The Coach’s Survival Guide Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: The Coach’s Survival Guide gives you all the tools that you need to become a successful coach and make the biggest positive impact on your clients.

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A couple of years ago, my wife casually suggested that I should become a life coach. I try to pay careful attention to her advice because whenever I follow it, my life gets better. The only problem was, I knew next to nothing about coaching!

Thankfully, I found Kim Morgan’s book The Coach’s Survival Guide. It gives a great breakdown of the profession, including what to prepare for and how it works. I’m excited to share the ideas I learned from it with you!

Here are the 3 biggest lessons I got out of this book:

  1. You need a lot of credibility as a coach, which doesn’t just come from your certification alone.
  2. Be prepared to battle imposter syndrome if you choose to become a coach.
  3. Make sure that your own work and life are in order so you can provide the best advice to those you serve.

Excited to learn more about what it takes to become a coach? Let’s find out!

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Lesson 1: Getting certified isn’t the only to get the required credibility it takes to be a good coach.

The idea of leaving your current career to become a coach is exciting. One man named Simon was particularly motivated to leave his local government job because of the high hourly rates he’d heard about. 

He knew that executive coaches made a lot of money, but he hit an unanticipated snag after finishing his certification course. The only clients he was getting were people from local government agencies!

The reason Simon struggled to break free at first was the same reason you might also have trouble gaining traction as a new coach. He didn’t have the right credibility.

While getting certified is a form of credibility, it wasn’t what the clients he wanted to bring in were looking for. They wanted to see that he had experience in the field they were in, just like anyone you’ll coach wants.

One way to get this kind of practice is by offering free coaching sessions to people in your target group in exchange for testimonials. Another is to look to your own life and see what you’ve been through that you could help others with too.

One coach named Doreen wanted to focus on coaching people in Higher Education positions. But she soon discovered that she was better at helping people with relationships on account of her experience of getting divorced, dating, and re-marrying later in life.

Lesson 2: If you want to become a coach, you need to be ready to deal with imposter syndrome.

In the author’s mind, Lauren is a coach that is great at helping her clients overcome even the toughest difficulties. But Lauren wouldn’t agree with this conclusion about herself.

While she’s been certified for three years, she’s not had very many paying clients. She struggles to get them because she’s always sending them to another coach that she knows. Lauren believes that her other coach friends are more qualified to help than she is.

This is called imposter syndrome and is something that all new coaches deal with. In this mentality, you consider yourself unworthy to do any amount of work that you’re clearly qualified for.

People that deal with imposter syndrome often work harder to make up for their “lack of skill.” But this just brings them more success and makes them feel even more like a fraud. 

To beat this, start by recognizing that everybody feels this way at first. You aren’t alone, and you can reach out to others for help through it.

Next, identify the source of these feelings. You might have always dealt with self-worth issues, in which case it would be best to get your own therapist. 

Not everybody has self-esteem problems, however. Some cases of imposter syndrome come just from being in a new career. Because coaching training is relatively quick compared to other professions, it’s normal to feel a little inadequate.

Combat this by remembering your training and, as mentioned earlier, your coaching experiences.

Lesson 3: To give the best advice to others, you need to get your own work and life in order first.

If you get excited about your passions like I do, you might struggle with letting them overrun your life. Coaching is fun, but also no exception to this rule. 

One coach named Sam helps jobless women get into a new career. Her clients love her so much that they keep up with her years after they stop subscribing to her coaching packages. 

This sounds wonderful, but there’s an untold dark side to this story. Sam took too much time reconnecting with old clients that she let the rest of her life go downhill.

It’s easy in this profession, as in others in similar fields, to put others’ needs above your own so much that you don’t take care of yourself. Some coaches even forgo using the bathroom because they don’t want to interrupt a coaching session!

This behavior sounds benevolent, but only makes things harder for you and your clients. When you do have a healthy work-life balance you’ve got the energy you need to give your coachees your best attention and advice.

To get that balance, look to improve your self-esteem. It’s common for people to feel useless when they’re not working, so they work more hours. Their quality of life outside of work deteriorates and then so does their productivity while on the job.

Also, find other hobbies and passions that you can devote your time and energy to. Ask yourself about what you liked to do as a kid, for example!

The Coach’s Survival Guide Review

I really enjoyed The Coach’s Survival Guide. One of my favorite parts was how simple and actionable the advice is. It seems to be geared more toward those who choose to get certified as a coach, but there’s still a lot of good information in here for non-certified coaches too.

Who would I recommend The Coach’s Survival Guide summary to?

The 35-year-old office worker who is considering becoming a coach, the 59-year-old executive that wants to learn more about how they can coach their employees better, and anyone who wants to get started with life coaching.

Last Updated on July 23, 2023

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.