It happens to the best of us. As business owners, we get into a cyclical state where all the days feel the same and we feel tired, overwhelmed and burnt out. Even in the most successful businesses, it takes a conscious and regular effort to revisit our why’s and check that the work we are doing is what makes us happy. The majority of the time this feeling relates directly to the people we take on as coaching clients. I’m sure you’ve experienced one or two clients in your time, that are just draining your energy levels.
When you are feeling out of love with your coaching business and in particular with your coaching clients, use these sixteen proven, successful ideas to make working with your clients a breeze. Whatever else is going on with your business and life balance – client challenges do not need to be one of them!
Remember to take into account client preferences, when it comes to areas such as how they prefer to access the internet and what type of communication style they generally exhibit.
You don’t have to use every tip—but do check each one out carefully, to see if there is the perfect strategy for you.
Set Goals for Your Coaching Business
Become your own client: What would you advise a client to do, if she came to you wanting to grow her business and make more money? Yet, surprisingly, many coaches are over-confident and fail to plan for their own growth.
You may have the best communication skills in the world, but without goal-setting and planning for your coaching business, you run the risk of ending up trading hours-for-dollars—unnecessarily.
Get clear on your mission. Decide where you want it to go. Plan to increase your income to a specific amount by the end of the year: Then brainstorm to determine the best strategy to make this happen with, not necessarily the least amount of work, but definitely with a work smarter approach and an optimized mindset.
Learn to take your own advice. Set up your streamlined, foolproof system to grow with your coaching clients—and attract more of the best.
Do More of What You Love
Every year, take time to reflect. I like to combine this activity with my word of the year exercise to set me up for success in the coming year.
Look over everything you did in the last year. Make a list. Draw a vertical line down the center of the page; or create a two-column table, if you prefer to work on the computer rather than with pen and ink.
In the left hand column, list every single business-related task you routinely do that you find:
On the right hand, list every single business-related task that you love—those that made time pass easily, leaving you:
Study the left-hand column of tasks you hated doing, and ask yourself for each item on it: “How can I do less of this?”
Use different-colored highlighters and designate a color each for dropping, delegating, automating or outsourcing these tasks.
Now study the right-hand column and brainstorm ways in which you can bring more of what you like into your everyday coaching practice.
Now implement what you have chosen as the best course of action for each item!
Create and Use Client Forms
Joy in your business can be found by creating a business model that works for you. Sometimes, this means “training” your clients to work in a way that suits you. When you have clients all working the same way, it becomes much easier to manage them, saving you time and money in the long run. Forms are a great way to get your clients organized. Before you ever coach your first client (or another client), decide what forms you need to use in your business, and make sure these are ready—and in good supply.
Four basic forms you should use, at the very least:
- Coaching agreement
- Payment details
- Pre-call form to have clients fill out before each coaching session
- Client records
Create your own unique forms and brand them with your logo, colors and motto. But save yourself time too: Check out our Client Onboarding Kit which has 17 of the most popular forms used by coaches.
Still on the theme of training coaching clients, don’t just automate scheduling at your own end: Allow clients to self-schedule by integrating a scheduling calendar app with your website.
Make it part of your sign-up process for free strategy sessions.
Here’s how it works:
- You block off days you are not available
- The app then displays and allows clients to select days and time slots when you are available
- Once a client has selected a slot, that slot is no longer available for the next client
There are even free services that allow you to do this (for example, TimeTrade.com). But do check out all your options—and make sure that the app, plugin or service you select includes all the features you need and want! Dubsado CRM is our favourite platform for this and it can help with #3 above too!
Batch Your Coaching Calls
When you set up your scheduling software, app or plugin, that is the perfect time to consider exactly what days and time slots you will make available for coaching.
Don’t allow coaching clients to pick any old time slot, any day of the week—that is a sure-fire recipe for burnout! Instead, dedicate only a specific number of days per week to one-on-one sessions—and leave the rest free for other business tasks and activities, personal regeneration or family time.
Here’s how it works:
- Decide on the number of hours you need—and want—to work each week
- Decide on the maximum number of hours per day you can realistically indulge in back-to-back sessions
- Fit the total hours into the appropriate number of days
- Designate yourself as only available on those specific days (two days a week; three; four—whatever works best for you!)
- Keep the same days every week. Get clients used to your routine. (“Oh, she doesn’t coach on Mondays and Fridays…”)
Another big benefit to this approach: When you give people limited choices, they tend to focus on which of the choices work best, rather than trying to make you fit into their lifestyles and work odd hours or days. If you’ve ever had coaching clients do this, you know how reactive this can get—and how it diminishes respect for your time and expertise!
If you find it too hard to run back-to-back sessions for six to eight hours per day (or more), then try varying the formula to suit your energy levels: For example, work a full, five-day week but make yourself only available afternoons, if that’s when you come into your communication and clarity stride: Or schedule half-hour breaks between each client (which might mean working an extra day, but leave you more energized and relaxed).
But whatever you do—no more reactive, client-driven scheduling that leaves you feeling frazzled and all over the place!
Make Full Use of your Smartphone/Tablet
There are so many apps available that there is really no excuse to make better use of your Smartphone or tablet in your coaching business.
Use free cloud storage in Google Drive so you can access records and documents any time via your Smartphone. Use note-taking apps, voice reminders, scheduling apps, iCalendar integration…you name it, it probably exists. (And if it doesn’t—invent it! Use your custom app as a perk for your unique clients. Just post a job for a programmer at Guru.com.)
And have you ever considered taking yourself off to an inspiring spot outdoors (where there is good, pre-tested reception) and spending an afternoon or morning coaching via your iPhone in inspiring surroundings?
If you’ve never done this, give it a try on those perfect spring or summer days, instead of wishing you were outdoors. Just try to pick a peaceful, noise-free spot—and don’t do this on a windy day, if you provide recordings.
Use Prompts and Timers
An oldie-but-goodie tip: Set a timer to go off at both ten minutes and five minutes before a coaching session ends, so you can smoothly segue into wrap-up mode.
Don’t worry whether or not your client will hear it. If they do, it will simply cue them into wrap-up mode too.
Record your Sessions
Let your client know you are going to record each session—and do so. Not only does receiving a recording usually delight coaching clients, but it is also a great aid for your own memory when you are planning a client’s next call or preparing a full coaching session for the first time. If storage is an issue for video calls, you can just record the audio, this is still a great way to share and revisit your session.
Automate Your Follow-up
Remember that strong, focused follow-up is crucial: For both free strategy sessions and regular coaching sessions alike.
After your initial strategy session:
- Send a thank-you email reinforcing how much you enjoyed getting to know your new client
- Remind her of any special rates (example: “Remember, Tara, if you sign up for my Handy Dandy Coaching Package before Sunday you can still get this at $497 before the price goes up for the year.”)
- Tell her the best way you can be reached, if she has any questions.
- After a week, send one more follow up email if you haven’t heard from her. Make it warm, personal—and specific.
Maintain regular contact. The average touchpoints to move a client from interest to buying stage is 7 so ensure you build these into your follow-up process.
And do make sure you use services, software or apps that send automatic appointment reminders!
Use Plugins to Customize your Website
If you use WordPress as your website content management system, you have a huge advantage! You can automate and customize your website with a whole host of plugins, from calendars to fully-fledged membership programs!
And why send people away from your site to forum services when you can host fully-tiered (or simple) membership programs (and even accept payment) with plugins like Memberpress and Learndash. You can also use stand-alone platforms, outside of your website such as Kajabi or Katra for the same thing.
Then create a Mastermind Elite Group and host all your member resources secretly and securely!
Consider Using a Virtual Assistant or an OBM
While automation is a great option, it is not the only option for parceling off tasks that don’t make you money or reducing the time spent on tasks that make you tear your hair out. Do seriously consider hiring a VA (Virtual Assistant) or an OBM (Online Business Manager)who can take the load off your shoulders—and actually make you money by freeing up your coaching time and energy.
First, determine what you need them to specialize in. Perhaps you need someone to do all the “techy stuff”—like set up and test your webinar software. Or perhaps you need more of a project manager, who will coordinate all aspects of your new product launch.
Whatever area you decide a Virtual Assistant or Online Business Manager should handle, be sure to find someone who specializes in that area. That way, you’ll know they are in their zone too—and are feeling as happy and fulfilled as you.
Be Your Client’s Definitive Source for Products & Aids
Make sure your coaching site also contains everything your clients need—so that they don’t have to leave your site to go get it—or pay someone else!
For example, if they need a “kit” to do what you are coaching them through, create it! If they need specialty physical products manufactured by others, provide a “Resources” section—complete with your own affiliate link to that product. If they need checklists or worksheets, provide them.
Work hard to be their “go-to” person for everything niche-related. (This will pay off in spades—and once the resources are created, you will make money on every subsequent sale.)
Create a Facebook Group
A closed (and branded) Facebook Group can be a wonderful resource for your clients—especially if you group coach and as a result, have more actual clients than you can comfortably give personal attention to.
A Facebook Group allows you to check in daily and answer questions or provide information in one quick, focused swoop. It is a wonderful additional resource for those in your group programs, as it “continues the conversation” and helps build your community (or “tribe”).
If you already run a private membership site, however, do make sure you aren’t giving preference to the Facebook Group over the site (or vice versa). And do make sure you are providing rich resources via your paid membership site not available in the Facebook Group.
Take it one step further and combine using your Facebook Group with maintaining a branded, optimized, and active Facebook Page.
Consider all three as vital components of a whole—your community group presence—with:
- The public Facebook Page for anyone interested in following you
- The Group as a hangout for your clients and/or Membership sites members, strictly so they don’t have to leave Facebook to interact
- The Membership site as your top-tier level
Fitting all the ways you interact with clients into an overall “big picture” is an important part of any coaching strategy.
Specialize—Then Specialize Again
To work in your zone of genius and with your preferred clients, sd your best to include your most qualifying keyword within your title and your website title or tag.
It is not enough to call yourself “The Entrepreneur Coach.” That narrows who you help best down to a specific group of people, but within that group, there are as many types of entrepreneur as there are fish in the sea.
You need to isolate and identify your perfect sub-group. You do not want to attract any other type.
When you pick your specialist keyword, however, make sure it is one that will resonate with your core client group on an emotional level.
Speak to the exact group of people you wish to work with. (Coach Beth Buehlow offers the perfect example with her site, “The Introvert Entrepreneur.”)
Keep Yourself in Tip-Top Shape
We’ve already talked about assessing your business, getting rid of what drains you and focusing more on what and who you want to attract—but as a coach, you need to go beyond that.
You need to keep yourself fully charged and infused with positive energy (physical, mental and spiritual). So make sure you, yourself, walk the walk. That means taking care of “background details.”
The basics: Make sure that you…
- Drink enough water every day (six glasses, absolute minimum). Our human bodies are literally like batteries: Without enough water, we lose energy and begin to exhibit symptoms of dehydration, which can include a foggy mind, exhaustion, itchiness, stomach problems and all sorts of physical and mental irritations that knock us off our game
- Start your day with a power drink. (After your first glass of water, that is!) Try a green smoothie, with fresh spinach or kale and at least two fruits. Keep this simple and the ingredients fresh. Blend it in a Nutribullet™ or Magic Bullet with ice and water, and sip it slowly. (You don’t even need to add protein powders and all the other expensive ingredients people claim you need.) Try this just for one week and see how much more energized you feel, mentally as well as physically.
- Exercise. Okay, so we all know this one—but are you doing it? And if you are saying “I coach branding: What does it matter whether or not I do fifty push-ups?” you are short-changing yourself.
You don’t have to go to heroic lengths. Even if you simply go for a brisk walk twenty minutes a day, that will recharge your batteries further; physically, spiritually, emotionally.
And don’t be surprised if you find yourself developing sparks of inspiration and great ideas for clients (and for your business) while you walk!
Do these three things, create a business that energizes you (cutting out as much of the drudgery as you can) and you won’t have too much trouble with the fourth basic…
- Get Enough Sleep. It’s true that not everyone needs the same amount of sleep, but if you are running on four hours a night, that energy is likely to be anxiety-based—and that is not healthy.
Creating habits goes a long way towards increasing your sleep quality: Simple things like going to bed at the same time every day, doing what makes you sleepy (i.e. switching the lights out—and if that doesn’t work, discovering what does work: For example, reading a favorite book.)
Include a healthy diet, adequate water, exercise, and a work routine that flows smoothly, and good sleep will follow, giving you further energy.
Dedicate a Day to Your Own Growth
The best coaches all have coaches. You’ve heard this, and it’s true. Once you’ve started batching your coaching calls to two, three, or even four days a week, take one of those precious days you save and dedicate it entirely to your own growth.
Schedule a call with your coach that day: Read the latest book for your niche. Do paperwork, even. But do stuff that advances your business, sharpens your mind, and fills you with well-being—and new energy for your coaching clients.
After all, walking the walk is what being an effective coach is really all about.