(In response to a question on the Coactive Network.)
There are as many ways of addressing this issue, as there are coaches.
From previous ICF surveys, we know that over 96% of clients see great value in coaching. On average 83% of clients will stay with their coach for at least 3 months, a slight majority will remain for over 6 months, and some will never go. This all points to a very successful and valuable service.
The problem is that most potential clients do not fully appreciate the value of coaching before they try it. And fewer people feel comfortable making long commitments to purchase services they don’t fully understand.
So, in my practice I take a slightly different approach. I tell clients there are no long-term commitment. They can leave at any time if they are not getting a ton of value out of every single call.
Also, I do not dictate a set schedule for our calls. Rather, at the end of each session I will simply ask a client, “when would you like to talk again?” Most newer clients average a call ever 2 weeks, but it is entirely up to them.
The most common argument against this approach is that without a fixed commitment clients may drop out when things get tough. After working with over 1200 clients I am sure this is true for a very small percentage. However, I would rather assume a client can act in their own best interest, than ever be in a position where I was holding on to them against their will. (Also, I notice the very few clients that do fall away before we have accomplished their goals, often return to coaching months or years later.)
As to how I address the “how long” question, I simply say something to the effect of, “You should expect value out of every session, but if you are serious about making (their specific changes) I estimate it will take at least (2 months, 3, months, 6 months, as the case might be.)
Finally, the more comfortable and confident you become with your answer to these sorts of questions, the less resistance you will experience from potential clients.
All the best,
Affordable Business Development For Coaches
I believe coaches do important work in the world, and that they need more affordable and effective business training. Too many coaches struggle needlessly.
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