As you move forward in this coaching journey, I want to share some lessons that I’ve learned from coaching here over the few years; It was probably over a hundred lessons, but I tried to consolidate them down, and I thought about seven that I wanted to share here.
My first lesson was that what was second nature to me or what felt like it was second nature or maybe overly simple could be life-changing advice for someone else.
Initially, I would hold certain things back when I, for example, the idea of recommending to clients, maybe that they should be focusing on sleep, or perhaps looking at their calendar for the next day, to plan and be proactive.
Sometimes I would think about what the client had done before hiring a coach. They probably had been working on building habits themselves. Then they realized they needed some more support. Then, you know, they found the coach, somebody platform, they found the coach, they went through all these other steps to get here.
So I was always hesitant to provide simple information first but retreated on that. And backtracking was my approach over time because I realized that simple advice is not easy to implement. And a lot of times the simple advice is the best place to start. So instead of jumping in, in my experience, instead of jumping into apps and productivity systems or things that might be a little further deeper down in the suggestion box, starting with the simple advice first can be very significant for a client.
And it’s not that they’ve never heard this before, but it’s that they’re working together with you on something that is. Again, simple, but not easy. So start simple. And don’t hesitate to give out that, that type of what feels like it might be obvious advice. That’s, that’s, that’s something that I’ve started to learn to do more and more.
And again, I think this one is more specific to working in the digital coaching platform, saying hello, and setting expectations. I’ve seen, you know, many kinds had not hired a coach before never had a coaching experience before. And one of the great things about websites that offer coaching is that it offers coaching for everyone.
So, with that said, you know, expectations can be wildly different for clients. And there also may be some hesitancy when they first sign up. So I’ve found that sometimes the speed of response for that very first touchpoint when they signed up, they put in their credit card info. They chose, you chose you as their coach.
Then they’re just waiting. Some people may be hitting refresh on their browser waiting to see, like, oh, did they respond yet? They haven’t responded. Did that make the right choice? And so whenever possible, I to be able to respond to at least say hello, even if I don’t have, if I’m not physically at my desk and I’m able to react with like a full length review of what they’ve shared, I want to say at least hello.
And that I’m looking forward to discussing further with them, you know, later on, that day. So some message to at least put them at ease. And I feel like that plus is setting any expectations, as soon as possible with your coaching style. If you can provide that upfront, that can also really help weather help determine whether you have a good match with someone up upfront.
So one last item related to that. If you have any chances to be able to get a little bit of FaceTime with that person, even if it’s over like a quick free call, to say hello, I feel like that can also be an excellent accelerator to, really deepen the relationship with the client and determine whether or not you have a good fit.
You don’t have to be perfect to be the ideal coach. And the reason why I bring this up is that I feel like as coaches, this is something I’ve, I’ve wrestled with before. There’s this pressure to feel like we have to have everything together. We have to, especially in the area where we are coaching, we’re being positioned as an expert.
And there is a pressure to feel like you have to have everything figured out. You have to have. And that, when it comes to your own life, you have to demonstrate that again, everything is, everything is perfect in this area because I’m an expert and that’s why you’ve hired me, but I’ve found that it could be relieving.
I think both for the client and for the coach to be transparent about around struggles that you’re having as well, even if it’s in the same area that you’re, that you’re working on, it helps you work in almost like being in the trenches with your client to basically to share and swap. And, but then also share solutions and buy.
I feel like opening up about what your life is really like and what you’re struggling with as well. And maybe even sharing, like, for example, a weekly review of all the. The positive things and then all the challenges and the next steps you want to approach that. I think that that puts clients that are used to because it’s not just them who are struggling; they realize that it’s a universal struggle.
We’re all working to build up these habits together, and they’re not easy. And I sometimes think that, that also helps build a more excellent bond between you and your, and your clients. So again, don’t, don’t feel pressured that you have to be perfect to be great. And one last thing related to this too.
I also find that sometimes just being a coach for others can build your accountability in these habits because just because you don’t have to be perfect, you still have to be trying hard, and you still have to be giving it a lot of attention. So I feel like there is a reciprocal amount of accountability where being accountable for others, in turn, will also make you a lot more responsible for yourself.
Lesson number four is to be patient when clients become passive. There are times in this digital coaching platform where clients can go dark or stop responding for a while. And one thing I want to express here is that it’s probably not, I would say it’s, it’s not your fault.
And I see it happen quite a bit. However, it’s only for specific periods. So, in other words, they may, they may sign up, feel like they have achieved something there and then, and then forget about it for a little bit. But then, a couple of weeks later, they may come back and say, you know, thank you so much.
I’ve read everything you’ve shared. I’m ready to start. Now. I’ve had some clients delete the app off their phone accidentally or get a new phone. And there was a technical limitation that prevented them from receiving. So w if you do, if you do have some periods of inactivity with the client, don’t stress about it.
It’s not your fault. Make sure that you still send something, send something to say hello, maybe you can share an article or two about something. They may find it interesting. Still try to provide value, because even if somebody was disconnected for a time, if they see that you’ve been reaching out, there’ll be even more excited to work with you when they’re ready.
And I have had some people that have come back over more than, more than a few months to say, I’ve read everything you’ve sent me. And I couldn’t appreciate it more, and I’m ready to get started. And it surprised me. I kind of thought that I had lost them, but they did come back. So keep that in mind, and don’t beat yourself up if they go into that passive mode.
You may actually, you may find that a lot of clients who sign up to work with you have already. All the material they’ve, they’ve already done all the education. They’ve done all the analysis; they’re tracking everything, they’re doing everything right.
And I’ve seen many situations, clients that are, that are more skilled in many things that I’m working on than I am. And they, you know, they’re just absolutely doing a fantastic job, like, and the, and they’re inspiring me. It’s just great to see it. However, they feel like they’re failing, and that’s why they hired a coach.
And what I would, I kind of break this down in, I see two different areas here related to the success, and whether or not somebody sticks with a habit it has to do with their performance as far as how w what actions they’re taking, but then it also has to do with their expectations. So in many instances, I’m finding the performance seems to be good.
They’re on a perfect trend or learning more there. They’re tracking everything. And they built that. However, their expectations are where to be perfect, or they were constraining themselves so much with the parameters of success that it was almost there almost set up for failure.
And so they were feeling bad about it. So I’m, I find myself as a coach sometimes working with some people. But I, I sometimes it’s, it’s very common to be working more on the expectations on allowing a little bit more flexibility and demonstrating to somebody that they are on the right, proper path.
Sometimes, you know, these individuals are kind of in a silo, and they’re working on these habits in a very private way. So they don’t realize that what they’re, what they’re attempting to do maybe exceptionally, may not be very practical for a normal. So talk, you know, helping refine the expectations, maybe more of your job as the coach, instead of just encouraging people to take action.
Also, a little bit of a turn the for the negative here. You know we can, we can support people as much as we can, but we can’t take responsibility and mechanic action for our clients. There will be some; occasionally, there’ll be some clients who are. Either project a little bit of blame on the coach because they’re not doing it, but, you know, we’re doing the best that we can to support and provide direction and provide next steps and, and cheer them on.
But we still don’t see the following steps happening no matter how small we try to break down. You know, the following steps for guidance.
I think it’s very hard, especially at the beginning; as a coach, you start to take responsibility for it and begin to feel a little bit bad about it, but we can’t take it personally.
We can only take it so far. And, and I’ve gone as far as to say, well, I can’t do this for you as, as a leading, a leading intro to a, to a message because, um, we have to, we have to allow our clients to take responsibility for their actions at that. So, I care about coaches don’t beat themselves up in those instances, but they do; I would treat it more like a hard mode or challenge mode in this example to say, what can I do?
But maybe there’s something a little bit more creative that I can do to go off of my typical path of coaching to help ignite something in that client to help get them more motivated. And it could be a way for you to expand your skillset and your repertoire of approaches that you could take with clients when you’re faced with somebody who’s not.
And my last my final step here, the previous lesson learned number seven, always leave with accessible next steps. If you think about the journey for clients, these clients are you know, they’ve often tried and worked their way through building up their habits independently.
Then they realized you know, it wasn’t working, or they had some challenges. Then again, they did the research; they found the website, they found the coach. And now they’re trying; they’re basically continuing to try. So they’ve, it’s not that they’ve never, they’ve never worked through this before.
So I think one key difference that coaches can provide is accessibility—next steps. People may have this idea of wanting to become more fit. They think about the gym, and they think about, they have a perspective of what they want to do, and they, when, to be fit, I have to go to the gym, and I have to work out for 90 minutes, but they may not think about the idea of making things more accessible.
You know, if there’s a terrible snowstorm, we can’t go to the gym. Why can’t you like get your workout in your home? With just a few things right in your bedroom, why can’t you do something with the bodyweight exercises? There’s a lot of things. Sometimes people need to get reframed away from those initial expectations that led them to need a coach, and they need something more accessible.
And we want to be able to build recommendations that allow them to get more wins. And build momentum and that momentum, I think will be what, what makes things different for a client compared to when they were working independently. So work your way to always allowing next steps from any conversation you have always give the client a plan of action.
An exceptionally sh it could be very short, like send me a message later today. When you walk out to the gym or send me a photo using the coach dummy file feature of your mailbox, I’ve seen, I’ve seen pictures of mailboxes at five in the morning when people go for. Yeah, you can use this platform to make it fun for clients.
And they think of it as a game too. So these are, these are the advantages of being able to coach on a platform like this. And, if you can zero in on some foundational habits or Keystone habits, such as getting up earlier to allow other things to happen, you can start a snowball effect to positivity for the client.
So hopefully, hopefully these lessons were were helpful for you to spark ideas on your end and how you want to be coaching clients on this platform. Best of luck to all the recent graduates, and looking forward to seeing you in the coaching community.
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