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What I Wish I Knew When I Started as a High Performance Coach

Over the last decade, I've had the opportunity to chat with coaches from all over the world about their business and experiences coaching.

Throughout all these conversations, I always ask a simple, yet powerful question:

What would you have done differently if you could restart your coaching career today? What advice do you have for a coach just getting started in this industry?

So, in this blog post, I'm going to share the top four things I’ve learned from these conversations to help you grow your coaching business.

As always, my goal is to help you turn your coaching business from a fledgling start-up to a six-figure success story within your first year… Without burning you out.

And of course, at the end I’ll give you some action items to put your new knowledge into practice.

Let’s get to it.

1. Invest in Mentorship

The number one thing seasoned coaches recommend is investing in mentorship.

In fact, I’ve heard coaches call mentorship a “cheat code” for rapid growth.

Learning from those who have been there before can help you avoid making the same mistakes that others have made, and jumpstart your success.

But in my experience, coaches focus a little too much on TECHNICAL mentorship, and not enough on BUSINESS mentorship.

Because, as I’ve said before, it doesn’t matter how much technical knowledge you have if you can’t package your expertise and sell it effectively.

If you don’t learn how to run a business, you’re gonna burn out and give up.

Trust me. It happens way too often.

Do yourself a favor and get help BEFORE you need it. You’ll thank me later!

2. Stop Selling Units of Time

I know, here I go again.

In case I haven’t made it clear in the past (e.g. here, here, here, here, here), I believe fervently that coaches need to stop selling lessons.

While lessons may be a great way to make a quick buck in the short term, it’s not sustainable in the long run.

Every time I’ve seen a coach move to a subscription-based long-term development they comment that they wish they did it sooner.

Seriously. It works.

When you sell RESULTS, rather than lessons, you’ll attract much better clients who will stick with you for the long haul.

And the results can be all kinds of things, depending on what you’re offering. Lose weight, run faster, jump higher, etc.

Whatever it might be, lead with the results and follow up with the process.

For some awesome examples of coaches who made this switch with great success, check out my recent interviews with Nicole Fougerousse and Doug Mills.

3. Embrace Technology to Manage Relationships

Far too often, coaches become enamored with the really cool hardware or data tracking software for vanity metrics, etc.

And, don’t get me wrong, those can be great! But if you’re focused on them in lieu of proper coach-athlete communication, your business is gonna fall apart.

In short, you need to be able to COMMUNICATE the things that the other technology helps you measure.

Aside from preventing burn out, effective communication technology will greatly improve your relationship with your athletes.

And if your athletes are happy with your coaching, they are FAR more likely to stick around.

And, as I’ve argued elsewhere, one of the easiest ways to grow your business is to focus on RETENTION.

More details can be found in last week’s post: Compound Your Coaching: How to Build a Massive Business in 2023.

4. Niche down to stand out

Many coaches stumble upon their niche by accident after coaching anyone and everyone for the first few years.

But since you’re here, I’m gonna highly encourage you to proactively find your niche NOW rather than later.

Ask yourself some simple questions to get started on this journey.

What sets you apart from other coaches? What specific skills or expertise do you bring to the table?

By answering these questions, you'll be better able to position yourself in the market and attract clients who are looking for exactly what you have to offer.

But finding your niche is just the first step - once you've found it, you need to lean into it.

Focus your marketing efforts on your niche and become known as an expert in that area.

By doing so, you'll be able to charge higher prices and attract clients who are willing to pay a premium for your expertise.

For more on this, check out our popular post: Know Who You Serve (And Who You Don’t).

Action Item

None of this matters if you don’t put it into practice. Here’s your action item for the week:

Take one of those 4 areas of focus and make a significant change within one of the areas. To recap, here are the 4 most common pieces of advice I’ve heard in the last decade working with thousands of coaches:


  • Invest in mentorship: Look for business mentors who can help you develop your coaching business, as well as technical mentors who can help you improve your coaching skills.
  • Focus on long-term development: Instead of selling packages of lessons, focus on selling results and long-term development. Create subscription-based coaching packages that help your clients achieve their goals over time.
  • Niche down to stand out: Identify your niche and focus your marketing efforts on it.

Here’s to rapid growth in 2023 and beyond!