used with mobile nav - no delete
Your Ideal Coaching Client! Is This Really Possible?

Your Ideal Coaching Client! Is This Really Possible?

Thirteen years ago, I was in coach training and learning what seemed to be "foreign concepts" and coaching competencies. During that time Chris McCluskey and Judy Santos were my wonderful trainers. They gave me homework that I thought was unusual: Create a list of characteristics that fit your ideal client. My first inward response was–you got to be kidding. I can't choose who I want to work with, that's a pipe dream. I was so wrong! 

I timidly sat down with a blank sheet of paper and began to write down who I wanted to knock at my coaching door:

  • Male or female between the ages of 30 and 55
  • Motivated to develop personally and professionally
  • Have a leadership function (supervisor, business owner, team leader)
  • Possesses a sense of humor
  • Have the time to focus on coaching
  • Effortless in conversation
  • Available within my coaching schedule

Let's quickly move to 2015. Who am I coaching?

  • Male or female between the ages of 23 and 55 (This has changed with the Millennials currently on the scene. They are my favorite generation to coach).
  • Motivated to develop personally and professionally
  • Have a leadership function (supervisor, business owner, team leader)
  • Possesses a sense of humor
  • Have the time to focus on coaching
  • Effortless in conversation
  • Available within my coaching schedule

Amazing, right? In reality, not so amazing. The list that was labored over so many years ago came out of who I felt I could best serve, where my experience in people development could best be leveraged, and where I could be my best. This means it was an organic list of who I naturally gravitated toward. Of course in networking and explaining to people who my target audience was, all of these characteristics came into play.

The list wasn't a dream list; it was the beginning of being laser focused.

I do want to insert: Thank you Chris and to the wonderful Judy Santos, who is no longer with us, for making that request to this highly-reserved student. 

We don't want to stop with a list. There a few other questions to ask: 

Does the person fit within my coaching niche? If you have narrowed your coaching to a particular focus, you may not be motivated to coach outside of this focus and clients would be better served by another coach. It is vitally important that you can authentically, sincerely, and genuinely champion the person's vision,

Do the person's goals interest me? Can you authentically and sincerely support the person's goals for his or her future. A client's future should stir up eagerness to be invovled.

Do I enjoy interacting with the potential client? If you don't enjoy talking with the person in the initial call, you won't enjoy coaching  him or her. A coaching relationship should be synergistic.

What is my intuition telling me? Pay attention to your awareness of being uncomfortable or unsure. Ask yourself, "Is saying yes to the client when I'm uncomfortable upholding the competency of doing what is best for the client?" Trust your instinct and perception as these things will help you make wise decisions.

Does the client have the ability to pay coaching fees? Fees are discussed in the inquiry and if the client cannot pay your fees, are you comfortable with setting up an alternative payment plan?

And if you're wondering about the foreign concepts I talked about earlier, they are no longer foreign and have become an effective and integrate part of my conversation and relationships.

Are you ready to get a blank piece of paper and develop your list for an ideal client?


Mary is a leadership consultant who works with organizations to establish a culture of synergistic teams, systems and processes for greater employee engagement, employee loyalty, and communication effectiveness. She trains leaders to maximize leadership competencies, develop greater agility, and achieve leadership influence through communication excellence. 

Mary is President and Cofounder of the Center for Coaching Excellence, a distinctive training organization that focuses on developing highly competent coaches through a mentor-training approach and a training model of coaching that easily transitions into professional and personal conversations. Mary continues to expanded coaching into diverse industries by developing customized coach training used in companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, and MJ Senior Housing.