How I Got 12 New Clients by Creating a Coaching Program - and Why It Was a Turning Point for My Practice!

Happy Coach on phone with New Coaching Clients

I was writing a teleseminar this week about 'concretizing' coaching - finding ways to demonstrate the value and power of coaching in a tangible way. And it reminded me of a turning point in my coaching business several years ago - a coaching program I created that got me 12 clients in 2 weeks. It literally took me ONE day to put it together - the morning to plan and outline it, and the afternoon to create the poster and words. My first new client signed up that very afternoon (my mortgage broker who had stopped in to get some paperwork signed). I had just printed off a few posters and she said, "Sign me up!". I  didn't believe her at first, until she got her cheque book out...

Coaching Programme Flyer ImageAs I look at this poster now, it takes me right back to that time years ago, when I was setting my practice up, questioning myself, and struggling to describe coaching and get clients. I was on a tremendous learning curve and kept wondering if it would all (ever) work out.

So, getting 12 new clients in such a short space of time was a HUGE confidence boost for me. I had been building a list through my newsletter, workshops, networking and had been getting a slow, small and steady stream of clients. But it was this program that made my coaching business feel REAL to me.

Now, there are different ways you can SHOW people what coaching is, like giving a great sample session, taking them through a coaching exercise or running a workshop or teleseminar series. But you have to get people interested in the first place! And I was having such difficulty explaining what coaching was that I thought, OK, I'll just create my own coaching program using my coaching exercises - at least they're 'concrete'!

So, I spent a morning thinking - and listening to my intuition. What do my potential clients need help with? I sat down and thought about the problems and goals my clients and contacts tended to have, then looked at the coaching tools and exercises I'd created. I wrote a bullet point list of 9 steps that would help them with these problems and goals. Then for each of the 9 steps I identified 1-2 SPECIFIC coaching exercises that I could do with them. The idea was that having these concrete steps made it super-easy to be confident when I explained the program to potential clients.

I called the program, "Free Yourself and Get Happy!" and gave it a special promotional price of $195 for 3 sessions a month. The catch (my reason for the special price) was that I asked for a time commitment of 6 months - and a testimonial if they liked what we did together.

Now this program AND the poster are FAR from perfect. These days I would make the program simpler, more specific to a particular problem, goal or issue - and try to cover less. But this program - as it was - got me clients AND left me feeling proud and confident for the first time in a long while!

I talk about this and more on a teleseminar I did for Practical Business Building Tips with Emma-Louise Elsey

So, why did it work so well? Here's what I think:

  • My excitement and enthusiasm were infectious. I truly believed in what I was offering and knew that these clients would learn a lot.
  • At LAST I could CLEARLY describe what I would do with my clients!
  • The timing and topic aligned well. It was Spring and people were ready for a "Get Free!" type of program.
  • The special deal price was good (and knowing it was a really good deal, helped ME talk about it confidently).
  • I gave my program an inspiring title (even it it was a bit grandiose and/or vague)
  • I listed the topics and exercises as CLEAR STEPS that people could actually envisage themselves doing - the client understood exactly what they were going to get from working with me..
  • I put a timeframe on the program so the coaching was not some nebulous going on for years type-activity.

So, we have excitement, enthusiasm and confidence from me. And clear and relevant topics, good timing, great pricing and a time limit for the clients - so they understand exactly what the coaching involves.

Yes, I still had to put the poster up around town, email my contacts, mention it my newsletter and put it on my website. But it was totally worth it to get 12 NEW clients in under 2 weeks don't you think? And this was before I was even ON Facebook!

I didn't spend days creating a detailed, rigid program that gave my clients all the answers. I just created a simple framework that told people what I would do with them to move them towards their goals and solve problems they might have. I still coached  them towards their self-defined goals, I still 'danced in the moment' during our sessions. But the program's steps gave us (me!) a focus - which took the pressure off me, and gave them something concrete to picture themselves doing.

So, ESPECIALLY when you're starting out, a coaching program can be IMMENSELY helpful to help you clearly and confidently describe what you do in a way that people will understand. It's something you CAN explain, feel GOOD about and go out and USE to market yourself and get some new clients!


In fact, if it helps, here is the ACTUAL Microsoft Word Program Poster I used*** for you to use as a template. This is exactly as I used it - and  I have learned a LOT since then. I recommend having only 5-7 points, trying to cover less, coming up with your own name that addresses a specific problem or goal, and picking colours that tie in with your business and images that represent how your clients will FEEL once they're completed your program. ***PLEASE NOTE: The poster has images, shapes and text boxes. If you're a basic Microsoft Word user - just use it for inspiration or get some experienced help if you want to use this as a template.

And for ideas, here is the here is the ACTUAL Program Detail with Tools I created for the first 3 Months of the program. You'll see I was clearly trying to do TOO much, but it felt great to have so many options up my sleeve and lots to inspire my clients!

And if you liked this article about Coaching Programs you may also like:

Emma-Louise Elsey Headshot

Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools, resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>


  1. Rhona Morris

    Hi Emma Louise

    What a great article! Some brilliant thinking and very practical advice! I loved the fact you described your early experiences of coaching so honestly and shared your original program details and the valuable insights you gained in hindsight.

    Trying to put coaching into words can be a stumbling block and having a "product" to sell rather than just ourselves provides so much more clarity about what we do, for everyone!

    Thanks so much, you're doing a fabulous job!

    Warm wishes
    Rhona x

    • Emma-Louise

      Thanks Rhona! Coaching can be a tough business to get started in... And a lack of confidence makes a HUGE dent in our ability to be successful! Glad you found it interesting. Warmly, EL

  2. Steffi Black

    Thank you for such a clear and concise article..inspired me to get a new program for spring in the works!
    Thank you for taking the time to share tips.

  3. Nicole

    Hi Emma-Louise,
    Thank you so much for this article. I love the idea and plan to make a program of my own. Can you tell us where you find some of your homework activities? Many of them sound interesting and might be helpful with my clients as well.

  4. Lalitha Brahma

    Hi Emma

    Thanks a lot for providing resources.
    1. I am not a certified coach, but my clients give me feedback that makes me feel that I am doing the work of a coach, but not considering it as a revenue stream and adding to my business. I have over 17 years of experience in management position in banking and Immigration. I transitioned to self employment/entrepreneur in 2002. I do have the ability to help a person think beyond their barriers and act on their possibilities.
    2. I am very passionate about helping
    a) employees transition to entrepreneur.
    b) Women going through changes in careers/relocation.

    I want to start off by coaching one person and getting paid. Can you suggest the resources that I can use/buy from your website to coach one person first and see for my self, if that is what I really want to do.

    Thanks again!

  5. Sirli

    Hi Emma-Louise!

    It is incredible how one can think in such complex ways! I'm talking about myself here! 😀 I'm just currently putting together 7 weeks e-course to sell and to take the focus off myself and put it more in what I do and what are the results my clients will get.

    Your article though was an eye opener for me. I just realised that can use the same outline that I've put together already "7 steps to your dream" which has 7 different topics and coach my clients around that same framework in 1-1 sessions!

    How brilliant is that! 🙂

    So thank you for sharing this article and inspiring me!

  6. Lillian Courtney

    Hi Emma Louise,
    Many thanks for that amazing article. I am a Certified Business & Life Coach with affiliation with the ICF just setting on on building my coaching Business here in Ireland.I have completed 3 seminars as to date but wanted to send around flyers. I was going to put more information ref my credits etc but now realise that would be on my fb ,Twitter ,Linkendin accounts. My Website is under construction therefore I just am going to order a minimum amount as I am taking a stand at a charity ball on Thursday .
    Many Thanks
    Lillian Courtney Coaching.

    • Emma-Louise

      Thanks Lilian! I am so glad you found the article helpful - and thank-you for taking the time to comment. Enjoy your stand at the charity ball! Warmly, Emma-Louise

  7. Maureen

    Thank you Lillian, I've only just "discovered" you but I am so grateful to you for sharing your early adventures and how you made that first programme. I have only just become Certified and have been trying to work out how to go about making a programme for those elusive first clients and then onwards and this gives the template so I can formulate what I need to do, I just didn't have a clue and now i can dive right in, a thousand thank you's of gratitude

    I need to do the foor slogging round of Naturopaths, beauty salons and the like to drum up some potential clients and so become the coach I envision becoming.

    Maureen Quantum Leaps life Coaching

  8. Bridgett Tulloh

    Thank you for this. Is this an offering you did at your office space? I'm at the point where I'm trying to find space to rent and am wondering about the feasibility of online versions of this for meeting with groups.

    Sorry for such a simplistic question, but I just wondered… Where do coaches actually meet their groups?? Thanks! Bridgett

    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Bridgett, the simplest questions are often the best! When I started out I ran this program one-on-one with my clients over the phone. If I was doing it as a workshop, if you have enough space at home, yes you could do it in your office space or home. 4-6 people could be a nice intimate group. And if you want to do a larger group, a comfortable space that has a good feeling. You could think creatively - I used an art gallery for some retreats, have used library rooms (if they feel cosy/classy), yoga/exercise studios for a few examples. If you're going to offer a program online - it's still about the environment. But this time you CREATE the comfortable environment / space online. Sharing, warmth, space for people to get to know each other. I hope that helps. Warmly, Emma-Louise

  9. Nicky

    Wow! Thank tou so much for this! I have tons of ideas for clients- once I get them! And this has reqlly helped me frame my work and give me a storng direction to work along. I have many ideas for workshops which is my aim but getting clients is hpwhat I need to run them! Big thank you for sharing. Totoally inspired byt this and the whole website, the Universe has answered my prayers!

    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Nicky! Thanks for commenting - and so glad you found this article helpful! It takes time to build a business, loyal clientele etc. A coaching business is no different. But get out there and start running workshops, make authentic connection with people and over time you'll get a great following! Good luck and keep up all your good work. Warmly, Emma-Louise

  10. Leah Delos Reyes

    This is a great site! Lots of helpful information here. May I ask permission to use your template?

    • Emma-Louise

      Dear Leah,

      First, thank-you for your email and kind words! So, I'm not sure which template - but if you mean the poster or word document outline linked to on that page - then yes. Please use these as templates! Warmly, Emma-Louise

  11. Joe Ranieri


    Thank you so much for the helpful article. My question is where around town did you put your did you go about distributing them etc. I'm thinking of creating my own flyers but I'm not sure how to go about distributing them around the city? Thank you.


    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Joe, I put my flyers up in coffee shops, on notice boards like the health food store and at the gym. Think about where your target market hang out - and put up flyers/ask if you can leave flyers there.
      Other ideas include the doctor's surgery and dentist for example. But do ask for permission.
      Hopefullly that gives you some ideas 🙂 Warmly, Emma-Louise

  12. Robin

    Hey Emma-Louise,

    Very useful and needful article you shared!! Really I feel motivated and wish to have my own coaching program 🙂 Thank you and keep posting.

  13. Lori Carnale

    Hi Emma-Louise,

    Thank you for sharing your article and life coaching program. The customized coaching program is a terrific idea and can easily be tailored to various types of coaching strategies. Your easy to follow and articulate framework will be of help to many aspiring life coaches.

    Wishing you continued success.


  14. Emma Nunn

    What a great article. Thank you.

    Just what i need to see. So helpful

    • peyushbhatia

      Peyush Bhatia specializes in life coaching and career coaching, Book a free consultation with a coach in Hyderabad, Delhi, India, Mumbai, and Bangalore.

  15. peyushbhatia

    Peyush Bhatia specializes in life coaching and career coaching, Book a free consultation with a coach in Hyderabad, Delhi, India, Mumbai, and Bangalore.

  16. Yagnesh Bhatt

    Hi Emma: I enjoyed reading your article. I need help and guidance from you.

    I have recently completed my Coach certification. I am a HR professional with over 20 years of experience. Since 2018, I have been in a transition from my job to working as an independent HR consultant but the flow of work is not at all financially rewarding. Worst happened due to the pandemic since March 2020 resulting in the lockdown. I never had imagined myself to be on my own and I am struggling to get assignments for work. I am located in Mumbai, India

    I am now looking for coaching assignments. Being an introvert person I do not have a very big social visibility. And I realize that I need to make my presence felt in sites like LinkedIn.

    How do I attract people to seek coaching from me?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.