More and more people are choosing to retrain as coaches – but the vast majority of these new coaching businesses will fail. Why?

Coaching is a huge growth area; both in terms of people wanting to become coaches and people wanting to buy the services of coaches.

So, when there is plenty of opportunity, why are so many coaches failing to make their mark and build a sustainable business?

According to Nick Bolton from The Smart School of Coaching the reason for this is that the foundation is all wrong. He believes they are basing their business on a specific skill learned and a collection of methods to find a few clients.

Unfortunately just because you know how to do something doesn’t mean people will pay you to do it.

Nick claims that most coaches are missing a crucial ingredient. That ingredient is passion; passion and sheer determination to make a SPECIFIC difference.

“I’m not just talking about a niche. That’s just marketing speak for a target group or for a unique service. I am also not talking fluffy passion, warm feelings and law of attraction. I’m talking here about dogged determination and gritty action to achieve something that achieves a vision of the change they want to make in the world,” explains Nick.

It’s the missing ingredient because for so long it hasn’t been needed in the way it is now. The coaching industry is changing – it’s moving beyond the corporate walls as coaches build businesses that reach out to people in all walks of life. And here’s where the problems start.

“One of the most important questions I ask all my coaches to consider is: ‘What difference do I want to make?’ That’s the key question a coach building a private practice really needs to ask. Because in that question lies the passion that will provide the fuel to drive their coaching business forward. All the tactics in the world are worth nothing if they are not driven by a desire that refuses to buckle at the first obstacle.” says Nick.

“This one crucial question “What difference do I want to make?” creates a huge shift in perception. It’s not merely a nice exercise. The coach is no longer creating a coaching business. Let’s face it, coaching is simply one way of creating change. A fabulous way, but still just one way.” continues Nick.

By using this approach the coach is creating a business that focuses on the results the clients want using a range of skills, interventions and services. Coaching provides a core component in all cases and is the platform on which the change is built.

CASE STUDY: One Smart School of Coaching graduate adores Japan. As a civil servant in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, he was based in Tokyo and after having a stroke in 2009 retired. He married his Japanese wife in 2010 and one week later came to study at the Smart School committed to building a flexible business for his life in Japan.

As a new trainee coach he initially assumed he would build a business coaching anyone he happened to find as a client. However, working with the school he quickly realised his passion was for helping small UK companies and entrepreneurs set up in Japan. It wasn’t just that he saw that as a good market. It was that he loved Japan and wanted to make a difference and help others share his love.

Coaching for him has become the central plank of a business that will see him provide a VIP service to hand hold clients through their expansion.

It’s clear that to be successful coaches need to integrate a range of skills including coaching, consulting, running workshops and retreats, speaking, writing, informing. In fact, whatever is needed to bring around the change they are so passionate about. Coaching remains a core skill because it is such a powerful change process but it is part of a range of services that make the coach completely unique.

Nick believes these coaches are just the tip of the iceberg of new generation of coaches who are recognising the need to look beyond the tired words of niche marketing and focus on what real difference they want to make.

The scope is enormous. There are as many passions and unique businesses as there are coaches to feel them, follow them and build them.

It means that coaches can truly step out of the corporate walls and begin to shape their world in some small way.

Rather than fear failure, a new coach can start from a place of determination fuelled by passion. Coaching is on the cusp of something truly remarkable in which successful coaches will find a place to live their passion and these coaches will be the ones that make it and change their lives for good.

Author's Bio: 

About Chantal Cooke
Chantal is an award winning journalist and broadcaster, and co-founder of PASSION for the PLANET the UK’s only ethical radio station. See

About Nick Bolton
As founder of the Smart School of Coaching, Nick Bolton is passionate about training and supporting individuals to become professional coaches and NLP. The Smart School runs free seminars where you can learn more about NLP and coaching and the opportunities in this growing industry. To book a free seminar or to find out more visit