How to Choose a Good Private Practice Business Coach for Counsellors & Psychotherapists

This post is about How to Choose a Good Private Practice Business Coach for Counsellors & Psychotherapists.

Building a thriving private practice as a counsellor or psychotherapist can be a daunting task. A business coach can be an invaluable ally in navigating this journey. However, finding the right coach—someone who understands the unique challenges and nuances of the counselling & psychotherapy professions—is crucial.

Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a good private practice business coach for counsellors and psychotherapists

Training and Qualifications

A good starting point is to consider whether the coach is trained in a reputable counselling or psychotherapy course. Ideally, your coach should have a background that includes training at a Diploma, Bachelor, and Master level of counselling or psychotherapy. This progression, specifically within the counselling & psychotherapy field ensures they have insider knowledge of each step of the journey you’re on. Such a coach will not only understand the academic and practical training involved but will also appreciate the emotional and psychological demands of the counselling & psychotherapy professions.

It’s also important to recognise that while there are overlaps, counselling and psychotherapy are distinct professions from psychology and social work. Psychologists are trained in a medical model, focusing on diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders, while social workers are trained in a social model, addressing social issues and systemic challenges. Counselling and psychotherapy, on the other hand, focus on the inner world. Therefore, choosing a good private practice business coach who understands counselling inside out is crucial for receiving guidance tailored to your specific counselling or psychotherapy professional context.

Association Membership and Registration

Check if the private practice business coach is registered with one of the main psychotherapy and counselling associations, such as the Australian Counselling Association (ACA) for diploma counsellors, the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) for tertiary qualified counsellors and psychotherapists, or their equivalents in other countries. Membership in these associations indicates that the coach is trained to the highest standard and adheres to professional standards and ethics.

Also consider whether the coach recommends joining a professional association. Associations provide numerous benefits, including professional development opportunities, networking, and credibility. Joining a professional association means being held by something bigger than ourselves. Associations often have many very experienced counsellor and psychotherapist volunteers who have high regard for ethical practices. They are sticklers for placing clients’ needs as a priority and adhering to guidelines for the sake of their clients. If a coach has strong ties to professional associations, it means they value professional standards and ongoing professional development. Understanding their rationale will help you gauge whether their advice aligns with your professional goals and high standards.

Practical Experience in Counselling or Psychotherapy Private Practice

One of the most critical aspects of choosing a business coach is ensuring they have practical experience in running a full private practice of counselling or psychotherapy clients. You can ask a prospective coach about their private practice experience, including how long they ran their practice and how they managed to build and maintain a client base of private pay clients, as opposed to clients referred through Medicare or other rebates.

The ability to attract clients is one thing, but the skill to ‘hold’ clients long-term is another. A coach who has successfully managed a full practice will have invaluable insights into client retention, which is crucial for the sustainability of your practice.

Track Record of Success

Look for a coach with a proven track record of success. Ask how realistic it is to build a private practice in terms of the time and effort required. This can provide insight into the coach’s effectiveness and the type of results you can expect. A coach with a history of helping counsellors build successful practices is likely to be a good fit, especially if they can offer realistic timelines and strategies for achieving sustainability.

Compatibility and Communication Style

Consider whether you feel comfortable with the coach’s communication style and approach. A good coach should be someone you can trust and feel at ease with, as you’ll be sharing sensitive and potentially challenging aspects of your professional journey. An initial consultation can help determine if there’s a good fit in terms of personality and coaching style.

Coach’s Motivation

Understanding the coach’s motivation for their business is also vital. While income is a reasonable motivation, a great coach will also have a genuine desire to better the therapist and the counselling and psychotherapy industries. They should be passionate about helping other counsellors succeed and contribute to not only their own business but to the wider professional community. This, ‘for the greater good of the whole’ motivation, often translates into a more supportive and committed coaching relationship.

Private Practice Business Coach and Clinical Supervisor

A great coach is also someone who can supervise therapists who are members of PACFA, ACA, and other professions such as social workers under the AASW. This means that your private practice building coaching sessions could be considered as clinical supervision. This dual role can be extremely beneficial, providing you with both private practice and clinical guidance, thereby integrating your professional development more seamlessly. Make sure your coach and supervisor is registered with PACFA or ACA.

Ethical Practices

Ethical practice such as how the coach structures their fees is another critical factor. Transparency in pricing is essential to ensure you know what you are committing to. Choose a coach who offers clear and straightforward pricing without lengthy direct-debited fees. Asking for a clear breakdown of services and associated costs can help you feel confident in the value you’re receiving.


Choosing the right private practice business coach for counsellors and psychotherapists involves careful consideration of their qualifications, practical experience, association membership, motivation, track record, and ethical practices. By ensuring that your coach meets these criteria, you can set yourself up for success and build a thriving counselling practice. Remember, the right coach will not only help you attract clients but also retain them, contributing to the long-term sustainability of your practice.

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Jodie Gale

Jodie Gale MA. is the founder of The Psychosynthesis Centre, Trauma Warriors TM, The Soul Sessions with Jodie Gale Podcast and Jodie Gale Soul Centred-Therapy for Women. She is a on the College of Psychotherapy Leadership Team at PACFA, is a Clinical Supervisor, Private Practice Business Coach, Trainer, Facilitator & an Eco-Psycho-Spiritual Registered Clinical Psychotherapist® on the Northern Beaches of Sydney & online. Jodie has 20+ years of experience in private pay, private practice and has built 2 thriving practices - in London and then home in Sydney, Australia. Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back in to therapy!

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