Joanna Lott Coaching

Why most coaching businesses fail, and how you can succeed

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How to Avoid the 82% Failure Rate and Build a Successful Coaching Business

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Common Mistakes that Lead to Coaching Business Failure 2.1 Lack of Clarity on Niche, Target Market, and Value Proposition 2.2 Ineffective and Inconsistent Marketing 2.3 Limited Business Skills 2.4 Imposter Syndrome and Self-Doubt 2.5 Neglecting Continuous Learning
  3. The Keys to a Successful Coaching Business 3.1 Define Your Niche and Ideal Client 3.2 Craft a Compelling Brand 3.3 Master Your Marketing 3.4 Invest in Business Skills 3.5 Combat Imposter Syndrome 3.6 Embrace Lifelong Learning
  4. Your Action Plan for a Successful Coaching Business 4.1 Self-Assessment 4.2 Refine Your Niche 4.3 Build or Refine Your Personal Brand 4.4 Create a Comprehensive Marketing Blueprint 4.5 Develop Your Skills 4.6 Boost Your Confidence
  5. Conclusion


  1. Introduction

It’s an alarming statistic that 82% of coaching businesses fail within the first two years. That’s a staggering number, but don’t be discouraged. By understanding the common pitfalls and implementing the right strategies, you can position your coaching business for success and become part of the 18% that thrives.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the mistakes that often lead to coaching business failure, the keys to building a successful coaching business, and a tangible action plan to help you navigate the challenging landscape and make a meaningful impact on your clients’ lives.

  1. Common Mistakes that Lead to Coaching Business Failure

2.1 Lack of Clarity on Niche, Target Market, and Value Proposition

One of the primary reasons coaches fail is the lack of clarity about their niche, target market, and unique value proposition. Without a clear direction, it becomes challenging to know who to target, what to say, and how to market effectively. Additionally, if you’re unclear about what you do, your target audience may struggle to understand the value you provide.

2.2 Ineffective and Inconsistent Marketing

Ineffective or inconsistent marketing is another common mistake. Many coaches post sporadically, disappearing for months at a time, only to resurface briefly before going quiet again. This approach fails to align with their clients’ levels of awareness and pain points, potentially using the wrong communication channels or failing to convincingly convey their expertise.

2.3 Limited Business Skills

Being a great coach is only one part of the equation. To succeed, you also need essential business skills like sales, marketing, and financial management. Many coaches invest in more coach training instead of learning how to attract clients effectively.

2.4 Imposter Syndrome and Self-Doubt

Coaches who constantly doubt their abilities may find it difficult to attract clients or charge rates that enable their clients to achieve great results.

2.5 Neglecting Continuous Learning

The coaching landscape is constantly evolving, and neglecting continuous learning can quickly make your skills and knowledge outdated. Investing in yourself and your marketing skills is crucial to staying ahead of the curve and standing out in a saturated market.

  1. The Keys to a Successful Coaching Business

3.1 Define Your Niche and Ideal Client

The more you understand your ideal client’s needs, challenges, and aspirations, the better you can market to and serve them. Conducting market research by talking to people outside the coaching world can provide valuable insights into their real pain points and levels of awareness.

3.2 Craft a Compelling Brand

A strong brand that leans into your unique strengths and brilliance will help you stand out. Assess your current brand by Googling your name and evaluating your online presence, including your website, social media, blog posts, and podcasts.

3.3 Master Your Marketing

Create a comprehensive marketing plan that aligns with your niche and target audience. Consider your strengths and what you excel at, ensuring you’re confident and motivated to consistently implement your marketing strategies. Effective marketing involves multiple touchpoints to build trust with your audience, such as webinars, email lists, and podcasts, in addition to social media.

3.4 Invest in Business Skills

Sharpening your business skills in areas like sales, marketing, networking, and automations (depending on your business scale) is crucial. Implementing systems and processes can help you avoid overwhelm and stay on track.

3.5 Combat Imposter Syndrome

Acknowledge your achievements, strengths, and wins regularly to gain self-confidence and combat imposter syndrome. Surround yourself with supportive people who believe in you and hold you accountable, maintaining your momentum and consistency.

3.6 Embrace Lifelong Learning

Stay ahead of the curve by embracing lifelong learning. Continuously update your skills and knowledge, and surround yourself with inspiring individuals who have achieved great things. Participate in masterminds, group programs, and coaching to keep growing and learning.

  1. Your Action Plan for a Successful Coaching Business

4.1 Self-Assessment

Begin by reflecting on your coaching journey and identifying areas where you may be falling short. Assess whether you have a clear niche, marketing strategy, and the necessary business skills to support your growth.

4.2 Refine Your Niche

Define your ideal client with precision. If you haven’t conducted market research calls with your target audience, do so now. Get clear on what you can offer and, more importantly, what they want in their own words.

4.3 Build or Refine Your Personal Brand

If you don’t have a website yet, consider using platforms like GoDaddy websites and marketing, which offer easy-to-use templates and require no coding. Before building your website, ensure you have a clear niche and ideal client defined to create relevant content.

Set up and maintain consistent social media accounts across the internet, ensuring your name search results in a cohesive online presence.

4.4 Create a Comprehensive Marketing Blueprint

Develop a comprehensive marketing plan that incorporates both online and offline approaches. The more touchpoints you have with your audience, the more they will trust you. Consider tactics like webinars, email lists, podcasts, and in-person networking, in addition to social media.

4.5 Develop Your Skills

Identify at least one skill you can enhance in the next month and commit to mastering it. Continuous learning and skill development are essential for staying relevant and competitive.

4.6 Boost Your Confidence

Take the time to acknowledge your wins, no matter how small. Focusing solely on what hasn’t been achieved can hinder your success. Celebrate milestones like gaining new clients, building a website, defining your niche, or launching a lead magnet.

Step-by-Step Summary:

  1. Conduct a self-assessment to identify areas for improvement.
  2. Refine your niche by defining your ideal client through market research.
  3. Build or refine your personal brand, including a website and consistent social media presence.
  4. Create a comprehensive marketing blueprint with online and offline strategies.
  5. Develop your business skills through continuous learning and skill enhancement.
  6. Boost your confidence by acknowledging your wins and surrounding yourself with a supportive network.


Every successful coach started somewhere. With determination, focus, and the right strategies, you can stand out, make a meaningful impact on your clients’ lives, and position your coaching business for success.

Remember, building a successful coaching business takes time and effort, but by avoiding common pitfalls, implementing the keys to success, and following your action plan, you’ll be well on your way to joining the 18% of coaching businesses that thrive.

If you’d like support in implementing these strategies and making a difference while making a living, you can learn more about how I can help you here.

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Interested to know more about my ‘Business of Coaching’ program? Click here to learn more.

Hi, I’m Jo, and I’d love to help you on your coaching journey. I spent 20 years in corporate HR but faced challenges balancing work and family. Refusing to settle, I ventured into coaching, seeking financial success aligned with my values. Overcoming limiting beliefs, I developed strategies to attract clients, leading to the creation of my Reliable Results Path. Now, I support coaches in achieving their goals through my Business of Coaching program. My values of honesty, personalization, and courage guide me, fostering a community of impactful coaches who believe in inclusivity and making a difference. More about me




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Hello and welcome! I’m Joanna Lott, and I’m passionate about empowering qualified coaches like you to build brilliant businesses.