Author Profile Picture

Kevin Oubridge

Blue Chip Coaching Limited


Read more from Kevin Oubridge

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Developing the Right Routines is Key to Growing Your Coaching Practice


Developing the right routines is key to growing your coaching practice.

Having recently moved home and offices, I am shocked at the level of disruption it caused us.

Genuinely shocked!

Not just the obvious stuff like not being able to access the internet or having to arrange places to speak to coaching clients from. That sort of disruption you can plan round.

The disruption I’m talking about was all pervasive. It stifled our ability to actually do much of anything worthwhile.

And it all seems to revolve around the lack of routine.

I had imagined that, during the move, we would carry on as before. We would just have to do it in slightly more difficult circumstances. I hadn’t factored in that some weeks prior to moving, move related activity would steal more and more of our time.

Nor had I realized what preparing to move would do to our stress levels.

They went through the roof.

We quickly switched from motoring along nicely to getting nowhere fast.

We therefore decided to scale back on business related stuff. After all, the business could survive for a couple of weeks with less attention. And we could focus properly on moving home and office.

Of course, reducing our business related activity threw all our routines up in the air. For example, I used to start most mornings by checking my diary, planning my day and going through my email. But because I’d scrubbed work from my diary for a couple of weeks, there was no need to go through my diary, and nothing to plan.

I still had my emails to deal with but, far from being a tried and trusted routine I could enjoy, this became a bit of an angst ridden chore. I skimmed through them, deleting most because they didn’t require essential or immediate action, and then set about dealing with those that did.

I felt guilty for adopting such a dismissive approach and at the same time I felt guilty for spending any time on it at all. And when I finally cleared my plate and focused on the move, I felt anxious that I was spending so little time on the business.

It didn’t matter how much I told myself that it was the right thing to do, that the business would keep ticking over, that our clients were still receiving the same level of service we always provide ...

It felt wrong!

The destructive power of stress

Added to this, stress connected with the move was building.

Our solicitors were proving to be pretty hopeless. They didn’t seem to know what they were doing and communicating with them was extremely difficult. On the odd occasion I did manage to get through to someone, they were unable to answer my queries and simply told me that someone would call me back.

Nobody ever did.

By the time it came to our proposed exchange date I had totally lost confidence in them – we’d only stuck with them because we were so far down the line.

My lack of confidence was well placed.

We exchanged on selling our property – huge relief!

But, due to a fairly calamitous mistake by our solicitor, we were unable to exchange on the property we were buying at the same time.

We changed solicitors and subsequently moved out of our old home and office, put our furniture in storage and stayed in a holiday let.

Sounds like it should be fun, having a holiday.

It wasn’t.

What with trying to liaise with the new solicitor, our mortgage company, the seller’s estate agent without telephone, mobile or internet connections, it was spectacularly stressful.

The positive power of routine

Two weeks later we completed on the property we were buying.

So far, that was four weeks of getting very little done business-wise.

You’d imagine, therefore, that when we finally got up and running again, we’d be, well, RUNNING.

Anything but!

More like staggering.

What with not having a mobile signal in our new home, having to sort out a new landline and broadband, and various software systems we use, unaccountably behaving very oddly (and my goodness you notice how much you rely on it when it all falls apart), we’ve spent hours just getting things to work. The upshot is that, when it came to business stuff, we were very unproductive.

On top of that … well, I won’t bore you with the ins and outs but it’s been a bit of a struggle.

We’ve been in our new location for six weeks now.

Looking back, over the last few months, being bumped out of our routines made it tougher to get things done, which made things more stressful, which was harder to manage due to the lack of routine, which made things more stressful ... you get the idea.

Unable to manage the changes we were experiencing, we were reduced to edging forward, stilted, demotivated, unfocused, low on creativity, low on energy, no bounce-back.

It wasn’t fun.

The only thing that has kept us going has been the knowledge that sometimes all you can do is keep going until things work out. Even when change and the stress of change smashed our routines to pieces, we still had a basic routine, KEEP GOING AND DON’T GIVE UP, to help us come through.

Choosing the right routines

And now we’re getting back to normality, we are slowly re-establishing our old familiar routines, like writing blog posts. Of course, some routines have changed, such as booking and attending meetings with clients in London – same people, same location, just a much longer commute, requiring different booking criteria.

Other routines are gone forever.

For example, I’ve finally switched our auto-emailing service to a new provider, something I could have done any time but finally took the plunge because of the move. Our old provider was very good but our new provider better meets our specific needs.

It hasn’t been plain sailing (changing technology never is) but, having done the hard yards, we’re much better off than we were.

This whole experience has shown me the power of routines – OK, it’s also shown me the destructive power of stress but, when it came down to it routine trumped stress and won the day.

What does this mean for your marketing?

Everything we do in our life and business is governed by routine.

It can be simple stuff, like making a cup of coffee or going shopping, but it’s only simple because we have a routine to manage it. Without routine, the most mundane of tasks can become overly complex and even unachievable. Think of making a cup of coffee in someone else’s kitchen. You have to look for the kettle, work out how to use it, find the coffee, milk and sugar, find the cups and a spoon. You end up looking in every cupboard several times and still end up having to make tea instead.

We also use routine to manage the more complicated stuff, like marketing our services and completing our business accounts. And, as I can attest from recent experience, without routines things can spin out of control and become very stressful.

However, what we’ve also seen is that when you step back from your routines, you can identify what works well and what needs changing.

Our ‘stepping back’ was enforced by our move. It was, on the whole, a total nightmare. However, it did enable us to see how we worked and how we could work better, and we’ve changed what we do as a result.

If I’m honest, some of it I’ve known for years needed changing. It’s just hard to dump something you’re comfortable with.

Even when it clearly isn’t working!

I remember a few years back how we continued attending networking events as part of our marketing effort. We weren’t winning any business from it and we didn’t particularly enjoy it, we just couldn’t think what else to do. Since then we’ve developed our marketing approach to be something we enjoy and is highly productive.

We now focus on building relationships with a small number of existing contacts, winning further business from them, others in their companies and from people they refer us to. It’s so much better than chasing round after new contacts all the time – we never used to even reach first base with most of them.

But how does all this connect to you? Well, if you’re not winning coaching clients you could try harder. Perhaps be bolder. Perhaps follow up more.

However, you should also question whether your marketing routines will ever succeed. Is your approach doomed to fail? Or, more likely, is it doomed to sort of work but not very well, bringing in a dribble of income and sometimes nothing?

If your answer to either of the above questions is yes, or possibly or even don’t knowthen trying harder might be the worst thing you can do. If your routines can’t succeed, trying harder will just mean you fail quicker.

A much better idea is to spend the time you normally spend on marketing your services on learning about different approaches you might adopt. There’s no end of help freely available online. Sign up to a few blogs, attend free webinars, read some books, try out a few suggestions.

Find an approach to winning more clients that will work for you.

Then build your routines around this approach to grow your coaching practice.

Want to learn how to grow your coaching practice?

Download The Alligator’s Bite - it's FREE! I reveal the step-by-step process you can use to win Blue Chip coaching clients and build long-term relationships, where you win further business year on year. You’ll also receive regular Blue Chip Tips blog posts to your email.

Author Profile Picture
Kevin Oubridge


Read more from Kevin Oubridge

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!