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31 Aug, 2011

The Motivation to Succeed – Bev James

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coach Plus Articles|Coaching Articles|Continuous Professional Development|In The Spotlight|Life Coaching Articles|Personal Success|Success Stories

The Motivation to Succeed by Bev James

Personal motivation is more than just a state of mind; it is a state of being and a habit of behaviour.

Scientists have found that the more personally motivated we are to succeed, the more energy, focus and resilience we develop. Motivation comes from within – as a personal desire to succeed, and also from an external need – such as hunger, comfort, reward or recognition. We move either away from something we fear, or towards something we desire.

Thomas Edison was once asked whether he was afraid of anything. He replied ‘I am afraid of the dark.’ Perhaps that fear motivated him in his determination to develop the lightbulb.

Most people who train as coaches are motivated first and foremost by their desire to make a difference. Most find it easy to give their time and energy to help other people but may struggle to build a thriving business because they are reticent about selling their services, or have a lack of marketing know how. As coaches, you already know that your attitude of mind influences the outcome of your behaviour. Success is literally a habit – of mind and behaviour.

It is not enough simply to want to succeed – we have to believe it is possible too. The reality is that you can’t make a difference without having clients – and to be a successful coach you need to become marketing savvy. I believe excellent coaches have a duty to tell as many people as they can reach about the services they offer and in so doing make the biggest positive impact as possible. Building a business is not down to luck – it is a process, and a skill that can be learned like any other. You will need to put as much time and effort into building your business as you did into your training. Tell as many people as possible that you exist and keep communicating that message as often and as clearly as you can. It is not enough to believe, ‘When I am qualified, they will come.’ Too many coaches eventually abandon the work they love to do because they have too few clients to generate an income.

I know what it is like to train as a coach and set up an independent coaching business from scratch and can still remember the buzz of excitement when I got my very first client. I also know what it is like to run several successful businesses, which is why I want to pass my experience on to others and I am on a mission to help others adopt my philosophy of combining a coaching heart with a commercial mind. That is why I have launched EBA for Coaches with James Caan.

• How many hours a week do you spend marketing your business or focusing on increasing your professional visibility online?

• Have you drawn up a business or a marketing plan?

• What is your long term vision for your self and your business?

Over the next few weeks I am going to share with you the ten most common marketing mistakes that coaches make when setting up a business – and most importantly, how to avoid them. Once you know what to look out for you will be better prepared and better able to make your new enterprise a success.

Tip no.1: Remember you are running a business and that your time has value

Coaching is a great business because you have very few overheads, no office costs and low or no staff costs. With minimal set up costs and little need for funding to get the business off the ground, many coaches continue to work full or part time until their business takes off. This is both good and bad. Good of course because coaching it is a very low / no risk business. On the other side of the coin it can lead to complacency and no sense of urgency to build up the client base.

It is important to remember that whilst simple in concept, coaching is a business, and you need to set things up to make sure that the business runs profitably and efficiently. Coaches encourage their clients to set specific and achievable goals so, why wouldn’t you do this too? A basic business plan is commercial goal setting. Within your plan you will work out how many clients you require, how much you will charge, what costs may be incurred (marketing, phone etc) and how much profit you will make.

I often say to people, ‘Don’t say “I’ve got a coaching practice” You’re not practicing, it’s a business.’ You need to look at your costs, you need to look at your prices, set them properly and view your coaching business as a business. You need a coaching heart to win and retain your clients, but a commercial mind to help you find them and to enable your business to succeed.

To find out more about marketing for coaches visit the EBA for Coaches website.

Bev James is MD of The Coaching Academy and author of Do it! or Ditch it: Turn ideas into action and make decisions that count – 8 steps to business success, Virgin Books, July 2011

8 Responses to "The Motivation to Succeed – Bev James"

1 | Steve Jones

September 2nd, 2011 at 11:54 am


What an excellent article. Bev is so on the money when she talks about motivation v running a business. The biggest curse and blessing of a coach is the value they deliver, but you need clients as Bev says and you need to put a value on your time you give. Remember you only get paid for the time you spend in front of a client and that has to cover all the down time of running your business.
I have been fortunate enough to see first hand the value of the EBA for Coaches. Bev’s knowledge alone is worth having, but when you see all the other benefits of being involved in the EBA for Coaches, well it’s simply a ‘no brainer’
I highly recommend that any coach who is serious about building a coaching business ought to sigh up to the EBA for Coaches programme
Warmest regards
Steve Jones

2 | Oma Edoja

September 8th, 2011 at 8:57 pm


Inspiring article, Bev! Thank you!

I reiterate the importance of having a “business mindset” as well as a “making a difference” mindset.

I occasionally meet women who say they are not in business to make money; they are here just to make a difference. But if our business is not making money it will soon fizzle out. Then all the people we are here to serve will lose out. So we need to pay attention to the business side of things, and learn whatever skills we need in order to do so!

3 | Finlay Buskat

September 20th, 2011 at 7:54 pm


Great article, thanks for sharing!

Reading articles like this keeps me motivated ;-)

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