• Advice

Top 7 Ways that Leadership Coaching Can Help Freelancers

As a freelancer, it can be tempting to prioritize building your client base, honing your craft, and reaping the benefits of an improved work-life balance. However, while focusing on your niche field(s) and specialized skills, it’s important to take time to develop other parts of your business.

Why freelancers need leadership skills

In other words, you, as the brains and driving force behind your business, are going to need more than your industry experience, technical skills, and exceptional work ethic. Embarking into the world of entrepreneurship for the first time can feel daunting and plagued with confusion, which doesn’t help matters.

Freelancers don’t have anyone but themselves to manage and many may - ironically - feel liberated by this arrangement rather than be subject to textbook leadership and management responsibilities being repeatedly drilled in by ex-employers and direct supervisors.

There will come a time when you need to refine some crucial soft skills and perhaps consult a third party to help you strategize a new business direction. One of the most effective ways to tick both boxes is to undertake leadership coaching or training. This type of training, usually delivered by a business coach or mentor, allows you to uncover valuable insights and learn crucial skills that can empower independent workers like you to excel in your chosen sector(s). The Institute of Coaching research tells us that over 70% of individuals that receive professional coaching benefit from improved performance, relationships and communication skills.

The skills you learn may, in turn, also help you to perform your job better, optimize certain parts of your customer journey, become a better manager of change and performance, or find gaps in the market that could lead to new high-quality revenue streams.

Let’s explore seven key ways that undertaking leadership training or coaching can help you, as an ambitious and forward-thinking freelancer excel in your professional journey, enhance your success and make a lasting impression.

7 important skills that freelancers can learn through leadership training

1. Communication

A leadership training program can equip you with the skills to communicate your ideas, expectations, limitations, requirements or concerns with confidence and complete assurance. The importance of effective and transparent communication cannot be understated, and it’s no different when you’re a freelance worker.

If you approach leadership coaching with an open mind, you can learn different methods of communication to allow you to approach potential new clients, suppliers or partners differently and more effectively. Such coaching will likely also reinforce the key competencies of active listening, diplomacy and conflict resolution to make your relationship-building methods more wholesome.

2. Goal setting and time management

Leadership training underscores the significance of effective goal setting and time management. Independent workers often grapple with the challenge of juggling multiple projects and deadlines simultaneously, leading many to face burnout quickly. While certain tools may facilitate easier short- and long-term project management, sometimes the issue is more deep-seated, which is where this form of training comes into play.

By learning how to set clear goals, prioritize tasks, and create efficient workflows, you can maximize your productivity, a crucial skill celebrated on World Productivity Day every June 20th. This day emphasizes the importance of being productive in personal and professional life.

With improved time management skills, you can consistently meet deadlines and surpass client expectations, enhancing customer satisfaction. This improvement often leads to better customer experiences, increasing the chances of referrals and recommendations for your enterprise. To celebrate World Productivity Day, why not reflect on any improved productivity and time management skills you developed with leadership training?

3. Decision making

As you navigate your freelance career, you will be forced to make critical decisions and with no line manager to report to, you’ll need to make them independently. Not feeling overwhelmed by this prospect requires confidence and a leadership training course can provide you with essential frameworks and strategies to reinforce that feeling.

Once you learn how to analyze situations and evaluate risks and options effectively, you will be able to approach complex decisions with more clarity and conviction.

4. Adaptability

Freelancers are constantly facing changing market and sector trends, varying client demands and expectations, all while trying to build a business in an increasingly challenging and competitive landscape. A crucial skill to overcome these obstacles is adaptability, which is how you change and thrive in different situations and dynamics. Leadership coaching can teach you how to adjust your business model and explore new opportunities, as well as overcome setbacks and failures like losing client business to competitors, which can happen.

5. Self-confidence

As a freelancer, self-confidence and believing in your brand and company values is crucial for helping you stand out from your competitors and attract high-value clients that value your services. These elements are all built on your unique strengths and leadership style. Sometimes you may feel the need to reassess these elements, and with the help of leadership coaching and self-assessment exercises and feedback, you can analyze how your attributes appear to your prospects and clients.

6. Negotiation

Every business owner will have to negotiate from time to time, whether it’s in terms of pricing, availability, deadlines, agreements or anything in between. Some freelancers - particularly those just starting out - might set their prices too low as a way to build a strong client base, not realizing that with effective negotiation, high-value clients can still be convinced and reassured by you.

With leadership training, you can refine your ability to negotiate fairly and confidently, with the help of persuasive communication and finding mutually-beneficial solutions. In turn, you will be able to submit pitches, proposals and terms to clients effectively and confidently.

7. Collaboration

While freelancers often work independently, there are instances when collaboration becomes necessary for larger or specialized projects. For example, a business may commission different suppliers for its branding and its website design, which is where those two suppliers would likely need to collaborate.

Leadership training equips you with team-building skills that help you foster effective collaboration and leverage the collective strength of a group, even if that other party is running their own business and has a different leadership style. With leadership and business coaching you’ll be able to communicate and collaborate effectively, reinforcing how that joint project is delivered to the client as exceptionally as possible.

It’s clear to see how leadership training can benefit freelancers in a multitude of ways, from professional negotiation and decision-making to personal confidence and communication. By honing the plethora of important talents and techniques taught by a qualified and credible leadership coach or mentor, freelancers can find that competitive edge and become competent leaders of their businesses, making each step of their growth journey easier to navigate.

Annie Button Annie is a freelance writer based in the UK, specializing in business development, branding, digital marketing and HR. An English Lit grad, Annie has written for various online and print publications.