5 Decisions To Make When Building Your Ideal Coaching Business Model

5 Decisions To Make When Building Your Ideal Coaching Business Model

Talyaa Vardar, MA, FCPC, MCC
Talyaa Vardar, MA, FCPC, MCC
Executive Coach, Psychologist & Art Therapist

Choosing your ideal business model doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  It is really a simple process of smart decision-making and keeping a ‘winning’ perspective.

Yes, it’s true.  This is sometimes easier said than done. The good news is, it’s all in your control! So, while this article is mainly focused on which decisions you need to make to build your coaching business, let’s start with framing up a constructive attitude on decision-making.

Some people fear making decisions because they are afraid of ‘losing’. Instead, you can turn that around and look at every decision-making moment as an OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN!

Here are three ways to reframe decision-making when BUILDING YOUR IDEAL COACHING BUSINESS MODEL

Youre not failing, youre GAINING.

You don’t know everything. You will learn new information all the time, sometimes from experiences that didn’t go exactly as you planned. And every time that happens, you GAIN more information about what you can do to make you more successful.  Be open to it.

No decision is a bad decision.

People label things as ‘bad’ after the fact. They judge the decision based on how it delivered against a specific outcome. What if you reframed that ‘judgment’ by asking yourself, what opportunities came out of making that decision? How did making that decision help me move towards my goals, even if it didn’t turn out exactly as I planned?  You’re in control of your perspective.  Choose a winning one!

No decision is permanent

If a decision you made isn’t performing the way you want, then reflect on what you learned, then shift gears. No big deal. Ask any successful person. None of them made it on the first go. Take the pressure of perfection off yourself, and just go forward.

OK… now that you’re prepped and ready to make some powerful and determined decisions, here are the five decisions you need to make when building your ideal coaching business model.

Note – you don’t have to do these in this sequence.  I’ve listed the key actions in a sequence that makes sense, but let’s be honest, starting a business is not a linear process. All five of these decisions must be made to solidify your business model.  However, it is likely you will circle around these steps a few times before you get to your ideal state.  It’s normal.

Just start somewhere and work through all five.


If you’ve attended an ACTP Coaching School, like Flow, you understand that establishing your niche is a critical foundation in building a strong coaching practice.  Having worked with many coaches who are just starting out, I know it can be a tough decision to make.  And likely, your niche will evolve as you evolve as a coach. But you must choose a place to start.

My suggestion is to start with something you know and feel connected to. Perhaps your niche is connected to previous work experience. Perhaps a personal passion. Or maybe even a personal or traumatic experience that has inspired you to support others.  Those are all rich places to start.

Give yourself a deadline. Do your research. Pick your niche.


No matter what new business support mechanism you choose to embrace, be it a course, training, blog, podcast, etc., they will all say the same thing. In order to be successful, you need to build a clear picture of your potential Client.

This is another place where new coaches stumble.  They are afraid of limiting themselves. And that’s a normal instinct if you’re just starting out.  But I’ll share something with you that was kind of a mantra in my marketing days.


When your messages are so broad, that it encompasses everyone, they aren’t specific or intriguing enough to engage anyone.  You need to pick a bullseye Client and then get into their world.  Build a profile of them, who they are, and what they do.

A demographic profile is useful, but it’s more important to understand them attitudinally vs. demographically. That’s where all the really juicy stuff is.  Find out what makes them tick, what they care about, what keeps them up at night, what their top three problems are, and why they can’t seem to fix them. That’s where you come in.

Don’t get stuck here. Do your best. Ask for help from people who represent your potential client.  Do some research online.  Join some Facebook groups where your potential client may hang out, and just learn as you go.


Money is an important ingredient in establishing your business model. Pick a number based on what you want to make a year, three years from now.  Why three years out? I’m glad you asked.  There are two main reasons;

  • It takes time to ramp up. It will take a few years to build up the skill, volume, contacts, etc., to get to your goal of sustainable income. So, once you establish your ideal income three years out, then you can work back to identify what that means for years one and two.
  • Keeps you relevant and growing. As you revisit your business plan every year, keep looking three years out. Your business will evolve. The trends will change. New opportunities will present themselves. Keeping an eye on the future will ensure you always stay relevant and nurture your business.

My best advice here is to not let your inner critic hold you back.  Send him or her on a coffee break, and pick a number that feels good to you. Be ambitious. Stretch a little beyond what you think is possible.


40 hours? 20 hours? What is realistic for your lifestyle?

And once you pick your working hours, it’s now time to identify how many of those hours will be coaching vs. business growth and maintenance.

On the coaching side, it’s important to be realistic about how many hours you can coach depending on the coaching modality. Let’s say you believe you can effectively coach for 15 hours a week. The next question is what type of coaching will you do in those 15 hours to reach your income targets.

As an example, perhaps (on average) 10 hours are spent 1:1 coaching, and 3 hours spent on group coaching.  The other two hours a week (or 8 hours/mo) are spent building up online content as an income source.

Separately, you may decide to spend another 20 hours a week on the business growth & maintenance side. This may encompass financial management, live and social networking, content generation, website management, marketing, etc.

Decide how much you want to work. And then how many of those hours will be spent coaching vs. other income-generating or business management activities.


There are so many coaching modalities out there.  There are those for the coach purists, like 1:1 coaching, group coaching, and workshops.  And then for the slightly less purist, you have things like masterminds, public speaking, courses, writing, and a whole myriad of online content generation modes.

These are all potential income streams.  Which ones are the best fit for your niche, address your Client’s needs and fulfill your lifestyle goals.

Make a list of the opportunities that best suit your skillset, and see what fits. Move the pieces around until you get a picture that feels right.

And then just go for it. Tweak a bit. Go for it a bit more. Tweak.  And repeat.


Mel Savage is a Certified Career Coach focused on helping people find purpose and fulfillment in their careers.  Mel is President of Flow Coaching Institute, Canada, an ACTP Certified Coach, a 20+ year Corporate Marketer & Advertiser for brands such as McDonald’s, Kraft, Ford, and General Motors, and Owner of Savage Success Coaching.


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