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Can you earn a sustainable income purely from coaching?

Maybe if you’re a top sports coach, like Liverpool Manager and Coach, Jurgen Klopp (a little nod to my husband, who is a lifelong Liverpool fanatic).

However, as a trained coach (University of Stellenbosch Business School alumni) and a Time To Think Thinking Partner, former Insights Learning & Development practitioner, etc. I have a fairly robust “purist” coaching background.

I’ve also been coaching since 2002, so I think that gives me additional credibility to talk on the subject PLUS I was the marketing and PR, member communications and social media manager for a national professional body for coaching for two terms totaling almost 8 years.

I certainly use a coaching approach and my coaching knowledge and model when working 1:1 with my clients, but I definitely acknowledge that mentoring plays a big role in the work that I do – in other words, the specific transfer of knowledge based on my subject matter expertise.

I have also added online courses to my offering in the last 18 months to give me an alternative income stream and to formally capture the knowledge that I found myself continually sharing in a mentorship capacity with my clients.

So no, even with my “purist” coaching background, I don’t think that you can make a sustainable living from coaching alone.

In fact, my clients on retainer have all been in coaching for 20+ years and they make additional revenue from the books they have written, from guest speaking, from coach supervision, from lecturing and supervising Masters’ and PhD students, from facilitating and from training.

I can’t actually think of a single coach who makes all of their income from coaching, even if they include group coaching, or team coaching, or any other form of coaching that I can think of.

All of the coaches that I can think of, who call themselves coaches, have alternative sources of income. Some of them have even managed to stay true to coaching, and so their alternative income comes from coaching-related books, lecturing in coaching at various training facilities, earning a fee from using a personality profiling or assessment tool and so on.

There are lots of opportunities to structure a sustainable business AROUND coaching but I can clearly remember a top coach saying to me that they would always recommend to anyone thinking of going into coaching full-time as a career to start off slowly, build their coaching practice while still having another source of income and only shifting across to coaching once the income from the coaching practice matches or exceeds the income that they have been living off.

What’s YOUR opinion on the subject?

I recorded a live video a few weeks ago on the subject, and gave a few examples of alternative income streams that would not undermine your brand as a professional coach. In fact, after a coaching session last week where we were discussing this very challenge, one of my clients had this to say:

“Megan helped me to authentically define my niche, directing me to my natural skills, strengths and talents. This clarity not only crystallised my niche, but in turn inspired and motivated me towards living my passion again. She has a wealth of information on how to market and leverage social media, and it is a true privilege to be coached by her. I highly recommend her and her work.”

Anyway, watch the video for yourself and make up your own mind (and get in contact with me if you’d like to discuss YOUR options and how you can leverage your existing assets to create multiple streams of income).

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