Often people want to know what I think about these 2 things…
- “How young is too young to get started as a professional coach?” or…
- “Am I too *old* to get started in professional coaching?”
Even if you’re not one of “these people,” my answer to this question about “age” will still apply to you because there's a bigger, deeper, more universal principle that I’m going to explain.
If you ARE one of the people wondering if you're too young or too old to be a coach, what you're really wondering is “will people hire me?” If you have doubts, fears, or limiting beliefs about making it as a coach, this may be some of your “inner work.”
You may need to address this stuff within yourself. And perhaps I can help you. But, for now, I want to take a different approach and share with you…
Why does anyone hire a coach anyway?
The answer to this question will shed light on the “mystery that is coaching” and will clear up the whole *age issue* once and for all.
And, when you understand what I’m about to share, it will (hopefully) forever change the way you go about getting coaching clients.
There are 3 answers to this question. Here’s the first one…
1) People hire a coach because they want something.
Here are some example reasons people hire a coach:
- A sales professional wants to increase her sales numbers!
- A single man wants to find his soul mate!
- An executive wants to grow the company and get more public kudos!
- A middle manager wants to find his dream career!
- A small business owner wants to take more vacations!
- An aging man wants to get back in shape!
Even though people want something, it’s not enough to make them hire a coach. Lots of people want something but never hire a coach.
So why do people hire a coach?
2) People can’t stay where they are any longer.
Not only do they want something, they can no longer settle for the status quo. If we look more closely at the examples from above, we’ll find that these people have something deeper going on:
- A sales professional can’t cover her bills each month, is dipping into her savings, and needs to make more money fast or she’ll end up losing everything!
- A single man has been lonely for 5 years and knows he’s afraid to ask out women he finds attractive!
- An executive can’t get his team to take the initiative and his board of directors is breathing down his neck!
- A middle manager is bored with his job and can’t take another year doing this meaningless job!
- A small business owner works 80 hours a week and feels like a slave to her business!
- An aging man is feeling “old” and starts to realize that some of his friends haven’t lasted this long and if he doesn’t clean up his act he may not have much longer either!
This may make them start looking for a solution to their problems, and perhaps to start looking for a coach. But, this may not be enough for them to hire you.
3) People will hire YOU based on how well you can create certainty that you can help them.
They need to feel sure that coaching will work, and that it will work for them. And here’s how you can do that (at any age).
How To Create Certainty That You Can Help
1) Teaching solutions to some of their challenges creates certainty that you can help them.
You can write an article for business owners on how to be more focused, delegate more, etc. Or share secrets for single men to meet women. When you teach something valuable to the people that you want to coach, they will see you as an expert. A person who really knows her stuff! This will help potential clients begin to consider you as the “home-run” solution they’re looking for. They’ll think, “If she knows this much about X, then if she worked with me personally I wonder what would happen.”
2) People will hire you based on how well you demonstrate you understand them (and their situation) above almost all else.
If you can explain the “ins and outs” of the situation they are in a few things happen. People will believe that they are not alone. They aren’t the only ones going through this (most people think they are the first one to have the problem that they have).
They will obviously see you as an expert at handling this kind of thing because you know it and understand it so well. They will feel a connection to you. People feel a sense of rapport or connection with people that they have something in common with. When you show you understand them, they feel that sense of commonality. This will be a BIG factor in making them want to hire you.
You can demonstrate how well you understand them by discussing what their situation must feel like, how it shows up in their daily lives, and perhaps how their problems came to be.
3) Offer a satisfaction guarantee on your coaching.
I don’t guarantee results because 90% of the clients' results depend on the clients themselves (how much effort they put in, how much they follow through, etc).
I tell them that after the first month if they don’t see that the work we’re doing is going to make the difference they are looking for, or if they aren’t happy for any reason, we can stop working together and they can have a full refund.
I call it my “unconditional happiness guarantee”. It makes them feel “safer” about giving coaching a try AND it shows how confident you are in the work you do. When you offer a guarantee it shows you mean business!
The Bottom Line
I know coaches that were successful at age 19 (I started when I was 24)! I know coaches that are in their “later years” and are doing very well in coaching too.
Ultimately, your success depends mainly on your ability to understand your clients' needs, connect with them, and show them that you can help them.
If you can do this, you’ll be successful in coaching at any age!