How To Find People to Coach

You’ve completed some coaching training and now you’re ready to begin coaching people. Where do you find them? How do you ask someone to coach with you? I’ll show you four of proven ways to approach people to begin coaching with them. 

When I was ready to begin coaching people I felt awkward. The people I considered coaching were either my friends, or people I didn’t have much relationship with. I was at a loss for how to ask people to coach with me.

I tried several ways to ask people to coach with me. It worked! I began coaching with three people, one in person and two by Skype. I focused on coaching those three people well. Near the end of coaching with them, I asked each for a 2-3 sentence description of the benefits and results they received from coaching with me. I used those quotes in my next round of asking people to coach with me.

Here are a few important things to remember as you begin:

  • Be prepared. Have your coaching “welcome packet” ready to send. It might include something about what coaching is, an agreement, and other forms or information. Keep it simple. Plan to email it.
  • Focus on the result. As you talk about coaching don’t talk about the process of coaching – listening, asking questions, The COACH Model, etc. – instead focus on the results that the person will receive from being coached. My article on not selling coaching but results might help you.
  • Don’t let geography limit you. Coaching works just as well or better over the telephone or Skype. As you think about who to coach, consider those who live in the next city, state or around the world.
  • Money or not, it’s the same process. Whether you are charging or not you still have to ask people to begin coaching with you.
  • Get over having to ask. This is the biggie! You will have to ask people to coach with you. They will not come to you. You must go to them. You must offer to coach.

Think about and deal with your hesitations to offer to coach people. Sure, you could always use more training, more practice, a credential, etc. But what you really need is experience coaching people. And for that you must ask people to coach with you. Coaching will help them. You will help them. If you have trouble with the concept of asking people to coach with you, I suggest you find someone to coach you on the self-limiting beliefs you may hold. If it’s asking technique you are missing, read on!

4 Proven Ways to Find People to Coach

1. The “help me” approach. Everyone likes to help someone who needs help. This approach is to ask the other person to help you by letting you coach him. Say something like, “I’ve just finished a coaching workshop and one of the assignments is that we coach people to practice what we learned. Would you help me out by letting me coach you?” If you haven’t attended a training lately you could change it to, “I’m trying to get my professional coach credential and I need 30 more client coaching hours to do that. I’m looking 3 or 4 more people to let me coach them to meet that requirement. Would you be willing to help me out?” This approach is pretty much a sure thing. Ask 5 people, and 3 or 4 will agree to begin coaching with you.

2. Find a group to support. A lot of organizations have people that need to be coached: schools, churches, community associations, nonprofits, etc. Think of the groups you have some expertise or affinity toward and go speak to the person in charge. Say something like, “I am a professionally trained coach and love this organization. I would like to volunteer to coach up to 6 of your small group leaders in person or by telephone.” Be ready to explain what coaching is and offer the person in charge a complementary coaching conversation so they can experience what it is like to be coached.

3. Offer to coach those who interact with you. As you have normal conversations with people, be curious and ask questions. If the person is engaged, say something like, “I coach people through situations / problems / goals like this as part of my coaching practice. If you think it would be helpful, I’d love to talk further with you about this. Right now, I have space for new clients and would love to work with you.”

4. Lead a short workshop or give a speech. People want to be coached because they think the coach can help them fix something, do something, or become something. Figure out what you have experience, expertise, or special knowledge about and lead a workshop or speak on that topic. Do that where your potential coaching clients gather. At the end of your workshop, say something like, “If you want to explore this topic further and personally apply it, I have 4 openings in my 1 on 1 coaching schedule for new clients. The cost is… or There is no cost for the first 4 sessions because I want to serve this organization / I am building my certification hours.”

In the end, you have to find a way that works for you. Which of these ideas do you want to do first? What other ideas come to mind?

Let me give you a challenge: This week, ask three people to begin coaching with you. The only way to learn to do this well is to do it. Once you’ve done it a few times the awkwardness goes away. You begin to believe about yourself what those you’ve coached with already know: how worthwhile it is to coach with you! Who will you ask?

Question: When you started, how did you find people to coach with? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

    Keith is an author, speaker and Professional Certified Coach. He helps on-the-go leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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    • John

      Strong practical ideas, Keith. After my training, I contacted 9 ministry leaders with the win-win offer to coach them at a discount to help me gain experience and ICF hours. 5 of those accepted, and 3 of the five opted for a second series at full fee. Also I approached a business owner friend who brought me on at full fee to get clarity on some strategic decisions he had to make. I love your small group idea too. So I’ll add my voice to yours to say “ask them”, don’t wait, and even 1 “yes” out of 10 is still a good start. I hope others add their stories here as well. Again thanks.

      • Thanks John for sharing your experience. It highlights how multiple approaches can be fruitful.

    • Sherri Dodd

      After my initial training, I set up what I called a “5 month internship” for myself. I asked 8 people I knew if they would be interested in being coached at what I considered a half rate at that time. I let them know I would be learning from them and how I thought coaching would benefit them. 5 of the 8 said “yes”. I was excited and scared too, but I learned so much in that initial arena of coaching others. One thing was not to coach a man if his wife is paying for it. 🙂 He was not interested in investing in his own growth so we had some internal road blocks there for sure.

      Thank you, Keith for encouraging others to get out there and use their coaching to serve others!

      • Great story Sherri. Thanks for sharing.

        Actually, this is a great idea. We could make million $ business if we offer to coach spouses. It’s an easy sale… to the other spouse!

    • Steven Schwanitz

      So I haven’t had any formal training as a coach, everything I know is from self learning in my niche (which happens to be social skills development). I’m willing to work pro bono to figure out what works and what doesn’t, but I’m finding it hard to convince people to work with me, even though it’s free coaching, any tips?

      • Steven, it can be difficult to get started. I recommend getting some formal coaching training. It not only increases your skills, but sets you apart from others. Secondly, click on the category tab at the top of the article labeled Marketing and read through those articles to see how to add more value to what you are offering and troubleshoot your communication to potential clients. Keep at it!

      • Tim Morris

        Hi Steven, I just finished the in-person training in Seattle. Up to that point I had some informal training, ready many books on coaching and a lot of practice. I still found Keith and Lori’s training incredibly helpful. It met me at my level and advanced me exponentially… I think the scope of their content and the exercises covers both beginners and intermediate coaches. If you are able to go to one of their trainings you will meet some great people as well. I would highly recommend it!