistency to Grow Numbers
Consistency outweighs talent in the realm of successful entrepreneurship. I made it a rule to engage in 2-3 new conversations with potential clients daily, regardless of circumstances. This steadfast approach, maintained even during challenging times, gradually but steadily propelled my business forward, illustrating the potency of persistence.
5. Diversify in a Focused Manner
Numerous methods can be employed to build a full client roster. However, focusing on a select few at a time is the key. While many approaches can yield results, diving into them all at once can be overwhelming and counterproductive.
Concentrating on three strategies in-depth – direct conversations, SEO and Organic LinkedIn posts – proved to be more effective, allowing me to maximise results and streamline my efforts.
6. Try Hard, Fail Fast and Move On
Trying new approaches and failing fast has been central to my journey as an entrepreneur. Each failure was a vital lesson, guiding me to adjust my strategies and explore alternative methods. This willingness to try, fail, learn, and adapt has been instrumental in pinpointing what works best for my business.
In business, some things will work, and some won’t. That’s life, and I have to be okay with it.
7. Make Innovation an Imperative
Continuous innovation is not a virtue but a necessity in entrepreneurship. Embrace this truth by making a deliberate effort to innovate consistently. Challenge yourself to try at least one new thing in your business every month. Revamp how you connect with potential clients, reimagine the experience you offer your existing clients, or reinvent the services you extend to them. Innovate your go-to-market strategy and even the way you gather testimonials.
Let innovation be not just a goal but a mantra, pushing your business forward. If you are doing everything this month the same way you did last month, your business is already behind the times.
8. Embrace Rejection, Seek Growth
Rejections are part of the entrepreneurial journey. Not everyone will resonate with your approach or offerings, and that’s okay. The key is to learn from rejections, not take them personally, and use them as stepping stones for growth.
I have had more prospects say a No than a yes to me. While the number of no’s has progressively reduced, I hear those no’s even today. Some of those people who had said No when I spoke to them first reached out to me of their own accord some months later, and we now share an excellent client-coach relationship.
These rejections often guide us to refine our strategies and attract the right clients.
9. Be Resilient When Facing the Inevitable Off-Days
The coachpreneurial journey is a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows. What distinguishes a successful coach is the ability to practice what she preaches – the ability to bounce back from setbacks swiftly.
Even the best coaches have their off days; coaches are humans first. Being adaptable and resilient while maintaining a positive mindset during such times is vital. It’s about evolving with the challenges, learning from failures, and staying committed to your vision.
10. Seek Regular Feedback from Your Clients
Actively seek feedback from your clients after coaching sessions or at the end of their coaching journey. Their insights can provide valuable perspectives on your coaching style, the effectiveness of your techniques, and areas for improvement.
Analysing feedback helps you fine-tune your approach to better meet your clients’ needs. Moreover, it showcases your commitment to continuous improvement, enhancing your professional reputation.
11. Manage Your Time Well
Mastering time management is crucial in maintaining a thriving coaching practice. Craft a well-structured daily and weekly schedule that includes dedicated time for coaching sessions, administrative tasks, marketing efforts, and, most importantly, personal time for rejuvenation.
Prioritise tasks based on their importance and urgency, allowing you to allocate your energy efficiently. A well-managed schedule ensures you meet your professional commitments while also nurturing a healthy work-life balance.
12. Invest in Your Personal Development–You Are Worth It
Investing in personal development is an investment in the success of your business. The coaching landscape is constantly evolving. Continuously upgrading your skills ensures you can provide the best service to your clients.
Regularly upskilling through courses and programs has been fundamental to my growth as a coach. These learning experiences not only enhanced my coaching effectiveness but also opened doors to new opportunities. It’s a strategic expense with immense returns, making me a more valuable asset to my clients.
13. Have or Work with a Supportive Team
No entrepreneur can succeed in isolation. Alone, you can only achieve so much in a 24-hour day. As your business grows, delegating tasks and forming a dedicated team becomes crucial.
Outsourcing routine activities to a skilled provider of Virtual Assistance services has significantly improved my efficiency and business outcomes. It allows me to focus on core functions while ensuring smooth operations. And, while the investments in my business have risen, they’ve been eclipsed by the growth in the top line, resulting in enhanced profit margins.
14. Pave Your Unique Path
In entrepreneurship, true success lies in forging your own distinct trail and not being confined to conventional routes propounded by others.
I have deviated from the usual norms in my coaching practice. I don’t offer free discovery sessions, I don’t spend on digital advertising, and I don’t conform to traditional pricing models. Instead, I’ve chosen to listen to my instincts and create a path that resonates with my values and vision, placing client satisfaction at the heart of the process.
What has worked for me will not work for you. For you are not me; you are you.
Success is about being true to yourself and blazing a trail that’s uniquely yours. Celebrate what sets you apart. It’s this uniqueness that will attract your specific audience. Reach out to me if you need help in identifying and forging your unique path.
15. Be Passionate to be Successful
Above all, passion and a sense of purpose are the driving forces behind any successful entrepreneurial venture. Aligning your business with a genuine passion for helping others and a clear purpose amplifies your impact. It’s this deep-rooted drive that keeps me going, even on the toughest days, resulting in both personal fulfilment and business success.
The Last Word: Forge Deep Connections and Serve Clients to the Best of Your Abilities
In this incredible journey, I have endeavoured to forge deep connections and serve my clients to the best of my abilities. Every business process I’ve developed centres around reaching people widely and serving them deeply. The ‘Aha’ moments, the heartfelt testimonials, and the satisfied smiles on my client’s faces continue to drive me. As long as I keep this bird’s eye view, I am confident that my business numbers will organically flourish.
This journey is just getting started, and I am thrilled to have you all alongside me.
I look forward to the next 1000 coaching hours filled with more growth, transformations, and successes!
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Smita D Jain is a Certified Life Coach, Executive Coach and NLP Practitioner. Smita’s ‘Empower Yourself’ Personal Clarity Coaching Programs enable busy professionals unhappy in their jobs to tap into their passions and transform them into professions so that they work because they want to, not because they have to. 'Empower Yourself’ Executive Performance Enhancement Coaching Programs enable mid-career and senior executives to speak with confidence and communicate with impact so that they emerge as leaders sooner than envisaged, and busy professionals unhappy in their jobs to transform their passions into professions so that they work because they want to, not because they have to.
Prior to her journey as a coach, Smita had extensive experience of 14 years as a corporate and business strategy professional with Fortune 500 companies. She is also a TEDx speaker, a speaker at various public forums, a published writer, and an Amazon bestselling author.
You can learn more about Personal Empowerment Life Coach and Executive Coach Smita D Jain’s ‘Empower Yourself’ Coaching Programs by visiting www.lifecoachsmitadjain.com and book a strategy session at https://www.lifecoachsmitadjain.com/booking.
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