MM #81: I’ve Got a Client – Now What?

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2. FEATURE: “I’ve Got a Client – Now What?”

So … you’ve done 50 or so trial sessions. You’re feeling a little more confident in your skills as a life coach. You’ve even signed up a couple of paying clients. Congratulations! You’ve mastered the first session.

Now you may be wondering what structures you will need to have in place to support an on-going coaching relationship with a client?

It might help to think of it this way: it’s their game, they are in charge of defining the goals (“calling the plays”), identifying key strategies to achieve those goals and completing the action items you assign them each week.

However, it’s your rules that they have to play by. You define when, how often and for how long each coaching session is. You hold them accountable for accomplishing any tasks they have agreed to. You celebrate their success with them as well as get them “unstuck” when they are struggling.

Until you have written down the rules – also known as your policies – you don’t really have a coaching practice. Answering these questions, and putting them into a document, really brings your practice into existence.

Here are a few suggestions for “rules” from the series “How To Set Up a Client” which you can hear on disk #1 of Explode Your Practice CD set.

Your Policies and Procedures

Decisions to make when you set up your coaching practice:

  • How many times a month will you meet and how long is each coaching session?
  • Will you only coach over the phone or in person as well? If both, will you have a different fee structure for each one?
  • What if the client needs to cancel or reschedule? Do they lose that session or if they tell you 24 hours in advance will you look for a substitute time?
  • What if you need to cancel or reschedule? Does the same 24 hour advance notice apply to you too?
  • What basic information do you need to collect from the client?
  • What if the client needs support in between sessions? Will you encourage them to email or call you?
  • If so, will there be a limit on the number of emails or on the length of the phone calls?
  • And who calls for a coaching session? Does that change if the call is international for one of you?

All of these rules can be written in your operations manual, and in the welcome packet forms so everyone is clear about expectations.

Train Your Client

It’s up to you to let the client know what you expect of them. Some expectations of the client might include:

  • Be on time and ready for the call each week (and that goes for you too!).
  • Complete their assigned homework for the week unless they have renegotiated a deadline with you beforehand.
  • Be prepared with what they want to discuss during the coaching session.
  • Pay their monthly coaching fees in full by the date you have agreed to with them.

Of course, a coaching relationship involves two people. Some expectations the client may have of you:

  • Check in with them on previous homework assignments and question them when something hasn’t been completed – hold them accountable.
  • Track the client’s progress towards a goal.
  • Be on time for every session, no matter what.

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It’s worth repeating: It’s not until these policies and procedures are defined that you really have a coaching practice. Answering these questions, and putting them into a document, really brings your practice into existence.

Enjoy setting up your practice!

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Want more? This plus 100 other topics are covered in more detail in the full Explode Your Practice CD set, available now.

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Action

  1. Start your “rules list.” Use the questions above as guidelines.
  2. Put your rules (policies) in writing.
  3. Share your own rules at the blog, and post again the results once the sessions are done!

Enjoy!

P.S. Got a comment on this article? Add it to the blog.

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One Response to “MM #81: I’ve Got a Client – Now What?”

  1. Daniel Says:

    Hi

    Have you heard of a site called inner-view.org?
    Every body is talking about it, it looks great, do you know who are the owners?

    Thank you
    Daniel

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