Coaching, an office or not? (Part 1)

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Coaching, an office or not
Should you get an office for your coaching practice? Yes, uhm no!
Over the years I have trained many coaches, a question I often get “should I get an office for a starting coaching practice?” It’s a good question, as an office can be a substantial recurring charge for a practice that still needs to build its client base.
Over the past years, I have coached from different locations: (shared) office space, Regus-office, clients homes, clients offices, park, beach, hotel rooms, training room, meeting spaces, coffee houses, lunch rooms, once I even coached a celebrity in her mother’s bedroom.  Are these the most convenient and most professional places to coach? Probably not. Not having a coaching office, and a lot of flexibility is something I can afford as not a week goes by that I have to turn down a new client. I realize for most starting coaches this is not the same for them.
In some locations there are companies that rent out office space by the hour, or a segment of time each month. Be careful with selecting those, the environment needs to be suitable for coaching (bare impersonal office environments.)And chances are, you are sooner to leave the impression that you clearly don’t really have an office. In which case, you are better off meeting the client in another location.
There are however shared office spaces that specifically cater to therapists, a google search may serve you well. They are not going to be the big corporate style offices, by brand names such as Regus. Often privately owned, to specifically cater to talk-change workers.
One thing I don’t do is coaching inside my own home. I don’t want clients and the sometimes deeply emotional work I do inside my own environment. Though I can easily use my home office for coaching, I am reluctant to do so, as I live clearly in a residential area and clients are required to walk through my hallway and up the stair where the bedrooms are.  And this is my personal space, work and living needs to have a clear separation. It would defeat the purpose of having an office to make an impression. And help the client into a state in where they feel they can be coached by a guide, and not a friend.

In the month of December a series of articles will be posted about using or selecting a coaching office. As well as tips for coaching at a clients home or office.

Next week part two “Coaching, an office or not?

5 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you so much for this post. It can be a challenge to find space from which to coach, as office space can often be expensive. Like many, I offer coaching in client's homes, offices, and would be willing to do it just about anywhere condicive to the type of coaching I was doing. It would be incredible to coach on the beach, helping a client in such a beautiful and sensory-rich atmosphere.
    I am fortunate to live in a community where I am the only NLP Master Practitioner in a 250 mile radius. A local spa and wellness center in our community offers Hypnotherapy, Life Coaching and other Adolescent and Family Therapy services, and I was quickly invited to join their team. I have access to their offices for coaching, access to an email list of over 3000 members, and they schedule my appointments, provide information to prospective clients, and collect payment. And, the spa just opened a second location in IBM's new offices, which employs 1300 people in that same building.
    In return, I pay them a percentage which is reasonable, considering the industry standard of 30% in the midwestern United States. A good suggestion would be to seek opportunity with your local wellness centers, spas, reputable massage therapists, accupuncturists, chiropractors and other organizations which may offer additional services like coaching. We have a unique set of skills as NLP Practitioners; remember that, as you engage your creative mind in planning your business. And don't be afraid to ask. Perhaps a business owner who doesn't offer any coaching may be open to having you be the first to add that service to their business. It's a win-win for all involved.

  2. Yep, you are so lucky. Awesome center too, very representative, and he right target market. In one of the next blog posts, I mention opportunities to start a coaching office, inside another business office.

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