How You Can Get Your Clients to Commit to Doing the Work
Having clients who are committed to doing what is required of them in order to get results is an amazing thing. They make your work a lot simpler and effective. With the results they will get, you will look like a Rock Star!
Unfortunately, most coaching clients aren’t like that. Even most of the high paying clients have commitment issues. They will gladly hope that you will do your part and do their part as well.
However, you already know that your coaching can only be successful if there is collaboration between you and your clients. You have your role to play as a coach, your client has theirs. The effectiveness and the amount of results you get from a coaching program are dependent on how the Coach-Client partnership plays out.
As a coach, who is out to transform lives and help clients, your commitment will seldom be in doubt. But a client, who probably does not know the rudiments of a coaching program, might just desire to pay you money to get them results. As a result of this, most coaching clients do not have enough commitment to do what is required of them in order to get their desired results.
The money is good, but helping them solve their problems is better, and its best when they are involved.
To get your clients to commit to doing their part in the coaching process, you would need to take the following steps:
Define Expectations From the Get-Go
I know you are tempted to be nice and let things flow at the beginning. You don’t want to make the client feel edgy or uneasy around you. You need to establish a relationship with the client first before letting them in on what is expected of them. You have to wait for the “right time” to tell them what is expected of them.
I get it. But the truth is this; there is no right time to define expectations than at the beginning. You need to make them understand that they have a role to play in getting results. You need to instill the need for accountability and responsibility from the start. This will save you a lot of stress. It is also good for the client to understand what they are in for, from the very beginning.
In defining expectations, it is important to focus on the outcome rather than steps. Let them see what they stand to gain if they do what is expected of them. Go through it with them and be sure they understand it perfectly. You can also try to know if there is anything that will deter them from meeting up with their expectations. If there are deterrents, you can work with them to fix it, even before starting the coaching process.
You can take it a notch higher by putting these expectations into writing. It takes care of the challenges of forgetfulness. If they are ever confused about what they need to do, they can always look at the written document. Also get them to sign it. People naturally commit to doing something when they append their signature to it. Kerry L. Kettle calls it “the signature effect”.
However, you should not make it look like you are shoving it down your client’s throat. Make them see the need to sign the written commitment. If your client understands that the solution they are desperately looking for is in their ability to commit to taking actions, they will sign. And by signing, they know they are bound to do what is expected of them.
Make Their Goals Specific
Most of your clients come to you with stories and vagueness. In some cases, you even notice a lot of distortion in the way they talk about their problems. They dabble from one challenge to another and build a mansion of problems that look difficult to comprehend.
The challenge with this is that the client gets overwhelmed by the issues and it lowers their morale to really do something. When people feel the need to do more than they can physically, emotionally, or reasonably handle, they get overwhelmed.
It is your responsibility to help them narrow down their problems to a specific issue that can be handled. Try to put all the challenges they have rolled out into one specific basket. Cut out vague details that make their problem seem bigger than they can handle. Don’t forget to let them know why you are doing it, so they don’t feel you are selective with them.
For instance, if a client comes to you and they are like “I’m overweight! I need to lose some wait! Please help me!” It is quite obvious the client needs help, but she is not being specific. You can get the client to be specific by asking how much weight she wants to lose – 20…30 lbs.
For a client who says “My business is not growing, I want my business to grow”, that goal is not specific. You can get them to state how much increase they want in their business, in comparison to where their business is currently.
Having specific details to work with makes it easier for your client to be committed to actualizing their goals. It takes away the bulkiness and cumbersomeness from their goals, and helps them focus on something tangible and achievable.
Breakdown Tasks to Simpler Milestones
Even with a specific goal in sight, if tasks are not simplified, the client finds it difficult to comprehend. This will make them lose the enthusiasm to reach their goals. It also affects the way to meet expectations and the efforts they put in. If there is no effort put in by the client, it stalls progress and tells badly on the results they get.
If you are able to breakdown that specific goal into simpler and smaller milestones, the client begins to look at the little achievements they are making and find motivation to commit to the process.
For the clients we serve at Clients Oasis, we have found a way to break down the task for them into 6 simple steps. We try as much as we can to remove complexities from the process, to make it easier for our clients to follow through. We have found this to be very effective, as we remove overwhelm from our clients with smaller milestones.
Clients respond negatively to ambiguity and complicated steps. Distill it to very simple steps that the client can comprehend and work with. Let the milestones be something they can achieve within a specified time.
Encourage your client to track their progress
I want to believe that you run your day with a to-do list. So you can understand the joy you have in crossing something off that list. It gives you added motivation to head on to the next task and get it done.
It is the same with your client. Every time they cross something off the list of tasks that will help them achieve their goals, it fires them up to get to the next one. If they achieve any milestone, it gives them the confidence that they can go through the process and achieve their ultimate goal.
However, they need to know the impact of what they have achieved on their set goals. They need to keep track of what they have achieved in the process. This will help them know how close or far away they are from their desired goal. This helps your clients in a great way. If they feel exhausted at any point in the process, a look at how far they have come will give them the courage to stay committed to the goal.
Small progresses are most times difficult to recognize, but nothing motivates like them. Encourage them to celebrate little milestones. She wants lose 30lbs; she should celebrate the 5lbs loss after 4 weeks! It will help them believe in the possibility of achieving their goals. He wants his business to be making $50K monthly in from $10K in 6 months. If his business makes $25K after 2 months, it’s a progress worth celebrating.
Threaten to Fire Clients
Granted, some clients can be jerks! You pull every known card out of the pack, and yet they resort to doing nothing. There is one last shot at getting commitment out of them. Threaten to fire them!
Remember, you have got them to sign the commitment agreement at the beginning. If you notice that they are unwilling to take responsibility and play their roles as stipulated in the agreement, after doing all that you can, you can fire such clients. Don’t be afraid to fire clients, who don’t want to do what is expected of them.
However, you have to be professional about this. Make sure you get the client’s attention and point out exactly the reason you are pulling the plug on them. If they really want to continue, you will see them swinging into action. If they don’t, you can call it quits with the client.
Having clients who are committed to do the work is fantastic. However, you may have to do some work on them to instill this committed. There is no one-size-fit-all approach to this, clients are different. It all begins with the first time you sign them up as clients. If you take all these steps, and a few other ones in the books, and the client isn’t coming through with her commitment, it’s okay to call it quits.
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