A Tale of Two Coaches

As a start-up coach, how awesome would it be to just close your eyes, cross your arms, and “I Dream of Jeannie” style nod your head and poof! Magically, your coaching business is filled with great clients, running itself, organized and beautiful … while you make the difference you’re here to make.

Ahh … if only!

The truth is that starting your coaching business can be messy and complicated. But it doesn’t have to be.

And that’s why today, I’m telling you a story … a Tale of Two Coaches.

Melinda’s Story:

In my former life, almost 15 years ago, I had my dream job. (It wasn’t coaching, then.)

I loved what I was doing – and had been dreaming of doing it since I was 13. I went to school for it and had planned on doing it my entire life.

I actually had my entire life all planned out, all the way through retirement.

But then, I was fired … and all my perfect dreams were shattered.

And you know what it’s like, right? Sometimes when it rains, it POURS.

I was recently divorced, and I was now jobless, on my own. I had responsibilities. I needed to make money fast! But like so many of us, I had no experience setting up a business – I just knew I loved to coach, and wanted to make it more than a hobby.

Kate, who was my coach at the time, gave me a big stack of papers and said, “Here is everything you need to start a business.”

That pile of papers stood between me and my success.

Imagine it, for a second. If a pile of papers stood between YOU and YOUR success, what would you do? Tackle it? Hide behind it, pretending to do “busy” work? Let it stop you from moving forward? (Answer really honestly – it’s okay, I’ll wait!)

For me, it was perfect. I’m like Monica from Friends: I LOVE to organize and make things work as effectively as possible (I’m crazy like that).

So I went through that whole pile in under a month, and piecemealed different technologies together to create a system to run my business.

Because I did that, I put a system in place that handled all the details of my new coaching business behind the scenes, while I coached.

I automated, and made sure nothing could slip through the cracks. And because nothing was slipping through the cracks, I could deliver what I was promising while I powerfully served my clients!

And guess what? THAT gave me the confidence that set me apart from other start-up coaches.
That confidence allowed me to present myself professionally. I could go to the networking events and learn the marketing to get clients. It allowed me to charge what I was worth right out of the gate, and all of this was how I had a full, booming coaching practice in under six months.

In fact, I was on track to make $50k in my first year, and I hadn’t even finished my coach training!

The best part? The entire process was FUN – I absolutely loved it!

That’s how I built my business.

Kate, on the other hand, had a completely different business-building experience.

Kate’s Story:

Even early on, Kate recognized the fact that she had never excelled at things like administration, processes, or systems in business. She’s always been more of a “go with the flow” kind of woman, so it made perfect sense to her to do the same with her business.

Kate loved being a coach so much, that THAT was her flow, and she struggled in all the business-building areas … which meant she also struggled to create a thriving business.

(Can you relate?!)

Kate is naturally gifted at networking, client attraction, and sales, so it wasn’t too long before she had her first client. Along with that client came her “Oh, Crap! NOW What Do I Do?” moment.

She immediately called her mentor coach and said, “Now what do I do?” (I can only imagine her panic!)

Her coach walked her through the next steps of getting the client signed up. It became a pattern: every time Kate ran into another missing business system, she would call her mentor and then scramble to figure out the next step … always rushing to implement it right away, so she could maintain some level of professionalism with her clients.

To her clients and prospects, everything was “fine,” but behind the scenes, she was a mess!

The piecemealing continued as she solved immediate need after immediate need as she bumped into them.

Kate was stuck in REACTIONARY mode, and she lost clients and money in the process (she once told me a story about how it took her THREE MONTHS to create an invoice for a client and by then … she was so embarrassed that she didn’t send it! She ultimately waived the fee!).

Because Kate was disorganized in her follow-up, she would often just ignore it all together. This went on for three years! Kate did create minimal financial success, but everything was always a struggle. So despite being a great coach and a great marketer, Kate was a (self-admitted) terrible businessperson!

When the Two Come Together:

“When Kate met Melinda” …

Kate was quick to dub me The Goddess of Efficiency!

When I met Kate, as my mentor coach, she handed me that big stack of paper she’d been collecting for over three years and said, “Here’s everything you need!”

When I took that stack and created my newly-organized business systems, Kate said, “I want what you’ve got!!!”

And I began coaching her to organize the back-end of her business.

Realize that at THIS point, I’d only been “in business” about a month myself, so I wasn’t in the flow of attracting and serving clients. But Kate could see how much an organized, streamlined, efficient process would grow her business!

(And her crystal ball said that it would skyrocket mine!)

Kate and I quickly realized there were lots of coaches out there who didn’t know how to run a business, or didn’t like the business-end of coaching. And we realized WE could HELP them become thriving business owners!

And that’s how we became business partners. That was the birth of what is now The Coaches Console.

Fourteen years later, we’ve transformed this realization into a 7-figure business, working with thousands of coaches, and growing an awesome team, so we can continue to make even bigger impacts in the lives of many around the world!

The Moral of the Tale:

You have to be prepared, and have the back-end of your business ready to find new prospects, convert them into clients, and support them in an exquisite way to make the difference–and the income–you want to make.

Your passion and your love for helping your clients can get them the transformation they want – but if you’re always struggling in the follow-up or client attraction, you’ll never have the life YOU want.

There’s no shame in being “bad at the back-end” either! In fact, even if you’re great at it, imagine how much easier life would be if you could follow a proven system – and not have to build it all from scratch (or from a huge pile of papers and resources!).

So let me ask you:

Which coach can you more closely identify with: Melinda or Kate?

And which path do you want to take with your business?

Comment below – I LOVE hearing from you, and I read your comments! I can’t wait to respond to your thoughts and questions.

Posted in: StartUp Coach

Leave a Comment: (6) →


  1. Penny June 28, 2017

    Thank you for this great article. The “side-by-side” comparison is extremely helpful. I opened my business 6 years ago and have not been very successful — mostly because I’m a “Kate,” not a “Melinda.”

    And your timing couldn’t be better. I’m currently restructuring, rebranding, and refocusing my coaching practice, after about a year of forced down time due to health concerns. Fortunately there are some local resources to help with the back end of business building and with marketing. But you’ve opened my eyes to looking things a little differently and adding some overlooked pieces.

    Bottom line, I need help. I’m not interested or good enough at doing all the “business stuff.” So getting help from qualified professionals is well worth the investment. In the end, the money spent will be more than covered by the increased clients. And it’s not possible to put a price tag on efficiency, stress-reduction and peace of mind.

      Melinda Cohan June 29, 2017

      Hey there Penny! I’m so thrilled that in your journey of restructuring, reinventing and refocusing that we crossed paths and you “called us in” to your journey! I’m glad this was helpful to see additional pieces… AND we’re creating some more free resources that we’ll be sharing in the coming months that will spell this all out step by step by step. I think you’ll like the blueprint and roadmap we’re putting together for coaches… I wish i could share it with you right now, but our team is still working on them 😉 Most of all i want to acknowledge your courage! It is not easy to admit areas where we need help… it’s often the most freeing, but not usually easy to do so! Cudos to you for acknowledging what you know you DON’T want to experience any longer so you know what you can focus on and to locate the resources, support and guidance to help you create what you DO want!!! I too agree that it is priceless!!! I look forward to sharing more of our free resources with you soon! Are you in our VIP “The Coaching Lifestyle” Facebook group??? definitely check that out so you can connect with, collaborate with and interact with me, our team and so many other like-minded entrepreneurs like yourself… you can join here: it’s a free group, you don’t have to be our clients, but it is private for just our community. I pop in there all the time answering questions, sharing resources, doing little trainings… and we just plain have a ton of fun on our journey together!

  2. Kerri June 28, 2017

    Hi Melinda,

    Love this! I am very efficient like you, type A. All that. But I am also like you 14 years ago, I am a newbie coach, in a coaching academy program, ready to graduate in 3 months and have 86 hours of coaching done, all my homework, 2 more feedbacks required and 4 more POD group calls required. Also a ton of reading left to do in the next 6 months as well. Would like it all read in 3. But ironcically my husband said to me, when are you signing on to The Coaches Consul who I was referred to by Vickie Mueller a client of yours. I said when I get my 1st client to save us money until then. Well after reading this post, I know now to be efficient and attract all the RIGHT PAYING CLIENTS I need to have my automated systems up in place first. So with that said you’ll be hearing back from me in 30 days or so. I have some other things we are paying out on right now but I know “see” the importance of setting up with you guys to take the stress out of building my brand new business. Thanks so much, love reading your posts! Cheers, Kerri

      Melinda Cohan June 29, 2017

      okay Kerry…. I LOVE YOUR HUSBAND!!! (but not in a weird way) And I love Vickie too!!! Not because of their brilliance for recommending Coaches Console (giggle giggle) but for holding space for you to see the way in which you want to experience in setting up your business and consciously choosing that. 40% of entrepreneurs close up shop before they realize their dreams and all too often it’s a systems issues; because they’re in reactionary mode and scrambling trying to get things set up after they try to market and after they try to sell and after they get paying clients. It’s that “oh crap now what” that kate experienced that we talked about in this article. I’m so thrilled for you to gt clear NOW on how you want to experience your business – being efficient and attracting the RIGHT paying clients right from the get go… it makes all the difference in your journey ahead; and you’ll reap much bigger rewards much faster too. Now… go hug your man’s neck and give him a big thank you! And be sure to acknowledge yourself for the brilliant business woman you are! I’ll see you soon!!!

  3. Mary D Martin June 29, 2017

    Having structure is something I struggle with sometimes so I’ve taken a small step back to reevaluate who I serve. I believe I’m a teacher by nature and I love giving information so I’ve chosen group coaching as my main way of building my business. As a new coach, it is a lot to learn but I’m enjoying the journey. Mary

      Melinda Cohan June 29, 2017

      Hello Mary! sometimes those small steps can become great leaps! I too love sharing information to as many people as possible and have found extreme joy and success in working with groups! When i first started doing group coaching, sometimes i would have 2 or 3 people in my group, sometimes no one (and I’d do it for the practice anyway) and then it became 12 or 13… which grew into 40, and then 100 and now i do our Bootcamp with groups of 200 and 400+ at a time. It’s a great model! And along the way, knowing who i serve was key to fine tuning and attracting the right people that i could profoundly serve! You’re doing great!!! Keep enjoying that journey and i’m happy to be on it with you!


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