Fear is the greatest barrier to trying new things. Fear is also an acronym for False Expectations Appearing Real and it’s your fear of becoming a business mentor that may prevent you from unlocking your potential. 

The fear of failure is enough to prevent a lot of people from starting new ventures. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor looked into this in more detail. They created a report in which they quizzed people aged 18-64 about whether a fear of failure would stop them from starting a business.

On average, 38% of people said that it would. Australia fell just above that average at 39.21%. As a potential business coach, you may have already overcome that fear once. You might have started your own business and achieved some success. But it’s one thing to run your own business. It’s entirely another to mentor others on how to succeed as business owners too.

You know that becoming a business growth expert can help you to grow your brand and unlock new career opportunities. But there’s a lot of fear you may have about taking on this new venture. Here, we look at the nine most common fears that prospective coaches have.

9 Common fears and how you can overcome them

Fear #1 – Asking the Wrong Questions

If you’re not asking the right questions, you can’t provide the best possible service to your clients. That’s a major point of fear for the new business coach. Your reputation is your brand. If you come into a meeting with a client and can’t figure out what questions to ask, you’re not going to identify their issues.

And if you don’t know the issues, you can’t provide solutions. Worse yet, the client keeps seeing the business from one side and won’t accept your perspective.

ActionCOACH business mentor Christine Beard offers this advice when it comes to asking questions:

“Instead of questions that start with “why“, ask ‘what do you think was the issue that?’

I wonder if you might be willing to accept that some businesses are on the up and taking on good people at the moment?

I wonder if you might agree that we should be doing XXX instead?”

Christine’s question-asking technique disarms her clients. She’s not just telling them what they need to change based on her observations. She’s helping them come to the realisation themselves.

That’s how you ask questions that penetrate deep into the heart of a business’ issues. You bring a different perspective. These types of questions help your clients to see that perspective.

Fear #2 – Not Having a System

You know how to run your own business. What you don’t have is the time to figure out and put together a dynamic system on how to run someone else’s business. But that’s the role you’re going to play as a business growth expert.

You need a system in place to help you with each and every client you have. It’s the fear of not having that system that often holds potential coaches back. If you choose the wrong community to work with, you won’t get the system you need to make your new career work.

Jules Radich points out how effective the ActionCOACH system is when running a business coaching franchise:

“Our system has been refined for over 20 years and it works. I love the 6 Steps and 5 Ways because they are easy to understand and universally applicable. They are also constantly remindable which means that clients will regularly fall off the log but bringing them back to the basics will help them get back on and reinforce the reasons why they need a coach.”

A great coaching franchise offers the system you need to succeed as a coach. You just need to follow the framework and make sure you put the pieces together in the right order.

Fear #3 – Lack of Confidence in Your Ability

Everyone’s had their moments of head trash where they look in the mirror and ask a simple question: “Can I do this?”

In your past roles, you knew that you could. You proved it every day. But now, you’re thinking about starting a business coaching franchise. You have a lot to learn and you’re essentially starting a brand new career. It’s natural to fear the possibility that you don’t have the ability to do it.

ActionCOACH Tim Morgan struggles with that fear regularly. He’s a “Type S” personality, which means he takes things to heart very easily. That means he sometimes beats himself up when things don’t go perfectly. But he also has a technique that renews his confidence in his own abilities:

“There is an avalanche of information we receive often compounded by our own self talk that serves to lessen our self-perception. Affirmations are a great antidote for me. Mine are simple, not overly grandiose and keep me on the straight and narrow. “I’m good at what I do”, “I’m getting better at it” and “I don’t take anything for granted”

These affirmations switch Tim’s focus away from the things he thinks he can’t do. Instead, he focuses on what he can do and what’s he’s achieved so far. He also affirms that he’s getting better as a business mentor every day. Use this technique to get past your fear that your ability could prevent you from achieving success.

Fear #4 – Not Helping a Client Build the Future They Want

Every client comes to a business mentor with an idea of their ideal future in mind. Some want to find a way to spend less time working in the business and more time working on it. Others may want to make the business profitable so they can exit it.

The point is that they all have a future goal. Your fear may be that you can’t identify this goal and help the client build the future that they want. Martin Coyle has been an ActionCOACH business coach for over three years. And he has some advice on how to nail down your client’s ideal future vision.

He says that it’s all about the Big Picture: “Where are you taking this client? What are their capabilities and potential? What are the market forces you can use in their favour? How can you structure a business that delivers on results and their goals? With a Big Picture in mind, you set a long-term plan and vision and will take them on that journey, retaining them as a long-term client.”

You need long-term clients to make your business coaching franchise sustainable. To keep clients, you have to show them that they’re making constant progress towards their ideal future. The questions that Martin shares help you to figure out what that future is and what your client needs to do to get there.

Fear #5 – Keeping Yourself Accountable

Part of your business coaching services involves keeping your clients accountable. You’ll help them to set goals and put new systems into action. But what about you? You’re so focused on keeping your clients accountable that you’re not focusing on yourself.

You fear losing track of what’s happening with your business coaching franchise. And that could lead to you facing the same problems as your clients. You could fail to put the right systems in place and run into problems with your new business.

That’s another fear that ActionCOACH’s Christine Beard had.

She came up with a novel solution to overcome it: “Have a coach, one that you pay commercial rates to. Even the best of us needs accountability and oftentimes, particularly when you think you are flying high, we need more accountability rather than less. Less accountability means that you do less. The less the discipline, the slower the progress.”

Christine recognises that she’s running a business too. As a business coach, she also recognises the value that working with a coach brings.

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone when you start your new venture. By paying for a coach, Christine commits herself to her business. She’s put some skin in the game and wants to get results for the money she pays.

That means she’s more likely to follow her coach’s advice and stay accountable. With her own business coach, Christine doesn’t run the risk of getting lazy. She’ll implement all of the systems and advice that she gives to clients.

Fear #6 – Not Being Able to Differentiate Yourself

You know that differentiation is one of the keys to success in business. That’s what you plan on telling your clients. They need to find ways to make themselves stand apart from their competitors. It’s that differentiation that’s going to help them build the culture and brand that attracts sales.

The problem comes when you try to differentiate yourself. When becoming a business coach, you’ll pick up a lot of systems and ideas from your fellow coaches. But everyone has access to that information. Those resources are extremely important. But you can’t follow them so blindly that you lose what makes you unique in the process.

ActionCOACH Andrew Johnston has 14 years of experience as a mentor. And he points out that it’s your personality that’s going to help you succeed:

“They will sign up for the content and system we have, but stay long term because of your charisma and personality. It’s ok to wear jeans and a tee or ride a Ducati to a diag.”

Sprinkle a little of yourself into every process and system that you learn. That’s how you differentiate yourself from the thousands of other business coaches out there.

Fear #7 – Uncovering a Client’s Real Problems

ActionCOACH Charmian Campbell points out that most clients don’t understand their real problems:

“In my experience, the client talks of the symptoms (the story they keep telling themselves). Our job is to uncover the real problem (the truth).”

That’s another major point of fear for a business coach. How can you uncover the truth when the client can’t see it themselves? If you can’t find the answer to that question, you’re not going to be able to help your clients. And the clients won’t blame themselves for not giving you the full picture.

They’ll blame you for not helping them like you said you would. The loss of reputation could destroy your business coaching franchise. That’s such a terrifying thought that it may stop you from getting started altogether. Happily, Charmian has a simple solution to this fear:

“…Asking the tough questions stirs up the truth that’s been buried under all the stories.”

Much like Christine, Charmian points to the questions that you ask as a solution to one of your fears. But Charmian’s technique doesn't only focus on helping a client see a new perspective. It also focuses on revealing the truths that a client isn't telling you.

She recommends getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. Put your clients on the spot instead of letting them craft their own narratives. You’ll get to the truth eventually, which means you identify the real problems that you need to solve.

Fear #8 – Having Too Much on Your Plate

Building a successful business coaching franchise comes with its problems too. You can do everything right in terms of keeping your clients happy and providing a great service. That’s going to create more demand for your business coaching services. And more demand means a lot more tasks on your plate.

The fear is that all of this work will eventually overwhelm you. The weight of your own success threatens to crush you, which leaves you feeling anxious. You’re scared of losing track and missing important meetings or tasks, which could lead to clients leaving you. Let’s come back to Tim Morgan to see how he deals with this fear:

“I try not to think about an appointment more than 10 minutes out. Playing it out in my mind ahead of time can leave me tired and anxious. I back myself to be able to pull the threads together and untangle some more in each session and don’t worry about how I’m going to do it.”

Tim points out that you can end up spending so much time thinking about a task that you end up wasting time you could spend on other tasks.

The simple tactic of keeping his mind off a task or appointment until it’s almost upon him solves that problem. Instead of thinking about all of the work he needs to get done, he stays in the present. That helps him to overcome his fear of all of the work that his success has brought him.

Fellow ActionCOACH Ali Minbashian has his own solution to this problem:

“Understand what you are good at and focus on mastering this space. Outsource the rest. As I like to say, I’m crap at 99.9% of things but I know what my 0.1% ... play to your strengths.”

You don’t have to do everything in your business coaching franchise. As you become more successful, you’ll figure out what you’re good at and what you can delegate to others.

Fear #9 – Running Out of Clients

You only operate in a small area. That means there’s only a finite number of clients. What if you’re so good at your job that you burn through your clients too quickly? This is a strange fear to have. However, if you’re operating within a small niche in a local space, it’s also understandable.

ActionCOACH Bill Stack had the same fear. But he points out that a client’s original goals aren’t necessarily the only goals they need your help to reach:

“Make sure you don’t reach the client’s original goals too soon without doing a “Re-Alignment” to establish new goals and for allowing time for those goals to “feel real”. If no “tension” exists between the now and a goal, then the client may feel they’ve “arrived” and they stop the coaching.”

This is a common occurrence in the business coaching space. Clients often think they have one problem to solve, only to discover that their issues run deeper than they expected.

This is ideal for you as a business coach. It means that you have the ability to constantly add value and build a trusting long term relationship with your client.

The key is that you carry out the re-alignment that Bill recommends. This helps you dig deeper into your current clients’ businesses to get to the real issues they need to solve. You end up with happier clients who work with you for longer.

How we can help

Fear is the great divide between those who succeed and those who fail. Allowing your fear to prevent you from taking the crucial first step means you have no chance of succeeding.

You may encounter each of these fears on your journey to becoming a business coach. But as you can see from ActionCOACH’s own mentors, there are plenty of ways to overcome your fears. You just need to work with people who can give you all of the tools that you need to win the battle.

ActionCOACH can give you those tools. Better yet, we can welcome you into a network of coaches who’ve faced every fear in the book. With ActionCOACH, you’ll get everything you need to make your business coaching franchise a success.

It all starts with the first step. Click here to book a discovery session.

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Written by ActionCOACH January 16, 2019
ActionCOACH is recognised as the creator and most successful practitioner of business and executive coaching methodology that offers owners and managers a new perspective on their businesses and companies.