I know that sometimes you need a safe place to express and unpack your fears and concerns about your own ability to coach. You need a place to work out what is real and what is that old inner critic who is only trying to keep you safe, but somehow manages to sabotage you and stop you from being visible. The inner critic then stops you growing your coaching practice in the way that you really want to and are being called to. You also need a business safety net so that things work to protect both you and your clients as you come together in the coaching relationship.
Here are some ways you can begin to craft your own safety net as a coach, so that you can reach powerful heights of coaching power in your sessions and have a cared for and ethical business.
- Have a contract in place with your clients that both sides know the expectations of how the relationship will be conducted. Ideally, this would be drawn up with the help of a lawyer in your country so this is something to prioritize when your business is able to support that investment.
- Consider whether you want to invest in making your coaching practice a limited company. This does not cost a lot to do initially but keep in mind it does require ongoing financial commitment as you will probably need help from an accountant to do the returns to Companies House and the Inland Revenue if you are in the UK or the equivalent in the U.S. Being a limited company gives some protection to your family assets if any person ever filed against you. I am not an expert on any of this and share it only to help as a starting point. Your local business advisor would be able to give you more details, as would an accountant and a lawyer.
- Investigate insurance for your business. Find out about both professional indemnity and public liability insurance. Check which countries are covered.
- Have a separate bank account for your business to make it easier to attend to your taxes and to know how the business stands.
- Make sure you choose people to work with that you trust and have some rapport with. For example, you may need to meet with a few accountants before you find one you are happy to work with. My opinion on this is it needs to be someone that you would happy to ask dumb questions to. (the sort of question where you think ‘I should really know this, but…)
- Use your journal to write about how you are feeling about things then look for the limiting and critical beliefs in there and coach yourself on them. Repeat this on a regular basis.
- Have coaching buddies that you can rely on and meet with them on Skype to help make your coaching safety net stronger. If you have not got coaching buddies at the moment seek them out on Facebook groups for coaches or through the coaching school where you did your training.
- Never meet a new client without it being in a public and safe place and without telling someone where you are going.
- Learn about data protection in the country that you are in and register for it if necessary in the country you are in. Store files of clients safely.
- Have a backup system and schedule in place for your computer and for your website.
- Look at ways that you can increase the security of your website. I use Sucuri for website protection and Akismet for spam filtering. (not affiliate recommendations)
- Check with new clients on their history with regards to addiction and depression so that you are more able to decide whether they are a client for coaching or would be better served by psychotherapy / counseling.
- Consider using a PO Box address for business purposes and consider using a Skype number or business number rather than your home number for business purposes.
- Consider working with a coach or as part of a coaching mentorship to help when you need extra support with your client work. You may also have support like this from your coaching school that you can make a conscious effort to tap into more.
I’d love to hear from you. Which of these do you need to investigate more? What have I missed out?
The small print that I have made big enough so you can read it.
None of the above are given as advice or to tell you what to do and you will need to decide for each of them how you wish to proceed. I am not a lawyer, accountant, data protection psychologist or tax specialist.