You have a new coaching client. Congratulations! But did you know that how you onboard them can make all the difference in terms of how successful your relationship will be? Here are three steps to onboarding new coaching clients in ways that will help your clients get both quick revenue-positive improvements and create a long-term strategic plan to build momentum over time.
First, when you bring on a new client, hold a four-hour strategic planning session with the key stakeholders in the business. The strategic plan is about the future: planning, strategizing, goal-setting. Charge them a strategic planning fee equal to their first month of coaching. This is in addition to their first month of coaching! Schedule their strategic planning session as soon as possible; you don’t want to wait more than a couple of weeks.
Over the years, I’ve heard coaches say, “Well, look, I’ll just do the strategic planning stuff and won’t charge a client extra for that. We’ll have weekly coaching sessions, and I’ll do the other coaching sessions for free.” But why would you do that? Just about every professional service you go to charges a set-up or initial fee to get started.
It’s easy to position this to your client. Say, “Look, I gotta take you through a process of Strategic Planning and goal setting and to make sure we have a really good foundation for this relationship and get things on the right track. But I’m also going to do short-range stuff with you right away to help you get more cash flow, or more clients, or deal with some pain areas in your time––whatever it is. Once we get through the first few months of planning, then we’ll just have our weekly coaching sessions to make sure we’re staying on track, hitting those goals, and executing against the plan. So we’re going to do both at once.”
Second, commence their weekly coaching calls as soon as you collect the money. When coaches spend too much time on the strategic planning process upfront and fail to begin having normal weekly coaching sessions focused on strategies that produce quick time and cash flow, this will result in a failed business coaching engagement. The strategic plan is crucial, but if you wait several weeks or months to get started with strategies that produce quick time and cash flow, especially in a cash-strapped business, you can lose your client literally within the first month. They’ll think, “I’ve just burned through thousands of dollars and all I’ve got is a strategic plan! Nothing has changed in my business, I’m not making more profit, and I’m just burning through cash.” And the coaching engagement ends right there––you get a Dear John email saying, “Thanks, but we’re done.”
Commence their weekly coaching calls as soon as you collect the money. When coaches spend too much time on the strategic planning process upfront and fail to begin having normal weekly coaching sessions focused on strategies that produce quick time and cash flow, this will result in a failed business coaching engagement.
Third, hold a “team day.” A team day is for businesses with the equivalent of at least five full-time team members. Conduct it in the second or third month of the program. The purpose is to unify the team behind the strategic plan and jumpstart the coaching program for maximum results. Introduce the team to the work that’s been done so far, and help the business owner get buy-in.
If you follow these three steps, you’ll set yourself up for long-term success with your new business coaching clients. For more great strategies like this, check out our FREE ebook, Secrets of a Business Coaching Rock Star.