Working with your first coaching client is a defining moment for any new coaching business.
But you might have noticed by now that a fancy website, social media followers, and cool graphics might roll the red carpet out for your clients, but that’s about it:
It’s nice to have and makes people feel special, but it isn’t going to fill the seat.
Which is why you’ll hear this saying a lot: The first client is the hardest to find.
But what if it were easy?
It can be, and I’m about to show you how.
I’m laying out the 7 steps to land your first client so you can get over the initial speed bump and find clients you’ll love! And to fuel you up, I’ll share some success stories from our coaches on how they landed their first “yes” to the career of their dreams!
The same is possible for you, so let’s get up to speed.
How to “Get” Your First Coaching Client When You’re Starting Out
There’s a lot of emotion involved in the beginning stages.
Most beginner coaches experience a cocktail of impostor syndrome, doubt, and fear. These are all natural responses whenever you set off to do something new or different.
Usually, there are two routes people take at this point:
Or, they try to do everything all at once.
Let’s start with the first route: resist the urge to hide.
It can be tempting to overthink what you post, keel over before a sales call, or cancel meetings or workshops. When you’re scared, it’s easy to hide behind the pressure and decide not to show up at all.
I encourage you to show up scared.
Do it anyway.
Consistency at this stage will get you further – faster – than perfection. Your authenticity will resonate and attract more people than not showing up at all.
Secondly, avoid a panic dive. This is where you try to do “all the things” to present yourself as a “professional coach”. This might show up as:
- Taking on every single interested person even if they aren’t your ideal client.
- Making promises when you’re still unclear about your system of transformation/how to get your clients results.
- Lowballing your coaching program in an effort to fill seats.
While this sounds productive, it doesn’t set you up for success or time freedom in the long-term.
With that said, winning the early game is all about preparation and mindset. Before we go into the 7 steps of successful prep, let’s get in the right headspace.
Trade a “Get” Mentality for Brave Thinking
“Getting clients” sounds like a quantity game when it’s really about quality.
In other words, having a “get” mentality comes from a lack mindset.
“You don’t have this, so you need to get that.”
This is what we call “common hour thinking.” It’s the default language we go to when we’re feeling scared, insecure, or doubtful. It focuses on what we lack and what we “need” to have.
According to the Law of Attraction, this thinking pattern will only generate more difficulty and scarcity.
Translate your desires through brave thinking and language.
It can be as simple as adding the word “to”. As in, I “get to“…
I get to work with my ideal clients…
I get to help people create their dream life…
I get to enjoy time and money freedom as a life coach…
This isn’t to say that you should ignore your circumstances, situations, or conditions. We’re not pretending negative emotions don’t exist.
But rather, we’re acknowledging, releasing, and then replacing the negative.
Let’s take the example of “I need to get my first client.”
Take a moment to acknowledge the thought and notice how it makes you feel.
Does it bring up feelings of anxiety? Worry?
Are your thoughts drifting towards your bills or your family saying, “I told you so”?
Now press the brake. Stop the drift. At any point, you have the power to pause the thought and release it from your subconscious.
Replace “I need to get my first client” with “I would LOVE to attract more clients!”
By doing so, you’re exercising your power to release what no longer serves you and replace it with brave thinking.
Then, instead of focusing on the dread, imagine yourself opening your inbox and getting hundreds of eager messages from potential clients. All of them match your ideal customer avatar and there are so many of them that you have to build a waiting list.
You get to serve all these amazing people and help them transform their results!
You’re not a “would-be coach”, you’re running an entire business with a long line of future clients.
By opening the possibility to more than just one life coaching client (the minimum), you invite increased abundance and positivity! High vibration energy attracts opportunities and builds positive momentum.
That’s the energetic level and mindset that will set you up for success.
Now that you’ve put on an empowering mindset, let’s go through each of the 7 steps to land your first coaching client!
1. Identify Your Ideal Client Avatar
As tempting as it may be to say yes to the first person that comes through your door, I encourage you to be more selective.
By sticking to your ideal client avatar, you’ll save precious time and energy in your coaching sessions. You’ll also give your potential clients an opportunity to find a better fit.
If you don’t have an avatar ready, you don’t need anything fancy. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What are some key characteristics of your ideal client like age, gender, income, location, and education (demographics)?
- What are their aspirations, personal values, problems, lifestyles, and goals (psychographics)?
- Who are their major influences?
- What do their social circles look like?
- What would they love most in their life?
In other words, be as specific as possible. The focus is to think about the exact type of person you’d most enjoy working with.
2. Get Clear on Your Promise (Tangible Outcome)
Craving a confidence boost?
Write down your offer and get it down to as few words as possible.
For example, let’s say you write down: I help mothers create a life they love.
This is a good start for your target demographic, but I encourage you to add even more detail.
Where do they live?
Are they full-time mothers or stay-at-home? What if they’re entrepreneurs – would you be able to help them too?
Then, move on to psychographics.
What problems are these mothers facing on a daily basis? What are their values and beliefs? Are they just burn-out or do they have other, bigger worries?
From there, your promise might look like:
I help single, burnt-out, working mothers create a life they love.
This draws a clearer picture of your target customer’s pain points. The question at this point becomes: what is the ideal outcome for your client?
Move on to the “so what?”:
I help burnt-out, single, working mothers create a life they love so they can achieve time and financial freedom.
By getting specific about the problem you solve and the results you help your clients create, you’ll show up with more clarity and confidence.
3. Craft a Heart-Centered, Persuasive Offer
The step we’re focusing on is the first and most crucial thing you can do in crafting a heart-centered, persuasive offer:
Explore and speak about what’s most important to your client.
There’s a tendency for life coaches and entrepreneurs in general to over self-promote. This results in repelling potential clients who are a good match for them, and that they can help.
Instead, craft your offer with the following questions in mind:
- What challenges are they facing right now?
- What would they truly love to be – do – have – and give in life?
- What’s the gap between where they are and where they would love to be?
When you start from a place of understanding, you create a connection that attracts the attention of your target audience.
From there, talk about the “how”.
For example, if a physical trainer and health coach’s promise is that their clients will lose 30 lbs in 30 days, they will mention the materials, exercises, and number of training sessions that will be included throughout their journey. This could include a custom meal plan, weekly mindset coaching, daily meditation, an online private community, etc.
Listing these components out will add to the perceived value of your offer.
On top of the “how”, remember to discuss the benefits and outcomes of having all these elements in your offer. For instance:
- A private community can help them stay motivated and they’ll have the opportunity to connect and help others.
- Custom meal plans take the guesswork out of preparing healthy meals that fit their fitness goals.
- Regularly scheduled training sessions will provide consistency and accountability.
By placing yourself in your client’s shoes and sharing the direct benefits and outcomes of each component, you will be able to create a compelling offer that perfectly fits your target client!
4. Develop Your Signature Story
Life coaching is a $2 billion industry, which means clients have more options to choose from.
So, standing out is more than important – it’s necessary.
With the rise of cookie-cutter coaching schools, being authentic is one of the greatest marketing strategies you can lean into.
A simple way to show up as yourself is by sharing vulnerability in the form of a “ Signature Story.” This brings humanity, relatability, and connection to your coaching business.
Your signature story reminds people that you’re not just looking for a sale. And as you share your story in-person, on social media, or even in passing conversation, you’ll notice which parts resonate most.
Use them to create deep connections through storytelling.
As a result, you’ll better amplify who you help, how you help, and why your coaching services are a perfect fit for your target customer.
For example, Jennifer Joy Jiménez, the head of our Health and Wellness division, shares her story about how she pivoted from corporate sales to becoming a coach by conquering her inner critic! You can find her story here.
It’s a vulnerable piece. Her signature story describes how:
- She would skip breakfast and she would eat candy and drink soda during her lunch breaks at work (if she even had them). It made her feel so guilty that she didn’t exercise.
- She didn’t have the time she wanted to spend with her 3 kids. She would leave for work before they were awake and return home just in time to cook and tuck them in for the night.
- Her marriage was on the rocks and intimacy was a distant memory.
- Due to all her past failures and current responsibilities, she believed that she would never be able to live her purpose.
The amazing part?
She overcame it all. And her story reflects the relatable pain, fears, and experiences of her ideal clients.
This is important because people want to know that you’re not just talking “at” them.
They want to feel heard, listened to, and understood. When you’re able to make that connection, you meet them where they are.
With a heart-centered approach, you’ll attract people who want to get up and follow instead of feeling like you have to drag them out of their chair.
5. Have a Coaching Curriculum that Creates Proven, Reliable, Repeatable Results
Now that you can communicate what you do and who it’s for, let’s talk more about your confidence in serving your life coaching clients.
After all, it’s no good to attract as many aligned clients as possible if you don’t know how to achieve the results you promise.
Some life coaches decide to figure things out as they go along, and end up absorbing problems instead of guiding their clients through them.
Listening is a key component of the process, but it takes more to produce results.
You’ll need a guide to transformation: a proven curriculum!
A curriculum is separate from the coaching methodology. It’s the material you use.
For example, let’s say you’re leading clients through the DreamBuilder Program as a DreamBuilder Coach, which is 12 weeks long. There would be 12 weeks’ worth of curriculum they would go through on top of the weekly coaching sessions.
Our Life Mastery Consultants have a more extensive curriculum of programs to serve their clients. These programs are the pinnacle of 50 years of our founder’s study of transformational and spiritual principles that create reliable change.
The curriculum educates them based on universal principles.
Whereas in coaching sessions, there’s no teaching. But without the information, each session would be more or less like talk therapy.
A successful coaching session is about knowing how to evoke the answers that are already within your clients that empowers the transformation. This coaching technique is called the “evocative coaching model.”
Transformational life coaching is based on this model.
As a transformational life coach, you support your clients beyond their current circumstances, situations, or conditions. You’re not putting a band-aid on their problems; you’re doing spiritual surgery.
You’ll lead your coaching sessions with the belief that each client has the power already within them to create a life they love.
Your role is to help your clients tap into their inner guidance by asking high-quality questions.
With a proven, repeatable system, you’ll be able to help your life coaching clients:
- Release limiting beliefs.
- Discover their purpose.
- Fulfill their dreams.
- Experience major breakthroughs in all areas of life!
Now imagine having this system ready for your first coaching client.
Think of the ease you’ll have with a step-by-step guide to proven transformation and your confidence in making an impact!
With a reliable system in place, you’ll end up with a successful first client, gain social proof, and open the door for greater impact. And with a community of experienced coaches and expert mentorship, you’ll be equipped and ready for every client!
6. Build a Platform and Leverage Other People’s Platforms
If you’re at a point where you have your customer avatar nailed, signature story and offer crafted, and your system ready to go – it’s time for marketing!
Nowadays, there are an infinite number of ways to market your coaching services. Here are just a few platforms to consider:
Social Media Platforms:
Building a social media presence can help spread the message as well as create opportunities to engage with your target audience. In addition to building awareness, those relationships are more likely to lead to conversions!
Start your own blog and create valuable content that your avatar will love. It doesn’t have to be a blog about coaching, but it helps to focus on a topic relevant to your target customer. You can also reach out to bloggers who target the same audience you do or have a life coaching blog and ask them to link back to your website or offer a guest post.
Look for podcasts that serve your ideal avatar. By showing up and creating value, you build credibility and awareness. While it may sound intimidating at first, podcasters are always looking for people to interview.
Video Marketing (YouTube, Vimeo, TikTok, Reels, Live Streaming, etc.):
This is also a great way to engage with your audience and show up as your authentic self! By consistently providing value and sharing personal stories you establish a connection with the audience you would love to serve!
There are thousands of virtual and live events that happen every day. Intentionally seek a speaking event that reaches your target audience whether you search online, locally, or across the country. Sidenote: You don’t need any speaking experience to start! Event organizers are interested in passionate speakers that can provide value to their attendees!
Live & Virtual Workshops:
This strategy enables you to bring a group of people together and show them a glimpse of your coaching style. For those who want 1-on-1 attention, offer a strategy session instead of a complimentary coaching session! This is a great way to build social proof!
This is an ideal environment to talk about your message, mission, the people you’d love to serve, the problem you solve, and the results you can help people create. There’s little pressure and you might just run into an unexpected opportunity. You may even shake hands with your first coaching client.
These platforms are meant to bring your coaching practice front and center to the audiences that matter most to you. Remember to be open to opportunity, but don’t feel like you have to do everything at once.
Consistency is key. Start off by showing up.
7. Make the Investment Process Easy
The call-to-action or “close” is the part where a lot of life coaches and other entrepreneurs shy away or cringe.
That’s why we encourage and teach principles of heart-centered enrollment.
A majority of business professionals hate sales because it feels like you’re taking advantage of someone or talking them into something they don’t really want.
But with heart-centered enrollment, the conversations flow by sharing what you’re passionate about and how you can genuinely help your prospective client.
There is a 7-step formula for having heart-based conversations that leave your potential clients feeling listened to, cared for, and eager to say “YES”.
But for our purposes, we’ll focus on making it easy for them to take the next step toward what they love and providing a sense of ease when taking that step. It would be a disservice not to support your client in saying yes to their vision.
As soon as you’re ready to onboard your first life coaching client, make the enrollment process as simple as possible for both you and your client.
What’s the easiest way to accomplish this?
Throw in a fast-action bonus! For instance, if your program is $10,000, you can offer them a 10% discount if they make the decision here and now – or perhaps within a 24-hour time frame.
Think about adding a VIP bonus as well! There is no limit to your ideas.
For example, you could include free tickets to a high-value workshop or a free copy of your book!
Or, if you give “general clients” a 48-hour window to reply, then you could guarantee your “VIP clients” a 24-hour response time!
At the end of the day, you’re giving a special opportunity to help someone make a decision, and to help them reach a point where they can say:
“This is my moment. This is my time. I want the life I said I wanted, I’m going to do something about it, and I’m going to have you help me. I’m ready to invest in ME!”
Asking Successful Coaches: How Did You Get Your First Coaching Clients?
Let’s circle back to what’s possible. Here at the Brave Thinking Institute, we offer a coaching certification program that will help you accomplish all 7 steps to your first coaching client and more.
What’s “more”? You may ask…
Our comprehensive training program will provide you with a profitable, scalable coaching business model. This includes sales scripts, VIP offer templates, and other business tools.
Here are just a couple success stories from our graduates:
Dan Conroy encourages others to trust the process:
“The ‘Clients’ I practiced on are both former teaching colleagues of mine. They both want 1:1 coaching through the 12 week DreamBuilder Program.
I was practicing the script and followed it exactly when I talked to them. They were so impressed that they wanted to start immediately. In fact, when we got to the money part of the script…they were ready to give me a credit card immediately for it.
I had no idea of the power of that script before I started. I am convinced now and will be following it exactly.”
Erin Davenport shares the magnetism of heart-centered enrollment:
“I started advertising for my retreat 2 days ago and I already have someone who was an unexpected sign up! And they are also talking to their friends to join in the fun! This week I also started my client who wasn’t officially a VIP client but has signed up for almost all of the programs, one at a time. 🙏🏻
This is my first time teaching Life Mastery and they are excited to be diving in! It has been such a blessing working with this person.”
But wait – there’s more.
Erin followed up after her first breakthrough client with this message:
“I just enrolled my SECOND VIP client within a month. 😍 Instead this time, they didn’t upgrade into VIP. They signed up right off the bat for VIP!
Here are a few things that have been making a big difference for me:
- People have been telling me that they are looking through everything on my website, and in this case, she said that was the determining factor! She was able to really feel that I was a good fit because of what she saw and what she read and she resonated with that. People have said they think I’ve been coaching for years vs 13 months because of the quality. #credibility
- Jennifer’s client attraction meditation that is inside our enrollment center! After doing this I noticed people started to be drawn to me that were aligning more with my vision of VIP clients and readily investing! Listening almost every day. I went from consistently having three clients to currently having 14.
- My vision. I have clarity on what it is I would love and as I meet those goals I’m shifting and changing it to be something even greater still!
- Myself – for saying yes in the first place.
- My higher power!”
This testimonial proves the she knows her avatar and communicates her promise with clarity and confidence!
These results are possible for you, too.
Turn this possibility into an opportunity by discovering how our coach certification program can help you accelerate your path to a profitable, sustainable coaching business.
Ready to Land Your First Coaching Client?
What if it were easy?
I have full faith that by leaning into these 7 steps, you’ll experience the breakthrough you’ve been waiting for.
But if you’re seriously done with waiting, let’s talk about how you can get to where you want faster and easier than doing things on your own.
By doing so, you can move beyond landing your first client to being able to create more income and impact.
So, like any successful pilot, I’m giving you a pre-flight checklist before flying.
It’s called The Thriving Coaching Business Checklist and you can download it for free – my treat.
This checklist will cover:
- How to structure your coaching business for success right from takeoff.
- How to create a business that runs on autopilot (so you can work when you want, where you want).
- A step-by-step guide to building a profitable business that truly makes a difference.
In case you missed it earlier, download the checklist here.
To attracting the best clients ever,