5 reasons why 96% of coaching businesses fail

Why most coaches overlook these mistakes… and how to grow a sophisticated business confidently even if you hate sales and marketing…

Dear Coach,

You love coaching. Millions of people love it. But the problem is you don’t know how to convince them to invest in coaching.

How to get them to walk in the door? How to reach those how would commit? How to know the next steps in your business?

And this makes you worried about finding your next client. You can change lives but still, you don’t know what’s blindsiding you. You don’t want to spend all your life wishing to have a successful coaching business… you want to change the world now.

Am I right about you so far? If you want to build a successful coaching business that allows you to live financially free so you impact more lives from a level of greater confidence then continue reading this report because it can change your world.

According to author Chet Holmes (who shared the stage with Tony Robbins) 96% of businesses fold within 10 years. What about the rest – the four percent?

Success leaves clues. And I noticed them while working as a copywriter for coaches. In other words, I’ve been living deep in their guts since 2017 – cracking what makes some coaches more successful. Let’s get started with our report.

Reason #1: People do NOT buy coaching

Ready for the truth? Nobody has a budget for coaching.

It’s a luxury.

They don’t even know whether it’ll work for them or not. They tried and talked to their friends, family, and the HR Manager. They read a few articles online. Watched a few videos on YouTube. Even if they think there’s a solution, they don’t know whether it’ll work for them or not.

Now pay attention, we’re going deep. I guarantee it can help you in ways you never imagined.

How do you make them invest in coaching?

I learned this concept from the Harvard Business School Prof. Clayton Christensen who inspired an entire generation of Silicon Valley legends like – Intel’s Andy Grove, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Netflix’s Reed Hastings. His popular book The Innovator’s Dilemma was the only business book Steve Jobs had on his bookshelf.

And Prof. Clayton said that you must look at your products the way customers do. Clients hire a product to get a job done.

Let me give you a few examples.

why we hire1 min
why we hire?
why we hire2 min
why you hire

Similarly, clients hire a coach to get something done.

Before you think about outcomes – the problem with text-book outcomes like “overcoming limiting beliefs”, “emerging inner transformation”, “achieving authentic purpose” is that it doesn’t work in the real world.

Here’s an example: A coach, whose prospects were grieving, sent me a marketing script. It’s not verbatim – but you’ll get the idea:

bad coaching
first draft with outcomes

“Son! This is the best tragedy to happen to you… my coaching is going to be a game-changer… believe me – I’m a certified coach… we’ll proactively heal the inner-pain, define your purpose, get you motivated and send you on the pathways to fulfillment…”

good coaching
revised script with a touch

“I’m extremely sorry… I know how it feels when you lose someone close… when you remember ALL those beautiful moments together you feel actual physical pain… and the worst thing is there’s no healing…

The first lead has nothing wrong. And the second lead is not going to win the Pulitzer Prize.

The truth is the first lead is a great example of Traditional Sales & Marketing. But the problem is it doesn’t work for coaches. Coaching is not Coke. It’s a commitment.

There’s no known number one brand for happiness coaching or keto coaching. You can’t create a USP, undercut the competition on pricing, and then sell them aggressively. It actually backfires.

You want these goals from your marketing:

  • Cement respect
  • Gain their trust
  • Earn more referrals
  • Be seen as an Expert by them
  • Influence them easily
  • Put people in front of you who can commit physically, emotionally, and financially to coaching
new day min
Strategic Marketing for coaches

Now coming back to what I was saying… the second lead can bridge the chasm between two strangers, one of whom needs a shoulder to cry (and a brilliant coach like you).

Yes, you’re a stranger – with strange credentials. They don’t know you. But the moment you put their feelings into words – you’re different. With a caring message, they can trust the messenger.

You’re no more a salesperson.

Creating those kinds of messages is HARD. But focusing on the “fad” is easy. Experts ask you to jump on Facebook, Twitter, Tik-Tok… and “SELL.”

But it’s a tactical hell, NOT strategic heaven.

So what exactly is smart work that builds a coaching business? How to create strategic messages that penetrate “ad blockers” and make them realize that you mean no harm?

Before we go into that here are some stats that’ll seal the case against traditional sales & marketing. Author Chet Holmes observed this after working with 60+ Fortune 500 companies:

  • The average cost of getting in front of a client has virtually tripled in the past 15 years.
  • The reach of nearly every major advertising medium has reduced.

As a result, it’s getting harder and harder to get in front of clients. So what’s the secret sauce that puts clients in front of you?

Turns out it’s more about controlling a few levers… Let’s move ahead.

Reason #2: Failing to build a brand artfully

flying boat rescue min
95% of brands fail

According to Harvard Prof. Clayton Christensen, 30,000 new products and brands are introduced every year, out of which, 95% fail.

The odds are stacked against you.

And most coaches continue to beat the dead horse for years by branding themselves as “my coaching is going to work because I’m a certified coach”.

Creating a coaching brand is an art. And it took me a long time to understand but here’s what it’s:

You - project yourself authentically.
Ideal client - climb into their skin.
Influencers - become a credible source for influencers.
3 pillars of a coaching branding

There you go. That’s my years of research.

And here’s an example from Men’s dating coach Sarah Jones, from Introverted Alpha:

Art of branding: “Attract women naturally, without being someone you’re not.”

By saying, “without being someone you’re not” she has positioned herself to stand out authentically. And this attracts the right person with credibility.

And this is where I understood the importance of one principle.

My mentor said to me when you point one finger towards someone you point three fingers back at yourself. I didn’t get this at that time but I think but he wanted me to self-reflect, take responsibility for my failures, and understand how lucky I am. Before that, I was blaming others for my failures… and thinking… I can’t be like them, I didn’t have the right upbringing, I didn’t have the connections, and I didn’t have what they had…

But little did I know that self-reflection would change my life. Moving on, let’s address the elephant in the room.

Reason #3: Fighting the battle on open grounds

What do I mean?

Imagine a war between two armies. One is small. Which do you think has an upper hand?

Similarly, most coaches are fighting an uphill battle. If they fail to stand out, they wind up being “just another” coach – serving anybody, charging whatever they could, and hustling until they give up. As it turns out, successful coaches control a few things.

The other day I was watching a few documentaries when it struck me. Smaller armies were able to give a tough fight – even win. A famous example is Sparta vs Persia (remember, 300). Another is Alexander the Great vs Persia (Issus)

poster of the movie 300 by Warner Bros
300. Successful coaches fought like smaller armies

What is the strategy they employed? They controlled the battle-field by choosing a tight space to fight. As you can guess, in Alexander’s case – he won.

Back to what I was saying. You’ve to control the battle-field by NOT fighting in the open.

With eyes on the bigger prize, ironically go into a tight niche to GROW.

Now the bad news is, your marketing could be right, your branding and niche could be great. But if this one thing is missing then it’d mean you’re back to the feast-and-famine cycles.

Reason #4: Ambiguity surrounding business

Coaching business ambiguity
nobody knows the right way

Unfortunately, nobody prepared us for this. Schools train us to seek certainty… “study hard, get good grades.”

But there’s no “do-this-and-you’ll-get-that” book in the real world. Every business activity is a risk. You ASSUME you’re on a trend, but you can’t escape the uncertainty. Social preferences change. One year it’s Twitter, next it’s Tik-Tok. Some fast (Corona knockdowns), some slow (Internet killed encyclopedias).

Truth is nobody can predict future.

  • Should I get one more certificate?
  • Should I create packages or stick with 1-on-1 coaching?
  • Should I coach for free?
  • Should I register an LLC or a company?
  • Should I go on diet?
  • Should I work at night or in the morning?

You’ll never have all the answers. In fact, what’s right for someone could be wrong for you. But if you’ve got a coach or a mentor chances are you’re walking the talk and would navigate.

Reason #5: No systems

Do you know that it takes 11 organ systems to keep a human body alive? And without the five systems, your business is dead too.

Whereas most coaches ignore these levers that control the battle-field. And that’s why we have over 96% failure rates.

The good news is building a successful coaching business is a matter of a few degrees.

Imagine you were going somewhere, what would happen if you made a tiny one-degree shift?

  • After one foot you’ll be off by 0.2 inches. Trivial, right?
  • After 100 yards – about the length of the football field – you’ll be off by 5.2 feet. Not much?
  • But if you were to travel from New York to Taj Mahal, India then you’d land in the cold Himalayas. And it’s going to go WIDE.
New York to Agra map
source: Google Maps
  • In a rocket going to the moon, you’d be 4,169 miles off (nearly twice the diameter of the moon).
  • Going to the sun, you’d miss by over 1.6 million miles (nearly twice the diameter of the sun).
  • Traveling to the nearest star, you’d be off the course by over 441 billion miles (120 times the distance from the earth to Pluto).

My point is tiny shifts can create MASSIVE differences in results.

That’s why you need to set yourself on the right path from the beginning.

Here’s an old school dating analogy that explains the coaching business

mohinish in raigarh min
Our vacations at Raigarh fort, MH, India

If you were to find someone special how would you do it?

Yes, you’re beautiful and sexy. But you want love.

Chances are you would filter the wrong people out. Yes, you would take care of yourself… ahem… but you would also go out, meet people, and send signals.


Not those kinds of signals {wink}… you would talk about how much you wish to care for someone… go on dates, raise kids, and make love.

With such messages – you occupy a strategic positioning in their minds. And the right person would STAY. My wife would have added marriage, but you got the point.

And the rest of them would run away, which is good.

Similarly, in business, your systems and messages should work hard for you – to put the right person in front of you.

Imagine, weeding out uncoachable people automatically. You don’t want them.

You want the right person – who can commit to coaching financially, emotionally, and spiritually – to stay hooked and get enchanted. And you even want them to get automatic results so you’re not spoon-feeding them all the time. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

And guess what? You’re inside one of my systems.

The dabblers have left already. I don’t want them.

I want coaches who are still reading this. Those who are sick and tired of the status quo and want to focus on getting results and growing business that allows them to live financially free and change the world.

And what’s more? If this system works for me – it’ll also work for you. Here’re the exact 5 systems a coaching business needs:

  1. Leadership System
  2. Marketing System
  3. Lead Generation System (Funnels)
  4. Lead Conversion System
  5. Coaching System

We’ve already talked about the Marketing System and the Leadership System. Let’s talk about the Lead Generation System (LGS).

It basically puts the right client in front of you. How do you design it?

Elements of a well crafted Lead Generation System

Do you know that according to ICF Global Coaching Client Survey (2009), a coaches’ website is the second most important information source – clients consulted before selecting the coach?

And here’s why you website is even more critical.

“A very significant 58% of clients engaged the first (and only) coach they contacted. More often than not, if the first coach meets their criteria, the client’s search is over.”

The bottom line: if your website fails to meets their criteria – they are gone for good.

Frankly, all of the 5 systems are important but this is where I understood one thing. If I were to help my clients then I need to get serious about my business and evolve. And it goes back to the concept of self-reflection.

If you want to sell high-ticket coaching, you must pay premium prices yourself. If you want your clients to pay their dues, you must pay your dues yourself. If you want them to commit for the long haul, you must commit for the long haul yourself.

Whereas if you are just a dabbler then the same will be true for your clients too.

They will NOT pay for your premium services. They’ll NOT do the hard work, they’ll NOT learn any skills. Obviously, without commitment – they’ll NOT get any results. And they’ll NOT send any testimonials and referrals.

Worse, they’ll take your time for granted – and expect you to baby-feed results.

As a result, you’ll not be able to grow your business. Because your business is a reflection of you.

Having said that, the truth is I want you to succeed. And I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. One highly successful strategy may not work for you.

If you want a customized approach and accountability then we can talk one-on-one (if approved).

Is this a strategy session?

Yes and no.

I’d need to see if I can help you. My reputation depends on my clients. If approved, we’ll talk about how you can grow your brand. Apply to book your slot here…

Here’s one of my coach clients:

Grisel Scarantino – Life & Business Coach

Here’s another:

Coach and Speaker Kaley Zeitouni

You could be next.

And if your application is approved… We’ll remove blocks from your business

In this session, I’ve coaches go through the 3 steps to evaluate the exact thing missing in their business. And who knows maybe you hit a new perspective and light a fire under your business.

Also, we can talk about working together and I promise you’ll get a ton of clarity, direction, confidence, and value. You may need one tweak to push your business to the next stage. To qualify, apply here.