A Coach’s Journey (from PTSD Survivor to Fully-Booked in 8 steps)

In almost 20 years of coaching, I have literally never had a better group of clients than I have now, and I’m being absolutely serious.

This is partly down to my messaging, meaning I attract no-bullshit coaches who are determined to do the work required to become a fully booked coach and partly down to dumb luck.

I started working with Nicole Sheppard in August of 2022 and it soon became apparent she was going to ‘make it’.

And so it turned out to be because by last month (April) she was already in a position to walk away from a well-paid corporate job because she had attracted so many paying clients.

Here’s how she did it.

A coach's journey with Nicole Sheppard

A Coach’s Journey

I first hired a coach in March 2020 to help me overcome some pretty horrific CPTSD flashbacks that I encountered from being in an emotionally destructive relationship. 

The work showed me a doorway to the subconscious mind and this helped rid me of the automatic PTSD reactions anytime a trigger presented itself.

And it did so in a way that psychotherapy and antidepressants hadn’t.

My life was truly transformed. 

Months later, upon realising that the same techniques could also be applied to any area of life where a person was experiencing undesirable behaviour or was fed up with not making progress, I decided I had to become a coach and pay this gift forward to others.  

The quest to become a full-time coach was established, but it wasn’t always easy.

I was plagued with imposter syndrome and because of that, it took me ages to bite the bullet and become trained in a coaching certification. 

I kept having stop/start behaviour trying to build my online profile and was sometimes in floods of tears putting the content of my website together. 

Fortunately, I had some great support from the people around me, which we’ll touch on more in just a mo!

It’s my belief that there are a few key components that have catapulted me to success, here are 8 big ones that I still use to this day:

1. Invest in the right coach

Hiring Tim to help me with my marketing was a game-changer.

His guidance has been invaluable in keeping me accountable, acting as my mentor, and allowing me to learn from his mistakes so that I don’t have to make them myself.

It hasn’t always been this way. 

I had previously hired a coach who promoted himself as a Law of Attraction Coach. 

I spent thousands on his coaching package and came away more confused and damaged than when I started. 

I now know that the stretch goals were too big and inadvertently triggered the very PTSD reactions that I was working to overcome with someone else. 

When hiring your own coach, do your due diligence, ask for referrals and don’t work with anyone who wants to rush through the sales process.

What I liked about Tim was that he was really honest with me about how long it would take to get myself up and running. 

I had initially wanted to get it all launched within 6 weeks and he told me that would never happen.  It was what I needed to hear and it made me respect him more.

The other great thing about Tim is he’s always on hand, often sharing little voice notes of wisdom between coaching calls drawing on his wealth of knowledge in sales and marketing.

So if you want to grow your coaching practice and become fully booked I would thoroughly recommend investing in his guidance.

coach's journey

2. Financial and Personal Investment

On the note of investment, to be a fully booked coach you have to be prepared to invest in your business and this goes for both time and money.

It makes my eyes water to say that I have invested close to £25k in coaches, training programs, and marketing to get my knowledge and skill sets where they needed to be to deliver impactful coaching and communicate that offer effectively to potential clients.

I’m happy to say that this investment is now being recouped by paying clients.

And once I am firmly established with regular sales, I will also be able to build a much better work/life balance for my family (which was another key driver for my career change to coach).

The truth is that I had to make these investments without truly knowing if they would pay off and when building a business you have to be prepared to take this kind of risk.

Not only have I sacrificed my personal finances, but I also sacrificed evenings and weekends to build my business.

I even spent time while on maternity leave juggling getting qualified as a Psychodynamic Life Coach alongside being a new mum.

I have felt exhausted at times, but I knew it was a short-term push to get the foundations in place that will ensure my long-term success.

If you are not prepared to make sacrifices now to see the pay-off later then you may need to rethink if this is the right journey for you.

3. Daily mindset work

Maintaining a positive mental attitude is essential to the triumph of any business.

It’s why I focus so heavily on helping my clients to weed out any negative beliefs and optimise their mindset for success.

Always one to practice what I preach, I have a daily mindset practice that incorporates meditation and EFT tapping.

I also have a separate coach who can support me with my own mindset when there are larger barriers to overcome, as I have encountered first-hand that it is not always possible to find the blocks without external support. 

These practices have made certain that I’ve been able to navigate the ups and downs of running a business and kept moving forward in a positive direction, even when it was so hard.

4. Proactive outreach to potential clients + Value = £££

Being proactive in reaching out to potential clients and offering lots of value has helped me grow my client base organically.

I talk to everyone about what I do, ask for referrals, confidently discuss how I can help others, and even offer free taster sessions.

Relentlessly putting yourself out there is the key to your success.

While offering a free coaching session may cost you 1 hour, it may bring you infinite returns in word-of-mouth revenue and that is not something you should want to be missing out on!

5. Making it about my customer (and not me)

My marketing and sales process is heavily customer focussed. 

I am always trying to put myself in their world and speak from that perspective;

  • What are their pain points? 
  • What do they want from their life that they cannot get right now? 
  • How can I help them with this?

If you make your marketing and sales process about you, you will fail.

Your website, marketing material, social media engagement and sales funnel should all be about them.

Yes, weave your story in and out of these places to make yourself relatable and show that you understand their challenges as you have been there yourself.

But once you have done this always bring it back to them. 

This is the number 1 skill that you need to master for higher conversions.

6. Have a clear client acquisition strategy

Have a clear strategy and execute it without fail.

The one element that cannot be rushed in all of this is time.  You will need ample amounts of time to get your coaching business off the ground.

Whether it is time to get qualified, time to grow your online presence or time to convert the sales pipeline, it is very rare that things happen instantly in this world.

I worked in cold calling for a couple of years fresh out of university and we were always given a grace period to make the first sale. 

What was important in that role was being consistent everywhere else because, as with any sales process, this gig is a numbers game.

So be consistent with your marketing activities for an extended period of time, track your numbers and assess what is working.

And knowing your numbers is critical to your success.

  • How many leads do you need to get one inquiry? 
  • How many prospects does it take to convert to one sale? 
  • What is your average sale value? 

You get the gist.

Apply the strategy and track your numbers. Otherwise, you will never know if you are doing the right things and by doing this you will also get a rough idea of how long it will take you to get there.

7. Structure your business

As well as having a strategy in place, you also need some structure to your business foundations. 

A CRM for prospective customers, a process to nurture warm leads and follow-up, and even mapping out a customer journey once someone has bought from you are all useful things to consider.

The key here is that the more you structure this stuff (and make it automatic, where possible) the easier your life will become.

I even go so far as to block out time in my diaries for specific activities, so that I know I am always making time for the key income-generating tasks in my business. 

While it is a bit of faff at the front end, as I scale and take on more customers it will make life so much more manageable!

8. Embracing the pivot

The ability to stay fluid and adapt to change is vital in today’s fast-paced world and the arrival of AI and tools like ChatGPT has made that even more crucial.

By permitting time in my schedule for random opportunities, I’ve been able to seize new openings as they arise, such as guest speaking and podcasting.

So while you want some structure, you also want to allow for some flexibility. 

What this means is do not book your time out 100% and allow space for some synchronicities to arise.

Author’s Bio

Nicole Sheppard works with aspiring entrepreneurs to give them the confidence to become the centrepiece of their brand so they can make more money, get more customers and create financial freedom in their lives.

Having previously tried to launch several businesses in the past, she uncovered that there were unconscious blocks sabotaging her efforts. After dismantling these blocks to create her own time and money, as well as freedom, she now coaches others to unlock a powerful mindset that guarantees business success.

Check out her website.

Tim’s note

I think Nicole has knocked it out of the park with this post and we would both welcome your thoughts in the comments. Leave us your thoughts and let’s keep the conversation going!

And by the way, if you’re a coach and would like to share your story and offer value to other coaches, AND you can catch this standard, then I’d love to hear what you have to offer.

10 thoughts on “A Coach’s Journey (from PTSD Survivor to Fully-Booked in 8 steps)”

  1. This is a very inspiring story. It certainly reinforces the statement anything is possible with the right mindset. Also the 8 components will be something I myself will look to putting in place.
    Tim great idea to hearing about other people’s journey

  2. Love love love this! Such great realistic and honest advice and one that others can follow with honest hard, get down to business work. Walk the walk and do the talk. My favorite part was getting out and telling everyone about what you do and how you help. I’ve noticed lately that it’s become easier and easier to speak to my truth of who I am and who I help and what I know. We are each unique and have so much to offer others.

  3. Really helpful stuff here. I tell other coaches all the time to NEVER work with anyone who pushes you in the sales process unless you want to be pushy too; they’re going to teach you their method of sales. So if their tactics turn you off, chances are you’ll be miserable in their program. I also love the comment about it not being over night. That’s so true. If they promise to make you 10k in just 2-3 months they might deliver but there’s no guarantee you’ll have built the discipline and infrastructure necessary to sustain it. Such a good reminder, Tim. And, kudos to you Nicole!! Bang up job!!

    • Thanks Justin! Yes, sales can feel so gross when it’s not aligned with the persons individual values. And coaching itself is such an intimate journey that I learnt a hard lesson picking the wrong one. Fortunately I have the best support by my side now

  4. It’s refreshing to see a coach openly share the challenges they faced and how they overcame them. Your authenticity is inspiring, and it gives aspiring coaches like myself the motivation to pursue our dreams fearlessly. Thank you for this empowering piece

  5. Your story serves as a reminder that perseverance and a genuine passion for helping others can lead to incredible achievements. Looking forward to more insightful posts like this

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