Business OverviewAs a career and personal coach--a combination mentor, cheerleader, sounding board and advocate--you'll work with clients to help them achieve success in their business and personal lives. You'll spend a half-hour to an hour per week listening to their ups and downs and providing both business and personal goal orienteering and guidance. You might work with people in transit from one career or lifestyle to another, with SOHO startups or with employee teams at large corporations. Coaching is a hot business, with the demand for coaching and coach training more than tripling in a single recent year. U.S. News and World Report recently rated career and personal coaching as one of the country's hottest consulting activities. The largest consumers of coaching services are baby boomers who, having reached midlife, have also reached the realization that to achieve all those dreams they started out with, they need to start taking immediate action. Gen Xers are also coaching consumers but not to the extent that boomers are. The advantages to this business are that you can work at home, you can start part time and you can be a part of people's lives, helping them grow financially, emotionally and spiritually. All you really need is people skills--the ability to listen to your clients, help them brainstorm through problems and provide cheerleading coupled with good business and personal advice. You should also, of course, have a knowledge of how various businesses work.
The MarketYour clients can be corporate types experiencing downsizing, startup entrepreneurs, or large companies that sign you on as an employee enabler. Target the downsized and corporations by sending brochures to human resources departments; follow up with phone calls to set appointments. About-to-retire military people also make good targets. You can reach SOHOs, as well as your other targets, by giving seminars and workshops, writing articles for business publications and sending press releases to local newspapers. Network among professional and civic groups in your area. Introduce yourself to the staffs at business incubators. If you live near a college, post fliers on bulletin boards. And if you're near a military installation, place ads in on-base newspapers.
Needed EquipmentYou don't need formal training or a license, but you can get lessons on A+ coaching through various facilities around the country. Although it's not required, certification as a psychologist or counselor is a major bonus, and experience in human resources, resume writing or other career development fields can also lend credence to your list of credentials. Besides your own skills and experience, you'll need a computer, a laser printer and a fax machine.