Ep 38 – Should You Send Gifts to Your Coaching Clients?

Hello coaches. I have been doing these mini episodes over the last couple of weeks on Client Management topics for the series called Smart Mindsets & Habits.

I’m getting some really positive comments about these mini’s!

Today’s topic is … should you send gifts to your coaching clients?

The first answer is that it’s totally up to you and you should always do what you feel is right. I think that every coach deserves the opportunity to try things out and see how they work for them. We’re not all the same.

That said, I’ll tell you that I have changed my tune about giving gifts to clients over the years.

When I first started my business, I got pretty precious about every aspect of my business. I bought all these beautiful little envelopes and cards and all sorts of paraphernalia with my coaching business logo on it. (That was the old fashioned thing that people said you should do and I bought into it.)

I would also send my clients birthday gifts and Christmas gifts. I put a lot of thought into them.

But over the years, I noticed that I wasn’t getting the reception that I really wanted to from giving those gifts. And I think that sometimes gifts are so personal. We all have such different tastes.

Giving a gift to a client can sometimes burden the client and burden the relationship. So my new thought about it is not to give gifts.

If you do give gifts, whether they are for birthdays or Christmas or a similar holiday, I would suggest that you keep them small and relatable and perhaps something that’s relatively generic, such as an Amazon gift card. That is unless you know for sure that a specific gift is going to land with your client.

For example, if a client mentions a book they want, just send it to them even if it’s not yet their birthday. Then you will have done them a great favor and they’ll feel that you listened to them.

I think that gifts that have your logo on it, such as a cup or a pen, come across a bit salesy and they might even do the reverse of what you want them to do.

Now there is a circumstance that I still give gifts that I feel really good about …

When a past client or a colleague refers a new client to me, someone who enrolls in my long term program, I like to respond in a personal way.

Recently one of my colleagues — a fellow trainer at coach Training Alliance, the place where I wrote curriculum — sent me a number of clients who all enrolled!

I called her and thanked her then said: “I want to treat you to something that you don’t normally treat yourself to.” She loves massage. So, I asked her who her massage therapist is and got his contact information. I called him and said: “I want to gift my friend with a number of sessions with you.”

I bought her four massages and sent her an email saying: “You’ve got four sessions waiting for you with your massage therapist.” She loved that gift.

Reward past clients for referrals. They feel special when it’s something personal that they really want.

Now, if you have something that you really want to put into the hands of your clients at a special time in their lives, then you should do that

These days, because I have so much expertise in helping coaches build a successful business, I have a lot of guides I’ve written that are primers. I like to gift those out to my clients throughout my signature program.

And because there’s a constant flow of extras coming to them, I think that there isn’t any expectation or real desire for any other kind of gift.

I hope you got value out of this mini episode!

The Next Episode is: How to Assess if a Potential Clients is a Good Fit for You

Ep 37 – 8 Powerful Coaching Questions to Ask Any Client Anytime

This mini episode is part of the Smart Mindsets & Habits series and a continuation of the Client Management Topic that started with Episode 34.

These are powerful questions that are standard in the coaches toolbox.

The right question can really help anyone zoom past obstacles and into a power zone of awareness and action on their own behalf.

That’s why questions are so valuable to coaches and in coaching.

So the first question unlocks a lot for your clients:

What do you want?

Well, sometimes people have a hard time answering this question, but with probing questions beneath it, you might be able to get them to it.

The second question is:

What’s holding you back?

As human beings, we do generally have a sense of this. We might be in denial about it, but we generally do know what we’re doing that’s either sabotaging ourselves or what we’re thinking, what we’re feeling that is lingering too long for us to be able to transform.

So what’s holding you back?

That question will cause your coaching client to go inside and really look at the truth with a capital T.

The third question is:

What is it costing you to continue holding back?

I don’t know if we normally as human beings think about what the costs are of our actions, of our thoughts, of our habits, but to ask someone that causes them to look at themselves from a place of self responsibility.

The fourth question is:

How could you show up differently?

Presumably you’re talking to them about a circumstance or a situation and this question allows them to wonder, Oh, I’m at choice here. How could I show up differently?

I remember this one time where I was going to be speaking in public at a pretty big event for coaches and I was just so nervous. I called my husband for support and he has asked me: How do you want to show up, Rhonda?

I paused and I thought about it. Well, I want to show up standing in my power, believing in myself and being open and vulnerable to my audience as well as delivering something that is actually valuable to them.

Those four answers just grounded me. They made me feel good again, made me feel ready again. And I realized that it was okay to be vulnerable with my audience. It’s okay that I was nervous and I didn’t have to try to obliterate that nervousness before getting on stage.

The fifth question is:

What is a new perspective that you could adopt right now?

Oftentimes when our coaching clients are telling us how they feel or what they think about something, it might be a gripe. It might be the raw feeling and there’s nothing wrong with that.

As a matter of fact, I invite my clients to share their raw feelings.

You can respond to that raw stuff with the question: What’s a new perspective you could adopt right now about that?

You’re inviting them to pick themselves up out of the situation and get a 30,000 foot view. Look at it from the other person’s point of view. Or from their highest self point of view.

The sixth question is:

What is the most meaningful action you could take right now?

So often when our clients are stuck, it’s because they’re unwilling to or afraid to take an action and when you put that word meaningful in front of action, it helps them think differently.

Meaningful to them could be journaling. Or it could be having a conversation with you or someone else. Meaningful to them could be deciding not to do it at all and to take a different direction.

The seventh question is:

What new habits will you put in place right now?

Habits are amazingly powerful in our lives and in the lives of our clients.

We all have bad habits. If you take any aspect of our lives on the life wheel, we’ve got bad habits in those areas, whether it be finances, or how we behave at work … how we feed or exercise ourselves.

We all have habits that can be improved and habits are amazingly powerful if we put the right ones in place.

That’s partially why I’m talking to you about client management because these are habits that we can have in place with our prospects and our clients.

 And the last question, number eight is:

What new skills or support systems will ensure your success?

We want to teach our clients and ourselves to realize that sometimes we have to learn something new or go get help in order to ensure our success.

I always ask my prospects about their support systems. I want to know do they have a family? Do they have a partner? Is that partner supportive of them building a coaching business? Do they have childcare? Do they have ways that they’re going to be able to segment parts of their day to work on their business?

With your own target audience around the niche you have, the ultimate outcome you’re going to help them achieve —be sure they have support systems in place and not just you. You don’t want all of the help and succor to be on your shoulders.

Going back to the skills too, of course everyone who is undertaking something new or trying to do something big.

Hopefully, you’re helping your clients achieve something big to get past or solve a big problem they have or to achieve a huge goal they have. Because if you’re doing that with your clients you may not be able to earn enough as a coach

New skills might something like developing a stronger intuition. It might be developing greater awareness of themselves, of their body, of what their mind or emotions is telling them. Or it could be something really nuts and boltsy such as taking training in order to succeed.

These questions are useful for coaches, for nearly any client at any time, so I hope you use them for your success!

More Tips on Powerful Questions

Coaches love powerful questions. So I have a treat for you … I’ve interviewed Laurie Cameron, the best coach and coach trainer I know. She shares more pithy questions that you can use any time with any client. And there’s a free CHEATSHEET for you.

Listen to The Art of Crafting Powerful Coaching Questions.

In the Next Episode: Should You Give Gifts To Your Coaching Clients?

Ep 36 – Ten Big Questions for Intake with Your New Coaching Clients

This episode is part of the Smart Mindsets and Habits series. And it’s a continuation from Episode 34 about client management systems.

This questionnaire I’m about to take you through is one piece of a good client management system.

This episode and the next 3 will be mini episodes because I’m moving house! So you’ll get a bitesized idea in a short time. I hope you find them valuable.

By the way, Prosperous Coach Podcast just passed 10,000 downloads! That’s one sign among many that these episodes are landing well with coaches. Thank you for listening and sharing this with other coaches! We are growing a community.

If you’d like to be part of that community, join us in the Prosperous Coach Club on Facebook

Questions are the life blood of what we do with clients. Open ended questions are so powerful that a single one can evoke a positive shift.

It makes sense that the coaching client intake would include powerful open-ended questions!

Here are the 10 questions I have in one document of my intake packet:

  1. What are your strongest beliefs about yourself?
  2. What are your strongest beliefs about the world?
  3. What wisdom has come out of your greatest life lessons?
  4. When in your life have you felt the most generative?
  5. What does prosperity mean to you?
  6. How do you define your success?
  7. What is your BIG WHY for creating an ongoing business?
  8. How might you sabotage your own success?
  9. What do you want me to do if I notice sabotaging behavior?
  10. How can I best empower you?

The Next Episode is: 8 Powerful Questions to Ask Coaching Clients Anytime

Ep 31 – The Coaching Niche of Least Resistance

This episode is another ON AIR Coaching Session where I coach a coach to help her click on the certainty button for a unique target audience and then we formulate their coaching niche.

It’s clear from reviews that you really like these coach the coach sessions, so it’s my goal to do one every month.

Ellen Fowler has worked in the field of training, organizational and leadership development for over 25 years. Her experience includes work in the public and private sectors as well as academia.

She lived and worked in Ireland for 12 years, so she has firsthand understanding of the challenges of cultural diversity and radical life change.

She is also an ordained Christian minister. Ellen’s career has always involved working with individuals whether as a counselor, teacher, consultant or coach.

When I help coaches choose a profitable coaching niche, I always start by asking about their background so I can guide them to pull in experience, expertise, interests, gifts and passions into their niche.

Ellen’s background includes:

  • Itinerant minister
  • Training and organizational & leadership development
  • Change & diversity management
  • Teaching adults returning to the workplace on how to make their companies more efficient

Want to Be An Entrepreneurial Coach?

Then, I asked Ellen if she was interested in being an entrepreneur because it’s a certain type of person who does.

Ellen wants to run her own business because she wants it to be portable so she can travel. However, she feels a bit intimidated by the marketing side of things.

I was intimidated by marketing at first but when I learned to put the spotlight on exactly what my target audience wants, it became fun.

Two Potential Audiences That Seem Equal

Ellen had 2 main ideas for her target audience:

  • Mid-career professional women
  • Church leaders

I asked Ellen if it was okay with her if we focused on Church Leaders as a possible target audience first.

I made this choice for 4 reasons:

  • Ellen is an ordained minister and much of her career has been as a church leader. I felt that gave her credibility and gravitas with this audience.
  • Her faith is very important to her.
  • She’s currently coaching 10 clergy and staff from a church group in Pennsylvania and getting more referrals from that group. So she already has a toehold there.
  • She loves the work she’s doing with this audience.

Ellen shared that the work she’s doing with the Church Leaders is based on an instrument called Human Synergistics that she’s certified to use. It helps people identify effective and not so effective behaviors in the workplace and to develop action plans for changing those.

Is The Target Audience Viable for You?

I also felt that the audience — mid-career professional women — is not the most viable audience for Ellen because:

  • They are in corporations and hard to access.
  • They might expect their company to pay for coaching, and that’s an uphill battle to get a foot in the door with corporations.
  • There’s a lot of competition and marketplace noise for that audience already.

Passion and Fit Are The Best Coaching Niche Indicators

I asked Ellen:

What do you love about working with clergy and what do you enjoy about the Human Synergistics instrument?

As Ellen described how she uses Human Synergistics in her work with clergy, I heard her enthusiasm louder than her words.

Then, I wanted to check whether Ellen was earning well with this current gig with clergy because more and more it was sounding like a viable audience for Ellen.

Ellen explained that she felt blessed because the way she was connected with this particular group was that the church leader who hired her was part of the Human Synergistics training she took. He said:  “I’d like you to do some work for me.”

And he gave her carte blanche about what she’d do with the staff and how she’d price.

Right time – right place opportunities happen when you target a unique audience and focus your niche on their big problems.

So, I bee-lined to the bottomline question:

“Ellen, of the two audiences — church leaders or mid-career professional women, which is more attractive to you?”

Ellen said that she could go both ways. Her inability to commit comes down to how she’ll get in front of the audiences.

I spoke to the difficulty with gaining entry to corporations where with her background and current active church leader clients she already has a strong entry place.

I pointed out that if she were to have an international business, especially with her desire to travel and her experience in other countries, that the pond to fish in would be bigger. She could target larger churches and religious organizations with bigger coffers.

I explained that the Church Leader audience would likely mean more offline marketing than online marketing. I asked how she’d feel about that and she said:

“Oh, I like that!” More enthusiasm.

I pointed out that that’s the old fashioned way, right? Not everyone has to use social media channels to build their business.

  • Ellen knows this world.
  • She understands their challenges and goals first hand.
  • She’ll be able to speak their language.
  • They’ll be more accessible because she’s been in their shoes.
  • And she’ll have testimonials from her 10 current clients.

For Ellen, the other audience is less viable. Viability is determined by 5 factors:

  • Easy to find
  • Easy to access
  • Eager to evolve
  • Willing to invest
  • Narrow enough (to help you stand out in the crowd)

Ellen added another key reason that Church Leaders are more ideal for her that spoke loud and clear:

“The spiritual side of life is really a bonus for me.”

I asked Ellen to do a check in with herself. Is church leaders the audience she can get fully behind with your heart, mind and spirit?

“Yes!”

Beautiful!

Then we shifted to talking about her niche for a moment … I asked Ellen what is the number one challenge and what is the number one tangible desired outcome that church leaders want?

Ellen said the most acute thing is how to avoid burnout. There’s always somebody needing something and they’re often understaffed and overworked. They feel called to the work, so it’s a burden of responsibility. They get into it because they want to help other people transform.

Burnout can begin to wear away their faith, which is critical for their position.

She felt the Human Synergistic instrument is a so effective in uncovering what’s really going on for the leader and the team.

Each time that Ellen spoke about Church Leaders and working with them I heard passion and compassion — a depth of understanding and certainty that she could help them thrive with her knowledge and the instruments she’s trained in.

She said: “Thank you, Rhonda, for helping me think it through it. It’s been really enlightening.”

The Next Episode is: Would You Buy Your Own Coaching Program?