Recently, I’ve had several conversations with new and established coaches who want to know how to deliver huge value in the first coaching session–or handful of sessions–with a new client. In fact, they told me that they fear the first sessions, because they’re not always sure what to cover or how to plan, and they know that making a strong first impression is key to retaining clients long-term.
One coach even told me, “Whenever I start a first session with a new client, I feel nervous–I get sweaty palms and lack confidence in my voice. Even worse, I’m sure my new clients feel the same as they have no idea of what to expect!”
Fortunately, it’s not hard to deliver huge value in the first coaching session. You just need a little planning and preparation–and to keep these three tips in mind.
- Build Awareness. Many businesses have little awareness of where they are right now–and next to no awareness of where they’re heading. For the most part, they’re flying by the seat of their pants. To help them become more aware, take the first session to fill out Verne Harnish’ One-Page Strategic Plan (you can download for free here). This builds tremendous value into the first session, and it becomes a tool you can use on a regular basis to keep them focused and on track.
- Refer Back to the Problems You Addressed in Your Complimentary Session. It seems obvious, but many coaches miss this. They sit down in a complimentary session and identify pain points. They then agree that these are important to work on during the first few sessions. But, when the coaching starts they just plough ahead with their plan or framework, ignoring those tasks agreed as important. Use the notes from your complimentary session and work on those vital actions with the new client, as a priority. This will demonstrate your consistency and deliver what you promised.
- Identify One Action or Goal that Will Deliver the Biggest Bang for Your Client’s Buck. It’s best if this can also be a task that requires the least amount of effort from you. This goal must be an easy win–true low-hanging fruit–AND highly impactful. Many coaches define an easy win but forget that it has to add significant value. I usually do this by identifying the biggest result items first, then filter that list by how easy they are to achieve. When I find the sweet spot of ease of implementation and high level of impact, I choose that to focus on first. Set Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) to monitor results.
Here are a few more tricks of the trade to make your first few sessions a slam dunk:
- Tell your new clients what they should expect in their first coaching session at the point they sign up with you, or very shortly after.
- Define your vital three actions for the first few sessions and have the tools prepared to deliver these.
- Set 3-5 clear KPI’s and monitor them each session.
- Set accountability levels and stick to them. Ask for feedback to ensure these are still acceptable after sessions 1 and 2.
- Set that big, easy goal and do everything in your power to deliver results from it with your client.
With these strategies under your belt, you’ll go from feeling nervous to feeling confident during your first coaching sessions with a new client–and set yourself up for a long-term, highly profitable coaching relationship.
For more great strategies like these, check out our FREE ebook, Secrets of a Business Coaching Rock Star!