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How to Become a Top Performance Coach in 2024

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Want to learn how to become a performance coach? 

Then, you’re in the right place. Today, you’ll learn what it takes to start a successful performance coaching business this year.

Want to learn more? Read on!

What is a performance coach?

Most people who perform at an exceptional level don’t just magically get to the top of their fields.

Instead, they use coaches to get ahead. 

These top performers include swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, and Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google. Both of them have used coaches to become the best at what they do. 

The benefits are clear. Coaches help their clients perform better.

Here’s a short video on what coaching is and isn’t:

And here’s surgeon Atul Gawande explaining the benefits of coaching in his TED talk:

That’s exactly why performance coaching is so important.

What does a performance coach do?

A performance coach helps employees, executives, athletes, artists, musicians, actors, writers, and entrepreneurs perform better. 

To illustrate, swimmer Michael Phelps’ coach helped him visualize his races to the smallest detail. He’d sit in a dark room, imagining his every movement, how the water felt on his skin, what muscles he used in his body, and so on.

When it was time for the actual Olympic games, Phelps had just taken his first strokes when his goggles broke and filled with water. He was practically blind but still went on to win the race. 

Much of his success was thanks to the exercises his coach made him do.

Another example? Performance coaches can help executives to become better leaders or employees to become better at their jobs. One in six entrepreneurs turns to a coach to improve their performance. 

So as you can see, performance coaching is a powerful form of coaching that can help people find ways to improve, excel, and achieve their goals. 

But what does a typical performance coach salary look like? Here’s what you need to know.

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

How much does a high-performance coach make? 

One of the best things about building your own coaching business is that your income depends on you. 

Making $5K, $10K, or more every month is no longer the impossible, crazy dream it used to be.

Every day, entrepreneurs are hitting these goals. And more.

Point being, there’s no income cap for performance coaches. 

According to the ICF Global Coaching Study, the average annual income for coaches is $62,500. But many of my students (who are in all kinds of niches, including career, health, and mindset coaches) make six-figures and beyond. 

That’s because as a business owner, you can set your own rules for how much you want to make and command very premium prices. If your clients perceive the value of your coaching as higher than your rate, they will happily pay. 

I typically recommend that new coaches charge $1,500 for a three-month coaching package when they start their businesses. 

Sure, you can go for a per-session rate or monthly rate. But those pricing structures diminish your value as a coach. 

With a package, your clients work towards a clear goal within a set time frame. Hourly and monthly rates don’t offer that same value. 

A $1,500 package gives you the freedom to learn how to coach (it’s a skill in itself!), deliver great value and help your clients get results and, in return, get testimonials for your business.

Then, once you have built a bit of trust and proof, you can (and should) raise your rates.

It will take time to build your business, so my advice is that you don’t quit your job just yet. Instead, work on your business on the side and quit once you’re making an income that will comfortably support you. (Ideally, you’ll make twice as much as your current salary every month before you quit your job. You’ll need to pay taxes and other business-related costs, so make sure you have a buffer for those extra costs.)

What qualifications do you need to become a performance coach?

How do you know you’re qualified to become a performance coach?

Look:

This depends on what type of coaching you want to get into. If you’re looking to become a sports performance coach, you might need a certification. But most coaching niches don’t require a coaching certification. 

Let’s say you’re a performance coach for entrepreneurs. You most likely won’t need a certification.

Sure, certifications can be a “nice to have” in many industries. But they are a waste of time for most coaches. 

You see, certifications take a long time to complete and they cost many thousands of dollars. Dollars you could spend on building your business.

And it’s not like you learn how to coach if you buy a certification program. That knowledge only comes through practical coaching experience. So get a few clients, offer them a great price while you’re learning how to coach, and you can get started coaching. 

Plus, a performance coaching certification won’t help you sell your program. 

Whether you’ll make sales can be predicted with just one thing:

How strong your offer is.

That’s it.

But if you do decide to buy a certification program, make sure it’s a reputable one. For example, programs offered by the International Coaching Federation are well known in the industry. 

Granted, you DO need to have experience helping people get the results they want to get. Maybe you have a background in psychology or you’ve gained that experience at your workplace, for instance as a team lead or an executive. 

If you can show your clients that you can help them improve their performance, that’s what ultimately matters. 

Now you know what performance coaching is. But how do you become one? Let’s find out. 

How do you become a performance coach?

Over the past few years, it’s become so much more normal to coach, to teach, to leave your job, and to make 6-, and even 7-figures.

And I cheer every person who does because it’s another point of proof to the world that hey, there’s a different way from the one we’ve been taught. One with so much more freedom, fulfillment, and abundance than we could have imagined.

To get to the point where you DO have all that freedom and abundance, you need to start your business. Here’s how. 

How to start your performance coaching business

When you first start coaching, the whole process can feel overwhelming. How do you legally start a coaching business? How do you build a website? Do you need to be on all social media platforms? 

Let’s break these down…

First, in terms of legally starting your business, my advice is: go with the easiest option. Typically, that’s an LLC or a sole proprietorship. Read more in this post with a business setup checklist. 

Also, my friend Lisa Fraley has a legal starter kit and business registration package for coaches that will take out all the guesswork from starting a business.

And here are the things you need to check off your to-do list before you start selling coaching: 

Do you need a website?

Next, you DON’T need a website. I created a simple website when I had made $20,000 in my business. Before that, I just referred people to my LinkedIn page if they wanted to learn more about me. 

A website, when you’re a brand new coach, is a waste of time. Focus your energy on getting a few clients and then build one. 

Do you need to be on all the social media platforms? 

And third, no, you don’t need to be on all social media platforms. Building a business isn’t about doing ALL the things, but choosing what to focus on so you get clients while doing less…by doing the RIGHT things.

The difficult part is to work hard to NOT overcomplicate things. (And focus on mastering the few “moves” that matter.)

Choose ONE platform that you master and double down on that. I started on Facebook. It was years later that I added on Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.

How to get performance coaching clients 

How does a person just starting out actually get their first paying client? 

…Do you hope someone magically stumbles upon your business and hires you? 

…Do you beg your friends and family to buy? 

…Do you get one of those giant spinning sidewalk signs and just point it at yourself? 

No. No. And definitely not. 

Getting your first paying client is actually a lot simpler than any of those options. 

In fact, it can be as simple as focusing on just ONE strategy.

Get the Ultimate Guide

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

For instance, one of the strategies I help my students master when they’re finding their first paying clients is to get interviewed on podcasts.

It’s one of the most effective ways to get coaching clients right now. 

But maybe you’re thinking, “why would a podcast host want to interview me, I’m just starting out as a performance coach?” 

The answer is simple. Podcast hosts are constantly looking for new people to interview, and new and valuable information to share with their audience.

You can be new in your business but you’re not new to performance coaching (you know what you’re talking about because you’ve helped people get results before). 

To find podcasts, Google search phrases like these: 

“Podcast” + “keyword”

“Top podcasts (year)” + “keyword”

And pitching podcasts can be as easy as sending an email to the podcast host, saying:

“Hi NAME OF PODCASTER,

My name is (your name) and I am (include something relevant about yourself so the podcaster understands why YOU are the right person to feature on their show). 

I’d love to set up an interview for (name of the podcast). Here are a few topics that I think your audience would love:

  • Topic suggestion 1
  • Topic suggestion 2
  • Topic suggestion 3

Let me know if these would be interesting to (name of the podcast) listeners? 

Best,

YOUR NAME”

You can also tap into your existing network, use social media, publish guest posts or use another key strategy. 

But remember to focus on one strategy rather than trying to master several at the same time. 

That’s how so many of my students have gotten the results they have.

How to succeed… no matter what

And if you’re wondering what it takes to succeed, here are my top #3 strategies for growing a profitable and fulfilling business: 

#1: Honor your word: If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Otherwise, don’t commit to it. 

That includes not overpromising! I’d much rather underpromise and overdeliver. You might make a few less sales in the short term, but you’ll build a much stronger business in the long run.

#2: Lead yourself: Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey. But that’s because when you succeed, YOU, and you alone, reap the most benefits. 

So while I’m a big fan of coaches, I also know that ultimately, only I can be responsible for my results.

#3: Use common sense: I don’t care who else is doing what. I don’t care what shiny new tactic so-and-so is selling. Find a strategy that works for you and stick to your guns. 

How to grow your performance coaching business

First, focus on getting your first paying clients. 

Once you’ve coached around three clients, you’ll start seeing patterns in their questions, their challenges, and so on.

This will help you put together a more scalable coaching offer.

You see, you can only coach so many clients. For most people, that number is ten clients. Once you have ten clients, it’ll be hard to take on more because you only have so much time. 

To continue growing your business beyond this point (and build a highly successful business), you can choose between a few different, more scalable offers:

Group coaching – you coach students in a group setting, which helps you free up your time and take on more students 

Online courses your clients buy a self-study course that they implement themselves without your personal support

Support coaches – you hire coaches who support your students 

The strategy you choose depends on your goals. Typically, I recommend that my students start with group coaching and then offer online courses.

Group coaching is easier to sell because you’re selling your personal time (which has a higher perceived value than a self-study course). 

And the more people you personally coach, the more you’ll learn about your students and the easier it’ll be to create your course and sell it. 

But as you scale, remember that it comes down to focus. Double down on one or two offers and sell those before you move on to the next thing. 

How to coach performance coaching clients 

Finally, how do you learn to coach clients if you’ve never done it before? Shouldn’t you just get that performance coaching certificate…?

No. Coaching is a skill you learn as you coach more people. Offer a great price upfront and start coaching — that’s how you become a coach. 

My approach to coaching is a bit different than the traditional school of coaching. 

I call it “coach-sulting.”

What is coach-sulting?

Coach-sulting is a combination of coaching and consulting. 

While coaching used to be much more client-driven (the client finds the answers themselves), coach-sulting is a mix of that and helping them find the answer.

For instance, if someone wants to boost their performance and you know, through your own and client experience, what typically works in their situation, you give the answer to them and help them implement it. 

But if they need to overcome internal struggles, your advice will only be partly helpful. That’s a situation where you’d turn to more traditional coaching where clients lead themselves through the process (with your support).

How do you help your coaching clients get results?

Great coaching comes down to helping your clients go through some form of transformation. 

They have a goal they want to achieve (perform better) and to get there, they need to take steps that will help them become the person they want to be.

That’s why your coaching package should have a clear goal and a step-by-step plan with monthly sub-goals.

For instance, you might break down your coaching plan month-by-month like this: 

Month #1: 

You and your client decide on a specific performance goal that they’ll have achieved at the end of your coaching. The goals depend on the length of your coaching program and your clients’ overall goals.

For example:

Entrepreneurs – to increase their sales calls from 10 to 20 every month 

Leaders – to develop a core leadership skill

Employees – to achieve their yearly performance goals 

In the first month, you focus on laying the foundation for their goal. For instance, an entrepreneur who wants to increase their sales calls might need to pitch more, so you help them build up that habit. 

Month #2: 

In the second month, you help your clients achieve a sub-goal. For example, your entrepreneur client’s sub-goal might be to go from 10 to 15 sales calls this month thanks to the pitching system you put in place in month #1. 

Month #3: 

In month #3, you work on achieving the ultimate goal. So your entrepreneur client now increases their sales calls from 15 to 20. As a result, they’ll likely get more clients, which helps you show new clients just how powerful your coaching is. 

Every coaching call supports that month’s sub-goal. You’d typically offer one or two coaching calls per month, but that depends on what you help your clients achieve.

Either way, in between your calls, you support them through email, Slack, or other messaging tools. Your clients can ping you with their questions that you answer.

Over to you!

There you have it! Now you know how to become a performance coach.

Get the Ultimate Guide

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

Starting your own performance coaching business doesn’t have to be hard. What it comes down to is that you build a coaching package with a clear goal and focus on getting your first paying clients. 

That said, while it might be simple, it’s not easy.

Want to learn the best strategy to starting a successful coaching business?

Get my free PDF!

(Disclaimer: This article is not meant as legal advice. Consult a legal expert for tailored legal information that applies to your specific situation.) 

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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