I still remember the first time I secured a coaching client. It was 2013, and since I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast, I’d say that is quite remarkable and that that experience got stuck in my mind. Mainly when it came to the client coaching onboarding experience.
It was such an eye-opening one. It was messy, clumsy and at times face-palm inducing, looking back at it. There were not that many coaches, mainly focusing on the wellness sector. As I was learning, I had no frame of reference. Honestly, there was no information on how to be a better coach, especially when it came to business and marketing.
I was fresh out of my full-time job. I just went through a business coach and a coaching certification. Yet, I still felt like I was a fish out of the water.
Over the past eight years, I refined the experience that I provide to my client. I rarely offer to coach – the type of consulting I do is closer to mentoring and it’s a lot more selective these days.
Regardless of the specifics, I wanted to share some lessons I learned to make the clients’ experience much better from the get-go.
There are five points that I want you to think about and reflect on. You might want to implement all of them, and you might not have the capacity to do any of them right now. We’ll be looking at an ideal onboarding flow that you could take your clients through as a coach.
Set expectations as early as possible
It all starts at a time where you’re sending the final proposal, your package or a recap of services for the specific time frame.
You are setting expectations for your potential clients, and it’s an invaluable opportunity.
Far too often, I see coaches rushing through it and not fully explaining what the expectations are, what you will provide for every single point you cover within your proposal or a recap of your package.
Not every coach has a written agreement, and not every coach needs one, especially if clients are purchasing a set package. If I work for consulting for a more prominent company (or on a retainer), then this is where I would draft a much longer agreement.
For smaller packages, I include all the expectations and everything that is part of the journey in my proposal, redirect prospects to a landing page that covers many questions, expectations and reiterate boundaries.
I know you might be thinking that it is a bit too much to break down every step and cover every potential objection, but trust me, this is the only way that you will be able to be on the same page as your clients and avoid disappointment.
Send a questionnaire
It’s time for you to understand better how you can help them specifically. Even if you are working on a specific package, you might find that you need to slightly tailor the goals, the timing, or even the format of some of your content and calls to the individual clients. That is truly what makes a great coach great. We use Teachable to streamline the coaching and mentoring packages we offer.
I believe every coach should have an initial questionnaire to help get a better understanding of where the clients are at the beginning of the journey.
This questionnaire is a great opportunity not just to ask the right questions but understand what level they’re at in whichever area you need to help them with. Even more so, it is a way for them to reflect on where they’re at in their journey and vocalise their struggles, their main issues, or some of the questions they still have no answer for. This questionnaire will be a goldmine, especially when checking in with your clients or reflecting on the whole experience at the end of your work together.
You can remind them of where they used to be and how you got them from a place of struggle to their ultimate solution.
Make it easy to book the first call
An essential thing is making sure that the experience of booking a call is as seamless as possible. I say this because, yet to this day, some coaching and consultants make it complex to book meetings and calls.
A few standard options include
- Set a specific day each week for a shorter-term project
- Work on retainer on call at the same time on the same day every month
- Set up a shared calendar meeting booking system
Ensure that your clients can easily book themselves in and get ready to act during these calls.
You could even prompt them to add any comment on anything they would like to cove or any pressing questions they might have ahead of the call, as that will allow you to prepare yourself and your call the best possible way.
When leading clients through a journey, make sure to provide recaps and check-ins.
It’s personally part of my practice to recap critical things we talked about, resources that I would recommend my clients to look at, and a schedule of what they will be focusing on next.
Many of the people I work with need my help because they need support organising their marketing strategy or simply saving time in their business processes. I must help them by providing them with a roadmap after our conversation.
However, if you don’t feel a recap you want to add to your experience, I would still recommend check-ins because they are at the core of helping your clients see the results they want.
Accountability is the main reason they want to work with you over somebody else, so whether it’s a specific time of the week, an automated reminder, or a short audio note, you gather more data and proof of the transformation journey for your clients.
Embarking on the coaching journey
There is a lot more that you could do all better prepare, especially when sending off your clients after you work together – yet it is a topic for another article.
However, I want to give you some context on why I stress the importance of focusing on a transformation. At the end of your programme, or the work you do on a project, you want to make sure that you can go back to the clients and provide them with a reminder of all the things they achieved together. The easiest way for you to do that is, indeed, to go back to your initial questionnaire and your check-ins. Highlight what your clients wrote in the past to help them reframe the transformation they have been going through.
You can present before them the difference you have made in their life, and it’s going to be the best way for them to see the results they were looking for.
There are so many other things that you can do to provide the best experience for your clients – but it all starts with focusing on the onboarding process is the beginning of the journey. I hope I have given you some ideas on implementing a couple of these little things to make your experience even more special.
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