Is your client onboarding process causing more headaches than happiness? Join me in this week’s vlog as I explore the best practices for streamlining your onboarding process. Discover how to craft a unique and efficient onboarding experience that will make your coaching business stand out. Watch now and take the first step towards a smoother client journey.

Hey coaches, have you ever felt like your client onboarding process is more of a hassle than it should be? Maybe you’ve noticed clients getting lost, confused, or even frustrated right at the start. We all know first impressions matter, especially in coaching, and a smooth onboarding process can make all the difference. Today, we’re diving into the best practices for cleaning up those inefficient onboarding processes and crafting your unique unicorn that will stand out. Let’s dig in!

Welcome coaches. I’m Jackie Appleby, Online Business Manager, Business Coach and your guide on this journey towards not just building a successful coaching business but creating a transformative one. You want to grow your coaching business while leading your best life, and I share tips, tricks and strategies to make that dream achievable. With years of experience in the coaching industry, I’ve helped countless coaches transition from being overwhelmed and chaotic to calm and thriving through my coach-to-CEO framework. So, if you feel like it’s time to fish or cut bait, you are in the right place!

Let’s start by talking about why having a great onboarding experience is so crucial for your coaching business. In an industry that’s currently oversaturated, where there’s a coach for everything, pricing only gets you so far. Clients are just as interested in the journey and experience of their transformation as they are in the cost. If you need to move from pain to bliss—which is what a coaching transformation aims to do—wouldn’t you want the painful part to be as pleasant as possible?

A stellar onboarding process is essential. It sets the tone for the entire client relationship and gives your clients the right experience right from the start. It’s not just about getting paperwork out of the way; it’s about making your clients feel welcomed, valued, and excited about their journey with you.

Moreover, a great onboarding process allows you to start capturing client feedback and testimonials early on. You don’t need to wait until the end of the coaching journey to ask for testimonials. When clients are fresh off an amazing onboarding experience, they’re more likely to provide enthusiastic and positive feedback, which you can use in your marketing to attract even more clients.

So, creating an optimal onboarding process isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have for standing out in a crowded coaching market and building your reputation.

Now, let’s talk about where things often go wrong in the client onboarding process. Picture this: you’ve got a new client ready to dive into your coaching program, but the onboarding process is so tangled that they end up feeling overwhelmed before they’ve even started. It’s like inviting someone to your home and then making them navigate a maze to find the front door. Inefficiencies can arise from unclear instructions, too many forms, or a lack of personal touch. But don’t worry, we can fix this.

Inefficiencies can occur in several ways: no onboarding process, too much onboarding, or too little onboarding. You’ve been through your process many times as you built it, so it can be hard to see it from a new client’s perspective. They potentially know little to nothing about you or your coaching package. If they are new to the coaching world, they may not know about things like coaching call pre-work, coaching platforms, or the numerous coaching tools we use.

Some clients might not even know how a Zoom call works, so if that’s your medium for conducting calls, you want to make sure new clients are aware of how everything works. This might sound basic, but remember, your goal is to make every step of the process as smooth and welcoming as possible.

To identify these inefficiencies, put yourself in your client’s shoes. Go through your onboarding process step by step, and note where things might be confusing or overwhelming. Ask yourself if the instructions are clear and if the amount of information is appropriate—not too much to overwhelm, but not so little that it leaves them feeling lost.

Remember, the onboarding process is your client’s first impression of how you work and how much you care about their experience. If they feel supported and well-informed right from the start, they’re more likely to stay engaged and committed to their coaching journey with you.

Your client onboarding starts the minute a potential client steps into your sales call—often called a complimentary call, strategy session, or getting acquainted call. How you manage this process through to sign-up is going to deliver a lot of insights to your potential client before they commit to you. It’s essential that this is as much of an experience as any other part of the process. During this initial interaction, you’re not just selling your services; you’re showcasing your coaching style, your professionalism, and the value you bring.

When your client steps into your sales call, it’s important to have some information about them upfront. This allows you to know what their initial challenges and needs are, giving you context for the upcoming conversation. Depending on your coaching niche, it’s also good to have some information to gauge if they are a fit for your coaching program. No one wants to spend time in a sales call if you wouldn’t even consider them as a client.

The easy way to manage this is to have a form attached to your booking process that can collect and deliver key information to you before the call. Don’t make the form so extensive that it takes them hours to fill out—no one wants to give up that much information to a stranger. Capture what’s important. Questions like ‘Have you worked with a coach before?’, ‘What has led you to consider getting a coach?’, and ‘What is your understanding of coaching?’ are all good to ask. These questions provide valuable insights into their mindset and help them feel more comfortable.

One thing to avoid is making the form feel like an application. I’ve seen business owners ask clients to apply to work with them. Honestly, no matter how good you are, no one wants to feel like they have to beg you to take their money. Instead of asking ‘Why should I work with you?’ type questions, focus on understanding their needs and demonstrating how you can help them.

This initial phase is also the best time to lay out your boundaries and style of working. While most of this can be included in a robust contract, we all know clients don’t always read the fine print. It’s important to repeat things that are non-negotiable or important to you as you go through onboarding to ensure there are no miscommunications or surprises. Remember, dissatisfaction happens when there are conflicting expectations, so making sure your expectations and theirs are understood from the get-go is crucial. After your sales call, if the client is ready to move forward, you can include some of these boundaries in a welcome email that outlines next steps. It’s important to be proactive in the onboarding process. Some clients will be eager to get started and want to know right away “when can I book my first call”, others may be more lax in getting things signed and sent off to you so outlining in an email what your onboarding process looks like, when they can expect things to happen can be a great way to get proactive and start the journey off well.

 

Now, let’s talk about crafting your unique onboarding process—your unicorn that stands out. Imagine your onboarding process as a welcoming red carpet that makes your clients feel valued and excited to start their journey with you. Here are some actionable tips to achieve that:

First, streamline your communications. As mentioned previously, send a clear, concise welcome email with all necessary information. This email should include an intake form to capture essential details like contact and billing information, as well as any other information you feel is important—such as birthdays, and names of spouses or partners and children. This helps avoid the back-and-forth for information and ensures you have all the details you need to personalize your interactions.

Next, personalize the experience. A short welcome video from you can make a huge difference. This personalized touch shows your clients that you are invested in their journey from the very start. Mentioning personal details, like their spouse’s name during conversations, demonstrates that you care about what is important to them and helps build a stronger connection. Consider adding this to your welcome email.

Finally, automate where you can, but keep it personal. Tools like automated scheduling can save time while maintaining a personal touch. Automation doesn’t have to feel impersonal if you use it wisely. For example, automated reminders for upcoming calls can include a personal note or tip specific to the client’s journey.

Crafting a unique onboarding process is about making your clients feel special and ensuring they have all the information they need right from the start. By doing this, you set a positive tone for the entire coaching relationship and demonstrate your professionalism and dedication.

 

Implementing best practices is crucial for a smooth and effective onboarding process. Start by mapping out the entire onboarding journey from the client’s perspective. This helps identify any friction points where clients might get confused or overwhelmed.

Next, integrate feedback loops. After onboarding, ask clients for their thoughts—what worked well and what didn’t? Use this feedback to continually refine your process and ensure it meets your clients’ needs.

Another best practice is to provide resources upfront. Think about FAQs, introductory videos, or a welcome kit. By anticipating and addressing common questions, you make the transition smoother and more enjoyable for your clients.

Consider your tools and platforms. Having a coaching platform where a client can log in and find their profile, invoices, contracts, and items due like questionnaires and forms can help your clients feel confident and organized going into the relationship. No need for them to keep track of all the correspondence from you or look for forms and links when it’s all housed in one place. This functionality, known as a client portal, is available in several coaching platforms and some business management platforms. If you don’t have access to these types of tools, putting everything together in a single document that your client can access in one place can also work.

There is nothing worse than receiving 17 onboarding emails, each with a different form or question, making it easy for clients to lose track. Remember that less is more. Many coaches like to add in extra “stuff” to demonstrate value, but in reality, you are just overwhelming your client. Focus on what is truly essential for their onboarding experience and make it as streamlined as possible.

At the very least you will want a welcome email, contract, invoice intake form, and booking scheduler to go out before you have your first coaching session.

To wrap up, remember that a smooth onboarding process sets the tone for the entire coaching relationship. By identifying inefficiencies, crafting a unique and welcoming process, and implementing best practices, you can ensure that your clients feel valued and excited to work with you from day one. Ultimately, how you build your client onboarding experience will come down to the services you offer, the systems you are using, and your unique approach to things. There is no right or wrong here other than to try to avoid overwhelming your client with too much stuff. Try to keep it as simple as possible with as few steps as possible. If crafted well, some of these steps can be automated so there is no requirement for you to build a process that keeps you busier than necessary. Remember, it’s not about getting more done; it’s about having less to do while still providing a great experience.

If you found these tips helpful, don’t forget to like this video, subscribe to my channel, and ring the bell for notifications so you never miss an update. And if you’re looking for more in-depth resources, download our free ‘New Client Onboarding Kit’ linked below. Thanks for watching, and see you next time!”

Diligent Assistant New Client Onboarding Kit

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