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  • Writer's pictureAvivit Fisher

Maximizing Your Private Practice: The Benefits of Hiring a Business Coach for Therapists

In the last few decades, mental health practice has morphed into a therapy business model. With only 55% of therapists taking insurance, the need for the rest to think about their practice as a business is palpable.


Putting on the hat of an entrepreneur can be challenging because therapists are not taught the necessary business and marketing skills for running a private pay practice in school. What's more, a therapy business has more nuances and limitations in terms of growth and promotion than other small businesses.


For many therapists, having a business coach can solve the problem of creating and achieving tangible goals. A business coach can also be helpful if you want to effectively manage your time and business operations.


Despite that, a business coach may not be the only option for you to start and grow your practice. In this article, I'll explore all the benefits and the drawbacks of having a business coach for therapists, and offer you my insight on the best option for coaching therapists.


business coach for therapists

The role of a business coach in a therapy business


So what do business coaches do exactly?


People who become business coaches are typically successful entrepreneurs or executives who know how to grow a business. In the mental health space, a business coach may be a mental health provider who's successfully grown their own practice.


Many therapists who've developed a successful practice are now paving the way for others to grow theirs. These coaches' strength lies in their own experience.


This type of business coach can guide you in developing a business plan, help you set goals, and manage your processes and operations. In some cases, a business coach will also advise you on marketing and promotion.


A good business coach is the one who's familiar with your industry. For therapists, this familiarity is crucial because of the nuances and limitations you need to abide by. A business coach who's also a practising therapist has the benefit of deeply understanding the industry and can be very helpful in helping you focus on the right niche and services.


From a practical point of view, a business coach can help you get organized. They can help you prioritize your tasks, manage your time effectively, and ensure that you're making progress towards your goals.

Many therapists who've developed a successful practice are now paving the way for others to grow theirs.

Understanding the challenges faced by therapists in private practice


The number one challenge for private practice owners is keeping a full caseload. While therapists can be highly skilled at clinical work, they can be less than great at the business side of things. Many struggle to attract and retain clients, manage finances, and promote their practice.


Despite the current mental health crisis, filling your private pay caseload can still feel like a struggle. That's because people who would be willing to pay out of pocket have different needs and priorities than those who are struggling to find an in-network provider.


Working with an expert to identify and address the needs of the private pay client you want to attract can help you reduce the risk of having an open schedule. A business coach can help you establish competitive fees, put together a financial plan and create a financial monthly and yearly target. In some cases, a business coach can also help you put together a marketing strategy to attract new inquiries to your practice.



The benefits of hiring a business coach for therapists


So far, the benefits of hiring a business coach may seem obvious, but as a lover of specificity, I'd like to list the key advantages for you to consider if you're thinking of hiring a coach to help you grow your practice.


  1. Expertise in the mental health industry, specifically private practice growth - as I mentioned above, a deep knowledge of the mental health industry will help you quickly update your coach on the state of your business.

  2. Financial management experience - if money and financial management is a concern and you're worried that you won't hit your financial goals, a business coach can help you get on track.

  3. Pricing strategy expertise - setting your fees can be tough, especially if you feel that you're in this field to help as many people as possible. Having an expert help you establish your fees can be a catalyst for your future success.

  4. Time management and goal-setting - for many of us working on our business can feel overwhelming. A business coach who can prioritize your activities and help you manage your time well can reduce your feeling of dread and overwhelm about your non-billable work.

  5. Sustainability and culture nurturing - To grow and expand your practice you'll need a business strategy that will ensure your sustainability and create a homogeneous culture for your future employees. A business coach can guide you in developing systems and processes that promote growth and success.


the drawbacks of working with a business coach

As you can see there are definite benefits to working with a business coach, but before you set out on your search, let me highlight the drawbacks as well. I'd like you to make the best choice for your practice so consider the following:


  1. Therapist business coaches have limited exposure to other types of business-building. Sure, you need a coach who is well-versed in the mental health industry but that's not enough. Many therapists-turned-coaches are limited to their experience in building a business and can ignore important opportunities that a coach with a versatile business background might notice.

  2. Lack of credentials in an unregulated coaching field. Despite the various available coaching certification programs, there's no requirement to have a certificate to call yourself a coach. That opens a door to charismatic charlatans who can cause more harm than help.

  3. Not all business coaches are financial experts. I've worked with a business coach before who promised to help me set my fees without backing them with numbers. Financial projections should be done by people who understand finances on a basic level at least.

  4. Business coaches are not necessarily good marketers. Marketing is a separate discipline from business development. While many coaches are also good marketers, it's not the case for most. If you're looking to attract new clients, you may not need the help of a business coach.

  5. Hard to identify the business coach for your stage in practice ownership. As a business owner, I've learned first-hand that each stage of business ownership comes with different needs and challenges. Some business coaches are better at growing and some are better at scaling a business. Identifying what you need will help you pick the right coach for you.


The best coach for you

If you're not sure how you feel about the benefits and the drawbacks of working with a business coach, I'll help you make the right decision in this section.


First, you need to clearly define what type of help you're looking for. You may find out that coaching is not necessary at all. If for instance, you're looking for help with finances and your fee structure, you may want to consider a company that specializes in financial projections for therapists.


On the other hand, if you see that your needs are closely related to attracting and retaining clients, you may need to hire a marketing coach or a consultant. The benefit of working with a marketing coach is their expertise in marketing and promotion. A marketing coach can help you:

  • Choose the right niche for your practice

  • Create a core message directed to your ideal client

  • Promote your practice online and offline

  • Set up systems to attract new clients and fill your caseload


Conclusion

A business coach can help you gain confidence in your business and if that's what you're looking for at this moment, then it's the right choice for you. But if you need more specific help, you might benefit from help offered by marketers, bookkeepers, CPAs, and consultants.




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