What to do During a Free Coaching Session
This is article 2/3 on how to manage a coaching client through those first most important encounters.
The stages covered in the full series are:
- How to Book a Free Coaching Session
- What to do During a Free Coaching Session
- What to do During a Paid Coaching Session
The initial coaching consultation, free session or complimentary session
In many cases this meeting is a non-obligation, complimentary session that gives you and your client an opportunity to get to know one another, build rapport, set expectations for working together and decide on next steps. Most coaches offer this initial consultation for free and then add a bit extra to their hourly rate to cover their time.
Simulate the Paid Coaching Environment
For this meeting, I suggest that you simulate the environment that you will use to run your eventual coaching sessions. This means if you are going to have face to face coaching sessions, then meet face to face, if you are going to have coaching sessions using Skype, then meet over Skype. This sets expectations clearly on both sides with the added benefit, if you are a phone coach, to test the quality of your client’s connection!
Ask Great Questions
A great set of coaching questions to ask during this session can be found in our Prospect to Client Script. This coaching model guides clients through what they will get out of working with you and gets them to rate the importance of having those things in their life.
I also bring along printed and bound copies of my two personal development workbooks from our Pathfinder Program and a printed and bound copy of a Coaching Journal. They look really impressive and tangible to prospective clients who are new to the idea of life coaching. I let them flip through the workbooks and see what they get excited about.
I tell them that the workbooks and journal are included as a part of my coaching program and that they will be expected to complete at least one chapter from the Pathfinder Program and an exercise from their Coaching Journal each week between our sessions.
Ask for the Job
At the end of the initial consultation, which usually lasts from 30 min to 1-hour max, you need to ask your prospective client to choose one of your packages. This means you need to give him/her a copy of your Coaching Programs and then shut up. In this situation, remember, that quite often, in sales, the person who speaks next is the buyer!
Follow Up with an Email
Once the client has chosen a coaching program or even likes one but needs to think about it, you should email the following information to them within 24 hours or less:
- Tax Invoice/Receipt
- Details for your next session including time and location
- You can also include a summary of the initial consultation in your email if you want, but please keep it brief by listing a few key findings and/or agreed actions. I use to type pages of notes for my clients, which does not help them – they need to do the work – me doing it for them does not move them forward.
Regardless of the outcome you should agree with your client that it would be OK for you to follow up with him/her the next day by phone or email to find out how they are doing, if any thing new has come up and if there is anything else you can do for them. This is just a common courtesy that you should offer because new insights are likely to have come up for your client from the initial consultation. They may genuinely need to talk about it with someone after they’ve had time to sleep on it.
Once Payment is Made
Once the client has made payment for her next coaching session, you can send through the special material that she will use during your program for example her Coaching Journal and any Coaching Workbooks you have invested in for your clients. Alternatively, if you prefer to give your client a hard copy, you can bring these items with you to the first paid session.
I’ve taken the liberty of consolidating the steps you need to take into the following list.
|1.||Build rapport with your prospective client|
|2.||Ask the coaching questions in the Prospect to Client Script|
|3.||Show your client extra coaching material they get if they work with you e.g. Coaching Workbooks and Coaching Journal|
|4.||Ask your prospective client to choose one of your Coaching Programs|
|5.||If your prospect has indicated preferred program email a Tax Invoice/Receipt within 24 hours of your initial consultation|
|6.||Once the client has made payment, email special materials like Coaching Journals and and Coaching Workbooks you have invested in for your clients|
|7.||Regardless of how the initial consultation went, follow up with your client 24 hours after the session by phone or email to find out how they are doing, if any thing new has come up and if there is anything else they need from you|
Tools to Have
|Prospect to Client Script||This script contains a series of coaching questions that are helpful when converting a potential customer to a confirmed coaching client. (Template included within our Coaching Starter Kit.)|
|Coaching Workbooks||You can build even more credibility with prospective clients by including extra materials within your coaching program. A coaching program like our Pathfinder Program is great because it is stuffed with 20 different exercises while being contained in a tidy workbook where they can see how the exercises build on each other. Clients get a lot of value without being overwhelmed by a heap of worksheets and exercise that might fit together in your head but not necessarily theirs. (Workbooks included within our Pathfinder Program.)|
|Coaching Journal||The coaching journal helps keep your client focused on their goals for working with you. Our coaching journal is a 20-page workbook that contains an introduction, details on how to contact you, coaching goals, coach session preparation questionnaires, coaching session questionnaires and feedback questionnaires.(Template included within our Coaching Tool Kit.)|
|Coaching Programs||This is a simple document that is a single page clearly defining your top coaching packages. (Template included within our Coaching Starter Kit.)|
|Tax Invoice/Receipt||This is rather dull but is something every business needs to give to paying customers. With new clients I make sure that the coaching program is paid in full before we start or at a minimum, the next session is paid for in full. Once I’ve been working with a client for several years, I am more flexible on my payment terms. (Template included within our Coaching Starter Kit.)|
That concludes part 2, What to do During a Free Coaching Session. Hope you got some goodies from it!
If you want to learn more about the differences between free and paid sessions, check out our next article on, What to do During a Paid Coaching Session.