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What is a Motivational Coach and How to Become One

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Want to learn how to become a motivational coach? 

You’re in the right place. Today, you’ll learn how to start a profitable and fulfilling motivational coaching business. 

Ready to learn more? Let’s dive right in! 

What is a motivational coach?

Before we get started, let’s define what a motivational coaching business is. 

A motivational coach helps clients work through problems in life while supporting them every step of the way. You empower people to set goals, assess their strengths, and help them change their habits and behaviors. 

For example, a client may want to get control of their morning routine, change their thinking patterns, or become their own boss. Whatever the case, a motivational coach provides clients with the extra support they need to meet their life goals. 

But what are the benefits of motivational coaching? That’s what we’ll dive into next.

What are the benefits of motivational coaching? 

A motivational coaching business can be profitable AND high-impact when done right. As a motivational coach, you help people transform their lives by working through their challenges and motivating them to achieve more.  

Motivational coaching helps people:

  • Boost their productivity 
  • Manage their strengths and weaknesses
  • Improve their confidence 
  • Better their health 
  • Improve personal relationships

For instance, one study reported that coaching is an effective method to reach goals because it increases motivation, positive affect, and self-efficacy. 

Motivational coaches can also work as motivational speakers who motivate and inspire audiences, help them get new aha’s, and transform the way they think.

But if motivational coaches help people improve their lives, what is the difference between motivational and life coaches? Let’s take a look. 

What is the difference between motivational and life coaches?

Let me ask you a question: 

If you had a choice of picking a motivational coach vs. a life coach, what would you choose? 

Most people will go for a motivational coach. 

Why? Because life coaching is way too broad. 

And so it’s hard to sell. 

A life coach helps people improve their lives. But what does that mean? Improve how? What specific, tangible outcome do clients get? 

On the other hand, motivational coaching is a specific niche. People know what they’re signing up for, and it’s easier to sell. 

If you’re set on becoming a life coach, be a life coach that supports your clients in clear ways. Just a few niches include parenting, relationship, personal finance, or health coaching. Here’s a list of 57 life coaching niches to choose from. 

How much do motivational coaches make? 

According to the ICF Global Coaching Study, the average pay for coaches in the US is $62,500. 

That said, as a coach, you can make as much or as little as you want. Many of the students I’ve coached have gone on to earn more than six figures and more with ease. 

And coaching is gaining popularity. According to iPEC, a whopping 1.5 million searches are made by people or businesses looking for coaches to help improve their lives or businesses. 

A thriving motivational coaching business won’t happen overnight, though.

Instead of throwing yourself out there, start your coaching business as a side hustle until it reaches a point where your income can support you. You’ll want to aim for a number that is double your current salary before quitting your day job.

There are extra costs from taxes and other business-related costs from running your own business so keep those in mind when crunching numbers. 

If you want to learn more about how I run my seven-figure business, check out this short video below:

But how do you start your motivational coaching business? That’s what we’ll look at next.

How do you become an online motivational coach?

Becoming a motivational coach may seem overwhelming at first. You feel like you’ve got what it takes to help people, but getting started is always a lot easier said than done.

The truth is, becoming an online motivational coach is a lot less complicated than it seems. It will take some work and real effort, but if you have the right experience and background, it’s completely possible for you. 

But who is qualified to be a motivational coach? Let’s find out. 

Who can become a motivational coach? 

So who can become a motivational coach? 

Anyone with the right experience. If you’ve helped someone in your life get unstuck and reach a goal, or you have yourself, you can be a motivational coach.

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For example, let’s say you’ve had the goal of building a thriving career. You started off not believing in yourself, thinking that you weren’t good enough or lacked the skills. But now, you’re in a leadership position with a six-figure salary. 

Or you overcame a health issue and pushed yourself to reach a goal… You get the gist!

Now that you know who can become a motivational coach, let’s dive into the requirements for this type of coaching. 

Requirements for motivational coaches 

A common question in the coaching industry is “Do I need a coaching certification to get started?” New coaches feel that one will make their clients trust them more or serve as “proof” that they know their stuff.

But you don’t necessarily need a coaching certification. You do in some niches (mainly health-related niches–think fitness, hormone balance, nutrition) but not as a motivational coach. 

And certifications are an unregulated industry. If you go out and get a certification, there’s no guarantee it will be effective. These certifications can cost thousands of dollars. Once you get one, there’s no guarantee that it’ll help you build your business. 

In fact, with the time and money you spent getting a certification, you could have already built a thriving motivational coaching business. 

Remember: coaching and counseling are two very different industries (and typically, a motivational coach isn’t a counselor). You do need specialized training to become a counselor. But a coach? Not so much. 

Most of my clients have gotten the same training by coaching clients and charging less than you otherwise would while you work on your coaching skills. 

That said, if you don’t have a certification, how can you ultimately raise your rates? Let’s find out how. 

Raise your rates with testimonials 

You might wonder, “Without a certification, how can I charge more and meet my financial  goals?”

Simple, with testimonials. 

Helping your clients get results isn’t just great for them. It proves that your coaching works, and other people can get the same results. 

After I helped my first client improve her business, I used the testimonial she gave me to convince my next paying client. To get more clients, I showed them testimonials from old clients who had great experiences. Before I knew it, my business started growing, and I used this method to grow it to six, then seven figures.

Once you’ve got solid testimonials from clients praising your coaching skills, you can raise your rates quickly. 

And in this short video, I explain how you can ask for testimonials:

But how do you even get your first few paying motivational coaching clients? 

That’s what we’ll look at next. 

How do you get paying coaching clients?

What’s the most important part of your business? That’s right, your clients. 

The thing is, getting your first client doesn’t have to be painful. Finding your first paying client can be as simple as honing in on one strategy. 

While there are a ton of client marketing strategies out there today, you need to find the best one that works for you and your client base. 

Pick one or two strategies, and keep at them until you master them. Sticking to one strategy will help you see results much faster than trying random strategies and never quite mastering any of them. 

We’ll share these two strategies in this post: getting clients from podcasts and from your own network. 

Get clients from podcasts 

First, you can get clients from podcasts. How? Well, start by pitching relevant podcasts to host you as a podcast guest. I know what you’re thinking.

“Luisa, why would they want to have me on their podcast?” 

Let me tell you. 

Even if you feel that you don’t have a lot of experience under your belt, you ARE a pro in your field. Forget about not having a ton of coaching experience. What you do have, is the experience and results to back up what you have to say. 

The expertise you share with the people listening could have them seeking you out to get support from you through your coaching program. 

To find coaching podcasts, start with Google searching podcasts that talk about motivational coaching and similar topics. Once you have a couple of podcasts that look promising, send an email to the podcast host explaining who you are and a few reasons why they should invite you to the show. 

Get clients from your own network

Asking your network is another great way to find clients. And if you’re thinking that you don’t have a network – you do, and it’s a lot bigger than you might think.

Think about your friends and family. Then think about their friends and family. And their friend’s friends and family (you get the picture).

Even if no one you know personally is interested in becoming a client, maybe someone they know will.

In fact, 46% of clients find their coaches through referrals and word of mouth. So don’t underestimate the power of your network.

I got started by tapping into my network. When I sold my first coaching package for career coaching, I started by asking some co-workers (who I had helped in the past) if they wanted to turn it into a paid offer. A few of them agreed, and boom. I had my first real coaching clients. 

And if you want even more strategies, take a look at this short video:

Now that you’ve found clients and started to build your business, how can you scale your coaching business to reach more people? Let’s find out. 

How do you scale your coaching business? 

Scaling your coaching business is the best way to exponentially increase your revenue while making the best use of your time. 

If you’ve been working with one-on-one private coaching clients, the fastest way to scale up is to turn to group coaching. In that case, you turn what you’ve been teaching into a series of group calls. If you transfer what you’ve been teaching your private clients into a series of videos and PDFs, your group coaching clients can learn the information at their own pace and use the group calls as a way to support them to reach their goals. 

Scaling your coaching business doesn’t mean getting rid of private coaching, either. You can offer a mix of sessions to clients. For example, you could offer group coaching for $3,500 and private coaching for $9,000. This can be a really fun way to work more intimately with clients to help them get results, while you open up your offers to more people. 

No matter your business goals, group coaching is one way to grow your business into multiple six-figures. 

Get the Ultimate Guide

for building a
6-Figure Coaching Business so you can achieve more freedom!

And that’s how you can successfully scale your motivational coaching business. But how do you become a great motivational coach? Here’s what you need to do. 

How do you become a great motivational coach? 

What do you need to do to become a great motivational coach? There are so many ways to coach a person. Each client will need something different from you as a coach too. 

Most people start with the tried and true method of coaching clients. They start the session by asking a ton of questions to try and “lead” their client to the answers they think they’re trying to find. 

That’s fine, but it’s not always the best way. 

Instead, the more modern school of coaching is a hybrid way of coaching–what I call “coach-sulting.” You mix coaching and consulting to help your clients get the answers they’re looking for by using your experience and support to point them in the right direction. 

But how do you create a coaching offer so people can take advantage of your life-changing coaching? Here’s what you need to do. 

Create a coaching offer

First, start by creating a coaching offer. It’s not enough to create any old coaching offer. You need to make one that makes people think, “I NEED that in my life.”

Your coaching offer needs to show what kind of transformations people can get from your coaching. After all, people aren’t really interested in the nitty-gritty details of your offer. 

Nope. They’re looking for results.

So make the transformation you help them go through the promise of your offer. 

But how should you structure your motivational coaching packages? Let’s take a look.

Structure your coaching packages 

I typically advise clients to start with a 3-month package that you price at $1,500. This period of time is long enough for clients to start getting results but not too long that you feel “trapped.”

While you might think that 6 months or 1 year is what clients need to get results, this could have the opposite effect. You might realize that you’ve overpromised certain achievements a few weeks into coaching. Or you might realize that this client isn’t someone you want to work with long-term. 

Longer coaching packages are also harder to sell, as clients may feel iffy about committing for so long. 

Find out more about creating your first coaching offer in this video:  

Now that you’ve created your coaching offer, you need to know how to price it.

How to price coaching offers 

How should you price your coaching offers? I recommend picking one of these pricing models to use in your motivational coaching business:

  1. Per package: Charging per package means customers pay for your coaching packages, such as a 3-month package. This model focuses on the results you help your client get at the end of the package. 
  2. Per month: When clients pay you per month, it takes on a retainer format. While it’s not an awful way of pricing, it’s harder to establish boundaries with clients. They may also get distracted from their end goal with this pricing model.
  3. Per session: Clients only pay you per session in this pricing model. I typically don’t recommend pricing per session, as it’s easy for clients to believe that your coaching value only comes from the time you spend with them.

If you start your first coaching package at $1,500, you can always increase it. As your coaching develops and you get more clients, you can quickly scale up your prices. 

Alright, so you’ve created and priced your coaching offer. Now, you need to know how to hold effective coaching calls. 

Hold effective coaching calls

One of the most common questions I get is, “How do I hold an effective coaching call?”

I’ll let you in on a secret. Holding an effective coaching call starts BEFORE you ever hop on the call to meet the client. 

Listen: We all want to nail that initial call. But remember that all your calls should be structured and goal-oriented. To coach your client well, you need to know their challenges. 

When I started coaching, I was so nervous that I would spend hours preparing. But as I worked with more clients, I felt that coaching got easier with each session. I was able to notice trends in clients’ questions and learn how to structure my calls. 

Here’s how: 

Before the call

You won’t need to prepare much material when meeting a client for the first time. 

Start by sending out a welcome questionnaire before your first call. Ask them questions relevant to your coaching session, and use this time to get to know their struggles.  

I keep mine in Google Docs and share it as an editable document with clients. You want this questionnaire to be detailed enough to get a clear idea of how to help them. I recommend making it about 20-30 questions.

During your call

You can use any video platform to hold your calls. Many of my clients use Zoom, but you can use others like Google Meet or Skype. 

Each coaching call should help your client get one step closer to achieving their goal. Avoid hopping on a call just to “chat” or one without a clear purpose. For example, if your client’s goal is to eat healthier, you can use one call to discuss small changes they can make in their diet. Another call might talk about where to go to find healthy recipes to incorporate into their meal planning.  

Aim to break down your coaching months like this:

Month #1: Work on getting the foundations in place for change 

Month #2: Implement proven strategies for behavioral change 

Month #3: Bring it all full circle with steps for students to achieve their goals 

After your call

Motivational coaching goes so much farther than your 45-60-minute coaching calls. 

Your client should be working on and applying what you’ve discussed between your weekly calls.

I always send a recording of all our weekly calls to the client, so they can review what we discussed and refer to it as they need. 

Successful motivational coaches usually check in with clients between calls. This will look different for each client. Some might only need a text here and there, while others may ask for supplementary material.

I talk more about how you can hold effective coaching calls here: 

Over to you!

That’s it, now you’re ready to become a motivational coach and start helping your clients improve their lives. Remember, it all comes down to trusting yourself and knowing that what you’re selling will make a difference in your clients’ lives and beyond. 

Next, I’d love to hear from you: 

Why do you want to become a motivational coach? 

Let me know in the comments below. 

About Luisa Zhou

Luisa Zhou has helped thousands of students build and scale their own profitable online Freedom Business. Fun Fact: She used to work as an engineer for the Space Station and holds a B.S.E. from Princeton. Click here to learn more about Luisa.

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