Walk Before You Run – How Smart Coaches Make Progress in Year 1

Lee Hutchinson

How many of you remember your first attempts at walking as an infant?

Not many I’m sure.

But many of you will have been the parent or grandparent helping and supporting a child in your family with their first steps.

The first attempts are nothing more than a gentle thrust from one adult to another followed by “Oooh didn’t you do well??” Gradually the ‘push’ advances to a couple of stumbling steps accompanied by encouraging cries of “You’re walking, you’re walking!”

Often those steps become an actual stumble but you as adults are there to give support, a cuddle and encouragement. The child smiles in glee at all this attention and bounces straight back to have another attempt.

Happy memories indeed; if only adult life was accompanied with such encouragement and positive messages! Too often as adults our attempts at something new are met with questions, and doubts and comments of “You must be crazy!” Often the people saying these things were the adults who many years ago encouraged us to try and keep trying until we succeeded.

Have you told people you are going to be a successful coach and are thinking of quitting your job?

Some people will encourage but many see it as too big a risk and not worth trying. Stay within your comfort zone is the message.

Imagine if as parents we did the same with our children?

 “You’ve fallen over again! You’ll never walk, why are you bothering to try? Just stay in your cot where you’re safe.” 

But people do leave their old careers and become successful coaches.

People do change their life so it is more in tune with their life mission.

People do ignore the ‘Dream-stealers’ and bounce back when success isn’t immediate.

So what is the message here?

Firstly, focus on the voices that are encouraging you to succeed. If a dream is worth achieving it takes time, investment, effort and periodic failures. These are all natural processes on the road to your goal.

Hang out with like-minded people who will give you support and encourage you when you stumble. You are at the beginning of an incredible journey but at the beginning you are, so enjoy it. Enjoy the journey and don’t just focus on the destination. Enjoy the process of developing and growing as an individual over time. 

But also my message is walk before you can run.

No baby came into this world in full kit and spikes running 10 second hundred metres! Many people become disillusioned and give up simply because their initial goals are unrealistic.

It is incredibly unlikely that you will be a Jack Canfield or a Tony Robbins within a year. People often see these people as an inspiration which they are but they are the end product of many years of effort, development and bad days.

When Cilo Greene had a number one in 2006 with “Crazy” he was hailed as an overnight sensation by the press. In interviews, he had to correct this portrayal and explain he had been on the music scene for 15 years before this massive breakthrough!

So think about this in your coaching journey.

In the first 6 months, you are finding your feet, gaining confidence and growing your footprint. You probably will do free sessions, and cheap sessions to get some experience and testimonials. That is absolutely natural but the key is to keep growing.

The person who starts slowly but keeps improving every day will always overtake the more confident person who is too arrogant to improve.

Lee Hutchinson, Certified Coach

Perhaps start with small group coaching of 10 or 20 people paying £15 or so each. That’s how I started. I advertised an 8-week programme of 90-minute sessions and charged £15 a head – £100 if you pay in full in advance.

What was the benefit of doing this? 

  1. It grew my confidence very quickly.
  2. I could practice as a novice without the pressure that someone has paid me £100 for the pleasure.
  3. It provided lots of testimonials straight away as well as word of mouth – I got 3 one to one clients directly from referrals from the sessions.
  4. And………15 people paying £15 is £225 for an hour and a half coaching session! This helped overcome limiting beliefs about my value.

And the unseen bonus of this?

Once I had designed the programme I could roll it out every year! The following year I was far more confident with a good reputation so it was £20 a head and I got 20 people per session. As the programme only needed tweaking I was literally earning £400 per session per week.

So the key is this. Understand you are taking your first steps in your journey.

You will stumble, you will make mistakes but you will gain confidence and get better!

And please, please hang around with people who are going to encourage you during this process.

The only person who fails is the person who fails to persist and this often happens due to the pressure of negative voices.

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