Ep 186 – 4 Ways to Help Your Coaching Clients Feel Safe with You – Listener’s Choice

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Episode Transcript

This episode is about strategizing ways to help your clients feel safe in their professional relationship with you. Safe feelings will help your clients have a better experience in your coaching program. That in turn translates into longer term and return clients, more referrals and great testimonials.

This episode is also a Listener’s Choice episode, which means it’s a favorite of coaches who have listened before you.

Do you ever feel nervous with your clients or have performance anxiety during sessions? If you’re a new coach, that’s totally normal. And you want to be sure that feeling diminishes with each client you serve.

In my early days, I was so anxious about delivering value that I lost my personal power by inflating my role by over-delivering and people pleasing. And I ended up feeling drained instead of energized by sessions. Do you know what I mean? I’ll talk all about this challenge in another episode soon.

You might not realize that your new clients also will have some anxiety about coaching too, so it’s important to help them feel safe. Clients who feel safe will be more candid and get more from your coaching. Here are 4 ways to help them feel safe:

Cultivate Happy Coaching Clients Before During and After

First, know that cultivating happy clients starts by creating happy prospects. You want people in your target audience to already have a strong sense of your integrity, personality and exactly how you can help them BEFORE they hire you.

You don’t have to hard sell. You don’t have to convince anyone. Make your marketing process a natural selection process. And don’t worry about the people who don’t hire you.

If your social media posts, blogs, podcasts, videos, website – everything – show that you are fully informed about what’s important to your audience they can feel that.

You want your audience to feel seen, heard and understood by you. If they do, they’ll follow you and share your content with others in your audience. They’ll also get curious about what you offer because you’re speaking about what they desire and what’s in the way of that.

Once they do hire you, you’ll be able to help them feel safe in other ways.

Set Boundaries and Provide Structure to Coaching Clients

In a desire to be ALL things to your clients do you forget to set boundaries and provide structure in your programs?

If so, it’s understandable because coaching skills themselves are so open. Open-ended questions, deep levels of listening, open-mindedness about differences – all of those things will be enhanced when you put boundaries and structures in place for your clients.

People THRIVE with a sense of structure and will respect boundaries if you set them up thoughtfully and communicate them well.

Before your first session:

  1. Provide clear terms and agreements about your coaching program in your intake packet.
  2. Clearly describe your policies about showing up for sessions and payments.
  3. Provide a template and then ask them to send you a Session Prep 1 -2 days before each session.
  4. Set clear expectations about your availability and how & when they can contact you.

Then in your sessions hold time boundaries as best as you can. If you think you will go over in time ask them if that’s alright with them and estimate how much you’ll go over. Then stick with that! It’s not easy but it is important. For more about this check out episode 29.

After sessions, send them a Session Recap that lists agreed upon next steps and any other notes you’d like to provide. Episode 34 details this for you.

Create and Track Your Coaching Client’s Goals

Then take the structure deeper into the sessions by creating and tracking a set of goals that your clients choose related to your niche. This may seem obvious but in the interest of being thorough …

  • Within the first 2 sessions set specific milestones you’ll help them achieve.
  • Get clear on their top challenges and who they want to be when they transform.
  • How will you help them perceive that they’ve made progress?
  • Set a tickler in your calendar to check in on their progress towards specific goals. This is part of the accountability you provide.

Gather and Give Feedback from Your Coaching Clients

Feedback is underrated and so valuable to help your clients make progress and to learn from your clients too.

1. Be sure to ask for feedback regularly

  • At the end of every session, ask for their takeaways. Write those down in the Session Recap. This helps them realize what they are getting of value from the sessions and what they want to be different.
  • Make sure that your Session Prep form asks for feedback too. Acknowledge what they say in session.
  • If you’re not getting enough feedback, take time in a session half way through your program to directly ask for it. Not everyone is great at giving feedback as they go along.

2. But also give feedback

  • Let them know how they’re doing. Be kind but also real. Encourage them to step up if progress is slow.
  • Ask for referrals mid-way through your program and at the end.
  • Ask for a testimonial one week before your program finishes. Give them guidelines and make the testimonial process easy. Check out Ep 50.

Remember, client service goes beyond coaching. To make sure you’re providing service in a way that attracts ideal clients who pay well strategize everything from the start.