The BIGGEST Mistakes New Coaches Make

If there’s one thing most coaches have in common, it’s a genuine passion for guiding others toward their goals and a commitment to their clients’ success. Yet, in their enthusiasm to make a significant impact, new coaches often find themselves falling into similar traps that can hinder both their clients’ progress and their own professional growth. Having personally trained more than 3,000 executive coaches, I’ve found that even the most promising coaches tend to make two or three of these mistakes early on. Understanding these pitfalls is the first step in avoiding them, allowing new coaches to navigate the complexities of their role with both confidence and humility. This article aims to shine a light on the seven biggest mistakes new coaches make, providing actionable insights to help you steer clear of these common obstacles and enhance your effectiveness as a coach.

  1. Overestimating the Coach’s Impact: New coaches may fall into the trap of attributing a client’s success solely to their coaching. It’s important to remember that while coaching can be influential, the client is the one doing the heavy lifting. Coaches facilitate the process, but the client’s commitment and effort are what truly drive change.
  2. Underestimating the Importance of Follow-Up: As I’ve discussed in my work, follow-up is crucial. Without it, coaching efforts can be rendered ineffective. New coaches must establish a consistent follow-up routine to ensure that clients are progressing towards their goals and that the coaching is having the desired impact.
  3. Failing to Establish Clear Measures of Success: New coaches sometimes focus on the wrong metrics, such as the amount of time spent with a client or whether the client likes the coach. Instead, coaches should focus on tangible results and the value they bring to the client’s objectives.
  4. Not Managing Their Own Ego: It’s essential for coaches to check their egos at the door and make the coaching process about the client, not themselves. The coach’s role is to support and guide, not to seek validation or credit for the client’s improvements.
  5. Lacking Business Acumen: Many excellent coaches struggle with the business side of coaching. Understanding how to run a coaching practice as a business, including marketing, financial management, and strategic planning, is vital for long-term success.
  6. Neglecting Their Own Brand and Differentiation: New coaches must work on building their personal brand and finding a niche that sets them apart from others. This involves becoming an expert in a specific area and clearly communicating their unique value proposition to potential clients.
  7. Not Investing in Continuous Learning: The field of executive coaching is always evolving. New coaches should commit to lifelong learning, seeking out new knowledge, skills, and methodologies to stay current and effective in their practice.

In conclusion, the journey of an executive coach is both challenging and rewarding. Embracing a mindset of continuous learning and client-centered service, while balancing the intricacies of running a coaching practice, can lead to profound impacts on both personal and professional lives. Remember, the essence of coaching lies in the transformational growth of the client, and as coaches, our greatest fulfillment comes from witnessing that evolution. Stay true to the passion that drew you to this profession, and let that drive your path forward.

To learn more about preventing these mistakes and leaving a legacy as an executive coach, join our award-winning executive coaching process.  To join a free training, visit  Or you can learn about our certified executive coaching program at


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