Have you ever seen or experienced the exquisite beauty of the Palace of Versailles gardens?
I remember going there with my parents and being mesmerised by its sheer vision and scale.
A testament to human ingenuity and perseverance, it took 40 years, thousands of workers, and an immense supply chain to make gardener Andre Le Notre’s dream a reality.
Imagine Day 1 how Andre felt looking out with an expectant King Louis XIV by his side!
Embarking on the path of a coach is much like beginning a gardener’s journey.
Both require patience, resilience, growth, and a deep understanding of nurturing.
To help you blossom into a masterful coach, let me walk you through the seven stages of the Gardener’s Journey to launching, growing and scaling your coaching business
Stage 1: Seed Gatherer
Goal: Develop trust in the value of what you’ve learned
As a Seed Gatherer you’re focused on your education and training.
During my training at IPEC, I immersed myself in accumulating various coaching seeds—theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and hands-on experience.
As you gather your seeds of wisdom and expertise, your goal is to recognize and trust the value of your acquired knowledge.
Being confident in your ability, knowledge and skills is critical as it forms the foundation upon which to build your coaching practice.
Stage 2: Seed Planter
Goal: Trust in your ability to provide exceptional value
Transitioning from a gatherer, the next stage is to become a Seed Planter.
It’s time to plant the seeds of your acquired knowledge into the soil of real-world experience.
As I transitioned, my mission was to seek out people I could practice on and who would be open to sharing that experience.
The key here is not the money you might earn, but the consistent interaction with individual clients and the ability to assess progress over time
- Begin with pro-bono or partially paid clients.
- Track progress over time
- Aim for positive feedback from at least five regular clients.
Stage 3: Sprout Tender
Goal: Create 5 regular paying clients
Once your seeds have germinated, you enter the Sprout Tender stage.
I couldn’t wait to start charging as quickly as possible and make things “real”.
Here, you will nurture your first paying clients.
Shifting from unpaid to paid clients is a pivotal moment in creating your garden.
Consistent client engagement is crucial for your growth and affirmation of your value as a coach.
Much like tending to your delicate sprouts!
- For three months, focus on creating robust relationships and providing continuous value
- Focus on creating connections not marketing
- Harness your existing network
- Engage in value based conversations
- Trust the process and affirm your worth
Stage 4: Plant Cultivator
Goal: Generate sufficient revenue to cover basic expenses – (e.g. At least £5000 per month for 3 consecutive months)
As a Plant Cultivator, your focus is to ensure your practice is producing enough to cover your basic expenses.
Your aim is to create a sustainable coaching practice that can support you, just as a garden provides for the gardener’s needs.
This stage represents your transition from part-time passion to full-time profession.
- Develop a complete system for building your business
- Focus on creating clients, engagement, and retention
- Establish marketing, branding and financial management
- Stay aligned with your values
- Create an abundant mindset. Needy is creepy!
Stage 5: Garden Flourisher
Goal: Develop trust in your ability to create clients at will
In the Garden Flourisher stage, your practice flourishes. Your client list is full, and you have a waiting list.
You’ve mastered the art of attracting clients and have systems in place to consistently fill your roster, much like a blooming garden.
- Eliminate anything you don’t love about your business
- Prune your garden and get rid of clients who are no longer a fit
- Raise you prices
- Delegate and outsource all non core activities
Stage 6: Orchard Grower
Goal: Cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset and serve groups and communities
Next, your garden evolves into an Orchard Grower. As your impact expands your income begins to diversify, flowing in from various avenues.
This stage might involve creating group classes, courses, or masterminds, much like a gardener expanding to an orchard.
This stage is characterised by a unique sense of freedom and creativity
- Cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset
- Master the art of group programs and initiatives
- Create more robust systems
- Develop scalable models to ensure quality doesn’t dilute as you serve more people
Stage 7: Master Gardener
Goal: Lead, serve and give back
Finally, you reach the pinnacle: The Master Gardener.
You’re not just running a coaching practice, you’re leading an organization.
You’ve built systems that work even when you’re not directly involved, much like a master gardener nurturing a self-sustaining ecosystem.
Mastery is a dynamic, continuous process.
There is always new opportunities which nature provides to invite us to step up and rise the occasion.
- Trust the process, nature moves at her own pace: Each stage of growth is important in building a robust coaching practice.
- Continual learning: Always be open to learning, even when you’re at the Master Gardener stage.
- Adaptability: Be ready to adapt your strategies as you grow from one stage to the next.
- Service: Your ultimate goal is to serve, whether it’s serving individual clients or groups.
- Leadership: Embracing leadership is a mark of growth and the highest form of service you can offer as a coach.
The journey from Seed Gatherer to Master Gardener is filled with growth, challenges, and immense fulfillment.
Like any gardener, whether it’s the Palace of Versailles or your own heartland, you must trust the process, tend to your practice diligently, and watch as your efforts blossom.
Remember, a masterful coaching practice isn’t built overnight—it grows from the seeds of knowledge, watered with experience, and cultivated with consistent efforts.