MM #59: 7 Steps to the Ideal Exploratory Session

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More Clients than You Can Handle

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2. FEATURE: 7 Steps to the Ideal Exploratory Session – Part 1

Whether you are at a point in your coaching where you are completely comfortable approaching and securing new clients for yourself, or you have just begun, the tips below will support you in taking your coaching practice to the next level.

Use the following guidelines to set up your exploratory session for a new prospect. Of course, you’ll want to adapt it to your own coaching style. Take the best for you, practice, review each session, fine tune, practice again, and repeat to the point where you are confident. You’ll then be getting the response, results, and fees from your clients that you want and deserve.

The Exploratory Session

1) Set the context of the session

  • This really just means: agree why you are both speaking to each other.
  • Is it one-time inspiration? A feel good chat? Or a pre-cursor to major change in their life?
  • For me, it’s to explore whether together we can make a MAJOR change in their life, or not. I let them know that at the end of the session there will be – if I feel it appropriate -an invitation to set up a committed coaching structure to support their goals.
  • If you skip this step, it’s possible they will feel ‘sold to’ – best to have everything up front.
  • Let them know there’s no obligation at all. And that you don’t work with everyone. You’ll only go forward together if it feels right on both sides. (It’s even better if this is actually true!)

2) Locate their ‘Hot Button’

  • Ask them to come up with ONE goal. You can start with three, but focus in quickly on ONE. Otherwise it’s too scattered.
  • Help them to clearly define what one thing would really make a difference in their life right now. Ask how they would feel in their body if that were to happen and how their life would be different once that occurs. See if they can connect with the feeling. (Further questions to bring out the goals are covered in The CoachStart Manual.)
  • Check they believe it is possible. ‘Pie in the Sky’ dreams are not something they will pay for. If it doesn’t seem possible, help them pick a more realistic goal, or help them see how it IS possible.

3) How a coach will make the difference

  • If they don’t see how coaching can make the difference, you’ll may have an inspired prospect, who will go off to try it on their own.
  • Help them see how the coaching will ‘look’. Most people haven’t had a coach, and don’t even understand it’s once a week on the phone for a fixed period of time, with home work. (I like to have them read about this before the session, so they are already getting used to the idea, and we don’t waste time on it in the session).
  • Let them know coaching can be fun, enjoyable and rewarding process.
  • But more importantly – ASK THEM HOW COACHING WOULD HELP! It’s ten times more valuable to both of you, if they come up with how it will help, instead of you trying to sell them on it. You can hint if they flounder and you can intuit how coaching will help this person.

4) Commitment

  • Get them ‘off the fence’. Ask them, “How
    serious are you about making this change in your life?” Then they can truly
    look at if they are just blowing smoke or they really are going to do something.
    If they say they are really serious, your chances of a signing client just jumped
  • Challenge them with ‘uncommon compassion’. If you honestly think
    that if they don’t sign up they won’t do anything differently, consider telling
  • Let them know that it’s OK to think about it, but that’s NOT WHAT
    YOU’RE ABOUT. Thinking about it doesn’t actually change lives. You are there,
    if they are ready for it, to get them to the place where they are doing more than
    “just thinking about” whatever it is they REALLY WANT in their life.

Part II

In the next issue we will cover the last three steps:

1. Objections
2. The invitation
3. Setting up your client.

Action: Prepare for your Exploratory Sessions

1. Write down a procedure/script/list of questions you would like to ask for your
exploratory sessions.

2. Decide how many introductory sessions you want to give in the next 60 days. For accountability post at the blog the number of sessions you will do, and by when! (Also any juicy questions or steps for your exploratory session that you are particularly proud of.)

* * *

This article was based on a recording of a coach mentoring session you can hear in the Explode Your Practice™ CD set:



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14 Responses to “MM #59: 7 Steps to the Ideal Exploratory Session”

  1. Tad Hargrave Says:

    Hey there,

    also for the intro session with people I can’t recommend the work of Ari Galper of enough. his ability to engage people in a sales conversation while diffusing the pressure constantly is inspiring. I think every serious coach needs to check out his stuff.


  2. Grace Says:

    I will check out My goal is to invite 50 people in 50 days to have an exploratory session and to have 50 exploratory sesssions in 100 days.

  3. Grace Says:

    Also I haev just started a blog and do not really know what to do is there a place to get info about starting a blog?

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Just my first exposure.

    I’m good at creating customer relationships. Unfortunately, most around me are not. To them it’s simply “walk in, do the basics, walk out.”

    This drives me nuts! As, I’m sure it does clients.

    You may be the “one more brick in the road” I need to convince all parties that there’s a bigger, better future out there.

    -Anonymous The Younger,IV

  5. Kammie K. Says:

    Hello David,

    Thanks for the accountability challenge! I commit to 25 sample sessions between now and May 31. I’ll keep you posted of my progress.

    And for Grace…check out, he’s the guru of blogging. Just bought his book, it’s full of juicy info for new bloggers…good luck and happy blogging!

  6. Anonymous Says:

    hi all,
    As usual I liked Daid Wood advices.
    Good luck Grace. You took a huge commitment.
    I will follow Grace and I commit to do 50 exploratory sesssions in 100 days.
    So till 28 July I will do at least 50 exploratory sesssions.
    It will not be easy, but I will do my best to enjoy while I am on the way.
    By the way I reccomend you all to read ISSUE #58: How I got 409 orders in 10 days
    I took from there this advice of David wood :
    “When I was building my coaching practice, I distributed ‘Free Coaching Session’ coupons to a couple of local masseuses, who started giving them away to new clients as a good will gesture, and mailing them out at Christmas! (And I’m going to give you the PDF so you can see exactly what I’m talking about).”
    So now I am busy printing my own Coupons and belive that till tool will give me a good amount of sample sessions.
    Good Luck you all .


  7. kwolfe63 Says:

    Wow! Upon reading the challenges and advise of others, I am truly inspired! I love and look forward to all of David’s tips/advise and challenges! Hopefully you are all like me and have taken your coaching a step further by having a coach of your own! It is so empowering!
    Here’s my challenge:
    Not only to present 25 exploraory sessions, but to also contact my local newspaper editor and present a column stricly on tips and to spark an interest within my community about my coaching practice! I can already hear him saying, “Great Idea! Let’s Roll!”

    Let’s increase our challenges together! Thanks David, and to all “bloggers!”


  8. Eric Knieriem Says:

    Hi outthere,
    I am starting to write in this blog..
    I want to have 50 new potential clients coming to my pratice between now andAugust 1.
    I like the tip of giving away coupons for a free first session.
    I`ll do that.
    Keep you informed


  9. Anonymous Says:

    Hi all,
    Thanks David and all of you for sharing and inspiring! Good luck!
    My goal is to start as a corporate internal coach,with 10 executives and train them as internal coaches.Deadline: June 1st.
    BUT…I have a question. WHO do I have to present an evaluation, IF I have to. Is it the HR Manager?
    I think HE has to be the first to be coached.
    Can you help me to get out of this dilema?!
    Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.

  10. David Wood Says:

    Good for you guys. Go for it!

    Why not try the HR director, and if that doesn’t work, the CEO?

    Offering then a 30 minute session is a good idea – you could even challenge the CEO to a session if you’re getting nowhere.

  11. Linda Says:

    This is the first time I have used a blog.
    I read the other blogs with interest.
    Apart from Grace everyone seems to be advanced in the world of blogging Hope you bear with me on my learning curve guys.


  12. Anonymous Says:

    you said i would learn about what women whant in a relationship but all you talk about is being a coach….you lied a–h–e

  13. Redheaded Heather C Says:

    David you are my all time favorite. Thank you for sharing your bril mind. These steps have helped me get my third coaching client in 30 days, second paying! I miss the survey….what a simple tool to begin.

  14. Annalee Boyarsky Says:

    I can vouch that redheads are wild, after all I am one.

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