The Top 10 Business Coaches and Mastermind Groups to Help You Grow Your Architecture or Design Firm

Sean Lund-Brown

The world of architecture and design is one that is unique. It presents a collaborative dynamic, and yet a sense of autonomy among designers, and fosters some of the best buildings and designs in the world. And yet, for all of the successful architecture and design firms out there, just as many are looking for a way to make improvements and find some opportunities for growth. 

That’s where business coaches and groups come in. Whether it’s an individual coach or an organization that offers coaching solutions, there are plenty of resources out there to help you make more of your firm. Some are dedicated to architecture and design specifically while others are general business coaches that can help all types of industries. 

When you hire a coach for your architecture or design firm, you stand to gain several perks:

  • An increase in the quality and quantity of client leads
  • Clear strategies to align your processes with your goals
  • A marketing plan that includes actionable steps to success
  • Detailed and supportive training and education on marketing and managing your firm
  • Advice from specialists who understand your industry
  • An unbiased, honest, critical look at your firm and what it could improve
  • Increased productivity, employee performance, overall performance, and more
  • Improved confidence for leaders and all employees


These are just a few of the benefits you’ll find from adding a coach to your architecture or design firm’s repertoire. When you have a third party to hold you accountable and help you learn the best ways to grow, you’ll find that it comes a lot more naturally than you expect. 

In the list below, we’ll cover the 10 best coaches for architecture and design, including individuals and groups, to help you find the right fit for your firm. 

First, though, let’s talk about how to choose the best fit. 


What to look for in a business coach or coaching group

When you’re in the market for a business coach that understands the world of architecture and design, you’ve got a lot of things to consider. However, there are some elements that are going to be more important than others to handle. Take the time to consider:

How much experience they have. There's no magic number here, but more is always better when it comes to coaching and business advice. You'll want to find people who have been in the industry long enough to know their way around, or that have at least been coaching long enough to have the expertise that you deserve. 

What areas they specialize in. Whether you choose a coach that specializes in thought leadership and general business or an architecture-specific coach, you’ll need to find the right fit for your team. Think about the things that matter to you in growing your firm and improving your success and then look for that type of coaching solution. 

What types of coaching they offer. For example, if you want group coaching for your entire firm, you’ll have to make sure that’s available. Some coaches offer a little bit of everything, and that’s useful because you might want to try a little bit of everything. Others will only do one-on-one sessions or may only book live engagements, but that’s not as common. It's just something to consider. 

What free resources are available. There are going to be services that you pay for when you hire a coach or group, but they should also offer some resources that don’t have a cost attached, such as a website with a blog, a YouTube channel, or a free podcast, for example. Make sure that they’re giving you a good value for your money and proving their worth. 

What size businesses they work with. If your firm needs a small business coach, for example, you wouldn’t want to hire the guy who’s a maven with enterprise organizations. You’d want an SMB specialist. Make sure that you choose a coach or coaching group that can fit the needs of your business based on its size. 


These are the biggest elements that should be on your list when you’re in the market for a business coach for your architecture and design firm. If there’s anything else that is important to you that didn’t make this list, feel free to add it in your search. And to help in that search, here are the 10 best coaches and groups for architecture and design firms. 


The top 10 coaches for architecture and design

1. Dave Sharp

A Master Architect, Dave Sharp has spent years in the industry developing his own business. Over that time, he learned firsthand how difficult it could be and eventually reached a place where he wanted to help others with that. He felt that helping others build their businesses would be more valuable than running his own, so he trained himself on topics like digital marketing and has now helped more than 100 firms and architects. He uses effective marketing and sales techniques to help firms achieve their goals, and can offer one-on-one coaching, group training sessions, and more. 

2. Jean Leathers

As the founder and CEO of Practice Clarity, Jean Leathers has been consulting on architecture businesses for more than 30 years. She is one of the few female leaders of the industry and has made a name for herself by publishing books, providing tons of consulting advice and coaching, and even presenting at several different conventions and events over the years. She focuses on taking a unique approach to relationship building that will lead to increased profits, believing that when you create the right relationships, the profits follow. Online courses, blogs and books, and in-person coaching sessions are available. 

3. New Perspectives

Roland Hanekroot is the founder of New Perspectives and has a commitment to helping architecture firms turn their business profits up a notch by changing simple things in the way that they create their business model and design. He takes a look at the bigger picture, which helps iron out all the details and gives your firm a new lease on how to do business. Through his website, social media, and one-on-one coaching opportunities, Roland helps all kinds of design and architecture firms embrace the business mindset that they need to succeed. 

4. Sleeping Giant Consulting

Sleeping Giant Consulting is changing the way the architecture industry works, one business at a time. This consulting group offers a myriad of solutions that can change the way that you do business and has a special interest in helping females within the architecture industry. You’ll find one-on-one coaching, group coaching, and even in-house ongoing coaching services for firms that need a little more dedicated support over the growth period. They will work with you to create clear goals and develop a strategy to achieve them while helping grow your bottom line. You will be able to build a stronger business through thought leadership and a clearer understanding of the business world around you. 

5. The IBD Hub

The International Business Development (IBD) Hub was created as a mastermind group to help with business coaching in architecture and design. The site offers a podcast and plenty of written resources, as well as testimonials, and a chance to book a one-on-one consultation to discuss the needs of your firm. The CEO, Guilia de Mauro, believes that the world is changing and that the industry is changing with it, and she strives to empower architecture firms to grow their business development skills in order to create the success that they want and outshine the competition. 

6. THINK:BUILD Consulting

THINK:BUILD offers an innovative coaching and consulting solution that will change the way that you do business. This firm works with tons of architects and firms to help them realize the potential of their brand and the success they are capable of. They do this with one-on-one and group consulting and coaching, and help people understand the evolving world of architecture and all that it entails. They help firms take back control of their future and create achievable goals that can help brands get to the next level, one well-thought-out move to the next. 

7. Surf Life Coaching

Surf Life Coaching for architects and designers is a female-led training initiative that focuses on taking your challenges and turning them into the sticking points that build your business to the next level. Farhana Huq is effective at dealing with the paperwork and bureaucracy that comes with the industry and knows how to help you streamline the routine tasks so that you can focus on the clients and projects that matter. You’ll find one-on-one training and group options, and the focus is on helping to grow confidence and become more effective in communication and relationship building, which are the pivotal keys to success in this industry. 

8. Small Business Coach Associates

Small Business Coach Associates is a great resource for several types of small businesses and rims. They don’t just focus on retail and sales. In fact, they help with a lot of executive organizations and professional firms like architects and design firms. The network offers all kinds of coaching resources, including specialty coaches for specific issues. There are online courses, blogs, and lot of other tools for managing day-to-day issues. You’ll have your choice of one-on-one coaching, live events and group sessions, and other training options to ensure that your firm gets the coaching that it needs. 

9. ActionCOACH

The ActionCOACH network allows almost any professional business to connect with the perfect coach, no matter what their business needs might be. Brad Sugars, a pioneer of business coaching, runs this organization and offers a variety of coaching solutions for all types of businesses. A simple questionnaire will help determine what kind of coach your firm needs, and you will be matched with the right person in no time at all. They have a guide that is called the 14 Points of Culture, on which they base a lot of their coaching principles. They have online courses and programs, training resources, and the option to set up one-on-one or group coaching sessions. 

10. Andy Turner, Vanguard Business Coaching

Andy Turner has been in the corporate marketing and sales world for over two decades and is a published author, speaker, and known expert within his industry. He has helped several businesses grow their profits quickly and create unique new revenue streams that might not have been found otherwise. There are online courses and direct coaching sessions available, as well as videos, a podcast, and so much more. Turner claims that his 45-minute consultation will allow him to produce at least $10,000 in new revenue for your firm, through the process of strategic marketing, and he makes good on his promise every time from what we can see. If you want streamlined operations to scale your growth, this is the coach to use. 


Streamline your communications with Smith.ai 

Speaking of streamlining your business, why not make improvements to your customer service while you’re at it? With the dedicated agents from Smith.ai, you will be able to trust that all of your live chats, phone calls, and other customer communications are handled even when you’re busy handling other things. We can assist with after-hours phone answering, intake and scheduling, SMS and Facebook message answering, and so much more. 

Our dedicated team of live receptionists can handle all kinds of customer inquiries, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so that your audience always has instant access to your brand. We know that you’re busy trying to build your business and we want to help by taking the tedious details off your hands. You can even contact us to discuss a custom communication strategy to field every call and message in the best way possible. 

Learn more when you schedule a consultation to discuss our 24/7 virtual receptionists and all that they can do, from live website chat to client bookings and so much more. You can also reach us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484.

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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