First Thing New Coaches Should Focus On

by | Mar 1, 2016 | New Coaches Start Here | 10 comments

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LISTEN HERE: The #1 Thing New Coaches Should Focus On


When a new coach reaches out to me the message is usually something like this:

Hi Benay.

Thank you for your wonderful resources. I really appreciate you*.

I have just started coaching and love it. I want to quit everything else and just focus on coaching it is so amazing and rewarding.

I am currently in XYZ job and have ABC vision for my coaching business. There is so much to do!

What do you think I should be focusing on first?

Best regards,
New Coach

*I love connecting with new coaches and of course the feedback thank you for taking the time to write!


I have answered this question so many times now and I’m noticing that a part of my answer is always the same regardless of the coach’s current job and regardless of the coaching niche the new coach wants to get into.

That is usually a sign that I need to write an article!

So, here is my message to new coaches…

Dear New Coach,

I get that you are passionate and excited about coaching. It’s awesome, rewarding and is a whole lot of fun! The buzz, camaraderie and excitement of all the new things we learn is mind blowing.

I know my mind was blown after I attended my first life coach training way back in 2006. I felt invincible. “Leap and the net will follow” was my motto.


Guess what I did first?

Even though I had no business experience and 3-days of life coach training under my belt, I was, for some reason, 200% convinced that I was going to have a six-figure coaching business in a year or less (it’s what I thought everyone else around me was doing and I’m just as smart as they are so I’ll do it too**.)

So, I quit my high paying job.

I spent money on business things that I didn’t really need yet. I wanted to do it once and do it right from the beginning. The problem was, I didn’t really know what ‘right’ was yet because I was still so new to the game.

As prescribed by most business gurus back then, I also took massive action. I attended regular networking events, cold called everyone in the local business directory and met anyone who wanted to learn more about what I could do. I gave free sessions.

I had a killer website and even put an ad in the printed Yellowpages (showing my age).

I diligently tracked all my leads, and really did the best I possibly could given the skills and resources I had available to me at the time. Then I hoped for the best.

But you know…

Working your butt off does not mean that your doing the right work.


It wasn’t too long before I was crawling back to my old job and building my coaching business on the side so I could continue paying the bills.

I really felt like I had failed back then. It was a low point for me but also a wake up call that changed my life.

A New Focus

After my wake up call, I decided to stop being a neurotic, desperate ‘life coach’ working hard to get the next paying client (not fun) and instead focused on doing what I liked doing. Coaching.

That is the first time my coaching business started to become easier for me.

So my #1 tip to you as a new coaches is this…

Learn to coach. Prove to yourself that your passion for coaching is more than a passing fad. Make sure you love doing it. Become great at it and enjoy the process.

200 Coaching Hours

Do this by getting 200 hours of coaching experience under your belt before investing in too much other stuff. Reduce your spending on your coaching business to the bare minimum and stop investing in more training.

Also, don’t expect too much from your business until you’ve gained 200 hours of experience. Give yourself permission to learn and have fun becoming a coach.

Looking at this practically, you need about 33 clients at 6 sessions each to pull this off. And at 3 clients a week it will take you almost a year and a half to get to 200 hours of coaching! So, plan it out. And hey, if you can get to 200 hours in a few months that’s fine, if it takes a few years, that’s fine too.

These sessions can be free or paid work. I did a mix of both. I had paying life coaching clients and also offered free sessions to people I knew and liked from networking events. I did what I could to fill the time I set aside each week to coach people. I got creative.

What to expect during this phase

While you are earning your 200 hours, you will start to see patterns and indicators about where to go next. You’ll discover where your clients get the best results. You’ll get direct and indirect feedback. You’ll have a sense of what type of coaching you like to do and what comes easily to you.

Then you’ll be ready to settle on a niche, develop your signature program and a whole suite of coaching products to sell from your website.You cannot force these things (although you can fast-track a bit by doing a workbook like this). Time, experience and awareness are what you most need in the early days of becoming a coach.

Remember, your successful coaching business is not a destination its a way of life.


Happy Coaching!

Benay's Signature




  1. Conor Keeling

    Thank you for your article.. All good coaches need guidance too.. Conor

  2. Dang

    Hi Benay,

    I have a question to ask: I see that you have a ready-made program for your client (Path Finder). Does that mean you will walk them through each pre-determined session?

    But isn’t it against a coaching principle that is “The agenda is always on the client”? I am confused. Can you clarify for me?


    • Benay

      Hi Dang. Great question. My answer is in two parts.

      I wrote the Pathfinder when I realized I was coaching/teaching my life coaching clients the same topics over and over. To save me time having to teach the same things over and over, I started giving the client one chapter of the Pathfinder to complete between our meetings. That kept me on track with getting the client through the essential life coaching 101 stuff (that’s in the Pathfinder) and freed up or meetings to go deeper into the client’s agenda.

      Ultimately, as a coaches, we sell an end result. We must be clear on the result we sell and we must deliver on that – meaning the client needs to have the result they paid for by the end of the program (provided they do the work). Once you’ve been coaching on the same topic for a while you start to see common patterns in your clients and you can start to systematize your coaching to leverage your time and turn the one-on-one time with you into your most premium product. These days my clients may set the agenda within a session but only provided it fits within the overall objective of our work together and gets them closer to the end result they paid for.

      I hope that helps! – B

  3. Max

    200 hrs Coaching what please?? If you don’t have a program what process are you taking the Client through??

    • Benay

      Hi Max. If you are a life coach and are not sure what to coach on when you start out, you should give our Pathfinder Program a try. It’s basically a ready made life coaching program that you can buy and use with as many clients as you like. Happy Coaching! Benay

  4. robert mcgivern

    Reading this article was a light bulb moment for me!!! I have just finished a 3 year degree in coaching and am trying to find my way forward. The reality is this is the beginning and what do i really know. I am now using the 200 hour rule as my learning time to coach as many people as i can with the most diverse problems to allow me to work out what works for me. I HAVE NOT GIVEN UP MY DAY JOB (just yet). Thanks for the inspiration Benay. Awesome enlightening moment which i believe will serve me well

    • Benay

      Awesome Robert! Enjoy and savor this time of discovery by giving yourself permission and creating space for it. When you are building your coaching business there is no rush to be, do or have anything more than what and where you already are. You are in this for the long haul and there is a season for each step of the journey. -B

      • robert mcgivern

        hi again! when you started did you have a process or way of letting people know you were able for coaching? i am finding when i bring up in conversation i am a coach i am sometimes meet with resistance or evasive responses. i am not sure if they think i am selling something or tagging them as having something wrong with them via my approach. This places some doubt in my mind what they may think of me and my capabilities. Do you have any words of wisdom around this subject.

  5. Benay

    Robert – YES! My advice is to get a clear niche. You know you have a good one when you meet people at networking events and most of them are NOT your ideal client! If you need help, check out my Next Gen Course.

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