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The 7 Levels of a thriving coaching practice

In 2021, the media began talking about “The Great Resignation”—the huge surge in people leaving their jobs, in every field. 

But the word resignation has a second meaning, other than quitting a job. Resignation also means submission or acquiescence.

Many people are bored, frustrated or angry with their employers or they are tired of a job that used to fulfill them. 

The opposite of submission and acquiescence is decisive action. And that’s why most of us transition into coaching. 

We’re done with a previous career. 

We’re ready to step back into leadership. 

We’re ready to make a real difference to people’s lives. 

I was fired from a job in 2005 and I used it to empower myself to step into a new career as a coach. It was scary but I took decisive action.

I’ve had ups and downs, successes and struggles. But I continue to take decisive action. 

And that is what it takes to transition into coaching as a career. 

Here are two assessments to support with that transition: 

Assessment #1: The 7 levels of a thriving coaching practice 

In The Prosperous Coach we called this “The Litvin Levels.” What level is your Coaching practice?

  1. Student coach – I am studying or training to be a coach. 
  2. Beginner coach – I’ve coached at least 50 clients (even if they haven’t paid me). 
  3. Novice coach – I have had my first 10 paid clients. 
  4. Competent coach – I can cover my monthly expenses with my coaching income. 
  5. Proficient coach – I can create clients by invitation or referral only. I have a good lifestyle. 
  6. Virtuoso coach – I can create clients whenever I choose to and that allows me to have a great lifestyle. 
  7. Master coach – I can take extended vacations and/or create income while I sleep.

What level is your coaching practice? 

Assessment #2: The 4 levels of a boutique business

If you want to build a boutique business, rather than scaling to 50+ employees, there are 4 levels your business will go through: 

Level 1: Bespoke Status 

You have a word-of-mouth business. You cover your monthly bills with a handful of clients. Clients speak highly of you and refer you. 

Level 2: Boutique Status 

Your business is oversubscribed. You have a waiting list. You have a great lifestyle with 5-20 clients a year. Other business owners look to you for guidance. 

Level 3: Thought Leader Status 

You are trusted, authoritative and influential. You create new IP every week, in the form of articles, newsletters, podcasts, videos and books. You’re featured in well-known publications. You have a growing audience and community. 

Level 4: Iconic status 

You are highly original and widely known—for distinctive excellence. You’re an acknowledged leader in your field. Leaders in other fields consider you a peer and seek your guidance and advice. 

What level is your boutique business? 

What if you are not as far along as you hoped?

One of my long term clients, Evelyne Brink, took these assessments when I posted them in my Serve Lead Serve Facebook group.

She replied, “I wanted to say that I was further along than I was. I felt so much shame on not being as far along the scale as I felt I should be. It’s the eternal frustration of seeing yourself in one place and living day to day in another…”

She’s so right.

She’s pointing to the eternal problem of being a high-performer and a visionary thinker. 

You are always looking at the future, which—like the horizon—never comes. 

It’s why, at least once a quarter, I ask my clients to turn around and answer the question, “What are you proud of in the past 90 days?” They are almost always amazed at what they have accomplished. 

Unhealthy desire is when you judge and blame yourself for not yet achieving what you wanted. 

Healthy desire gives fuel to your actions. It’s desire, softened by compassion for yourself.  

Evelyne continued, “Just because you have a waitlist one year doesn’t mean you’ll have one the next or vice versa. It’s not always linear.”

That’s a really important catch. 

Success isn’t linear. It’s far messier than most people know. 

It’s important to remember, when comparing yourself to others that Facebook, Instagram and people’s websites are actually their highlight reels.

Here’s how I replied to Evelyne: 

“1. You are a coach I deeply admire, Evelyne Brink. I don’t say that lightly (or often). You’ve been a member of 4PC. You coach me on my voice. You are on the Faculty for the Deep Dive Dubai.

2.Everything you’ve accomplished over the past ten years has been while raising two children. And going through a divorce. And taking care of a son who was born with such a severe condition that you literally lived in the hospital for months at a time. And then your daughter was born with a heart condition. The fact that both your kids are thriving is a testament to how amazing you have been as a mother.

3. During that time, you’ve written and published two books.

4. During that time you’ve coached celebrity clients and leaders at such prestigious organizations as the BBC and Channel 4.

5. During that time you’ve also launched a podcast. And you’ve taken many women on your famous spa retreats.

6. You’re becoming known for your expertise in helping leaders be more compelling on video and on stage.

7. Your new website is fabulous.

In the article, I outlined two paths to success—one for your coaching and the other for your business.

But they are not the path.

Sometimes we need to walk our own path, Evelyne.

You are a model for a boutique and bespoke way of doing business.

You are right to have a little compassion for yourself. You are exactly where you need to be. And I admire you for it.”

Just like Evelyne, you’ve got this.

Success isn’t linear. It’s far messier than most people know.

You’ve got this.

And we’ve got your back.

Love. Rich  


PS. Whenever you’re ready – here are 3 ways you can drastically increase your income and impact as a world-class coach… 

  1. Rich Litvin’s 1:1 Coaching Playbook: Learn my top 10 proven tools for coaching elite clients in this live training. Over 100 people joined me for our first live call – and all calls are recorded, so it’s not too late to join me…
  2. Rich Litvin’s Group Coaching Playbook: Make group coaching a lucrative and fun part of your business. Effortlessly fill and lead impactful group programs.
  3. The $100K Club: A six month Master’s Degree in High-Ticket Client Creation. The price increases as we get closer to the start date. Secure your spot now and start your journey to 6-figure coaching success today! 🚀

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