How To Get Your First Coaching Clients [9 Proven Strategies]
It's time to get coaching! Learn practical tips from Lumia Coaching CEO Noelle Cordeaux that you can start implementing today to attract new clients.
Help! How Do I Find Coaching Clients?
By Noelle Cordeaux
I’ve been where you are, right now. You know you can help others transform their lives and get real results…
… if only you could find the right coaching clients.
My name’s Noelle Cordeaux, and I’m a co-founder of Lumia Coaching. But before I became a full time coach with a full slate of clients, I wasn’t sure where to start either.
Most coaches burn out early because they spread themselves too thin and try to take on too much. They feel like they’re failing because they’re not an overnight success, when really they just need to focus on one or two areas and gain some traction there.
Creating a coaching business that lasts isn’t about endlessly pursuing random people, it’s about attracting clients who are drawn to YOU, YOUR story, and YOUR unique skill set.
How To Get Your First Coaching Clients: 9 Things To Try
Not everything on this list might be right for you! Some of the actions I’m suggesting are small, and some are BIG.
Some might be the work of a moment and some might take weeks to put together.
This list should spark your imagination and get your creative juices flowing as you consider what WILL work for you.
PRO TIP: Almost all the successful coaches that I know focus on ONE thing, putting their energy and time into an area of deep focus and growing their coaching business from there.
Take an honest look at your own skills and abilities. Take a look at the following list and see which ones line up best with your skills. Try a few, see how they feel. If they don’t work, try something else. It’s all learning!
If you’re showing up, doing a good job and staying consistent, the right people will be attracted to you. You won’t have to spend endless hours trying to find them.
This is a list of possibilities to pour your energy into, be present, showcase your skills, collaborate with others and in no time at all, you may just see all that love come back to you in powerful ways.
But First… Throw Away The Rule Book
What I've learned after more than a decade in this industry is that there’s no one single "right" way to find clients.
Some life coaches have virtually no online presence, and build their business through local connections and word of mouth referrals instead.
Some create massive followings on social media, and others host popular podcasts.
There’s a pathway that’s right for everyone, and no two coaches look quite the same.
At first, not having a set formula can make building your client list and launching your practice feel harder. But the freedom to do things your own way is also part of the attraction! If a recommendation, technique, or approach to find new coaching clients doesn’t feel like “you”, trust your own instincts.
One of the things I love about this profession is the opportunity to do it your own way. It’s your practice, and it’s important to find coaching clients in a way that feels authentic to YOU.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some ways I’ve found that work best for attracting new clients, especially when you’re just getting started.
1. Your Personal Network
If you’re really early on in your career as a coach, it’s a good idea to announce that you’re now offering coaching services. Have you officially done that yet?
People won’t know until you tell them!
So make an announcement on your social media, via text or email, or send a postcard through the mail telling a little about your story, what kind of coaching services you offer and how they can book a session with you.
While not everyone might be needing a coach for themselves, they’ll remember that you are a coach as you keep showing up and sharing your knowledge and skills with others. And when someone in their life mentions they need a coach, or needs help with the niche you specialize in, they will pass your name along.
PRO TIP: Offer a discounted session to your personal network in exchange for a strong testimonial for your website or to post on social media. People love hearing about real experiences!
For ideas about how to gather effective references, check out our resource guide: The Power of Client Testimonials (And How to Get Them!)
2. Word of Mouth
Most successful coaches build a practice based on the strength of word of mouth, referrals and testimonials.
People talk. They tell their friends, colleagues and others about their experiences. If you provide a useful service that helps them move forward, they’re likely to share this openly with others.
Everything else on this list is another way to begin the process of building your unique, word-of-mouth practice that impacts others, on your terms.
Want more ideas about how you can spread the word? Listen in as Lumia co-founder John Kim and I discuss this strategy in depth on the Everything Life Coaching podcast episode How To Build A Word of Mouth Coaching Practice.
3. Regional Spas & Health Clubs
This one is near to my heart - probably because it's how I built my own coaching practice!
There's real opportunity here. Spas and health clubs all around the country constantly need new and unique services to offer to their members.
Create a few different offerings, one-on-one coaching, or a workshop that takes place over an hour or two—something that really highlights your skills and abilities. Then, create a lookbook or portfolio of your offerings.
Do some research to find out who makes the decisions at the businesses you’d like to collaborate with, and reach out to them. Let them know what you have to offer and take it from there. You might be surprised how many one-on-one clients you get after a strong workshop!
PRO TIP: Find out if there’s a regional spa conference in your area you can attend and pitch many different spa owners at one time.
4. Attend Wellness Events and Conferences
Events are full of social people, some of whom may be interested in coaching services, partnership, or networking with a coach! It can give you an advantage to find events that your potential clients would also attend, and to make a real connection with them.
You don’t have to speak on stage with a mic, just think of these events as another form of networking and mingle with other attendees to expand your network. As you do, look for natural opportunities to educate others on what you do and the benefits of coaching.
Attending events is also a great opportunity to practice introducing yourself as a coach.
5. Offer a Workshop
Coaching workshops are super helpful in growing your client list. Whether it’s a free workshop or a paid one, it’s your chance to showcase your coaching techniques to a bunch of people face-to-face (virtual or in person).
Give participants a bit of clarity around an issue they’re facing and guide them on the next steps. Doing this in a group setting can be immensely powerful, and is a great way to market your services on a larger scale than just one to one.
Not sure how you’ll fill it? Consider what organizations in your area might be open to guest speakers and educational topics for their membership. Here’s just a few to get the juices flowing:
- Chamber of commerce
- Rotary & other civic organizations
- Professional associations
- Gyms and yoga studios
- Universities, community colleges, and other educational organizations
PRO TIP: One way to approach this is to partner with other coaches and host a virtual workshop or summit. This is where different coaches will teach a class on their specific expertise, allowing attendees to join whichever classes appeal to them the most. Not only will you be able to showcase your coaching skills in front of many people, you get to collaborate with other coaches too. Collaborations are a great way to offer a ton of value and information about coaching, while also expanding your network and audience.
6. Build a Virtual Group
Since 2020, virtual groups have really taken off. A group can be public or private, and as structured or free flowing as you want. They can also exist on almost any platform (most popular being Facebook, LinkedIn, Zoom, Slack, etc.) so get creative with where your potential clients like to spend their time online!
Groups should have a central purpose, perhaps centered around accomplishing a goal or a common interest such as “self love” or offering a short “boot camp” to get people excited about the topics you’re excited to share. You can also invite people to join from your blog, website, and other social media platforms.
Aside from providing actionable advice and connection, you can use your group to advertise your services. However, keep in mind that too much advertising could hurt the purpose of the group. It might make people leave, especially if you’re fully focused on getting clients rather than providing support and value.
Make sure the group has something happening on a regular basis, and keeps members engaged—ask powerful questions and create momentum.
Want to take it further by offering a Group Coaching program? Check out our podcast episode: How To Do Group Coaching.
7. Leverage Your LinkedIn Account
LinkedIn is another great place to expand your online presence. This platform was made for business networking, and has developed over time into a social media channel. LinkedIn is especially useful for coaching specialties such as career coaches, money coaches, or executive coaching.
Wondering how to get coaching clients on LinkedIn?
Keep your profile up to date and plan to post helpful, insightful content 3 times or more per week. Consider joining groups and sharing articles relevant to your coaching niche— articles you wrote and articles published by reliable sources as well.
8. Create Video Content
People tend to be visual learners and connect with videos more than just text and photos, so posting video content on your social profiles is a great way to attract clients.
And when we say video content, we don’t necessarily mean you have to talk in front of a camera, although people want to see you! The great thing about video is that it is such a creative format where you can show off your skills while stepping outside of your comfort zone.
Tik Toks, Instagram Reels, Stories, and Live Streams are great places to share the day-to-day life as a coach, your story, tips and information that will attract your audience and build trust with those who are looking for a life coach.
9. Build an Email List
Email is still the best way to reach people, directly in their inbox - and people love free resources!
Create something that is full of value — be it a PDF checklist, a printable workbook, or short video content. The goal is for your freebie to be useful and give a small example of how you can help them as a coach. So be sure that whatever freebie you share to your audience, it is relevant to your coaching niche.
Another thing you can send out is a resource list.
- Have a list of your favorite meditation videos?
- Who is your go-to person for self-love content?
- What about your top book recommendations?
- What apps do you find most helpful throughout your day?
These are only a few types of resources you already have and love that would be valuable to your audience.
Want to turn that list into a freebie? Create a PDF (or try using Canva!) and provide it as a newsletter sign up promotion across all your social media platforms and your website. Freebies and resource lists are great tools to grow your social media presence, your email list, and of course, your pool of potential clients.
Take Bold Action
You can leverage every single thing on this list in some way, and make it work for you. However, knowledge alone is not enough. You actually have to put in the work to get new coaching clients!
The time you put into your coaching business is an investment in yourself. Be present, keep putting out great messages, share your knowledge and skills, help whenever you can, be open-minded and stay consistent.
Consistency and resilience are what’s going to make business-building easier. It takes effort but once you’re used to it, used to showing up at events or on social media, used to sharing your knowledge, it's going to come more naturally.
You likely have a dream of how coaching can work for you, and that is awesome. We're cheering for you and want to see you succeed! At Lumia, we're all about how becoming a life coach can help move you from where you are now to where you want to be.
Ready for YOUR Next Level?
Launch your coaching practice right! Check out Lumia Life Coach Training - a program that's every bit as unique as you are. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, business instruction to prepare you for liftoff as an entrepreneur, and fellow students dedicated to becoming a collective force for good.