How getting organized creates HUGE value for your clients. (Coaching Skills, Part 3 of 3)
As you may know Brent and I have been traveling with our daughter Violet around California and parts of the U.S for two months now. It’s been our dream to be completely time and location free. And after almost ten years of late-night conversations and focused intention, we’ve created a life where we BOTH can work remotely.
Planning for this was challenging because we both had unique fears and patterns that came up as we tried to stay focused. Now that we’re traveling we had a desire to prepare and organize while also allowing the wind to carry us where it may. We wanted spontaneity and variety that would challenge our daily routines.
It’s been incredibly heart-opening and exciting. There have also been moments of frustration where Violet is moaning nonstop, feeling sick of being in the car and we have no idea where we are, or where we’re going.
Leading a coaching session can feel the same way. You want to plan and prepare as best you can for your journey with your client. You want to allow your intuition to be present in the moment. And you want to be sure to bring mastery-level coaching skills to the session.
I’ve been hearing so much amazing feedback about the free training series I’ve offered this month for our Wake Up Wednesday conversations, all about coaching service skills! The focus has been learning how to profoundly serve your clients, with just a few simple techniques.
Today we’re moving into the final set of coaching service skills: planning, organization, preparation and tracking.
Each of these skills builds on the foundation you’ve already put in place over the last two weeks:
In Part One of this series, you solidified your own ethics and integrity. (Click here to catch up or just refresh!)
Then in Part Two you learned some tried-and-true ways to build trust, intimacy, and rapport, even with brand-new clients, or clients who just aren’t present. Weren’t they easier than you thought? (Come take a peek at this one too!)
Now it’s time for you to move your coaching clients forward when you help them create a plan of action for their lives. As a life coach, you’ll be called on to be super-organized! It can feel like an overwhelming process, but we’re going to go over it step-by-step.
Here’s a little secret about creating a plan of action with your client: she probably won’t even look at the plan ever again! The value she gets from the planning process itself helps your client get clear and focused on her goals, results, and the actions she needs to take to get there.
Any plan you create with your client should include the opportunity for her to write out the purpose of achieving the goal, get clear on why it’s important, and zoom in on the overall purpose – that’s the bridge between her goals and the actions she needs to take.
Why hasn’t she taken action before now? It’s because the purpose is either not clear to her, or the purpose just isn’t strong enough yet. When the reason why becomes strong enough, taking action suddenly becomes very simple.
Make sure your client includes these 3 things in any written plan you help her create:
The desired results. What your client wants to see happen when the plan is executed.
The purpose. Why it’s important to her. This includes concrete benefits as well as the emotions your client will feel after it’s accomplished.
Action. What does your client (and others who are helping her) need to do in order for this result to occur right now?
With any client you’ll have, you want to keep your process organized and streamlined.
It all starts with making sure your client creates a to-do list with just a few categories for simplicity. It’s a powerful way to reduce overwhelm. Let’s say she has 35 items on her to-do list; if it’s divided into just 2-3 categories, it suddenly seems much more achievable.
Next, support your client in getting rid of everything but the highest return-on-investment items on her list. Which tasks will make the biggest difference in the shortest amount of time? Guide her to focus on those! It’s important to avoid activities that might feel productive for her in the moment, but in reality they’re wasting her time.
Next, think about short-term vs. long-term goals. Every client is different! Some clients will need to place 90% of their focus on short-term goals because they’re living in crisis. Other clients should focus 90% of their energy on long-term goals because they’re in a position to take on that larger vision.
You’ll also encounter everything in between, so get ready to use your intuition about what’s best!
The bad (or at least not-so-fun) news: there’s always a small amount of preparation and maintenance you’ll need to do before, during, and after your coaching sessions.
The good news: I’ve gotten to the point where these tasks take just a few minutes per client, per session. You can, too!
Here are the 5 things you’ll need to do BEFORE the session:
Review your notes from last session to get refreshed.
Access any resources you’ll need for the session.
Prepare your mindset and clear other concerns from your mind.
Don’t forget your morning ritual! (If you don’t have one yet, check out mine here.)
Review your client’s goals and information.
6 kinds of notes to take DURING the session:
Goals your client completed.
New commitments she made during the current session.
The results your client requested during the session.
Any accomplishments or challenges your client reported since the last session.
Techniques you used during the session that worked especially well.
Any results that your client got from the current session.
6 to-do’s for RIGHT AFTER a session:
If you promised to send your client outside resources, do it right away. It’s very easy to say you’ll provide her with something, then let it fall by the wayside. This goes back to the first part of this series, about your integrity.
Clean up your notes from the session so they’ll make perfect sense to you next time you refer to them.
Is there something you want to remember to cover with your client next time, or something you missed or want to improve? Don’t wait – make note of it now.
Update your calendar with any follow-up accountability calls you’ll need to make.
Remember to get in touch with your client to remind her of your next session.
If any helpful thoughts occur to you later, send them to your client via email.
If your client has any kind of important goal she’s working hard to accomplish, a great life coach will make tracking that goal a very valuable part of her experience.
You can make this happen by using something called game planning sheets. For any clients who have a daily activity that they need to accomplish, especially actions they’re likely going to resist doing consistently, the game planning sheet (or some type of online reporting tool) is a must-have.
Your client should mark her game planning sheet at least daily, then send it to you at least weekly so you can track her activity. You can also have your client call or email you when she completes a task by a certain deadline.
The accountability piece of this is huge! Let your client know that anytime she feels she’s going to fail to meet a deadline, she should also call or email you to let you know and to recommit to a later deadline.
I prefer having my clients call me – it’s more proactive and confronting for my clients. They might actually have to talk to me, which means they’re going to be more likely to follow through and accomplish their goals. Email is a more passive form of communication, but it can also be useful for keeping a record of your client’s progress. It’s your call!
Go out and use these new tools in your life coach tool kit!
Over these last three weeks, you’ve gotten a firm understanding of ethics and integrity, building trust, and organization/tracking. Now it’s your turn to put these ideas into action as you grow into an effective life coach your clients celebrate and refer their friends to.
Let me know how you are changing as a result of focusing on service skills in the comments below, love! Who are you becoming as a result of your awareness and practice using these tools?
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