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7 Powerful Ways to Build a Thriving Coaching Practice


Simon Alexander Ong, Life Coach of the Year 2019, believes that the world needs more people who are dedicated to their mission and passion and has made it his goal to help people become the best versions of themselves. That's why he created this powerful guide so you can build a thriving coaching practice and create the impact you desire.

There was something about this experience that spoke to me. I would not be able to explain it in words, but there was this feeling from within that this was it. That this was what I was meant to do with my life. 

It is rare to wake up one morning and suddenly know what your purpose is, what you want to dedicate your life to and the impact you want to have in the world. More often than not, this happens through a series of events usually sparked by the desire to change your current situation. And the situation I was in at the time was difficult. My grand plans for my career were very quickly swept from under my feet following the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 and after having been in and out of jobs for a number of years, I was feeling somewhat lost, emotionally drained and uninspired. 

" I was committed to learning all I could and in seeing just how far I could go with exploring this new passion of mine. "

Bestselling author Brianna Wiest notes that “When you decide you truly do not ever want to feel a certain away again, you set out on a journey of self-awareness, learning and growth that has you radically reinvent who you are.” I did not want things to continue the way they were and so this is where the journey to where I am today began. 

Reflecting on deep questions such as what I was most curious about, what fulfilment looked like to me and the impact I wanted to have in the world, led me to sign up for The Coaching Academy’s Introduction to Life Coaching to get a better understanding of what coaching was all about. And by the time the two days finished, I recall coming home and saying to my wife: “I feel inspired! I think this is it. I can’t explain why but I have a feeling that this is something I am meant to do. Just the thought of going from employee to entrepreneur and switching my career to becoming a full-time coach makes me want to explore how to make this happen.” 

A couple of months later and after much deliberation, I enrolled as a student at The Coaching Academy for their Personal Performance and NLP Diplomas. I was committed to learning all I could and in seeing just how far I could go with exploring this new passion of mine. 

In 2013, just over a year later, I qualified and could not wait to get started in taking my newfound skills out to the world. And what a journey it has been since. Fast forward a few years to today and life could not be more different. I went from employee to entrepreneur and have had the privilege of coaching some insanely talented individuals, which include the likes of C-suite executives, Michelin-Star Chefs, entrepreneurs and multimillionaires.

"The truth is, you can only take clients as far as you have gone yourself and without skin in the game, it will be difficult for you to empathise with the decision-making process they will go through before they make a decision on whether to work with you."

In 2019, I was awarded Life Coach of the Year at The International Coaching Awards hosted by The Coaching Academy. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to speak at some of the planet’s most successful organisations and share some of my insights on national TV, radio and press. And more recently, I have taken on my greatest challenge to date: writing my first book after having recently signed a deal with Penguin Random House. 

The journey has not been straightforward; it never is! I have had my fair share of challenges to face and still do today. However, if there is anything I have learnt so far it is this: with desire, consistency and patience, anything is possible. 

As I reflect back, I want to share a few of the things that have been instrumental in helping me to build a thriving coaching practice: 

1. Hire your own coach or mentor.

This is a no-brainer really but something I see missing in a lot of aspiring coaches. If you are serious about being a successful coach, do not get coaching for free. The impact will not be the same and can you imagine trying to tell prospective clients that they must invest in themselves when you have not even done so yourself?!

The truth is, you can only take clients as far as you have gone yourself and without skin in the game, it will be difficult for you to empathise with the decision-making process they will go through before they make a decision on whether to work with you. I have invested a lot over the years working with coaches who are bestselling authors and mentors who have built multiple million-dollar businesses. Investing in yourself always pays off. You can’t expect to accomplish big things in life if you are playing small.  

2. Tell more stories.

During a networking event that I attended in the early stages of my entrepreneurship journey, I asked someone the question that we all face when meeting someone new: “What do you do?” His response immediately taught me the power of storytelling and why I must include this in how we share what we do and the impact our work can have. He answered by saying, “I run 12-week total body transformations for executives who are amazing in the boardroom but average naked.” After a small chuckle, I was intrigued to learn more about him. He had caught my attention!

Notice that he did not use a title (most would have said “I am a personal trainer” in response), but built story into what he did from the get-go. Even in the next few answers to my questions, he had story after story after story. My challenge to you, therefore, is to eliminate the use of titles and instead, build a story into telling someone what you do and how you do it. You might just catch more people’s attention and get them curious to want to find out more.  

3. Be a student of entrepreneurship.

You might have qualified with the top grade and you might have been told by your practice clients that you are an incredible coach. However, being an incredible coach does not automatically mean that you will be a successful coach. If you are looking to build a thriving coaching practice, you must also enjoy learning about entrepreneurship and developing the skills required to build a thriving coaching practice.

When I am not coaching and improving my skills as a coach, I am in full-on business development mode - researching PR opportunities, learning from successful businesses outside of the coaching industry and constantly experimenting with new ideas.

Being an incredible coach is 50% of what will make you successful; the other 50% comes from your love of enrolling clients, marketing what you do, designing the right business model to leverage your strengths and developing a personal brand. When you love the business side of coaching as much as you do the actual coaching, you are well on your way to creating something exciting.  

4. Serve and add value to the lives of others, every single day.

This is the best way to sell your coaching services for your worth as a business is correlated to how much more you deliver in value than you take in payment. When I first started out as a full-time coach, I began each week by reflecting on the question of “How can I add value to someone’s life this week?”

I then reflected on this question on a daily basis. And now it is something that is a part of my identity.

I aim to share valuable content across my social media channels on regular basis (you never know who will come across your content at the time where they need it most!) and if there is something I can do to help, however small, I will do so without any expectation of anything in return.

For example, I have shared useful article links with friends, sent people books, introduced people to one another where there is mutual benefit from the relationship and respond to messages and emails personally as best I can.

In fact, I highly recommend you purchase the bestselling book The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. It massively influenced the way I do business and opened my eyes to a simple but powerful mindset to experience astronomical levels of success. I have since been fortunate enough to have Burg as a mentor and have conducted a LIVE interview with him inside my online community. 

"It is why when I coach and lead prospective clients to action during our initial sessions, I always end these powerful conversations within the land of possibilities: “What do you feel would be possible as we begin working together in partnership as coach and client?” "

5. Position yourself as their guide.

Luke Skywalker had Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. Neo had Morpheus in The Matrix. And Frodo had Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings.

Every hero needs a guide and from a coaching perspective, you want to be positioning yourself as the guide that will help your client become the hero of their story. Clients want to become the hero of their life story - to overcome the challenges they currently face, to become the person required to fulfil their deepest dreams and to turn the impossible into the possible.

Whenever you connect with new people - in person or online, look for the opportunities where you can show them what would be possible if they were to have you as their guide.

It is why when I coach and lead prospective clients to action during our initial sessions, I always end these powerful conversations within the land of possibilities: “What do you feel would be possible as we begin working together in partnership as coach and client?” “How do you feel you will benefit from my coaching?” and “What would it mean to you as you begin to accomplish all that you have shared with me in this meeting?”

Demonstrate that you are the guide they need to help make meaningful progress forward and you will have people lining up to want to be your next client. 

6. Speak.

This is an underrated form of marketing but in my experience, one of the best. 

What most entrepreneurs tend to focus on first when it comes to marketing, is social media. However, what is the point of having a presence on these social media platforms if no one knows you exist? When I first started building my coaching practice, I sought as many opportunities as I could to speak on stage.

By speaking to crowds of up to 100 people at the beginning, it allowed me to leverage my time more effectively. In fact, if I delivered a memorable experience to the audience, I often found that I would be speaking to more than just the people in the room. Attendees would be acting as my marketing team (especially since the business was only me at the time!) by sharing photos, quotes and videos of me in action with their online networks.

Here is the beauty of speaking: when you are on stage sharing your insights, you are immediately seen as an authority. While speaking started off as one of many marketing strategies I was experimenting with, it has now become another income stream for my business having recently delivered keynotes for organisations such as Barclays, Microsoft, Salesforce and Unilever. It has also helped me to get onto podcast shows as a guest and test other business ideas with speaking at the heart of them.  

7. Think different.

Some harsh truth for you: if you only do what your competition is doing and in the same way, it will be difficult to rise above them.

You want to be thinking differently and this is heavily influenced by the people you spend time with, the books you read and your openness to challenge yourself to try new things.

To ensure innovative thinking, for example, I create diversity within the people I spend time with (in the last few weeks I have caught up with a pianist, a graffiti artist, a tech entrepreneur, a campaigner and a politician) and the communities I am a part of (I am part of a members’ club in London and am an active member in a couple of different online communities that I have got value from over the years). This leads to fresh insight and ideas that I can then apply to how I run my business.  

I hope that the above proves useful for you as you embark on your coaching journey and keep this in mind as you do: when you do what most won’t, you will eventually be able to enjoy what most can’t.

And that’s because we overestimate what can be accomplished in one year and heavily underestimate what can be achieved in 10. It has been around 7 years since I completed my qualifications.

Getting to where I am grateful to be today was not an overnight journey; it is one that takes time to unfold and one that I am still on as I continue to develop, grow and set bolder goals. 

If you have any questions for me, please feel free to reach out through my website, or social media: my handle is @simonalexandero on Instagram and Twitter, while you can also find me on LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube. 


Building a thriving coaching practice you love

We are launching a brand new Confidence Masterclass series so you can build confidence in yourself, your business and your clients! It will be a bundle of 6 fantastic Masterclasses, each helping you in different areas of coaching so that you can help your clients flourish.

The Masterclass Series will open its dorrs to the public on Monday 12th October, get ready!