When Is It Time to Re-Focus or Renew Client Objectives?

In this podcast I am interviewed by Jamee Tenzer who is a professional certified life and career coach for working mothers and women in the entertainment industry. She is a published writer and a Facilitator and Trainer for the International Coach Academy. Jamee interviewed me about integrity in the coaching process as we discussed some case scenarios of everyday coaching interactions. Jamee’s website is http://jameetenzer.com.

During the podcast I shared that I really loved Jamee’s questions. And with her usual quick wit Jamee replied, “I figure I have 20-25 minutes with a master coach here, I’d better come up with some good questions.” Indeed she did. You can listen to the Re-Focus or Renew Client Objectives podcast here. Enjoy!

In terms of having a potential client really get the potential value of coaching for them, what is the most important aspect of that initial complimentary conversation?

It’s all about my own level of personal presence. To me that is the most important thing I can bring to the complimentary conversation. I have certain states of being. My coaching state of being is different than my regular state of being. I drop into a universal energy and I get into a state where I’m really clear and almost empty of myself, just really allowing myself to receive whatever it is that my client wants to give, and to be able to give back from that inspired state – from the emptiness and the void and the spiritual state. I can tell when I’m in that state and also when I’m not in that state. It’s not an either/or thing; it’s kind of a continuum.

The deeper I can connect with my truest, deepest self and tap into that universal consciousness and be present for my client in that state of being is what I believe to be the value of coaching. It doesn’t matter what I do. I could follow an outline or not, I could say all the right things or not, I can enroll the client or not. The most important aspect is that I get into that state of being and stay there for my client. That’s when the miracles happen. That’s when the magic of coaching happens.

I was really privileged to meet former International Coach Academy CEO, Bronwyn Bowery-Ireland, and I asked her this one question about when I was interviewed for the Foundation Coach Coordinator and Trainer position at International Coach Academy. I had not gone to ICA, Bron hadn’t previously known me, yet she still offered me the position. I asked what it was that caused her to move forward with me. Bron replied, “When I had a conversation with you it was very smooth. Everything lined up, everything was really smooth in the energy.” I thought that was such a fascinating statement. When I get into a complimentary conversation with somebody I’m meant to coach, it’s very smooth, it just flows and it moves and the energy moves and my prospective client knows it, too.

What do you do if a client comes to a session with no issues and “nothing” to talk about?

Since our clients are so used to coming with an agenda, acknowledge they may be feeling like something’s wrong with them if they don’t have a topic prepared. So the very first thing I say to my client is, “This could be one of the best sessions we’ve ever had. That’s when we really can allow a deep conversation. Maybe your conscious doesn’t really know what it is and maybe this is a chance to look to the unconscious for something that wants to be talked about.” Most of my clients think that’s extremely exciting.

I might say, “Just say give me a minute and let me look over my notes from the last couple sessions and see if I notice anything.” – What I’m doing is looking intuitively to see if something jumps out at me, to look at those words and I’ll offer that. Or I could say, “Let us close our eyes for a moment and let’s just connect with our own inner wisdom. We’ll take a minute of silence and see if anything is coming through for us to talk about. We’ll think about what might be valuable to do at this time.” – When I do that, 99% of the time, the client comes up with something because I’ve just taken away the pressure.

What do you do when you feel that a client is ready to complete coaching, but they don’t seem to be talking about it…how do you start that conversation?

If you’re feeling called to say something to the client, then that’s listening to your intuition and it sounds as though you’re wondering how to honor them as you share your feedback. I might lead with, “Can we take just a few minutes today and revisit the goals we started with?” (I use a welcome package that includes a question, “Why are you hiring me as your coach?” to use as my guide.) I would then ask whether this goal was still current. The client will come to conclusion that they have completed it, or not, and here’s why. This helps refocus the conversation to affirm whether coaching is valuable still at this time.

One client I had did so much work in 4 months that I really felt he was complete. I shared, “I’m getting a sense here that you’re really complete with this goal. You’ve got some requests that are going to be long-term. Do you want to meet again in a month or two?” My client appreciated my directness and expressed relief, as he had wanted to honor our coaching commitment. Then I left it open, “Would you like to make an appointment, or contact me when you’re ready?” Depending on the client, that kind of directness can be really helpful. Using your intuition, decide how direct or subtle your client likes to receive messages.

Is it ethical to charge a corporation more than you charge an individual for coaching? If so, how is that justified?

With corporate clients, I think about what the market will bear and perception – for example, they may perceive that I’m not as good if I’m not charging a high enough rate. I notice this myself that when I see something that’s too in-expensive I will hesitate to purchase, but if it has a regular price simply marked down, then I’m all for it. When I’m working with an individual I’m going to offer a savings. There’s an established model out there – take dentistry. There’s a certain fee for those who have insurance, yet members without insurance would receive a private pay rate. I recognize that an individual does not have the same resources as a corporation and the percentage of their investment is going to be higher than the percentage of corporate investment to return.

How can you tell the difference between clients who are not interested in coaching now and potential clients that will never be interested…in other words, who to keep in touch with?

These are the people in your “marketing funnel.” They haven’t said yes and they haven’t said no, exactly. I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule. The master sales coach would probably say until you hear a no, keep going. It takes 5-7 contacts before people move forward. If I make 7 contacts and I haven’t heard one thing back, I might stop. I would check in with my intuition. I would be inclined to keep those people on my mailing list until they unsubscribe. I do have examples of people who have called me a couple years later and said, “Our session really made an impression on me. I’d like to start coaching with you now.” So you never know. If it was an individual person I wanted to really follow up with and I’ve made my 7 contacts, yet I wasn’t hearing back from them, I might send a card. “I contacted you and I understand we’re both living these really busy lives. The next step is yours. If you’d like to take me up on my offer you can let me know any time and I’ll be here for you.” If I needed the closure, that’s what I’d do.

What are coaching encounters you’ve had that inspired you to approach a scenario differently, or that pleasantly surprised you and you’ve included in your process ever since? We would love to share your stories below!

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