Is It Okay to Coach Friends?

Elaina in a red dress stood with clasped hands in front of a swimming pool in an exotic location.

Is It Okay to Coach Friends?

This post is about coaching friends. This is for you if you feel weird or uncomfortable offering your services and expertise to friends.  If you like this, make sure to get in real-time touch with me over on my Facebook community, Soul-Level Shifts, where I do weekly free trainings on topics just like this one. You can also follow my life in Bali on Instagram @heyelainaray and DM me anytime to say hi! Btw every year I launch a business mastermind for entrepreneurs looking to grow to 6-figures and beyond, so stay tuned to find out when the next round launches. If you’re interested in strategic 1-1 support, you can also apply for a 6-month mentorship. I would love to work with you now or in the future! Drop me a line if this blog helps you. ~ Elaina 


Is it okay to coach friends? What do you do if you feel weird about “selling to” people you’re close to? What if a friend is trying to get coached for free by you?

I get asked these questions all the time, and I just came off another group coaching call where it came up — a call where funnily enough I have multiple friends and allies inside (who actually paid me to be there and learn from me). Is that weird? How can YOU navigate it?

When I first started out coaching back in 2015, my first clients were actually either total randos from the internet who found my blog — or friends. People who were close to me, who knew my journey, who knew I was a legit person and good at what I do and wanted help.

Your first clients will probably actually be friends and close community members, too.

For most of my clients, they find they go from thinking they need new oceans of Instagram followers to get clients…

…to actually seeing that when they develop a specific, valuable, well-marketed offer that the first people who usually come are your community members. Your allies. Your friend from high school. Someone you haven’t talked to in 5 years.

Because they trust you.

Think about it. There’s so many business and life coaches out there, how can you choose? How do many of your prospective clients choose?

Sometimes people choose someone to work with on a problem they have based on who they feel ease and connection and trust with already.

This is wonderful! If a friend asks about working with you, don’t get weird or nervous or try to get out of it or give it away for free. Own your expertise and consider it an honor to put your “coach hat” on for them.

Another flavor of this I see with clients is that you may be experiencing friends who want your services for free! You may feel strange about them trying to get coached for free — and even stranger about asking them to pay for it instead. So what do you do?

The first is for you (and them) to understand that there’s no substitute for the sacred coaching container. There’s no substitute for even a good friend being able to lay back, relax, and receive the full experience of being expertly coached by you.

There’s also no substitute for the inherent amplification of the results produced by committing to the result they say they want in the form of their dedicated time and money.

Not investing in the problem and trying to get free advice takes away their ability to really show up for themselves with the seriousness required to shift what’s causing the pain for them.

Set your boundaries (first inside yourself. You aren’t available for people trying to poach your life’s work and wisdom off of you for free because YOU have too much respect for yourself) and then let the kind soul know this is your professional domain, you have a program coming up they may really love and benefit from, and invite them to consider working with you inside an intentional space for their maximum benefit. Make them an offer!

And lastly, ALL of this depends on your sales mindset and energy.

Do you see sales as taking from someone or giving to them? Fundamentally I see so many people think sales is TAKING. Is that true in your business? Probably not if you’re in my field.

Understand that your work and offering people, even friends, the opportunity to receive the transformation you provide is a gift.

They will probably go somewhere eventually to get help with the problem, and if YOU truly believe in yourself and the work you do, why shouldn’t it be you?

Whenever a friend asks for a referral to a business coach and I know they should actually work with me, I say so! I tell them I’m the best person I know for what they need (if it’s true) because I feel it in my bones and it would be a disservice for them to go elsewhere and not consider working with me because perhaps they feel weird about hiring a friend.

Let all this weirdness go. We are entering into a new economic paradigm where we are able to be resourced and exchange MONEY (which is not dirty) by exchanging our gifts and wisdom.

I join my friend’s programs. I hire clients. I let friends hire me with no ickiness. I’ve had people from my yoga teacher training hire me. And I make offers to any person I believe will benefit from being in my space.

Did this article help? DM me on Instagram and say hi and tell me what resonated! @heyelainaray