What to do when you don’t feel ready to start coaching

There’s a lot of things that can keep you stuck as a coach – from feeling overwhelmed with all the business side of things to trying to find the time to actually work on your business, it can be easy to procrastinate and never move things forward.

But what if the thing keeping you stuck is that you don’t feel ready to start coaching?

Most new coaches start off by doing some kind of training qualification – there’s loads and loads of them out there which can be done online. They’re all slightly different which can make it quite confusing!

Sometimes you finish your training qualification and still don’t feel ready to coach. Maybe you wonder if you actually picked the right qualification? Maybe you should do just one more course to be sure?

The truth is, I don’t think anyone ever feels ready to start coaching people. Most new coaches have some fear around actually sitting down with their first prospective client. But how do we get past this fear and start to feel comfortable and ready to coach?

Here’s some things for you to consider…

What’s the big fear?

Ask yourself what the worst case scenario is if you got a client. Literally write down all your worries and concerns about what might happen.

Then go over that list and ask yourself what the outcome of these things happening would be.

Often, the reality of even a worst case scenario isn’t actually the end of the world. Maybe you’re worried someone will think you’re rubbish and ask for a refund. If that did actually happen, how would you handle it? You’d probably give the person a refund and that would be the end of it. You’d probably feel awful – but honestly you’d get over it. The chances of anyone thinking your crap is really low too!


Once you have that list of worst case scenarios then you can think of practical ways to prepare or reduce the chances of those things happening.

Maybe you work with one or two people for free or very low cost to build your confidence?

Perhaps you plan a structure for your coaching sessions with a list of extra coaching questions so you’re never left not knowing what to say next?

You could have a test run using technology like Skype if you’ll be coaching online.

Consider what things you can do to better prepare to make yourself feel more confident.

Understand it’s a mindset block

Once you’ve done a qualification, it’s rarely the case that you’re actually not ready to coach. It’s much more likely that it’s a mindset block.

The only way to really find out is to get out there and work with some people! That will give you a much better sense as to whether or not you do need more upskilling or just more practice.

When I first started out as a coach I was very nervous and I followed the programme and structure suggested by my coaching school. But once I became more comfortable coaching I was able to become my own coach.

Becoming your own kind of coach is something that is more based on practice than qualifications.

Beware of procrasti-learning!

Procrasti-learning is exactly what it sounds like – it’s where you procrastinate moving your business forward by feeling like you need more and more training when actually you just need to practice more!

But I’m by no means against continued learning as a coach.

It may be the case that after practicing with a few clients you do feel a bit out of your depth or that you need additional skills in a particular area. At that point when you’ve actually tried working with a few people, looking at filling skills or knowledge gaps is going to be less likely to be a form of procrastination – just always check in with yourself first.

You don’t need to have everything in place

Sometimes we believe we need to have all the things in place before we start coaching people – but that is never the case. Yes, a website, brand, social media etc is very helpful and essential once you get to a certain point, but none of it is required to actually coach people (it’s the getting of clients where all that stuff comes in handy!) See the action plan below to see that you can start working with practice clients right away, no bells and whistles required if you can get referrals from friends and family. 

A plan of action

I know that feeling overwhelmed never helps, so here is a step by step plan you can try to get you out of the ‘I’m not ready’ trap!

Prepare – Think about a structure you might use for your discovery calls and sessions if you don’t already have one. Test any technology you’ll be using. Think about what fears are getting in the way, if those are realistic and if there’s anything you can do to reduce the likelihood of them happening. Make sure you have insurance and a programme agreement even for free clients that simply explains what your coaching relationship will be like. 

Practice – find some clients you can work with for free or low cost. Ask friends and family to refer people who could be a good fit. (I wouldn’t recommend working with a close friend or family member directly though!)

Give yourself a maximum number like 2 or 3 so you don’t get stuck in the pattern of working with lots of people for free! Use these practice clients to build confidence around your coaching and identify if there really are areas you need more skills in. Make sure you get testimonials!

Have a plan as to how to grow your business from this point – Don’t lose the momentum! Make sure you’re doing the other things to grow your business as well. My free 3 Month Success Action Plan is a great place to start – it gives you a step by step plan as to what to get in place and when so you actually have a fully fledged coaching business by the end!

Join my list and get it here

I really hope this post has given you some things to consider if you feel like you’re not ready to actually start coaching people. As I said, no one ever feels 100% ready, sometimes you just have to get stuck in!

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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