Ep 88 – Watch for These Red Flags About Coaching Clients

This episode is part of a series called Manage Your Coaching Clients, which already has 3 important episodes about setting boundaries clients, the intake process and keeping your clients on track.

Recently in my Facebook group called Prosperous Coach Club, members have started discussions about specific challenges with current clients. And that’s what inspired this series.

The topic of client management is deep. And there’s not a lot of intel out there about how to deal with paying clients. It’s one of trial by fire things. But you know me, I want to bee line you to success so I’m going to cover this stuff!

As a new coach there are certain challenges that will come up with paying clients that diminish as you gain experience.

When you charge highly for your services, clients are more committed and generally easier to work with. So do yourself a favor and charge more. I have a whole series on Money Mastery at prosperouscoach.com/money

This episode covers the red flags to watch for.

And then in successive sessions I’ll dig into what to do if you notice one of these red flags.

Find Your Integrity

Everyone knows what a red flag is. When it flies you as the professional are called to pay close attention and get ready for action. Exactly what you’ll do depends on lots of factors. But when it comes to managing clients the name of the game is find your integrity.

To quickly master client management issues, the first thing to do is raise your awareness … both about your client’s behavior AND your response to their behavior.

The Two Types of Red Flags are About:

  1. Your client.
  2. Your feelings about your client.

Both might indicate issues in the fit between you and your client. Client fit is incredibly important for you to have an enjoyable and lucrative business.

It may seem right now that you should coach anyone who wants to hire you. It’s a point of maturity when you realize and accept that not every client is a good fit for you.

The 7 Parts of the Coaching Client’s Role

The red flags for clients all have to do with ways they do not successfully take on their role in the co-creative relationship.

The client’s role is to:

  1. Show up for scheduled sessions
  2. Show up on time for scheduled sessions
  3. Pay their payments on time (although I recommend you move to a full fee up front policy)
  4. Be communicative
  5. Be truthful or forthcoming about details
  6. Take responsibility for their growth by taking actions and making progress
  7. Be coachable

For the first 6, at the very least you’ll need to bring the issue to your client’s and make a strong request that’s neutrally charged. I’ll explain more about this in other episodes.

The 7th part of a client’s role is fundamental. I know it seems odd but some clients aren’t coachable. Coach-ability is crucial for the health of the relationship and for them to get value out of your services. I’ll cover that soon in another episode because it’s complex.

Right Response To Your Coaching Clients

For now, let’s talk about the red flags in your response to working with your clients. These can be subtle feelings and approaches that are driven by your strong desire to serve and have income as a coach.

For example:

  • You feel drained by sessions with a client.
  • Your coaching approach is driven by a desire to perform well
  • Your coaching approach is driven by a desire to fix the client
  • You notice yourself being inauthentic
  • You feel resentful of how much time or energy this client takes (which may be an indication you’re not charging enough)

Each one indicates a breach in your integrity. It’s a signal that you have an opportunity to fortify your boundaries and stand in your power – not to dominate the client but to be more fully in your integrity with this client.

Coaching people is a huge responsibility. And there’s a tendency to either inflate your responsibility or deflate it. Everyone does this.

And you can teach yourself not to do it. A point of mastery your goal is to stay right-sized. For more about this, read my blog post called 5 Ways to Right Size Yourself to Empower Your Coaching Clients.

When you learn the way to be in power balance with your clients you become a better coach and a better person. You’ll feel more grounded, more certain of your value and less triggered.

In the Next Episode: Do You Shrink or Inflate Your Power with Coaching Clients?

Ep 77 – 7 Ways to Create a More Valuable Experience with Coaching Clients

There’s plenty of information out there in training programs about how to coach. And there’s lots of attention out there on how to market and enroll clients plus the various tactics to earn well as a coach.

But there’s little communicated to coaches about exactly how to serve your coaching clients well so they love the experience, come back for more and refer others to you.

Client service goes beyond coaching skills but does stem from the way you market and engage your target audience from the get go.

Your coaching client’s satisfaction in you and your program begins before they hire you and continues after they finish with you.

If you’re following the guidelines I’ve given to you in episodes 62 through 77 in this Coaching Business Checkup series, then you’ll be strategically setting everything up for your coaching business in a way that guarantees satisfaction for ideal clients.

And if you put in place specific things to ensure that people you attract are ideal for you, it will increase your clients’ satisfaction.

Client service is another strategy point for creating a successful coaching business. And that’s why this is part of, and the LAST episode of, my Coaching Business Checkup series.

And as I’ve been promising, I’ve got a FREE download for you, ready now, that’s a comprehensive Coaching Business Checkup you can give yourself. This will help fill the holes in your strategy so you can do everything more effectively and earn more in your business.

When you download this assessment, take the time to honestly consider what you’ve got going for you and what’s missing. I’ve referenced certain podcast episodes for each of the 10 sections. And of course, if you want more help get my private VIP support to do all of this right. The best first step is to have a private Strategy Session with me, which you can find at https://prosperouscoach.com/strategy.

Let’s dig into today’s episode …

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

In my early days, I was so anxious about delivering value that I lost my personal power by inflating my role. And I ended up feeling drained instead of energized by sessions.

Over the years I’ve given this challenge my daily awareness and made a lot of shifts.

Happily, there are things you can do that both create value while also setting strong boundaries, which protect you and your clients. I’ll cover 7 main ways you can up your game in providing value.

#1 Cultivate Happy Coaching Clients Before During and After

Happy clients start by being happy prospects. You want them to already have a strong sense of your integrity, personality and exactly how you can help them before they hire you. This makes them happy because they’ll only stick around if they feel the connection with you.

I know, I talk a lot about this and that’s because a successful business is the sum of many things that work in concert. And that takes strategy.

If your social media, blogs, podcasts, videos, website – everything – comes from being fully informed about what’s important to your audience they can feel that. And it feels good!

Just the other day a new member in my Facebook group posted:

 “Just found your podcast. Wow! Get out of my head, Rhonda Hess! I needed this so badly. Thank you.”

I took that as a compliment because my episode hit the mark about what holds coaches back. Thanks for your feedback, Angela!

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.

Consider also staying in touch with past clients. Follow them on social media. Share a bit of social love. And check in with a short email to from time to time.

#2 Provide Structure and Boundaries

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

If so, it’s understandable because coaching skills themselves are so open. Open-ended questions, deep levels of listening, open-mindedness about differences – don’t seem to fit with structure and boundaries.

But I’ll tell you … people thrive with a sense of structure and respect boundaries if you set them up thoughtfully.

These things make people feel safe.

  1. Provide clear terms and agreements in your intake packet.
  2. Ask clients to respect you with policies about showing up for sessions and on time payments
  3. In the first session explain the phases and flow of your work together (this is easy if you’ve created a Signature Program rather than just selling coaching packages)
  4. Provide and then ask them to send you a Session Prep 1 -2 days before each session
  5. Send them a Session Recap that lists agreed upon next steps and notes
  6. Set clear expectations about your availability and how/when they can contact you
  7. Hold time boundaries in sessions.

#3 Create and Track a Set of Goals

This may be obvious but it wasn’t to me with my first clients.

  1. Within the first 2 sessions set specific milestones you’ll help them achieve
  2. Get clear on top challenges, goals and who they want to transform into
  3. How will you help them perceive that they’ve made progress?
  4. Set a tickler in your calendar to check in on their goals/milestones and progress

#4 Gather and Give Feedback

Feedback is under-rated and so valuable for any transformational process.

Ask for feedback.

  • At the end of every session, ask about their takeaways. Write those down in the Session Recap.
  • Make sure that your Session Prep form asks for feedback. Acknowledge what they say.
  • If you’re not getting enough feedback, directly ask for it half way through your program.

Give feedback.

  • Let them know how they’re doing. Be kind but also real. Encourage more if progress is slow.
  • Ask for referrals mid-way through your program and at the end.
  • Ask for a testimonial. Give them guidelines and make the testimonial process easy.

#5 Model Integrity

One of the beautiful things about coaching is that sometimes we attract clients that teach us while we’re supporting them. Mostly this is seamless and organic. But sometimes it can be painful. You realize that you need to work on the same thing that your client does.

So be real if that’s the case. Show your vulnerability while also modeling how you face your challenges.

  • Walk you talk, not just in session but in every public way you show up
  • Be responsive to your clients with timely replies
  • Provide a personal touch but don’t go overboard
  • Own your mistakes and biases
  • Hold confidences

#6 Help Your Clients Stand Fully In Their Power

The absolute best way to empower your clients is to monitor how well you are standing in your own power.

Some years ago I wrote a popular blog post on this called 5 Ways to Right Size Yourself to Empower Your Coaching Clients. You can see the link to that post on the show notes for today’s episode, which you’ll want to check out anyway to get the free Coaching Business Checkup download. Again, you can find that at prosperouscoach.com/77

As a coach, it’s critical that you learn how to be right sized in your power for a healthy coaching relationship.

By right sized I mean holding the right amount of responsibility in the co-creative relationship while also asking your client to do this same. Ideally, you and your client have the same amount of power in the relationship.

There are many pitfalls, such as:

  • charging too little
  • allowing late payments
  • allowing clients to slide away from doing their work
  • over-delivering
  • failing to hold time boundaries and other boundaries

It takes practice. You can do it if you pay attention to what’s happening within you when you interact with your clients.

  • Hold your clients accountable for what they agree to do
  • Challenge them to do and be more. They will thank you for it.
  • Show you care without being overly responsible or invasive

#7 Share Your Humanity

When I first started as a coach I thought I had to be a pillar of perfection with clients. I found out the hard way that this turns out badly.

When people put you on a pedestal they project all sorts of crap upon you and the relationship goes into shadow.

So instead:

  • Be a real person. Let clients see who you are. But don’t make it too much about you.
  • Be interested in you’re client’s uniqueness and how they differ from you. Hold up a positive mirror for them to admire themselves.
  • Give the personal touch without going overboard
  • Accept that life throws everyone curve balls from time to time

During my work with clients some have major health crises, financial crises and other types of difficulties that throw off the arc of our work together. The right thing to do is to flex to support them. You might put your program on hiatus for a time to give them space needed for recovery.

Similarly, I’ve had times where I need to take a break and ask my clients to understand.

Now, think through how you can up your game on customer satisfaction.

In the Next Episode: The Art of Crafting Powerful Coaching Questions with the brilliant Laurie Cameron, coach trainer extraordinaire! This is a super popular episode!

Ep 68 – Calling All Coaches To Innovate And Lead

I’m taking a break from the Coaching Business Checkup series because … times are strange and business as usual just doesn’t feel right to me.

I found it difficult to get things done. My head was fuzzy and I didn’t know what to do with my time.

If you’re listening to this episode in spring of 2020 individuals in our earthly community are either anticipating the pandemic to arrive in their neighborhood or are already in lock down. It’s unsettling to say the least.

I’m an empath. You may be too. Many coaches are highly sensitive people and we feel more than our own personal condition.

And so I took more time to:

  1. Spend more time in nature and connect with earth. 
  2. Meditate more on what it is to be part of the global community.
  3. Reduce my consumption of news. 

If you find yourself weighed down these days, do things like this to let the anxiety flow through you rather than letting the heaviness stick around. It will help your immune system.

There’s no doubt in my mind that most human beings will rise to this with courage and capacity they didn’t know they had. Strife always unites us.

In this short episode, I invite you to LEAN INTO what drew you to coaching in the first place and to use it for the greater good now. 

It’s the perfect time to break out your powers of innovation and lead in a compassionate way. General ideas include:

  1. Respond with integrity and intention – leverage those things in a deeper way.
  2. Manage your states of mind. Be a model and help others do the same.
  3. Innovate in your coaching businesses so you can still earn well. (Coaches are lucky because we can do what we do remotely.)
  4. And, help others innovate as well.

A lot of people will have trouble earning. Some groups are especially vulnerable.

So consider what you can do that’s extraordinary, more than what you do now day to day.

Don’t isolate yourself emotionally. If you can, after you and your family are set up safely … do some simple things to care for others. For example:

  1. Reach out by phone to people in your outer circles.
  2. If you’re on social media, share in a light hearted way. Post things that warm people’s hearts and make them laugh. Share only the most useful things. Cut down on posting the serious stuff unless it’s truly useful.
  3. Think about the individuals that will suffer most in these times. What could you do to help these people stay afloat?
  4. Give extra to homeless people because there will be less traffic on the street.
  5. Think about body workers, independent restaurant owners and their teams – people whose livelihoods depend on foot traffic or clients showing up physically.

I have a friend who is an independent Pilates instructor. One of her clients cancelled a session but said: “I’m going to pay you anyway because I want you to stay in business.” I was touched by the intelligence and kindness of that action and will follow suite.

I also suggested that she continue working with her clients remotely. Yes, it’s weird to do Pilates on Zoom but it’s possible.

Who do you know that might need some ideas of how to manage physically, emotionally and financially?

Consider calling your favorite local restaurants and buying a gift certificate. Or, if you’re comfortable get take out from them. Tip higher than usual.

And, what can you do for your coaching business to keep it going and growing?

If you have a great idea, either for your own business or for helping others shoot me an email to moc.hcaocsuorepsorpnull@adnohR and I’ll post them on the Prosperous Coach Club Facebook group.

In the Next Episode: To Attract More Coaching Clients Plan Your Prospects Journey to You