The #1 Lead Generation Method for Coaches (and 12 Ways to Execute It)

Want to know the #1 reason why coaching businesses fail?

Not enough leads.

There are two solutions to that problem:

  1. Buy your leads.
  2. Find them yourself.

Coaches who buy from lead generation services don’t make it for long. Here’s why:

First, you blow your marketing budget just to get a bunch of email addresses. Then, you concoct some complicated 27-step funnel to run those leads through. Then you pray one of them makes it through.


Because turning coaching leads into paying clients requires trust. A lot of it.

In coaching, you’re not selling a product—you’re selling yourself. Your expertise.

What would you think if you got a random email from a guy you’ve never heard of before saying, “Hey, I’m a business coach, would you like to be my client?”

Here’s what I would think: “Who the heck is this person?” and then I’d hit that Report as Spam button as fast as humanly possible.

On the opposite side of the spectrum are organic leads. Since you’ve spent the time and effort to educate them on who you are and what you do, they trust you. Some of them trust you enough to pay you.

But … (Yes, there is always a but.)

I’ve seen too many coaches take forever trying to build an audience from scratch and then sell to that audience.

They try a flurry of marketing activities and none of them work. So they end up working 80 hour weeks and still living paycheck to paycheck.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

All you have to do is remember a simple 3-letter acronym:

O. P. A.




OPA makes it nearly impossible not to grow your business. With OPA, you’ll get in front of 100s of warm, qualified leads every week, working half as hard as if you were trying to do your normal, run-of-the-mill marketing.

So what exactly is OPA, and how do you implement it? Glad you asked.

In this article, I’ll walk you through:

  • Why OPA is the best way to generate leads and grow your coaching business.
  • 3 OPA strategies our own clients used to grow their business and generate thousands of dollars in record time.
  • 9 other OPA strategies you could try today to generate leads for your coaching business.
  • How to get lead gen coaching for your business if you want to speed the process up 10x.

Let’s dive in.

Looking for lead gen coaching? You’ve come to the right place! Schedule a free strategy session with our team and we’ll talk through a 90-day plan to double your sales.

OPA: The Best Way to Generate Leads for Your Coaching Business

So what makes OPA great?

In one word: trust.

With OPA, you leverage existing trust between an audience and that audience’s leader.

Hollywood is a great example of this.

Hollywood studios don’t have built-in audiences or email lists. They don’t need to. What they do instead is:

  • Make a new movie.
  • Send actors on a tour of morning shows, late-night shows, podcasts, etc.

Studios spread the word about their new movie by borrowing the audiences of Stephen Colbert, Ellen, or Joe Rogan. Show hosts need content for their shows. The actors and actresses fill that content gap.

Queue the ticket sales.

Coaching lead gen can (and should) borrow a tried-and-true advertising strategy from Hollywood. Here's how: Hollywood makes movie > Actors + Actresses hit the news circuit > Show hosts get free content > Audience hears about the movie > $$$ Tickets sell

The good news is that you don’t need to have the size and infrastructure of a Hollywood studio to be able to do this. In fact, this is our #1 marketing channel at Growth Tools. To make it work, you need to focus on just one to-do:

Teach 1 new audience each week.

That’s it. That’s the bird’s-eye view of OPA marketing.

Teach 1 new audience each week, and you’ll soon have too many leads waiting to become your next client.

Now you might be thinking …

“But wait! What do I do? How do I get in front of someone else’s audience? What happens when I get there?”

I’ll answer each of those questions in the following section.

Let’s take a look at the different OPA strategies you can implement today to generate leads and grow your coaching business to new heights. I’ll cover:

  • Guest Training
  • Podcast Tour
  • Virtual Summits
  • And 8 other strategies

1. Guest Training

Guest Training is one of the most effective OPA marketing strategies out there. In most cases, it follows a 3-step process:

  • Step 1: Get noticed by/pitch a partner whose audience fits your coaching business’ niche.
  • Step 2: Do free live training for the partner’s audience.
  • Step 3:Sit back, relax and watch new leads pour in.

After that, all you need to do is close those leads (learn how to close a sales call here) and refocus on what you do best: changing your clients’ lives with great results.

But … Most coaches who try to implement guest training usually get stuck in Step 1. Getting noticed by and pitching partners sounds and looks impossible to them.

It doesn’t have to be. There are many strategies you could follow, the main one being:

Make a List of 50 Dream Partners

I mean literally.

Write it as if you were creating a personal bucket list of potential partners. Think of the people or organizations that you would actually celebrate partnering with.

Excel sheet: Name, Audience Size, Familiarity, Strength of Lead

Those are the types of people you want on your list, along with a few you wouldn’t expect to say “yes” because they’re so big, and a few that are even smaller than you are (LinkedIn connections is a great place to start).

The warmth of your relationship with them will determine how you go about the pitch.

If one of them owns a Facebook group filled with your target audience, get active in that community so they recognize you as someone knowledgeable before you pitch them.

If it’s a brand you’ve used yourself, use that connection.

And if you have to pitch them cold? That’s fine.

You can learn all about how to find the right partners and craft the perfect pitch here.

Now, let’s look at 2 Guest Training success stories from our Growth University clients.

[Case Study] How Ian Bowen Generated $50,000+ in Revenue Thanks to ONE Partnership

Ian Bowen's training > The Wholesale Formula > TWF told their audience > They attended Ian's training

Ian Bowen helps people optimize the images on their Amazon listings. He also happens to be an OPA superstar.

Thanks to ONE Guest Training he did for a company called The Wholesale Formula, he recently generated:

  • 180+ new customers.
  • 1,000+ email subscribers.
  • $50,000+ in revenue for his graphic design service, Graphic Rhythm.

What he did was simple. First, he found the right partner: The Wholesale Formula.

The Wholesale Formula is an online course that helps sell products on Amazon—the same people who are likely to be ideal customers for Ian’s services, especially since design is something The Wholesale Formula doesn’t provide to their clients.

Second, Ian arranged a (free) guest training session with them. He taught The Wholesale Formula’s audience his method for optimizing images on Amazon. In that training session, he offered one of his products: The Inner Circle.

The Inner Circle included:

  • Resources and tools to more easily implement the lessons he’d just taught them.
  • An exclusive discount on Graphic Rhythm, his Amazon design service.

The results were mind-blowing. From that webinar alone, Ian got $12,000 in sales for The Inner Circle, plus $38,000 in design services purchased—all from someone else’s audience.

But how did Ian do it? I wanted to know the details myself, so I hopped on a Zoom call with him.

In this recording, you’ll learn:

  • 6:40 – How Ian reached out to The Wholesale Formula to establish their connection.
  • 8:00 –Why it made sense for The Wholesale Formula to agree to Ian’s webinar.
  • 10:00 – Deep-dive on his high-converting “Inner Circle” product.
  • 14:30 – How Ian generated 50-100 new leads for Graphic Rhythm with a “co-branded lead magnet.”
  • 17:00 – Why partnerships are way better than Facebook ads.

If you’d like to read an in-depth breakdown of how you can land a guest webinar as successful as Ian’s, you can go here.

[Case Study] How Michael DeLon Brought in $102,000 in New Client Revenue from a Single 1-Hour Virtual Training Session

"Thinking of Writing a Book? We help you create your book without writing a word"

Michael DeLon runs a business called “Paperback Expert.”

They help business owners establish themselves and market their credibility by creating and publishing an Amazon bestselling book.

His story is one of my favorite examples of the power of OPA marketing.

Back in December of last year, Michael brought in $102,000 in new client revenue.

All from ONE 1-hour virtual training session.

No ads. No email list. No SEO. No crazy funnels.

Want to hear the craziest part?

Only 30 people attended the webinar.

The webinar was for a mastermind group of tax resolution specialists (i.e., experts you hire if you’re having trouble with the IRS.) There were only 30 of them, but they were the perfect leads for Michael’s service.

Which means:

  • 9 of them booked a call to learn more about Michael’s services.
  • 5 of those calls bought Paperback Expert’s $20,500 service packages.
  • Michael brought in $102,000 in revenue.

To find out exactly how Michael pulled this off, I hopped on a call with him. His process is one many coaches could follow too:

In this interview with Michael, you’ll learn:

  • 2:27 – How Michael identified his partner and pitched them the idea of a guest training.
  • 5:24 – Why Michael’s offer was so successful with this audience.
  • 6:08 – Why Michael’s partner agreed to promote the guest training to his members.
  • 9:33 – How this partnership pre-conditioned Michael’s prospects to buy before they even got on the phone with him.
  • 14:17 – Michael’s plans for the future: how he’ll scale this approach to make 6-figure months a regular occurrence in 2021.
  • 15:56 – How Michael uses a “middleman organization” strategy to consistently get in front of large groups of ideal clients.

If you’d like to read an in-depth breakdown of how you can land a guest webinar as successful as Michael’s, you can go here.

2. Podcast Tour

Another great way to leverage other people’s audiences and generate hundreds of warm leads for your coaching business is to do appearances on podcasts.


As I mentioned in the introduction, turning coaching leads into paying clients requires a lot of trust. And there’s nothing that builds more trust than having an audience hear your voice on a podcast they already love.

“But Bryan! I don’t know any podcast hosts! How am I supposed to get booked on a podcast?”

I know, I know.

The good news is that you don’t need to know a podcast host, or be famous, to get booked on their shows. Just look at what two of our own clients, Dustin Riechmann and Diana Wu David did, and follow their example.

[Case Study] How Dustin Riechmann Sold Over $30,000 in Meat Snacks Online Thanks to Podcast Appearances

Firecreek Snacks: Experience the Best Snacks in the World - Exceptional Taste, Clean Ingredients

I love Dustin’s story.

Dustin sells meat snacks. Just meat snacks, nothing else.

And he sells lots of them.

In fact, he sold over $30,000 worth of meat snacks without spending a single dollar on marketing. Instead, he went on a podcast tour.

(No, he isn’t a coach, but that doesn’t mean you can’t follow Dustin’s example and get similar results for your coaching business.)

The best part? His strategy is both simple to execute and repeatable.

Every time Dustin goes on a podcast, he gets:

  • ~4k in immediate sales.
  • ~10k in lifetime sales.

Want to know how Dustin did it? So did I. That’s why I hopped on a Zoom call with him to discuss the nitty-gritty details.

In my interview with Dustin, you’ll learn:

  • How 3 podcast interviews turned into $30,000 in sales.
  • The 3 CTAs he tested to make this happen (and how they’ve performed).
  • How Dustin got on a Zoom call with Walmart’s head buyer of meat snacks, thanks to the “halo effect.”
  • The secret that got Dustin a “yes” from 100% of the podcasts he’s pitched.

If you’d like to read an in-depth breakdown of how you can land your first guest podcast appearance like Dustin, you can go here.

[Case Study] How Diana Wu David Generated Thousands of Dollars in Online Course Sales through a Podcast Tour

A handful of the podcasts that interviewed Diana

Diana runs a business called Future Proof Labs.

Through coaching, public speaking, and online courses, she helps people and businesses take advantage of disruption and future-proof themselves.

She has also recently published a book, called Future Proof: Reinventing Work in an Age of Acceleration. Like all first-time authors, she wanted her book to sell, which she knew would bring in new clients.

By consistently appearing on podcasts, Diana managed to:

  • Sell thousands of copies of her book.
  • Drive over $8,000 in sales for her online course.

The best part?

Those interviews continue to drive warm leads to her business, months after airing.

Want to know how Diana did it? Check out my interview with her below:

In this interview, you’ll learn:

  • 4:21 – The four strategies Diana uses to find podcasts that her ideal customers are listening to.
  • 10:13 – How to use a lead magnet to convert podcast listeners into email subscribers.
  • 17:00 – How to ensure listeners will discover your product (this is key).
  • 19:53 – Why podcast interviews continue to drive traffic and leads for your business months after they air.

If you’d like to read an in-depth breakdown of how you can land your first guest podcast appearance like Diana’s, you can go here.

3. Virtual Summits

Virtual Summits are one of the best ways to build your email list and generate warm best-fit leads for your coaching business, no matter what type of coach you are.

But they come with one downside: They involve a lot of planning and organization to pull them off.

The good news? They’re not as complicated as they look. You just need to follow these three steps:

  • Step 1: Invite a bunch of experts in your niche to participate.
  • Step 2: Record an interview with each of them.
  • Step 3: Release those interviews over a 5 to 10 day period, all packaged under the name of your virtual summit.

What makes Virtual Summits work so well is that you’re borrowing trust from multiple best-fit audiences at once. Each participant invites their audience to attend, which in turn generates a ton of new leads and email subscribers for you.

Below, I’ll show you how one of our clients pulled off a fantastic virtual summit that did just that.

[Case Study] How Joe Slack Brought in $10,600 in Sales and Added 550 Best-Fit Customers to His Email List

The Board Game Design Course

Joe is the founder of The Board Game Design Course. His job is simple: He helps people design games and gets them published.

But Joe was struggling to get good leads for his course, so he decided to invest some time and energy and organize a virtual summit. He called it “The Board Game Design Virtual Summit.”

And it worked like a charm.

After a few weeks of low-stressed planning, he ended up with a 7-day event that included:

  • 18 expert participants.
  • 6 days of interviews.
  • 1 day of Q&A.

The result of his efforts?

  • $10,700 in sales.
  • 550 best-fit customers were added to his email list.

But how exactly did Joe do it?  I wanted to know myself, so I hopped on a Zoom call with him to get the nitty-gritty details:

In this interview, you’ll learn:

  • 3:39 – How Joe created a basic structure to simplify his virtual summit and reduce moving parts.
  • 5:34 – A dive deep into all of Joe’s virtual summit numbers: revenue, pricing tiers, etc.
  • 7:14 – Joe’s method to identify partners and how he convinced them to promote the summit.
  • 11:27 – 3 specific changes Joe is planning to make the next virtual summit even better.
  • 20:40 – Joe’s #1 piece of advice for anyone planning a virtual summit.

If you’d like to read an in-depth breakdown of how you can execute a virtual summit like Joe’s, you can go here.

Note: Want similar results? Book a complimentary strategy session with my team. We’ll audit your business strategy and talk through a 90-day plan to double your sales.

Other Partnership Strategies to Generate Leads for Your Coaching Business

We’ve already run through three of my favorite OPA strategies and showed you how our own clients use them to make thousands of dollars and bring in hundreds of warm leads to their businesses.

But guest training, podcast tours, and virtual summits are not the only OPA strategies that work. In fact, here are 9other strategies to use OPA to grow your client base.

4. Guest Posting

A constant demand for content is a big pain point for most blogs.

If you just post once a week for a year, that’s 52 blog post ideas needed! Most bloggers are happy to have help with some of them.

Step 1 is to find blogs that fit your expertise.

Step 2 is to start commenting and answering questions from fellow readers. You don’t have to spend all your time doing it, just a few genuine comments so that your name becomes familiar.

Now, for step 3: Reach out to the blog admin, and offer your writing skills to them.

Alternatively, you could skip steps 1 and 2 and cold-pitch your blogging skills to the admin. That often works too. Just make sure that your proposed topic answers a question that their audience has (if you can prove it with screenshots, even better).

5. Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube Live Guesting

What applies to blogs also applies to your fellow coaches or influencers in your niche.

They, too, are desperate for content.

Another way to fill that content gap is to offer to do Facebook, Instagram or YouTube Live guesting. This is a great option if your skill set and comfort zone align with a phone camera more than with written content marketing.

Quick example of this method in action:

Marisa Meddin is an online course creator who helps parents and teens navigate the college admissions process.

She identified a Facebook group called Road2College that hosts live trainings on college prep for its 40,000+ members.

Marisa pitched Road2College on letting her teach their audience her best strategies.

Marisa and the Partner who managed the Facebook page along with the Large audience she was newly exposed to.

The results?

Not only did she get 275 of the viewers to join her email list, she also generated 33 sales for her course (a total of over $3k in revenue).

All from one short presentation.

6. Social Media Takeover

This is an example of literally borrowing someone else’s audience for generating leads. For a day, you’ll get full control of the other person’s social media and be able to interact directly with their audience.

This tends to be more casual than a formal live guesting, so look for ways to make it light, fun, and informative. Just don’t forget to refer everyone to your site at the end of the day.

7. Social Media Giveaways and Contests

LeadPages: Win LeadPages for a Decade

A giveaway I ran to grow my email list.

Have an online course to sell? A private membership community? Or a spare hour of your time?

Contact one of your partners (or find a new one that fits your niche) and offer to do a social media giveaway for their followers.

Everyone likes free stuff. Keep the offer small and relevant so that the people who follow you are likely to buy.

8. Offer / Discount Swaps

Contact an existing partner (this works best if it’s someone who already knows and trusts you) and propose you do an offer or discount swap: You give something for free to their audience; they give something for free to yours.

This is a good way to build on past successes with that person’s audience. This often works best with small businesses, or at least ones that are close to yours in size.

9. Create Your Own Podcast

Pep+Talks for Side Hustlers: Episode 311, 310, 309

Our client Shannon Mattern started her own podcast to land more partnerships.

Let’s circle back to one of the strategies I analyzed in detail above: Podcasting.

If you love doing other people’s podcasts and have seen great results from them—you could start your own.

It takes more time and effort (and even a bit of money), but:

  • Having your own podcast makes it easier to get booked in other people’s podcasts.
  • A podcast is a place where you can keep building trust with your current audience.
  • A podcast is an easy way for your biggest fans to share you with other potential clients.

When you invite guests to your podcast, prioritize people whose followers overlap well with your target audience. If they share your podcast episode with their audience, it’s just one more way to bring in high-quality leads.

That exposure to other audiences is why podcasts can be a successful business strategy; if you aren’t seeing results from guest podcasting, then don’t use this strategy.

10. Guest Emailing

Guest Emailing is one of my favorite OPA digital marketing strategies.

“But isn’t Guest Emailing basically the same thing as Guest Blogging?”

Yes … but also, no.

What most people don’t know is that it requires a fraction of the effort and produces 10x the results.


Because, with Guest Emailing, you don’t need to create a blog post from scratch.

Let me explain.

A while ago, we did a Guest Emailing partnership with Infusionsoft (a large email service provider in our niche) and gained 2,200 new subscribersin the first week.

All we had to do was ask Infusionsoft to email our lead magnet as a free gift to their audience. In exchange, we did the same for them.

To learn more about how you can execute a successful guest emailing partnership, go here.

11. Poster Child Formula

This lead generation strategy is so good that we coined a name for it. Here’s how it works:

All businesses and influencers want proof that whatever they’re selling or teaching works. They want to show it to the whole world.

And they know (as you do too) that the best way to do so is through social proof (i.e., testimonials).

The idea behind the Poster Child Formula is for you to become that success story. The poster child, in other words.


  • Step 1: Find a partner whose audience fits your target market.
  • Step 2: Document all the benefits and results you get from their products or teachings.
  • Step 3: Reach out to them, and tell them how awesome they are, and why.

The most likely scenario that will follow is that the company or influencers will (1) be ecstatic and (2) feature you in their marketing.

They’ll put you in front of their audience, free of charge. This means you’ll start getting new traffic you can market your coaching business to.

Want to learn more? Read this in-depth on how to execute a successful poster child formula.

12. Teaching Team-Ups

Similar to guest content or partner webinars, another tactic you can try to fill a content gap is a teaching team-up.

Whether you do this via Zoom, Facebook Live, or any other social media platform doesn’t matter. What does matter is to make sure that both you and your partner fill the audience’s demand for valuable content.

How do you do it?

  • Step 1: Prepare a lesson on a topic that your partner’s audience cares about, that also fits your area of expertise.
  • Step 2: Run your lesson down with your partner, and ask for feedback. Have them do the same.
  • Step 3: Ask your partner to promote registration for the free lesson to their audience, and do the same yourself.
  • Step 4: Teach the lesson.
  • Step 5: Don’t forget to pitch your coaching business to everyone who attended.

If you’re unsure exactly what to teach your partner’s audience, look at the discussion threads on their social media posts, blog, or YouTube content. Pay attention to frequently asked questions, and narrow your choices to topics where your expertise fits well.

Ready to Take Your Coaching Business to New Levels?

Each month, we offer a limited number of seats for our marketing coaching program, where you’ll learn how to implement OPA in your business and more.

By joining, you’ll get:

  • Clarity on exactly what you need to work on to market your business.
  • An in-depth marketing plan tailored to your specific coaching business.
  • Step-by-step instructions for each task, with video tutorials and templates to follow.
  • On-demand help and advice from coaches who have been in your shoes and succeeded.
  • Accountability through regular check-ins and reminders.

And the best part? We’ll pair you with coaches in similar stages in a 15-person mastermind group. No need to work on your coaching business alone when you could be surrounded by like-minded people and learn from each other.

So how do you get started? Schedule a complimentary strategy session with one of our certified coaches. We’ll audit your coaching business and make a 90-day plan to double your sales.