End-of-Year Reviews

December: to most, a month of preparation, perspiration and celebration. To a coach, the month of December often spells an uptick in interest, sales and coaching in general.

But what about our current clients? Let’s not forget that December also provides an opportunity to check in with their goals and prepare for the New Year. To that end, many coaches conduct an “End-of-Year Review” – a chance to look back on the past year’s highlights (and lowlights), as well as to outline an agenda for the coming year.

If you’d like to create your own review exercise, here are a few questions to get your wheels turning Read the rest of this entry »

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The First Five Minutes

How do you begin a coaching session? Do you have a few minutes of small talk, followed by a debrief of last week’s assignment? Or do you jump right in with the classic “What would you like coaching around today?” Have you ever thought about the structure of your sessions?

Whatever your routine, it pays to give some thought to your habits from time to time, in order to avoid common traps and pitfalls. For example, let’s suppose you typically devote “five minutes or so” to “catching up” or “re-establishing rapport.” Did you ever consider whether this is truly time well spent? Read the rest of this entry »

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Session Prep Forms

When coaches complain to me about clients “flaking out” on their assignments, or coming to sessions without “coachable issues,” the first thing I ask is whether they use a Session Prep Form. Clients can falter on homework for any number of reasons – sometimes important or fundamental ones like not being ready for coaching, concern over money, abandonment of their goals, feeling discouraged or shifting priorities. Often, though, clients fail to complete assignments simply because they don’t know how much they would benefit from an accountability structure.

Whether you use someone else’s Prep Form as a template or create one from scratch doesn’t really matter – don’t get hung up on cosmetics. The important things are that the client completes it regularly, and that he or she provides you the same information each time. Read the rest of this entry »

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Effective Networking

Of the handful of marketing avenues available, many coaches cite networking as one of the most effective. There’s only one hitch: most coaches don’t know how to network effectively.

Too many coaches return home from networking events thinking “it wasn’t worth the time (or money, or both)” or that they “didn’t exchange very many cards.”

The trick is that successful networking has very little to do with what activities the event provides and has almost nothing to do with how many business cards change hands. Read the rest of this entry »

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So, What Do You Charge?

Are you terror-stricken when you have to talk about fees?

Most of us have some sort of “money saboteur,” and it can be a tough one. But no matter how we’ve learned to manage our money fears, they all seem to surface the moment we decide to become entrepreneurs.

When coaches can no longer avoid addressing this topic, some sell themselves short. We underprice (and therefore undervalue) ourselves, and it’s no wonder we end up feeling rotten as a result.

What’s worse: this underpricing is short-sighted: month after month, coaches who underprice under-earn. Not only can this make it difficult to sustain a living, but darned if it doesn’t also communicate a deflated sense of worth to our prospects and clients! And when prospects and clients don’t think your services are quite as transformational as your website makes them seem, this only compounds the problem. Read the rest of this entry »

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Synthesizing Your Sessions

Synthesis – n. – the combination of parts or elements so as to form a whole.

(Merriam Webster)

Applied to the coaching process, synthesis is what coach and client co-create at the conclusion of a session.

This is important because:

  • you and the client have probably visited numerous issues and ideas during the session, and it’s easy to forget how it all fits together
  • helping weave together all the “stopping points” along the way will allow the client to draw more solid conclusions from the session
  • it helps the client generate concrete action steps, thereby producing better results in their lives

If that isn’t enough, how about something that will benefit you, the coach?  Read the rest of this entry »

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Identifying Your Niche

Somewhere along the business development path, every coach needs to turn their attention to identifying their target audience or “niche.” There are a number of reasons it pays to do this:

  • It makes it easier to locate and market to your defined audience, allowing you to invest your limited resources reaching a targeted group of people
  • It allows you to master an area of expertise – because people you target have certain issues in common, you can develop focused solutions tailored to their most important concerns, rather than be a “master of none”
  • It helps you establish yourself as the “go to” coach for a specific issue or set of issues and thus makes you widely known in your field

While many coaches struggle to choose their “ideal niche,” some have discovered a secret that provides insight, if not a solution to this kind of aggravation Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s Not About You

Ever struggle to come up with appropriate, effective action steps for your client at the end of a session? We all have, from time to time.

One helpful tip to bear in mind: it’s not about you. Remember that, just as the agenda originates from the client, so can the next steps. Sometimes the client may find it useful to have the coach pitch in. However, more often than not, by the end of a session, the client knows exactly where they want to go and how to get there.

So, whether the content of the session calls for forwarding the action or deepening the learning, put the onus where it belongs – back on the client. Doing so will release you from the need to “be brilliant.” As an added bonus, it unleashes the client’s own creativity and resourcefulness in pursuit of the goal at hand. And don’t forget: if the client’s response is “I don’t know,” you can always forge on with “If you did know, what would you say?”

Very often, we try to “help” the client by awarding them our vision. Instead, remember that our clients are usually the best source of wisdom for their own lives.

Posted in: branching out