Six Mistakes that Life Coaches Make When Starting A Private Practice

I have been a professional life coach since 1996. In the more recent years, I have done a lot of business coaching with beginner coaches, who are in the process of trying to start a private practice. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with a variety of coaches who are highly successful in their practices, and make a tremendous amount of money working as a coach.


I would like to share with you six common mistakes that I see beginner coaches making, that successful coaches rarely make. Whether your a seasoned coach or a newbie to coaching, my hope is that you will learn something new from this article to help you be even more successful in your coach practice! Below is a list of the six mistakes that I see beginner coaches making when starting a private practice:


1. Unwilling to do free sample sessions – One of the best ways to launch a coaching practice is to start doing free sample coaching sessions with as many people as possible. I know of several life coaches who make over $100,000 USD a year working part-time as a coach, and still offer free sample sessions for promotional and marketing purposes.


Typically, a free sample session will run anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes long, and is a good opportunity for prospective clients to see how you work. You only need to offer one free session per person. There are several benefits to offering someone a complimentary session when you are first starting a practice, which includes: Gaining practical experience in coaching other people; becoming more confident as a coach, and getting the word out that you are working with people. Plus, some of your free sample session clients will ultimately roll over into full paying clients, and will refer other paying clients to you!


Keep in mind; there will always be a few beginner coaches who do not need to do free sample sessions when first starting their practices. Typically these are the people who are already working as a high paid consultant or executive, and have an impressive network of people they can tap into who are willing to pay top money for their services. Unless if you have such a network, then you might consider doing free sample sessions to let people know you are in the coaching game now, and to create a positive buzz around your practice.


2. Spending too much time obsessing about your website and your brand – I’ve seen a lot of beginner coaches spend all of their time on marketing and not enough time seeing clients. Again, when starting a practice, the most important thing is to start working with people immediately. This is why doing free sample sessions are so important, because you will get a lot of practice working with clients, become more confident in the process, and begin to build out your network – which will ultimately lead to you having a lot of paying clients!


3. Being too picky about the types of clients you will work – The more people you can work with in the beginning, the more skilled and confident you will become as a coach. Of course, their will always be those clients who are inappropriate for you to work with such as people who are clinically depressed, have severe psychological challenges or medical issues. However, in general, try to challenge yourself to working with people who are outside of your comfort zone. If you start doing this, then in due time, you will become an incredibly talented coach as a result of working with so many people – and you will have the luxury of being picky about who you work with, because you will be in such high demand. You will also need to increase your coaching fees, because you will have a waiting list of people to see you!


4. Charging too much or too little for your coaching services – It is important to make sure you are fully congruent with whatever you decide to charge for your coaching services. I have seen a lot of beginner coaches who set their prices too high, and then they don’t have any paying clients, because they are incongruent about what they are charging. Thus, they unconsciously sabotage their own success because of this. I have also seen several beginner coaches, who charge too little for their services, and then people don’t want to hire them because they are too “cheap”. This is another way that beginner coaches can unconsciously sabotage themselves.


I have a test that I do with all of my business-coaching clients to help them get more congruent about what they are charging. When the client least expects it, I’ll ask them out of the blue, “So what are you charging for your coaching services?” If the client can answer me without stumbling and they are fluid in their response, then I know they are congruent about what they are charging. However, if they stammer or can’t answer the question directly, then I know they could potentially be incongruent about what they are charging. You wouldn’t believe how many of my clients struggle with this simple, yet powerful question. So, then I do a lot of coaching around helping the client get more congruent about their pricing structure.


5. Fear of failure – Many beginner coaches are overwhelmed with fear that they’ll do something wrong when working with a client, or they’re afraid they don’t have enough experience to be coaching people. This is a really common fear for many beginning coaches. A good way to overcome your fear is to practice doing coaching with as many people as you can. Again, this is the beauty in doing free sample sessions, because they help build your confidence and experience as a coach. Another benefit of doing free sample sessions is your client’s expectations won’t be as high of you and they’ll be more forgiving of you. Plus, if you do a really good job, then they might feel compelled to sign up as a regular paying client!


6. Not dealing with your own limiting beliefs and issues around being successful as a coach – One of the fastest ways to turbo charge your career as a coach is to consistently work on your own personal development and evolution. Whenever, you feel like you are not getting the results you want in your career or life, then consider this a secret opportunity to work on your own personal growth. The very best coaches I know are consistently working on their own limiting beliefs and issues, and have a team of talented coaches and healers to keep them on top of their game.


Kristine Hallbom is an internationally recognized NLP trainer, author and professional coach. She is the co-founder of the NLP Coaching Institute and the co-creator of the WealthyMind™ Program, which has been taught to live audiences in over 20 countries and has helped thousands of people create more of what they want in their lives.


She is also the co-author of the book, Powerful Questions and Techniques for Coaches and Therapists, and has published numerous articles on wealth consciousness, NLP Coaching and systems thinking for a variety of psychology journals and magazines.


Kris can be reached through her website at:


© 2020 Kristine Hallbom

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