Working in the Family Business of Coaching

by Christopher White, MA, ITIL, LSS

Some family businesses consist of multiple generations and have stretched across centuries.  Others have only just begun.  Most coaching businesses are sole-proprietorships (one person owning the business) or a corporation.  My coaching business, however, is set up as a partnership, where my mother and I are co-owners.

So, what is it like to work in a family coaching business and own half?  For me, it has been a rewarding journey of discovery, challenge, and opportunity.

Discovery

I became a coach in 2016.  My mother and I founded our company, Integrity Leadership and Lifecoaching in 2017.  During that first year, I discovered I had a gift and a strong desire for coaching.  I came into coaching with the mindset of, “Well, I’ll give this a shot and see what happens”.  I didn’t know where it would lead or even how to move forward (while still working in the corporate world).  Since then, I have seen it as a profession that I desire to be a part of for the rest of my life.

Challenges

Now, that being said, partnering with my mother in this business has been both rewarding and has had its fair share of challenges.  In any start-up business, you have a minimum of three hats that you wear at any given time: Executive, Manager, and Employee.  Being an Executive, you cast the vision for where you want your company to go, grow and impact the world.  The Manager keeps the business running smoothly.  The coaching portion falls under being an Employee of the company.  You can’t run a successful business without supporting each of these three components.

Partnering with my mother has been a learning experience with regard to each of these three hats.  Each of us is gifted differently and that has been helpful in our quest to divide and conquer tasks within the business.  However, outside of coaching itself (being an Employee), wearing the Manager or Executive hats has been a challenge for both of us.  Holding each other accountable to actionable items and casting vision, while keeping the discussion business-oriented has generated plenty of humbling moments for both of us.  One example of this was when our business missed a deadline for taxes the first year and the IRS charged the company penalties for that mistake.  The business didn’t have enough funds to cover those penalties.  We each could have started the blame game, finger-pointing, etc.  However, we chose to pray for wisdom, encourage each other, find the silver lining, and at the end of the day, humbly ask the IRS for grace in this situation.  The IRS did eventually give us grace, and we learned from our mistake.  Even if the punishment stood, we would have continued to work together and budget to cover this extra cost (out of our own pockets).   We also continue to leave work at work and know that, at the end of the day, we love and care for each other.

Opportunities

Working in a family coaching business can bring opportunities to share support and encouragement that can come from family.  Being able to impact the Kingdom of the Lord, as a family, is also a large opportunity for our business.  The ability to vision cast with family and see the passion of all involved is incredible.  Feeling a sense of belonging and teamwork has helped me push through some difficult situations regarding our coaching business.  The opportunity to bounce ideas off of another person with the same goals, or to have that same person hold you accountable, is rewarding on a level in which most single-person business owners rarely get to partake.  My mother and I are equals in the company and we both love what we do.  With the Lord’s strength, grace, love, and peace, we will continue to coach and see the Kingdom of the Lord served, for years to come.

Christopher’s mission is to help others succeed so they can each become who and where they want to be. He is a Trained Ramsey Financial Coach, a Certified ITIL and LSS Process Improvement Leader, has 10+ years of project and logistics management experience, and is a trained pastor/worship leader

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