Five myths about having a successful one-to-one coaching business (and why you want to become a coach)

Alex Mathers


One of the best discoveries of my career was professional coaching.

When I got hit by a massive, and unexpected tax bill while living in Vietnam in 2014, I was quickly forced to find $10,000 for Her Majesty the Queen (customs) within two weeks. This is no joke.

Fortunately, that money came in the form of one to one Skype coaching. I have been coaching people ever since. It has proven to be a highly flexible, lucrative, fun and fulfilling career.

Coaching is expected to be one of the fastest growing industries over the coming years, and the Harvard Business Review reports that coaching is currently a billion-dollar-a-year industry.

As with any business, there are false beliefs and myths that non-coaches have of the coaching profession.

Here are a handful of those myths, and I am going to smash them for you.

Myth 1: You need to be an expert.

No, you do not. I think of the coaching profession as split into two areas:

  1. More specialist coaching, to help clients with more niche problems like aspects of business, marketing, diet, fitness, or learning a more specific skill.
  2. Generalist life coaching, to help clients move from A to B and help them get what they want in their lives, in all areas of their lives.

You need more expertise in the first one. But you do not need to be an ‘expert.’

You simply need to be a few steps ahead of your student or client if you are dealing with a specific specialism.

This ideally comes from going through your own experiences and learning. Being a little more advanced than the client, or even having had a different take on the problem is all you need.

Yes for a generalist, you do not need to be an expert. Like with the above, you need to be interested in helping the client get results. Mostly, this involves encouraging them to upgrade their own skills.

It is about helping them take charge of their life, rather than being an expert who is going to disperse your Golden Knowledge.