This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of creating your coaching program and provide a coaching program template to help you grow your coaching business no matter what kind of coach you are.
If you’ve never had a coaching business before and this is your first time creating a coaching program, this guide and coaching program template will help you to hit the ground running with your coaching services so you can start enrolling new clients today.
What Kind of Coach Do You Want To Be?
If you still need to get certified as a life coach, nutrition coach, or relationship coach, the first step before creating any business is deciding what kind of coach you want to be and the training you need to become a coach in your desired industry.
What kind of coaching business do you want to create?
This guide will walk you through the step-by-step process for creating your signature group coaching program that has the potential to serve as both a digital course or as a private 1-1 Coaching package depending on what your personal preference is.
It’s important to emphasize that there is no right or wrong way to build your coaching business and the guidelines provided throughout this article are meant to be a general insight and outline for developing an online program but in no way is this the only way to build a successful signature coaching program.
Why build a signature coaching program?
Once you have developed your signature coaching program, it will serve as a powerful resource to build and grow your business especially if you want to take an online approach to coaching.
How do I create my signature group coaching program?
Creating a successful signature group coaching program is no small feat and is undoubtedly a process of trial and error so as we break down this process, be sure to approach each step as a scientist in your business and be willing to experiment.
Get clarity on what your skillset is and the results you know how to get
This step is often overlooked in creating a signature program but is essential for crafting an effective program and delivering an ethically sound service.
If you’re starting from ground zero and have no training, certifications, or coaching experience, it’s time to take inventory of your qualifications and credentials to identify what new skills you need to develop and what experience you can already pull on to ensure you stay in your lane.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome and Put together an initial skills list
The best way to beat imposter syndrome is to create something you’re both confident AND competent in.
New coaches’ biggest mistake is jumping into something they haven’t mastered and trying to build a coaching business that hasn’t been optimized for client’s success.
Let’s take inventory:
- What are your core skills? What kind of personal growth have you had in your life?
- What’s your personal story about who you are and why you are the way you are?
- What do you believe you’re great at? or what have others shared that you are great at?
- What big changes or shifts have you made in your life?
- What unique skills or talents do you have that others would benefit from?
- What kind of results have you been able to create for yourself because of these skills, knowledge, or insight?
- What have you spent time studying, training in, or educating yourself on?
- What’s the hill you could die on? The thing you love to talk about and want to see more of a change in the world with?
The best type of programs that we can create are programs based on our own personal achievements and the results we’ve been able to create for either ourselves or our clients.
YOU are your first client. TEST your skills on yourself first to get the results you want to get paid to help others create with online coaching.
Here are a few examples to get your wheels turning:
- A personal trainer who was tired of being bullied their whole life for being too skinny became obsessed with lifting weights and working out and now has a newfound sense of confidence, happiness, and sense of self.
- A single mother who struggled with dating after her divorce became obsessed with learning how to love herself, feel confident in who she is, and learn how to value herself to attract a high-quality partner and is now dating men she’s excited about the potential with.
- A corporate employee who was burnt out in their day job and never had time to take care of themselves and who was always being stretched too thin started developing better boundaries, got into yoga, and harnessing mindfulness practices to reconnect to their aliveness through positive psychology.
You’ll notice each of these examples has three core components to it, I refer to these as the Three Stages of Transformation.
Mapping your hero’s journey and stages of transformation
Below is the first part of a coaching program template that incorporates the three stages of transformation.
Stage 1: The pain/problem
This is the point in your journey where you find yourself unhappy with where you currently are and facing some sort of challenge or problem that you want to overcome but don’t yet know how and will help you. understand the challenges your clients face.
Reflect on your own lived experience to identify the biggest problems you’ve overcome.
- Identify the emotional experience of what you were feeling, how you felt about yourself, about your life, career, relationships, financial situation etc.
- Identify, in detail, what each area of your life looked like and how you felt in all of those areas.
- Describe the day-to-day in your life at this point; how were you spending your time? Money? Energy?
- Identify your thoughts and beliefs at this point; what did you think the problem was? What did you believe you needed?
- What were the common thought patterns, mindsets, or beliefs you carried at this stage about yourself, life, and the world?
- Identify what your habits were and how you coped with the problem regularly
Stage 2. The Process
This is the point where you decided, “no more” and started taking the steps to make a change, overcome your current problem and start working towards something different.
This stage is often filled with many trials and tribulations, learning, and growing.
- Reflect on the steps you took to start to get out of where you were and take steps towards where you wanted to be, ideally note these down chronologically.
- What challenges did you hit up against in the process of changing yourself and your life?
- What things did you find worked better for you and what things did you try that weren’t as helpful?
- What resources, teachers, training, support, etc. did you invest in and why did you invest in them?
Stage 3. The Result
This is the end destination where you’ve achieved the thing you set out to accomplish in the previous stages.
Here is where we typically find the counter to your initial problem and have found the desired outcome.
- How did your relationship with yourself, your life, career, relationships, or finances change?
- What emotions do you experience daily and how are these different from the feelings you experienced in stage 1?
- Identify and describe how your life is different today in all the areas you previously struggled with
- Write down in detail what a day in your life looks like now and how that’s different from where you were before
- Identify what your current beliefs, feelings, or mindset about yourself, life, and the world are today and how those have changed
- Identify how your habits have changed, what new ones you’ve created, and how you’ve benefited from these changes
- This is what will help you start the goal setting process and develop the self awareness you need to have in order to help track your client’s progress.
Now that you’ve identified your core three stages of the transformation journey, it’s time to break these down into the different aspects of your coaching business and identify your coaching niche.
How to identify your coaching niche
Stage 1 is how we identify your potential target market, this will be the roadmap for identifying where clients are before they start working with you and what they’re currently struggling with.
Stage 2 will become your signature framework or process for how you work with clients in creating the change they want.
Stage 3 is your core marketing message around the outcome or result you help your potential clients achieve.
This is the main focus of your messaging and positioning that will help to summarize your coaching niche and coaching services.
Step 1: Define Your Buying Persona & ICA
The first step in creating your signature coaching program is to define your Buying Persona.
This is the person that you want to work with, the person who needs your help the most, and the person who will benefit the most from your coaching.
Creating a signature coaching program without being clear on who exactly it’s designed for is like baking without knowing which ingredients you need.
Knowing who your client is gives you greater clarity in terms of which topics to focus on, which strategies to include in the program, and how best to structure each session.
It also helps you craft marketing messages that resonate with them to attract their attention and entice them into signing up for your services.
Now that you’ve identified what your stage 1 experience was, you’ll have an initial outline for the type of client you want to work with, below are additional questions to help you hone in on the target market you want to market towards:
- What are your core values and beliefs in life and/or business? What beliefs do you want to ensure you share with your potential client?
- What kind of people do you enjoy working with the most and why?
- What are their main priorities in life right now and how does that relate to the work you do?
- What are their values around money, finances, work, family etc?
- What kind of support do they have in their life? Are they married? living at home? Divorced?
- What kind of career do they currently have and how do they spend their time on a day to day?
- What are they most afraid of in life? Why?
- What do they want most out of life? Why?
- What behavioral change do they want to see?
- What kind of coach or coaching style do they respond best to?
Once you have a clear picture of your potential client, you can begin to create your messaging and positioning.
The standard “I Help” statement or “elevator pitch” is a foundational way to summarize
what you do,
who you help,
and the result you create,
all of which can be taken from the three stages coaching program template outlined above.
I help (client) entrepreneurs struggling with (pain/problem) feeling stuck and overwhelmed in their business (the process) build capacity and regulate their nervous system (the result/outcome) so they can feel more confident and connected to their work.
I Help Statement Template
So they can…
Step 2: Do Market Research
The next step is to do market research to make sure that there is a demand for what you are considering offering.
This involves looking at what your competitors are offering, as well as doing actual client interviews and online research to see what folks are investing in, what they’re struggling with, and what they’re currently wanting or needing.
Potential Client or Past Client Interviews
You can conduct market research by reaching out to people who fit the script of who your potential client would be and asking if they’d be open to answering a few questions to help you with your market research over a quick call.
If you’ve previously worked with clients, this is a great time to reach out to them and learn about why they wanted to work with you in the first place and what it was that got them to want to invest.
If this is your first time working with clients, you can use your social networks like facebook, instagram, tiktok or linkedin to connect with people who may be your potential client and better understand the client journey.
This is NOT a sales call and is purely for a better understanding of what’s happening for these folks, what they’re struggling with, what they’ve tried, what they want, what they need, and what they’ve invested in before.
You’re looking for patterns and trends amongst the type of people you’re interviewing to validate your hypothesis of what you think the problem is and what people are saying they want and need.
I created a full market research coaching program Blog with a step-by-step walkthrough of how to do it for you here.
In addition to doing market research with people in the real world, it’s helpful to also take a look at other people in the industry you’re wanting to get into and see what is and isn’t working.
Some questions to ask yourself during this process include:
- Who are your main competitors in this industry?
- What are their main messages and offers?
- What kind of content do they post and share?
- How do people respond to them?
- What are your competitors doing well?
- Where are they falling short?
- What sets you apart from them?
- What keywords are people searching for that relate to your coaching?
Step 3: Drafting Your Initial Coaching Program Outline + A Coaching Program Template
Once you have a sense of what your potential client is, what they’re struggling with, and what the market looks like…
It’s time to start drafting an outline of your coaching program using the coaching program template provided below.
Your program outline should include:
• The title or name of your program – Keep it super simple and straight forward.
• A summary overview that clearly explains the transformation clients will experience
• An outline of the modules you’ll cover to help them reach their desired results
• The length of the program (is it a 4 week coaching program? a 4 month coaching program?)
• The cost and any payment plan options
• The deliverables each participant will receive
• Any additional bonuses or incentives you offer
This document can serve as a starting point for producing further content related to your program, such as coaching calls, worksheets and other materials you may want to include.
If you’ve never worked with your ideal clients before or you’re creating a brand new program and don’t have any experience with client success to feed off of.
I highly encourage starting with 1-1 coaching FIRST and building up to a group program after you’ve got some experience under your belt.
Below is an outline of a coaching program template that you can use to help guide you in creating your transformational coaching program.
Now that you’ve mapped out the initial outline of your program structure, it’s time to start outlining what the program content will be for each of the steps of the coaching program template.
Tips For Creating Program Content
Anytime coaches create a new coaching program, the coach is never expected to have it all figured out the first time, especially when working with brand-new clients.
It’s important to set realistic expectations about the program and not try to create all the content before you ever work with a new client.
The best approach for creating successful coaching programs that help clients succeed is building the coaching program as your new clients are going through it.
This means coaches want to have a flexible program structure that incorporates:
- an idea of what your coaching methods are,
- the potential coaching exercises you may plan on using or coaching tools you’d like to provide
- but coaches also want to leave room to adapt the program for each individual client who will provide valuable insights about what coaching tools are working best for them.
How to start your signature coaching program
The first session with all new clients should incorporate an onboarding component that helps the client understand how your coaching program works, what they can expect to receive, what you expect of them and how they can best prepare for future success in the program.
If you’re a new online coach and have never done a coaching session before, below are a few tips for planning coaching sessions.
How to plan your coaching sessions
- Create a signature flow or structure for each of your client coaching calls, a standard structure for coaches looks like opening a call by celebrating any wins from the previous session, setting a clear intention for the current session, addressing specific problems, and setting specific goals with clear action items.
- Begin with setting goals and intentions for the call by asking these coaching questions
- What’s the one thing they want to achieve by the end of the call?
- What is the biggest thing they’re struggling with right now and want help with?
- What have they tried and what has or hasn’t worked for them so far?
- What action steps are they setting for themselves that you can track together?
- What’s the one thing they want to achieve by the end of the call?
Depending on the type of online coaching program you run, your coaching journey and coaching questions will be different to better support the behavioral change within your clients.
These are also places where you can teach your client healthy habits or use coaching tools like visualization exercises that help your client make changes.
Step 4: Develop Your Pricing
Now that you have a clear picture of your ideal client and have validated that there is a demand for your coaching, it’s time to develop your pricing and decide where you want to price your services amongst other coaches in the industry.
There are plenty of free coaching tools to help you do this, my personal favorite as a long time business coach is working with an equity based pricing model that I talk about here.
This will involve looking at what other coaches in your field are charging, as well as considering your own experience and expertise.
Consider these questions:
What are your competitors charging, and is there room for you to charge more or less?
What is the value of the transformation that you are providing to your clients?
How much time and effort will you be putting into the program?
It’s important to break down your coaching packages hourly so you can see how much time you invest in delivering the service beyond just the coaching sessions.
This might include the time you spend preparing for your coaching session before your call and the time you spend writing notes for your client after the call.
It may also include the time you spend between your calls providing life coach support via email or in other forms.
If you have multiple clients you’re working with at one time, you have to consider the total amount of time you have available to support each client in your coaching programs.
To learn more about my beliefs on ethical program pricing, you can check out the full podcast and blog I created previously here and explore the other coaching program templates and coaching tools I’ve created as free resources for you.
Step 4: Have a Beta Program Launch
Before you can launch your full coaching program, it’s a good idea to have a beta program launch to test your ideas and get feedback from real clients about your coaching.
This will the coach or coaches the opportunity to make tweaks and improvements to their coaching program before launching to a wider audience.
Consider these tips:
Offer a discounted rate for beta clients in exchange for their feedback can be extremely helpful in making your coaching program the best it could possibly be.
Gather as much feedback as possible from your beta clients to refine your program.
Having this kind of intimate connection with potential future clients is invaluable when it comes to building trust and rapport from the beginning and will support your coaching journey as you build a successful business.
Step 5: Refine the Content into a Streamlined Course
Now that you’ve validated your coaching program and have feedback from real clients, it’s time to refine the content into a streamlined course that you can offer to a wider audience.
Consider these steps:
- Take the feedback from your beta clients and make tweaks and improvements to your coaching program.
- Create a comprehensive curriculum for your coaching program that takes your clients through a step-by-step process from beginning to end.
- Develop supporting materials, such as workbooks, templates, and checklists, to make the coaching program as valuable as possible.
Step 6: Grow Your Signature Coaching Program or Course with Email Marketing
Finally, it’s time to launch your signature program and grow it with email marketing.
This will involve creating a sales page that communicates the value of your coaching program and entices potential clients to sign up.
You’ll also need to create an email marketing campaign to promote your program and nurture your leads.
Here are some tips to meet your client needs:
- Use your messaging and positioning to create a compelling sales page that speaks directly to your ideal client.
- Make sure your email marketing campaign is nurturing leads and providing value, not just constantly pitching your program.
- Monitor your program’s success and make tweaks and improvements as necessary to continue growing and improving.
Creating your signature coaching program can feel overwhelming, but by following these steps, you can create a coaching program and coaching business that is not only valuable to your clients but also profitable for you.
I hope you found this article helpful in creating your coaching program and remember to grab the free coaching templates I’ve linked throughout this blog to support you in building your coaching programs.
Kind Words From Past Coaching Clients
Are you considering hiring a coach to help you in a practical and tangible way to grow your own e coaching business?
I invite you to explore all the kind words and client case studies highlighted here from previous coaching clients I’ve supported over the years.
If you’re interested in receiving 1-1 coaching support, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can explore what kind of coaching support you need in your business right now.