You’ve researched for hours, you’ve contacted a mentor, and you’ve even started strategizing about your niche coaching clientele and personal branding. You’re SO excited to break the news to your mother, sibling, bestie, or spouse that you’re finally ready to break away from psychotherapy and begin coaching to achieve the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of.
But… when you finally get the words out, they’re not received with the gusto you’d imagined….
In fact, you’re asked, “Why?” as if it isn’t obvious that your 9 to 5 gig at the community clinic has been slowly stealing your soul away day after day, year after year. Or, worse, still, you’re told not to bother because failure is inevitable for somewhere around 70% of small businesses.
Disappointing isn’t even the word. “Soul-crushing” seems a lot more fitting.
But it’s familiar, isn’t it?
Sadly, it’s not an uncommon scenario for aspiring coaches…
Limiting money beliefs and impostor syndrome come up so often when psychotherapists transition from coaching to therapy, but they aren’t the only things that can keep an aspiring coach from keeping quiet about her dreams.
Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot from coaches who really want to enter the world of coaching, but feel like their close friends or family just aren’t behind them. Ouch. Those are tough waters to navigate. Starting your own coaching business is exciting, but it can also be a little bit scary, and having a good support system can make or break you as a new coach.
So, How Should You Handle Friends and Family Who Don’t Support Your Coaching Business Goals?
I wish that I had a blanket answer to that question but the truth is: it varies.
For example, when I first decided to foray into entrepreneurship, my close friends and family were very supportive, overall. However, many of my most admired colleagues at my mental health job of 14 years pushed back. Hard.
Despite the fact that my work friends’ intentions weren’t unkind, their lackluster reactions to my goals kind of… burst my bubble. They drained my energy and triggered fears that started to make me doubt myself. My progress slowed. It soon became clear that if I wanted my coaching business to succeed, I’d need to keep certain friends at a distance…
Still, I struggled with the idea of doing so until a mentor of mine said, “Nancy, you can still love them from far away…” It brought me peace to know that I could still care about my friends who didn’t understand my dreams, even if I needed to keep them at arm’s length to stay focused and keep my vibration high.
Relationships are trickier to navigate when it’s your family that doesn’t support your small business goals, though. Unfortunately, loving your spouse or your sister from far away isn’t (usually) an option (literally or figuratively!). That’s why announcing the intention to trade psychotherapy for coaching can be so scary for some therapists, especially for those that already know their favorite aunt has no filter and is quick share even the snarkiest opinion!
Facing Your Family
The first step to protecting your dream and surrounding yourself with the support you need is to recognize that not everyone is going to support you, period. At least… not the way that you want them to.
You’ll need to do some reflection to figure out which family members you should and which family members you should not share your new career goals with. You may want to shout your career change from the rooftops in excitement, but is it really worth dealing with the drama and potential rejection to tell someone who isn’t even going to be affected by the decision anyway?
(Helpful hint: No, not really… )
For those that you do decide to share your dreams with, make sure you’re grounded firmly in reality before making the call or grabbing that coffee together. By this, I mean, acknowledge the fact that they may not understand why you want to make the switch – or why you’re willing to take the risks associated with it- and that’s okay. It’s your parents’ job to support you, not necessarily to believe in every dream you decide to chase. The truth is… you may just have to do the believing yourself!
Sharing with Your Spouse
Your spouse or significant other will be more affected by your decision to change careers than anyone else in your life; you’d better believe they will have detailed questions about your plans. Don’t automatically perceive this as a lack of support, though. You’ve trusted this individual enough to commit to them at least once before, so its time to trust them again! This time, to have your best interests in mind.
Chances are if your spouse doesn’t seem to jump for joy at the prospect of your career change, it’s because they have an instinct to protect you from the potential pain of failure – and the life you’ve built together from the imploding in a cloud of bankruptcy should your business fail. If your significant other doesn’t react quite as you’d hoped, try to reframe the situation and recognize that their reaction still comes from a place of love. Also, try involving them as much as possible. Point out the many ways you’ll both benefit once your business takes off, and let them help you with simple tasks if you’re comfortable!
The Bottom Line?
Be as concrete and confident as possible when describing your goals, no matter who you’re talking to. If you seem unclear about your goals and unclear about their odds for success, it’ll show. However, if you are confident in your next career move and have clear, reasonable goals for getting there? You’re much more likely to receive support.
No matter what, you don’t have to build your coaching business alone!
Even if you have the most supportive family and friends on the planet, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll give great business advice! If you’re feeling in need of direction, motivation, or just feedback, reach out to me. I’m here waiting to help you incorporate your experience and expertise into coaching packages that show your value to your dream client and market them effectively so that you can enjoy a life of freedom and abundance as the CEO of a profitable coaching business that brings you joy!
Learn more about what it is that I do here to see how.