The Business Side of Coaching: Communicating About Scheduling

I think of my private coaching business as having three main steps in its funnel:

  1. Attracting clients
  2. Figuring out a time to meet
  3. Providing an awesome coaching session

We only get paid when we do all three, but a lot of times we focus disproportionately on the first and last piece. It’s probably the least fun, least creative, most annoying step, but it’s equally important and the easiest to improve once we realize its significance.

I am not a parent but the older I get, the more I realize that parents have to manage a lot. A typical parent that I work with has multiple kids, playing multiple sports, often on multiple teams...and a job. I feel like I’m pretty busy on a day-to-day basis, and parents do basically everything I do in addition to having (often multiple) other people completely dependent on them. Dealing with that craziness can get frustrating, especially when you multiply it by each client you are working with.

An important paradigm shift that helped me with all of this came a little over a year ago now.

I stopped viewing all of the back and forths to figure out a good time to meet with a client as an annoying necessity, and started viewing that communication as part of the service I was offering.

I understood that clients are paying a premium for a one-on-one service, but I have also learned that clients are paying for the peace of mind that comes with knowing a coach is going to go to great lengths to make it work for them. Here are a few more specific suggestions on how to do just that:

Respond Quickly

Our top five coaches by the number of sessions completed so far in 2018 have an average response time of just over 2 hours. This is about 3 times faster than the site average.

There is a direct correlation between the time it takes a coach to respond to a client, and the numbers of training sessions they are able to complete.

Set the tone and expectation early on in your communication with your client and respond back as soon as you get that first message.

Respond Often

As a CoachUp employee, I have access to information we collect to try and improve our business, and I know that the number one reason we issue refunds for unused training sessions is for scheduling difficulties.

Sometimes, a client and a coach will have incompatible availability, but let’s be honest: As coaches, we miss out on more opportunities to train clients because we don't communicate our availability well enough to the client. In most cases, there are simply too many opportunities to actually have zero options to schedule.

To avoid these missed opportunities, you need to openly and effectively communicate the openings that you do have, and gather information from the client about openings on their end.

It may require some back and forth, but it is a necessary part of getting to that third step of providing a great training session.

Be Upfront About the Challenges

Let your client know you understand they are juggling a lot, and you are juggling several clients who are all in a similar position. Let them know it might not always be easy, but you are going to work with them to make sure you can help.

I have noticed with many clients that as soon as they start to see you putting in the effort to find a time that works, they start to do the same.

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Mike Weisman is on the Coach Engagement Team at CoachUp and doubles as a part-time baseball coach on the CoachUp platform. 

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