5 Tips to Keep Coaching Clients Coming Back. #1 is so surprising you’ll think it’s a joke
You’ve got a new client! Congratulations! It feels great, maybe a little scary if you don’t know them well, but exciting and encouraging as you see the potential for your business to grow.
If you’ve been coaching for a while, you already know what I’m about to share. If you’re fairly new, I have reality check for you – for the average coach, clients stick around for about 6 sessions.
You do not want to be average. In this post I’m going to give you 5 ways to help ensure that your clients become long-term, raving fans who tell everyone they know about how awesome you are.
Coaching is a business, and like any business that succeeds, you need exceptional customer care. The more competitive the business, the more crucial above-average customer service becomes. Coaching is extremely competitive at the entry levels.
The good news is, once you prove yourself to be an extraordinary, professional life coach, you will have a waiting list of eager clients and you’ll likely end up becoming one of those coaches who ends up hiring other coaches to help handle the overflow.
But how do you get there? Here are 5 things extraordinary coaches do that others don’t bother with:
Build Better Connections
Send them mail. Seriously. By the post office, not email. Despite all the advantages of today’s technology, one thing that is sorely lacking is personal connection. People just don’t take the time to make a real connection when a 30 second text message or automated email sequence can send out the same information with a lot more efficiency.
Make it a point during coaching sessions to jot down anything personal the client might share – names of their spouse, kids, dogs, favorite vacation spot or dream vacation, long cherished dream lifestyle, favorite charity and more.
Get some nice note cards, embossed with your name or the name of your coaching business. Don’t skimp here and buy off the shelf, generic blank cards! Get professional looking ones like these from a high quality stationer like Crane.com At just $1.53 each you can’t go wrong when they will make such a strong statement of your professionalism.
Things to send
An encouraging card. This is especially relevant if you take the time to follow them on social media and notice they post about some challenging or exciting life milestone – birthdays, anniversaries, birth of a child, job promotion, death in the family, long illness, new home…
If you’ve learned they love the beach and you come across a small gift book of pictures of beaches around the world, what would it take to drop that in the mail? What a perfect item to send them with a note that you believe in their dreams!
Maybe they’ve mentioned their child is working on getting into his top choice college and you know an alumni of that school. You could send a handwritten note, mentioning the alumni and offering to helping the child connect with them.
Send them a note letting them know you’ve donated to their favorite charity in their name on their birthday.
Did you come across a newspaper clipping that might help them learn something they need for their dream job? Send them a note! Sure you could send the same information by email, but that handwritten note and the time you took to send it, will be remembered long after an email is deleted.
Use A Prep Form
You can use email or postal mail for this one: Follow up reminders of their next appointment in the form of a coaching session prep sheet. This is a follow up sheet you send to the client prior to each session. By sending this to them about 3 to 4 days before your next call, it serves as a reminder of your upcoming meeting and helps them to bring their goals back to mind.
Life gets in the way for even the most committed coaching client. What you talked about on a call on Tuesday can be completely forgotten by Friday. Help your client stay on track with this gentle reminder!
You can design your own or there are plenty of examples online. Here is a free sample you can use. Don’t forget to add your own logo and email to the top!
Use Assessment Forms
In one of your first sessions, make it standard practice to have clients do the wheel of life activity Make a copy of their Wheel of Life exercise for your files and bring it back out for an update before that crucial sixth session. Have your client re-assess the areas and see what has changed. This is a fabulous way to validate the effectiveness of their coaching experience.
Re-establish what the next most important area is for them to work on and set the stage for the next 3 months of coaching. Using this practice of reassessing progress and setting new goals will help keep them encouraged, motivated and engaged in the coaching process so they become a long term, raving fan who regularly recommends you to their friends!
Keep Great Notes
When helping your client set a goal, have them rate their current satisfaction in that area of life with a number from 1 to 10, 10 being “goal achieved, life is good.” Let’s say they are working on getting a promotion by improving their people skills and currently rate themselves as a 4. Ask them what a 5 would look like. Don’t go for a full 10. That is way too big and can feel overwhelming.
Help them break the goal down into just one small next step. When you help them work on creating a plan of action, focus on moving the needle up to a 5. James Clear calls this getting 1% better every day. This serves the purpose of helping them get a quick win because going from a 4 to a 5 is usually a very easy step requiring minor adjustments.
Keep notes of their challenges and fears. Jot down what they say about what the next step will feel like when they get there.
As they continue with the coaching sessions, you will walk with them, gradually, over time up to a 10.
At that point you can remind them of where they were and the issues they were dealing with months ago. People have terrible memories for past challenges once the challenge is over. What seemed like an insurmountable mountain at the time, gets reduced in their memory to a minor hiccup once it’s conquered.
Remind them of what they said and how they felt compared to today. This will reinforce to them the immense value they are receiving from your coaching.
Celebrate Small Wins
While it is always up to the client to set the agenda for each coaching call, you as the coach can start the session by asking about their progress with their goal from last week (another way to benefit from the prep form you sent them in tip #2!) Help them celebrate even small successes. People are notoriously hard on themselves and tend to discount small victories.
Massive results come from tiny, incremental changes that add up over time. Clients typically do not acknowledge or value minor achievements, but without that acknowledgement that they are making progress, they lose momentum and give up.
Help them remember and validate each improvement. Building this success momentum will go a long ways to keeping them engaged in the coaching process.
Not a coach yet, or ready to uplevel your skills and credibility? Get this free Roadmap to design your ideal life coaching career.