How to Become a Business Coach and Become Your Own Boss

how to become a business coach

Are you looking to broaden your horizons and attract a wider range of clients? You might want to consider transitioning into the role of a business coach. 

Becoming a business coach can be a fantastic step for life coaches. It allows you to offer an in-demand service and assist entrepreneurs and small business owners to achieve greater levels of success.

However, note that becoming a successful business coach requires more than just a passion for helping others succeed. 

It calls for specialized knowledge, skills, and credentials to guide individuals in the business world effectively.

In this guide on how to become a business coach, we’ll start by understanding the role of business coaches and the value they bring to their clients. 

Then we’ll explore the different pathways you can take to obtain certifications and expand your knowledge base even without formal education.

Here are the topics we’ll dive into:

  • What does a business coach do?
  • Should you become a business coach?
  • How to become a business coach

What Does a Business Coach Do?

Think of a business coach as a personal trainer for your business. 

They provide valuable advice, support, and accountability to help entrepreneurs, small business owners, and executives optimize their operations and achieve their goals.

Here are some common tasks that a business coach helps clients with:

  • Setting goals: Coaches help clients set clear objectives for their businesses that align with their vision.
  • Creating action plans: They develop an action plan outlining the steps needed to achieve goals.
  • Analyzing performance: They help clients establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and provide regular feedback on progress.
  • Improving skills: Coaches help clients enhance their leadership abilities through skill development exercises.
  • Motivating change: They encourage individuals or teams within organizations to embrace new ways of working together.

In addition to these core responsibilities, many successful business coaches also offer specialized services based on industry expertise or unique skill sets to serve their clients’ needs better.

Some types of business coaches include:

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg!

Should You Become a Business Coach?

Are you someone who thrives on helping others achieve their goals and possesses strong leadership skills? 

Do you have experience building, optimizing, and scaling businesses?

If so, business coaching might just be the perfect career choice for you. 

But before you take the plunge, here are some important questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I enjoy working with people and guiding them toward success?
  • Am I an effective communicator who can clearly explain complex concepts to others?
  • Can I remain patient and empathetic when dealing with challenging situations or difficult personalities?

If you find yourself answering “yes” to these questions, then a career as a business coach could be an ideal fit for you. 

But here’s the thing you need to keep in mind: coaching is not a walk in the park. 

It demands dedication, hard work, and a genuine commitment to continuous professional growth if you want to achieve long-term success. 

So, are you up for the challenge?

Let’s explore some of the factors that will determine if this path aligns with your skills, interests, and goals.

Passion for business

Are you someone who gets excited about helping others thrive in their business ventures? 

As a business coach, your role will involve delving into different aspects of running a company, such as marketing strategies and financial management. 

Having a genuine passion for this field can make the process of learning these topics not only more enjoyable but also more effective in supporting your clients. 

So, if you’re truly passionate about business, becoming a business coach could be an incredible path for you to make a meaningful impact. 

Let’s take Mike Shreeve from Peaceful Profits as an example. Mike is deeply passionate about finding simple solutions to complex business problems.

His business offers a blend of coaching and done-for-you programs to help other people build scalable business systems. And you can see how passionate he is in his frequent emails.

how to become a business coach

To show this passion, he often ties the lessons he tells to a personal story, just like he did above!

Mike and his team are amazing business coaches exactly because they love what they do.

Relevant experience

Having relevant experience is a valuable asset when it comes to being an effective business coach. 

If you have previous experience working with or running businesses yourself, it can greatly benefit your coaching practice. 

This firsthand knowledge enables you to empathize with your client’s challenges on a deeper level and provide practical advice based on real-world situations. 

It adds credibility to your coaching approach and allows you to share valuable insights from your own experiences.

Strong communication skills

As a business coach, communication is crucial as you need to effectively convey complex concepts in a way that resonates with entrepreneurs at various stages of their journey. 

For example, some businesses depend on highly complex business models that involve:

  • Several types of pricing plans
  • Distribution agreements
  • Copyright and patents
  • Legal considerations

Being able to break down such intricate ideas into digestible pieces is a skill that helps your clients understand and apply the knowledge you provide. For instance, how do you help a client file for patents when that client doesn’t understand how patents work in the first place?

This ability allows you to connect with them on a deeper level and facilitate their growth and success. So, honing your communication skills is vital in becoming an impactful and influential business coach.

A desire for continuous learning

The business environment is constantly evolving, and staying abreast of these changes through ongoing learning is vital. It allows you to remain current, adapt to new trends, and provide relevant coaching to your clients. 

Plus, continuous learning opens up personal growth opportunities for yourself – expanding your knowledge, enhancing your skills, and keeping you engaged and passionate about your coaching practice. 

Your continuous learning will depend on your business coaching niche, but some important examples include:

  • Industry insights (depending on your industry, such as automotive, retail, manufacturing, etc)
  • Marketing strategies, tactics, and tools
  • Analytic tools and insights

Embracing a mindset of lifelong learning ensures that your coaching remains effective and valuable over time. 

Networking skills

Having a robust network of professionals you can connect with for advice, resources, and referrals is highly valuable. 

Building this network requires time and effort, but ultimately pays off as it provides you with a pool of valuable connections that can benefit both you and your clients. 

Your network can offer insights, support, and collaboration opportunities, enhancing your coaching practice and allowing you to provide even better guidance to your clients.

Willingness to invest in yourself

Becoming a certified business coach typically requires an investment in training programs or courses. Are you willing to invest the necessary time and money to acquire the skills you need? 

Keep in mind that these investments serve multiple purposes. 

Not only do they help establish credibility with potential clients, but they also enhance your coaching abilities and broaden your knowledge base. 

If most of these factors resonate with you, then pursuing a career as a business coach might be an excellent fit. 

To further explore this path, consider these tips:

  • Speak with other coaches who have made the transition from life coaching to business coaching about their experiences and any difficulties they’ve encountered.
  • Take time to research different certification programs for aspiring business coaches. Bear in mind that they differ in cost, duration, and material covered – so it’s important to pick one that suits your objectives and requirements. 

Remember: becoming a great business coach is an ongoing journey filled with learning opportunities.

How to Become a Business Coach

If you’re all about helping others succeed and have experience in the business world, becoming a business coach might be your calling. 

So, how do you get started on this fulfilling journey? Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you on the journey to becoming a business coach.

1. Assess your skills and experience to pick a niche

Before diving into business coaching, evaluate your skills and experience. Think about the specific areas of expertise you can bring to the table for your clients. 

Maybe you have a knack for developing killer marketing strategies, a solid understanding of financial planning, or a talent for nurturing leadership skills. 

Reflecting on your own work history and professional accomplishments can help you showcase your credibility and build trust with potential clients.

From this information, you can choose a specific coaching niche instead of working with every single type of business owner.

2. Research different coaching models

Familiarize yourself with different coaching models before deciding which one aligns best with your values and goals as a coach. 

Some popular methods include: 

  • GROW (Goal-Reality-Options-Will) 
  • CLEAR (Contract-Listen-Explore-Action-Review) 
  • OSCAR (Outcome-Situation-Choices-Actions-Review)
how to become a business coach

(Image Source)

Each model has its own unique framework and emphasis. By researching these models, you can gain a deeper understanding of their principles and decide which one aligns best with your values and coaching goals.

3. Get trained and certified

To improve your credibility in the industry, enroll in an accredited training program that offers certification upon completion

Many organizations provide online courses tailored specifically for aspiring business coaches like those offered by the International Coach Federation (ICF)

These programs typically cover topics such as: 

  • Effective communication techniques
  • Goal-setting strategies
  • Ethical guidelines for coaching practices

Note: Certification is not required but highly recommended unless you already have tons of experience helping others with their business. 

4. Build your coaching toolkit

A successful business coach needs a variety of tools and resources to support their clients effectively. 

This toolkit may include a range of resources including: 

  • Assessments: They help clients gain insights into their strengths, areas for improvement, and specific challenges they may be facing.
  • Worksheets: Valuable tools for setting goals, tracking progress, and brainstorming ideas. 
  • Templates: – Useful in creating action plans, developing marketing strategies, or crafting financial projections.

In addition to these tangible resources, it’s worth exploring technology platforms that streamline your coaching practice.

For example, Paperbell offers an all-in-one platform for coaches to create beautiful coaching packages, schedule appointments, manage payments, automate messaging, and a lot more.

5. Develop your personal brand

As you start on your journey as a business coach, it’s crucial to develop a strong personal brand that sets you apart from the competition and attracts prospective clients. 

Your personal brand should showcase your expertise, values, and unique approach to coaching.

Create a professional website showcasing your services, testimonials from past clients, and relevant blog content that demonstrates your expertise in business coaching topics.

Let’s take a look at Sage Polaris, who helps her clients with copywriting and business systems. One look at her website and you can feel her brand and personality shine through!

how to become a business coach

6. Network with other professionals

Building relationships with other professionals can be invaluable when starting out as a business coach. 

It opens doors to valuable connections, potential referral partners, and mentors who can provide guidance and support as you build your coaching practice.

Attend networking events or join online forums, communities, and social media groups where professionals gather to discuss business and coaching-related topics. 

One great example of online forums is Facebook Groups. You’ll find hundreds (if not thousands) of groups for business owners. 

But you can also look through Reddit to find niche communities, like R/smallbusiness:

how to become a business coach

Networking is not just about selling your services but also about building genuine relationships based on trust and mutual support.

Who knows — the people you meet could become excellent referral partners down the road!

7. Offer free consultations

Showcase your skills and attract potential clients as a business coach by offering free consultations. 

These discovery sessions serve as an opportunity for prospective clients to experience the value of working with you before making a financial commitment.

During these consultations, it’s important to strike a balance between providing value and establishing the need for ongoing coaching. 

Note: While you want to showcase your expertise, be mindful not to give away too much in these initial meetings. Instead, focus on identifying areas where the prospective client may need assistance and explaining how partnering together can benefit them in the long run.

How to Become a Certified Business Coach

Becoming a certified business coach can do a lot to open doors and give your clients confidence that they’re working with a professional who has been trained and accredited. 

However, there are a few steps you’ll need to take. The process will not only teach you the essential skills but also help you gain valuable credibility within the industry.

The following steps outline how to become a certified business coach.

1. Research coaching certifications

Start by researching various coaching certifications that are available, focusing on those specific to business coaching. 

A good starting point is to look for programs accredited by reputable organizations such as: 

These bodies ensure that their affiliated programs meet high standards of quality. By choosing a certification program from an accredited organization, you can have confidence in the credibility and value of the training you will receive. 

2. Choose an appropriate program

Make an informed decision and enroll in a certification program that best suits your needs as you begin your journey to becoming a certified business coach.

To choose an appropriate certification program for becoming a business coach, consider the following factors:

  • Goals: Select a program that aligns with your specific coaching goals and niche.
  • Experience level: Choose a program that matches your current level of experience and offers opportunities for growth.
  • Learning style: Determine whether you prefer self-paced online courses or interactive in-person workshops.
  • Cost and duration: Evaluate the financial investment and time commitment required for the program.
  • Format and accessibility: Decide between online courses or live workshops based on your preferences and availability.
  • Prerequisites: Check if there are any requirements or qualifications for enrollment.
  • Course content: Look for courses that cover essential topics like goal-setting techniques, communication strategies, and performance analysis methods.

3. Complete the required training hours

Once you have chosen a certification program for becoming a business coach, you will need to complete the required training hours to become eligible for accreditation exams or assessments. 

Attaining the necessary hours for accreditation may involve a variety of activities, such as attending lectures, virtual learning experiences, seminars, and tutorials with experienced mentors. 

A few examples of popular certification courses include:

Remember to fully immerse yourself in the training process and make the most of the learning opportunities provided by the certification program.

4. Gain practical experience

As you’re going through your training, start getting some hands-on coaching experience under your belt to build confidence in your coaching skills. 

You can do this by working with clients or offering your services pro bono to friends, family members, or even local businesses.

Additionally, some coach training programs offer students the opportunity to accumulate their coaching hours directly within the program. Others leave that responsibility to the student.

Practicing your coaching gives you a chance to refine your coaching techniques, adapt to different needs, and see firsthand the impact you can make in your clients’ professional lives or businesses. 

Most certification programs require hands-on coaching practice under supervision before granting accreditation, usually around 100 hours of client work. But it depends on the level you’re going for.

For example, if you want to get certified with the ICF, you can choose between three levels of certification:

  • Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
  • Professional Certified Coach (PCC)
  • Master Certified Coach (MCC)
how to become a business coach

To get your ACC, all you need are 100 hours of coaching experience. But you’ll need 500+ to get your PCC.

5. Pass the certification exam/assessment

Once you’ve completed the required training hours and gained some practical experience, it’s time to take the certification exam or assessment provided by your chosen program. 

The certification exam or assessment is designed to validate your knowledge, skills, and ability to effectively coach clients. 

It’s a chance to demonstrate your understanding of coaching principles and showcase your competency as a business coach.

These assessments may include: 

  • Written exams
  • Oral evaluations 
  • Case study analysis 
  • Submission of recorded coaching sessions for review

For example, the ICF certification process requires coaches to submit a written exam as well as a performance evaluation.

6. Maintain your certification through continuing education (CE)

After obtaining your certification as a business coach, remember that the learning journey doesn’t stop there. 

To maintain your credentials and stay current in the field, you’ll need to engage in continuing education activities.

That means participating in workshops, attending conferences, or pursuing additional coursework that expands your knowledge and skills as a business coach. 

These activities help you stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends, strategies, and best practices while demonstrating a commitment to continuous learning.

However, it could even mean getting a bachelor’s degree or a master’s. The benefits of a master’s in psychology are plenty, especially as a business coach, as you gain the ability to work as a psychologist. 

Becoming a certified business coach is just the beginning. Continuing to cultivate knowledge, evolve, and adapt to the constantly changing business world is crucial for success.

How to Become a Business Coach without a Degree

Don’t fret if you’re passionate about helping others to achieve success in their businesses but you don’t have a diploma. 

You can still become an effective business coach. 

If you don’t have a formal degree but still want to pursue a career as a business coach, it can still be achieved through a combination of experience, skills, and continuous learning. 

Here are the steps to becoming a certified life coach without a degree:

1. Identify your niche

First things first, it’s important to identify your niche in the world of business coaching. 

What specific area or aspect of coaching are you most passionate about? Is it marketing and sales, leadership development, or perhaps team building?

For example, coach and CEO Caleigh Grant Bell at All Things Podcasting helps business owners leverage podcasts to increase their reach and revenue.

how to become a business coach

By honing in on your niche, you’ll be able to focus your efforts and offer specialized expertise that resonates with your target clients.

2. Gain relevant experience

Gaining hands-on experience is crucial for any aspiring business coach, especially if you lack formal education in the field. 

Look for opportunities where you can develop practical skills by working with small businesses or volunteering at local organizations that support entrepreneurs.

Your practical experience and dedication to continuous learning will speak volumes about your capabilities, even without a formal degree.

3. Learn from other successful coaches

You don’t need a degree to learn valuable insights from experienced coaches. Attend workshops, conferences, webinars, or even listen to podcasts featuring successful coaches

By actively engaging in these events, you can learn about various coaching techniques, strategies, and best practices that have proven effective in helping businesses thrive.

Networking with professionals in the industry will also help expand your knowledge base while building connections that may lead to future opportunities.

4. Get certified

While a degree may not be necessary, obtaining a business coaching certification can certainly enhance your credibility and increase your chances of attracting clients. 

It shows your commitment to professional development and adherence to industry standards. 

Research various certification programs that align with your niche and choose one that best suits your needs. 

Some popular options include the International Coach Federation (ICF), the Center for Coaching Certification (CCC), and the Coach Training Alliance.

5. Develop a strong online presence

Building a strong online presence is crucial for establishing yourself as a business coach without a degree. 

It allows you to showcase your expertise, connect with potential clients, and attract opportunities!

Here are some key steps to developing your online presence:

  • Create an informative website showcasing your services, certifications, testimonials from past clients, and blog posts sharing valuable insights on relevant topics in your niche.
  • Build out case studies showing specific examples of how you helped a previous client reach their goals.

Be patient. Becoming successful as a business coach without formal education takes time – but don’t get discouraged. 

Stay committed to your growth, continue learning from others in the industry, and keep refining your coaching skills. 

With persistence and dedication, you’ll build a thriving coaching business as a business coach!

Frequently Asked Questions 

If you’re considering becoming a business coach, you likely have some questions about the process. Here are some frequently asked questions.

How do I become a successful business coach?

To become a successful business coach, you need experience in entrepreneurship or management, strong communication skills, and the ability to help clients set and achieve goals. 

Consider obtaining a business coaching certification to enhance your credibility and demonstrate your commitment to professional growth.

What types of clients can I expect to work with as a business coach?

The specific types of clients you work with may depend on your niche, expertise, and target market.

As a business coach, you can expect to work with:

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Small business owners 
  • Executives
  • Professionals seeking career advancement
  • Teams and organizations 

Your clients may seek guidance on various areas such as business planning, marketing strategies, leadership development, career transitions, team building, and organizational performance.

Do I need a degree to become a successful business coach?

No, having a degree is not necessarily required to be successful as a business coach. However, it may provide valuable knowledge and skills that could benefit your coaching practice. 

Additionally, pursuing certification through organizations like the ICF can demonstrate your credibility and professionalism to potential clients.

What are some of the popular niches in business coaching? 

The popularity of business coaching niches can vary depending on current trends and market demands. Here are some commonly popular business coaching niches:

  • Executive coaching: This niche focuses on coaching executives and high-level leaders to enhance their leadership skills, decision-making abilities, and overall performance.
  • Team coaching: Team coaches facilitate the development of high-performing teams, focusing on communication, collaboration, conflict resolution, and optimizing team dynamics.
  • Branding coaching: Coaches in this niche help clients develop effective marketing strategies, build their brand presence, and enhance their messaging and positioning in the market.
  • Leadership coaching: This niche involves coaching individuals at various levels of leadership to enhance their leadership competencies, communication skills, and ability to inspire and motivate teams.

Get More Clients as You Become a Successful Business Coach 

So, are you ready to level up your skills and help others in the business world? 

Your success in becoming a business coach lies in a combination of expertise, genuine passion for helping others, continuous learning and development, and building strong relationships with clients. 

By leveraging your knowledge, experience, and a client-centered approach, you can establish credibility, attract clients, and make a meaningful impact in their businesses and lives! 

Don’t have a degree? Don’t sweat it! You can still become a successful business coach by gaining experience and building your network. 

Just remember: focus on delivering value, maintaining professionalism, and consistently striving for personal and professional growth to excel as a business coach.

Paperbell’s software makes it easy for business coaches to sell their coaching – the crazy simple way! Grab your free account and see for yourself.

how to become a business coach
By Charlene Boutin
Charlene is an email marketing and content strategy coach for small business owners and freelancers. Over the past 5 years, she has helped and coached 50+ small business owners to increase their traffic with blog content and grow their email subscribers.
July 17, 2023

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