In this series of ten tips I want to tease out what I think are some keys to succeeding as a creativity coach. I look forward to your comments! In this post, I’ll present Key #1.

If one or another of these keys seems most “up” for you, you might want to take it as a personal challenge and let us know what you’re going to do to meet that challenge. That might be a personally useful way to make use of this “Ten Keys” list. I look forward to seeing who’ll take the challenge <smile>!

  1. Not conceptualizing creativity coaching as a client-centered sort of thing.


Many of the ten keys I’ll be presenting feel like they ought to come “first.” But I’ve chosen this one to come first because it may be the most surprising.

I don’t think that the best way to conceptualize a creativity coaching practice is as a “working with clients” sort of thing. I think that the wiser, better and much more enjoyable way is to see it as an expansive meaning opportunity that allows you to write, lead groups, run retreats, help organizations, and, yes, work one-on-one with some clients.

Imagine having 15 clients a week every week of the year at $100 a session. That’s $75,000 annually, give or take. But it is very hard to have 15 clients even for one week, let alone for fifty weeks! Plus, would you even want that many client sessions week in and week out? What if you could make the same amount of annual income seeing one or two clients a week? Wouldn’t you perhaps prefer that life?

How might that look? Down the road, you might make $50,000 annually from teaching your online “My Great Creativity Class” to 100 folks (charging $500 for your 8-week class and running it three times a year) and $5000 from working with clients (that’s just one client a week). You might make another $5000 from running one “Great Creativity Retreat” annually. Maybe you’ll facilitate one online support group for mid-career painters or just-graduated music majors or fantasy romance writers and make $12,000 annually from that (8 in the group at $125/month for the year). That’s what an expansive practice might look like: $72,000 in income, only $5000 of which comes from direct one-on-one work with clients.

This, though it requires savviness and real work, is doable and sustainable, whereas trying to build a one-on-one coaching practice that earns that same $72,000 annually is much heavier lifting. Is it easy to get 100 folks to attend your online classes annually? Much easier than acquiring hundreds of clients! Let me repeat this key: I think it makes much more sense to think of creativity coaching as an expansive meaning opportunity that offers all sorts of possibilities rather than as primarily a one-on-one coaching sort of thing.

If you’re already operating this way, let us know! We’d love to hear. Comments welcome!




  1. Hi Eric, what you’re saying here is one of the most useful things I’ve learnt over the last couple of months, starting with the readers for your advanced creativity coaching course. It is all mind blowing for me at present, in terms of the how. But the why is exactly right for me. I have adventured through my life in seemingly random ways and then ended up with a skill set that seems designed for this work. Now the how part, the business part, is such a new challenge that I’m having to use all those skills to be able to even dare to attempt it!

  2. I am actually approaching my business building exactly like this (except for the 100 people in an online workshop-which is something to think about for the future if it makes sense for my clientele and in conjunction with the time I spend in my studio on my parallel art career). I work with visual artists and have a reputation teaching watercolor workshops. I have started offering the creativity retreats now too and it seems to be working well and drawing participants from the art workshops. I do take the individual clients who find me, but only a few at a time and mostly for short term to overcome the blocks keeping them from moving forward on their own. (Success is when they take off on their own. They send me other clients to take their place.)As I grow my coaching it is as a compliment to may art career. I see that what I have learned teaching art workshops is directly applicable to my coaching offerings. Thanks for this post that validates my approach. I appreciate it.

  3. I’ve been working at focusing on providing Creative Renewal Retreats. Eventually I’d like to do one every few months. I had a fairly busy psychology practice for many years and the one on one creativity coaching seems ‘old hat’ to me. I feel intimidated by the marketing end of running workshops and retreats and I love the idea of doing an online workshop. I had a great first beach retreat though and am eagerly awaiting doing a bigger one on the NC coast in June 2018! I have plenty of openings so far and will write more about this soon.

  4. I like your idea because not only will more people benefit from creativity coaching it is also a good way of advertising and a more realistic way of earning a living through coaching. Its really useful to have this as step 1 as it enables me to think larger.

  5. Hi all, that is the way I plan to run my coaching business mostly in groups of no more than 6 clients but many cohorts in a week. It is much easier having an online call once a week and everyone set their own goals and they help each other, they support each other.

  6. Eric, I agree with that strategy. When I was in private practice, I used to diversify my revenue streams, so that my funding to do public interest law came from different sources, so that if one pot of gold dried up, I had a fall back. Diversification also takes the pressure off rain making for clients which can be very draining and take the enjoyment out of the work. The sticky part is always creating the diverse products, but that’s were the creativity part of the coaching practice comes in. I also think diversification of services and products keeps you fresh as a coach and it allows you to reach a much broader population to effect creative change.


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