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Business, Career Edition Walking the Walk


By: Grant Cooper, CARW •  1 year ago •  

Why Successful Coaches Practice What They Preach

by Grant Cooper, CARW

In order to demand the level of fees that today’s successful coaches command, and to build and maintain a coaching practice that will exceed your expectations, credibility is the #1 currency that you must possess… and it should be cultivated at every opportunity. My 25 years as a successful Career Coach have shown me why you, as a coach, must “walk the walk” and mirror every aspect of your coaching philosophy in your own practice, actions, and life, if you are to thrive in the long run.

It is estimated that there are more than 50,000 personal development coaches worldwide, and there is every reason that we will be seeing that number increase exponentially in the future. In our rapidly changing world, a world in which yesterday’s tried and true-life strategies are no guarantee of tomorrow’s success, those who can avail themselves of effective coaching services are now opting to seek out and contract for paid expertise and coaching help.

The list of personal development coaching specialties is long and growing: Executive Coaches, Life Coaches, Career Coaches, Business Coaches, Relationship Coaches, Financial Coaches, Wealth Coaches, Health Coaches, Leadership Coaches, Academic Coaches, Spiritual Coaches, and more. Here are the best practices I have distilled from a quarter-century of coaching that are the most likely to ensure your development of a profitable and rewarding coaching business.

Don’t Be Cheap

When you are asking your well-heeled clients to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for your coaching services, displaying an upscale, polished aura on your part is essential. Whether it is in the furnishing of your office or virtual coaching studio, the sharpness of your wardrobe and accessories, your grooming, the look of your website or headshot, your attaché case, your laptop, or the vehicle you drive, you must project the sterling quality and image that will attract and retain the best clientele.

Invest in Yourself

In my specialty, career coaching, we routinely advise our professional clients to research and pay for continuing education, training sessions, seminars, and industry certifications, and also to attend conferences in their respective industries.

Your clients will most fully embrace your advice if you do the same. Post your degrees, certifications, and awards prominently, and highlight your ongoing professional development in your blogs, newsletters, press releases, and client discussions.

Take Care of Your Health

Nearly any coach will remind clients that their health is paramount. Yet there are still coaches who do not watch their weight, put off medical examinations, do not engage in daily exercise, or fail to maintain a healthy work/life balance. I am old enough to recall, many decades ago, when doctors were called out as hypocrites for advising patients to stop smoking, then “light up” a cigarette after their sessions. Your health and vibrancy is an essential component of your coaching practice, and should be prioritized.

Watch Your Attitude

I coach my clients to maintain an upbeat, positive approach to their career exploration, to see the upside, and to never badmouth a former employer. Instead, I ask that my clients express gratitude for all they have learned from former employers and show appreciation for the opportunity to have served. Likewise, coaches who bemoan difficult clients or constantly complain about various aspects of their practice will find it difficult to grow professionally or personally.

Develop a Plan

Just as we encourage our clients to develop a personal growth, business, or career plan, then update and execute it as they progress in their lives or careers, we coaches need to do the same. In the areas of time management, scheduling, and planning, coaches have precisely the same motivation to hone and refine their organizational skills. Creating a written practice management plan and sticking to it is critical.

Get Out There

Whether it is networking, volunteering with nonprofits, engaging in service, or meeting with potential mentors, coaches advise their clients to increase their “face time” in the community, meet and greet colleagues, invite and attend events, and circulate widely to ensure the greatest possible impact and increase their exposure to opportunities. The best jobs and business deals have often derived from chance encounters and unexpected sources encountered by attending events.

Document Yourself

My coaching clients will consistently hear me advise them to keep a faithful documentation of their careers and lives. I instruct them to order a thick 3-ring binder, fill it with clear plastic sheet holders, and insert anything and everything that documents their careers and activities. Items for inclusion can include certificates, testimonials, evaluations, publicity, articles they have written, copies of their work product, and more. Every coach should have a similar “brag book” for clients to review in their office.

Get a Coach

Yes, even coaches need coaches! When pitching a prospective client on the ROI and value of my coaching services, I often refer to our local sports hero, National Football League Quarterback Drew Brees. Drew led the New Orleans Saints to win our first-ever Super Bowl (yes, I attended in Miami with my son). I explain that even though Drew has free access to the entire team coaching staff, he still pays for his own private coaches, year after year, in order to ensure continued elite performance.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

Globally, Information Technology is the fastest-growing career. According to a recent study, the second fastest-growing career is coaching. But the rising wave of coaching can become a tsunami that could destroy your practice. The greatest existential threat to the coaching industry is the challenge of untrained and inept coaches.

Do everything within your power to separate yourself from the pretenders by walking the walk and practicing what you preach… then you will succeed!

Grant Cooper

New Orleans native Grant Cooper, CARW, founded Strategic Resumes® & Career Coaching in 1994. Grant empowers his executive and professional clients to reach their highest career goals, and specializes in Reinventing Resumes, Upgrading LinkedIn Profiles, and Coaching for Success.

Grant won the Career Directors International President’s Award (Orlando, 2015), presented at the National Association of Resume Writers Conference (Seattle, 2018), and has served as an international resume awards judge for seven consecutive years (2013-2019).

Grant has appeared as featured guest on broadcast TV & radio and has coached top clients in the U.S. Air Force, Kinko’s, the Louisiana Department of Labor, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, universities, banks, VIP celebrities, medical centers, and major U.S. corporations.

Grant can be reached via email: [email protected] or his website:

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