Ep 213 – Tradeoffs of the 3 Popular Coaching Formats

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Episode Transcript

Have you decided what format you’ll use for your coaching? It’s simple but important.

There are tradeoffs to all 3 real time methods — in person, on web cam, or simply by phone. (For the sake of this episode, I’m not going to talk about coaching online through writing. While I have coached some through writing it’s my belief that real coaching is done in real time, where you and your client can hear each other and respond.

Of course, what format you decide to use for your coaching comes down to your client’s personal preference. Or should it?

Some coaches are inclined to do whatever their client chooses for many aspects of their business but I encourage you to set up and operate your business in a way that’s best for you or it can become cumbersome. Nobody wants that and it can affect your attitude about your work and clients if it’s not set to your preferences.

There’s a whole mindset around that, which I’ll dig into first before I get into details about these different formats of coaching.

Coach, Mind Your Business

You may not have gotten into coaching because you wanted to be an entrepreneur. But if you’ve started a coaching business, YOU ARE AN ENTREPRENEUR and it’s important to take up that mantel.

What I mean is that if you want to succeed financially and for the long term in coaching for your own business, instead of someone else’s business, there is a mindset to learn and grow into.

Think of your business as an entity – something that needs your ongoing commitment, awareness, strategic thought and action. You need to mind your business.

I was talking to a new client the other day and could tell from what she was sharing that she hadn’t yet thought of herself as the CEO of her business. And this is not unusual. She was thinking like a coach but not minding her business yet.

It’s evident in things like letting clients set their own prices and other terms for working with you. That looseness can snowball into a habit that keeps you from earning well as a coach.

And, it’s actually not a good feeling to be too flexible. You think you are helping your clients but really to them and you it feels like you’re all over the place, not focused or serious about your career. It’s exhausting. And coaches operating like this soon come to know that something isn’t right.

Also, know that the energy you put out and the way you put it out into the world now does create your future. If your current clients got low pricing and can call the shots, then when they tell others about you, those new clients will expect the same. Even if your coaching is stellar, this can become a way you hold yourself back.

Operating loosely is just postponing your financial success.

By the way, I’ve published several episodes about pricing your coaching. Find them at prosperouscoach.com/money.

Now there’s nothing wrong with experimenting early on with how you coach, how you price and do other things for your business. But be sure that you are attentive to the various results — not just your client’s results but also YOUR business’s results. Test and tweak. Aim to settle into an intelligent rhythm with what you’re doing.

Look, I totally get it. There’s this lightness to the idea of coaching. When you’re with clients that’s the winning way. To be open, unattached, go with the flow. When you’re attracting clients with the intention of earning a living you’ll do better if you make strategic decisions, stand behind them, show up consistently and professionally.

Decisiveness Builds Credibility

Credibility is a fascinating thing. How do you earn it? And you do have to earn it one way or another. Most coaches think it’s through credentials, and that’s one way, but the kind of credibility I’m talking about is more about how you show up in the world.

What do your actions convey? Words and actions speak miles about you. You can actually gain significant credibility without formal training and credentials just by the way you show up. Find it at prosperouscoach.com/160 or scroll to episode #160 on your favorite podcast app for Prosperous Coach Podcast.

So, as soon as you can after launching your coaching business, settle into a smart, strategic way to do everything and gain credibility.

3 Formats of Coaching

#1 In Person Coaching

Before the Pandemic, many of my clients, who were brand new to coaching assumed they would conduct coaching face to face. It’s the model of therapists.

When I started as a coach, I made this assumption. I thought I’d be having clients into my home office and that would surely be the best way to coach.

I estimate that in person coaching sessions take an extra 20 minutes of time before the person has left your office.

  1. There’s the lapse of time if the client doesn’t show up on time due to traffic or car trouble.
  2. There’s the time to get settled. Take off the coat, get a drink, possibly using the bathroom.
  3. Then, there’s the reverse of that before they leave.

You may feel you need an office outside the home, which is additional overhead that reduces your profits. Also, you can only have a regional business if you coach in person. And that does restrict you in some ways.

One of my past clients, Shawna Warner of Cultivating Resilient Teens, has a very successful business helping parents with teenage daughters. Her business is regional and referral based. And she has a certain style of the work that she does with the teens that makes sense for it to be in person.

You might have a target audience and niche like that.

#2 Coaching on Web Camera

With the Pandemic many businesses shifted to using Zoom for meetings. And I know a lot of coaches who love this format for coaching. It allows them to have an international business, which is helpful to earning well and fun. Also, they like to see the expression and body language of their clients. Yeah, who wouldn’t?

But I’ll tell you that this isn’t my format of choice for a few reasons. After an initial ‘hello’ my client and I don’t look at each other much. We both like to take notes in session.

Then there’s the frequent disruptions, which drive me crazy and are not good for coaching. If you and your client don’t have consistent top speed internet:

  1. Calls can get dropped repeatedly.
  2. The audio and visual get off track.
  3. Things happening visually in the background can be hugely distracting

And, I’m an introvert. For me, I lose energy being on camera and I think my clients lose out because of that.

#3 Coaching by Phone

After my first year of coaching, I shifted to offering only phone coaching. For me, there are no disadvantages because I have finely tuned my listening. I can HEAR what I can’t see – expression, body language – through their voice and that cues me to ask a powerful question about what I’m hearing.

Occasionally, I have a client ask for a Zoom session. I explain why I prefer not to and, if they are disappointed, I offer an initial session on Zoom so we can picture each other in future phone calls.

Without exception, every client tells me that they do not miss being on camera or having to hassle with the technology and they get just as much out of the call without the camera.

And you have an international business. I have people call me through WhatsApp who are not in my country. It doesn’t cost anything. And, the quality of the call is really high.

So, what’s your favorite format for coaching and why?