How to Become a Business Coach

Business Coach Training: Beware the Siren!

By on September 3, 2016
Veteran Business Coach Training: Beware the Siren!

Today I have an IMPORTANT, even urgent message, especially for successful, veteran business coaches. (If you’re only just learning how to become a business coach, don’t worry. This business coach training will be helpful for you a couple years from now…)

Not long ago, I had a coaching call with a coach-client of mine. He’s been coaching a company for several months now–with incredible results. In fact, he has one client who has almost doubled their profits in that time because of his excellent coaching.

And just recently, the client approached him with a tempting offer that this coach is seriously considering: a full-time position with the company.

It seems attractive. After all, they’re offering more money, stock options, a chance to buy into their company. Here are all the reasons why he’s thinking of saying yes…

1) More Money. Instead of $2,500 per month for coaching, they’re offering him $12,500 per month! They’ll even let him keep his coaching practice “on the side!”

2) Stability of Income. No matter what anyone says, client acquisition has always been–and always will be–the hardest part of the coaching business. There’s a part of this coach that says, “At last, I can have a stable income and do what I love to do best–coach a great company from a real position of control on the inside!”

3) A Bigger Play and Ownership. They’re stroking his ego. “This is your chance to be the CEO, the Director,” they say. “Time to get off the sidelines as a business coach and get back into a big game where you can actually PLAY!”

But remember: below every deal like this lurks an unexpected underbelly.

Beware the Siren

Do you remember the story of the Siren from Greek mythology? In Homer’s The Odyssey, Odysseus was the captain of a ship navigating the raging waters. As he passed between two outcroppings of rocks, he heard a song — a beautiful, seductive, almost irresistible song — from two ethereal creatures called Sirens. In their song, they promised Odysseus all the knowledge of the earth and gods.

Odysseus was tempted.

But surrounding the Sirens were the decaying bodies of sailors who had been likewise tempted. The Siren-song was so compelling, so magnetic, that those enchanted by it became powerless to resist the next verse — then the next, then the next…until they starved to death because they never found the strength to pull away.

So Odysseus sailed on.

It’s a fascinating, even gruesome, story — but one that holds a profound lesson for business coaches who find themselves in a situation similar to my client’s. After all, every successful business coach will be faced with their own Siren eventually.

But beware!

If you give in and go to work for your clients…

1) You Will Destroy Your Effective Billable Rate. If you’re using a great system to build your business, your Effective Billable Rate (EBR) is between $250 and $750 per hour, and you’re billing out at least 15 hours per week. That’s $180,000 on the low side–and better than just about any professional service provider you will ever meet. Take the job, and your EBR will plummet to $50-$100 per hour in most cases and a low six-figure income after being taxed as an employee.

2) Your Will Lose Your Freedom. Mark my words. Your relationship will fundamentally change as soon as you change from “coach” to “employee” or even to “consultant” or “president.” Instead of being the coach who holds the client accountable to produce, YOU are now accountable to produce, or else. The roles have been reversed!

3) Your Core Professional Business Coaching Practice Will Suffer Irreparable Harm. You will be drawn in slowly, like the sailors who thought they would stay for just the next verse of the Sirens’ song. But soon, all the promises of respecting your boundaries and limiting your hours will be abandoned and forgotten. As soon as the ink dries and the cash starts flowing your way, you are the servant of the business and no longer the coach. And the longer you’re diverted from your core business, the harder it will be to rebuild it, should the relationship disappoint or sour.

4) Will They Really Keep Their Promises? What about the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true it probably is?” I’ve learned from my own hard experience that those who promise the world are usually either desperate, deluded, or both. Do you have their promises in writing? Have they keep their promises with others? Are you sure?

Beware the siren! Beware the seduction!

As Robert Kiyosaki explains, money from the S or B (business owner) quadrants is so much better than the same money — or even more money — from the E (employee) quadrant. Make no mistake: it will cost you! Consider the cost before you pay it.

Is being an independent business coach worth the challenge and struggle? You bet! What else can you do vocationally to ply your gifts as a business leader, trainer, tactician, and strategist that allows you, as a relative newcomer, to earn $250k plus per year? And all this as you work from a home office, avoid a morning commute or constant travel, and maintain a 40-hour work week?

Over the past decade, I have had the privilege of knowing many of the world’s finest coaches, and many of them (myself included!) have made this painful error at least once.

So beware the Siren! Tell your crew to tie you to the mast so you can hear their song if you must.

But whatever you do, sail on. Sail on!

If you’re tempted by the offer of full-time employment from your clients, it could be you just haven’t had the business coach training to help you get to a place of consistent, reliable income. Check out my free ebook, Secrets of a Business Coaching Rock Star, to help you start building the lifestyle you deserve.

Eric Dombach

About Eric Dombach

Eric Dombach is the Founder of Coaches’ Coach. In 2001, he founded a business coaching firm that, by 2005, was generating more than $1 million USD in revenue, 23% operating profit, and average annual growth rate of 140% per year. In 2005, he sold the firm to 4 of his employees for $1 million U.S. dollars, generating a return on capital of more than 800%. Since then he has trained more than 1,300 independent and franchise business coaches in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Australasian markets.

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