Business Plan for Coaches: Adventure, Intuition, Trust
BUSINESS PLAN FOR COACHES: ADVENTURE, INTUITION, TRUST
Further to my recent posts on Start-up for Coaches and Personal Branding for Coaches, few self-employed coaches have a business plan. We all keep putting it off; frankly, most of us would rather go to the dentist! A conventional business plan can be helpful however it’s my experience that the energy and commitment in the coach is more important for business success than the coach’s written plan. If your business comes from your heart and soul, planning it with your head may not be the best way to create a plan that really works for you. What will pull your business forward is tapping into your sense of adventure, your intuition and trust.
In business we get to choose our own adventure. This is about stepping into the unknown, discovering new worlds, overcoming challenges and working out how to survive and thrive in the market place. If you don’t feel daunted, unsure of yourself, like an imposter at times, then you haven’t launched yet. It’s only when you’ve burned your bridges and there is no way back that you truly commit to the business journey. When you commit to your business, there is only one way you can go, which is forward. You’ll know when you are called to this adventure: you will feel drawn to starting your own business, it lights you up when you talk about it and you just know you’ll regret it forever if you don’t do it. I wanted to be my own boss and to work with business owners. I turned up to my first networking event introducing myself as a business mentor but feeling like a total fraud. I realised afterwards that I enjoyed meeting new people and learning about them – I love connecting with people. This helped me to build a great network of mentors, coaches and business people. I wrote a vision statement of everything I really wanted in my business, which included working with associates and leadership roles. These have manifested in surprising ways: I went on to co-found and lead the Wiltshire Business Mentoring Scheme; I founded and lead the Salisbury Coaching Circle; I’m the organiser of Salisbury International Coaching Week; and I’m a founder member of the Cancer Coaching Community. The adventure has drawn me more into coaching for career transition, wellness and cancer. I’m now exploring ‘therapeutic coaching’ and the overlap between coaching and counselling, which fascinates me. I like the fact that I don’t know what’s next, which simply makes the adventure more intriguing. Sometimes we just want to ‘make the boat go faster’ and nothing seems to work however the flipside of this uncertainty and frustration is surprise and adventure. A recent example of this upside was being asked to run an ‘away day’ for a team from the Bank of England, which was a total surprise – and a great gig.
Intuition is sometimes called ‘wisdom in action’. We all have intuition, yet our education
system teaches us to use our senses and logical thinking in preference to our
intuition. When I began to use my
intuition for decision making, I found it to be more effective than logical
thinking: I usually had better outcomes.
Similarly, when planning my business, I’d sat myself down on half a
dozen occasions absolutely determined to write a conventional business plan,
however, nothing happened! Despite lots
of experience of writing and appraising business plans, I drew a blank every
time. Eventually I understood that I felt
I ‘should’ have a conventional business plan, but this wasn’t my voice; it was
the ‘conventional wisdom’ speaking. What
if I let go of these other voices and simply allowed my intuition to guide
me? When I did this, 2 hours later I
looked up and I’d written an intuitive business plan template. I populated it with my input and I’m still
using it. This was a game changer for me
and my business has developed ever since.
Openness and trust are key qualities that will help you achieve your vision. This requires a leap of faith. Make that leap and you liberate yourself from all self-imposed constraints. You now have licence to try anything and everything – you can do whatever you want. This approach allowed me to discover hidden talents in myself (poetry in coaching anyone?) and to be constantly learning, open to new experiences, taking inspired yet manageable risks, finding new ways to serve my clients and finding new clients in different market segments. For me there is no destination, it’s all about the journey, the adventure, and I trust that I am always heading in my best direction. Even the detours are fun and useful. In the early days of my business, I was called out of the blue by the publishers for the Institute of Directors (IoD). They asked me to write a chapter on coaching and mentoring for the IoD annual publication, ‘The Growing Business Handbook’. After checking that they hadn’t made a mistake (imposter syndrome had well and truly kicked in!), my mouth opened and the words, “I’ll do it” came out. When I put the phone down, I had a moment of panic, but I trusted that my unconscious mind new what it was doing. Writing this chapter turned out to be a sound move that brought me credibility. The following year the publisher asked me to write about any business topic I chose so I wrote about leadership for performance, and leadership for growth, which added more strings to my bow.
There is a lot of ‘conventional wisdom’ out there about business plans. A conventional business plan can be useful, but logic and numbers aren’t the wellspring of your business. As a coach, it’s your personal energy and commitment that will pull your business forward. Here are my tips for an intuitive approach to your business plan that taps into your heart and soul:
1. The flipside of uncertainty and frustration is surprise and adventure. It’s going to be challenging and only when you truly commit to it will you begin to make real progress. Ask yourself: what adventure do I want to go on? Once you’ve made the decision to commit to this adventure, write a statement of everything you truly want in your business, then put it away. You’ll be surprised how much of it manifests over time.
2. Use your intuition to plan your business. Coach yourself to create your own intuitive business plan. What outcomes do you want? What has meaning and purpose for you? What energises you?
3. Openness and trust will help you attract the right resources and opportunities. This requires a leap of faith. Make that leap and you liberate yourself from all self-imposed constraints. This creates the space for everything you want to manifest in your business.
It feels appropriate to share a few of the wise words of Albert Einstein here:
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
Are you ready to honour your sacred gift? Honouring my intuition is the best business move I’ve made, and I hope an intuitive business plan works for you too 😊