Ultimately, getting results and satisfying clients is what determines your success as a coach. Many coaches struggle with how they can quantify their results. What I’ve found is that there are two types of results and value that you can provide as a coach. When you can work with clients to clarify and track both, it will be much easier to attract clients, keep them, and have them rave about you to others.
Result #1: Specific Business Value
The first kind of value is the specific business and organizational results the client achieves through your coaching. Results can include productivity gains, growth of the organization, reductions in voluntary employee turnover, faster time to market, and other gains in the many metrics that organizations track.
Many coaches fail to take enough time to clarify these goals with clients, and then to track them throughout the coaching process. Some don’t know how, and others feel uncomfortable having these conversations. As a result, they have trouble justifying their fees and value.
How to Establish This Kind of Value
The way to establish this kind of value is by asking great questions during the business development process, and when you are scoping out the engagement. For instance, if a client wants your help developing leaders on his team, don’t just quote an hourly rate. Instead, ask some of the following questions:
What does leadership development mean to you?
What improvements will your team be able to make through this process?
How can we measure these improvements?
Let’s quantify these improvements. What are they worth to your organization? (For instance, if the client sees opportunity to improve productivity, you can work with him or her to quantify how much the organization can save.)
Result #2: Personal Value
The second type of value is even more important. However, the client often doesn’t open up about this kind of value. You have to ask, and even then it might not emerge until you are well into the coaching engagement.
Value and results here are the personal benefits you provide the client. These can be priceless. Some executives get their life back as a result of coaching. For instance, coaching colleague shared with me the story of a client came to him with tears of gratitude, thanking him for saving his marriage. As a result of coaching, he was able to spend more time with his wife and kids, and this made a huge difference to him. The scope of the engagement was about juggling priorities and getting control of time; saving his marriage was never mentioned as part of the scope. However, as the coaching progressed, the personal impact on the client was truly priceless.
Other types of personal value can include: eliminating hassles and headaches, gaining confidence, feeling more secure in the job, having more status, and getting a promotion and making more money.
How to Establish the Priceless, Personal Value
To bake this kind of value into the engagement, the coach should ask some additional questions during the business development and scoping conversations:
If we get the results you want, what will this mean for you personally?
How will you feel when you achieve these results?
What will be the impact on your time/stress/confidence/work-life balance?
Alternatively, if you don’t do anything and nothing changes, what will be the impact on you personally?
Most prospects will answer these questions, especially if you are good at building rapport. In fact, their answers to these questions make it much easier for you to close coaching engagements. This is a common theme in sales trainings: Get beneath the logical problems and benefits to the more emotional, personal ones. When you do that, you uncover the real problem and real reason someone will hire you.
After almost two decades as a coach, I am 100% positive about the impact we have as coaches. The changes that we can help clients make in their careers and lives are breathtaking and awesome.
One challenge for many coaches is that they don’t take enough time to explore both kinds of value. They pitch coaching, or a particular methodology, instead of asking great questions to understand the client’s motivations and issues. Others haven’t developed the skills needed to walk clients through a process to uncover the value that coaching can bring to them. And some simply lack the confidence to ask about these things.
Also, discussions during the business development and scoping phase are only the start. Great coaching includes a process to measure and track progress, and stay focused on the goals throughout the engagement.
Once you learn how to have these conversations and then bake results and value into your coaching, it will be much easier for you to get and keep clients, and they will rave about you.
All of this presents a wonderful opportunity for new coaches or people thinking of getting into coaching. About 85% of coaches in the market today fail to do the things described in this article. It takes substance, a track record of success, and verbal skills to be able to have these conversations with prospects and clients. If you have this kind of substance and skills, you can do circles around most coaches in the market today. That is great news!
The Center for Executive Coaching focuses on these skills, along with best-practice coaching conversations for results, and we can show you how to succeed.
Contact me anytime if you have interest in discussing these issues in more depth. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and I am the Founder and Director.