Episode 6: Creating Your Coaching Offer

In this episode, I’m taking the conventional wisdom and strategy around this topic and flipping it on its head by walking you through what I was taught about creating coaching offers and then explaining what I think should be done differently. We’re going to explore the steps you need to take in order to create a coaching offer for your ideal clients so they can start working with you in a paid capacity.

6: Creating Your Coaching Offer

We've spent a lot of time on the podcast exploring how to start coaching and how to connect with your ideal clients, and now I have something even more juicy for you! We're going to explore the steps you need to take in order to create a coaching offer for your ideal clients so they can start working with you in a paid capacity.

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Show Notes

We’ve spent a lot of time on the podcast exploring how to start coaching and how to connect with your ideal clients, and now I have something even more juicy for you!

We’re going to explore the steps you need to take in order to create a coaching offer for your ideal clients so they can start working with you in a paid capacity.

In this episode, I’m taking the conventional wisdom and strategy around this topic and flipping it on its head by walking you through what I was taught about creating coaching offers and then explaining what I think should be done differently.

Topics covered

  • Why the process of creating your coaching offer shouldn’t start with determining the benefits your clients will receive
  • How following the consumer psychology strategy of offering three packages completely failed me
  • Why you need to start this process by focusing on your client’s journey
  • The main question you need to ask yourself when creating your coaching offer
  • The two main benefits of starting with a results-oriented approach
  • How having a results-oriented approach also serves you as their coach
  • A results-oriented approach is great, but what if you don’t know what your client wants or how long it will take?

Resources mentioned

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Well, hey friend! It's time for another episode of the Coach with Clarity podcast. I'm your host, Lee Chaix McDonough and this episode is a juicy one. We are going to explore the steps you need to take in order to create a coaching offer for your ideal clients. 

So this episode is the next one in our Getting Started series. We've been spending a lot of time really exploring how to start coaching, how to connect with your ideal clients. Now we are going to look at what you can create as an offer, so that they can start working with you in a paid capacity. 

In today's show, I am going to start by sharing with you what I was taught to do and what is maybe a traditional way of approaching the creation of a coaching offer, and then I'm going to suggest that you approach it differently. I'm going to take conventional wisdom and turn it on its head a little bit, because actually, I think conventional wisdom has it backwards. I think it has a start with step two or three, instead of what I think should be step one. So I'm going to walk you through what I was taught, and then I'm going to present a different way of viewing the process of creating a coaching offer. 

I can't wait to hear what you think of this episode. If you are not already a member of the Coach with Clarity podcast Facebook group, you're going to want to join because we will continue the discussion over there. So head to https://www.coachwithclarity.com/facebookgroup, and that's where you can request to join and then engage in the discussion. Alright, so let's get started. 

When I was a coaching student and completing my coach training program, there was a brief module on how to create coaching packages, and so what I found was that almost all of the focus was on the logistics and the structure of the package. So I was encouraged to think about the specifics of what I would be offering my clients: How many sessions would be in the package? How long would each session be? What bonuses or additional add ons might I add? So I was taught to approach the creation of a coaching offer, from what I now call a benefits perspective. 

When we talk about benefits, we are talking about the tangible things that a client receives when they sign on with you, so they receive a certain number of coaching sessions or a certain amount of time, they receive maybe unlimited email access or review of any written materials they create. These are the benefits that a client receives from working with you, and a lot of people start here when they are conceptualizing their coaching offer. 

And just to take it a step further, not only was I encouraged to start here, but I was encouraged to do this three times, and some of you may be familiar with this approach. I think somewhere in some sort of consumer psychology study, people found that when you have three offers, the majority of people will choose the middle offer. So that's why you might see tall, grande, and venti at Starbucks, and I'm willing to bet that Starbucks sells more grandi drinks, because it's the middle option of the three. Well, that same consumer psychology is often applied when it comes to creating packages, and that's what I was taught. I was taught to have three different packages that I would offer a client, and to make sure that the package that I really wanted them to choose was that middle package. 

So for example, if I wanted to work with a client for three months, my middle package would be three months, my first package would be maybe six weeks, and my third package would be six months. So again, I've got six weeks, three months, six months, and most people will probably choose that middle package. We are coming at this from very much a quantitative, benefits oriented perspective. We are really anchored and almost exclusively focused on the tangible items that we are providing our clients. 

So this is where I started, and it's really funny when I go back and I look at some of the flyers and promotional materials that I created back in 2016 when I was first starting my coaching practice. Oh my gosh, I cannot tell you how much time I spent creating these cleverly named packages. So I had the “Chart Your Course” package, and I had the “Discover Your Purpose” package, and all of these really fancy names to describe three different packages, three different price points. Of course, each package as it went up in price, you got a little more with it. So again, we're just adding more benefits on. 

And I have to tell you, that did not work for me at all. People did not care about the cute names that I had from my packages. Really what they wanted to know was whether or not I could help them achieve their goals and what it would look like to work together. 

So let me just pause for a moment and say that if you have done this, if you have started from a place of “Okay, how many times Am I going to meet with my client? How long are we going to meet and what assessments or tools or books or bonuses can I add?” If you have approached creating your coaching offer from this perspective, you haven't done anything wrong. You have followed conventional wisdom and you have done what so many of us have done. We have started with the what instead of starting with the how, and so you're not behind. In fact, you've already done some legwork that I'm going to recommend other people do later. So think of it more as a jumpstart. 

But in your case, we're going to need to go back to the beginning. Instead of starting with logistics and structure, I want you to start with your client’s journey. And so if you're listening and you've not yet created a coaching offer, then I'm going to ask you to start at what I recommend is step one, and that is a results-oriented approach that centers your client’s journey. 

So everything that I've described up until now, the traditional way of doing things, that is what I call the benefits-oriented approach, where we sent her our offer around the what of what we provide: the frequency of meeting the number of sessions, the duration of sessions and so forth. That is the benefits oriented approach. I am going to ask you to take a results-oriented approach, and that means getting crystal clear on your client’s journey. 

We've talked a little bit about this in previous episodes, I want you to really have a solid understanding of where your client is now: What does their present day look like? What's working for them? What's not working for them? What have they already tried, in order to solve the problem that they perceive? What are they hoping for? What are they fearful of? 

Really get into your clients world. I want you to know them inside and out, and to really know their present day struggles and their present day desires. 

Once you know that, then I want you to think about their ideal future. What do they dream of? What do they want to create in their businesses and their relationships and their lives? What really matters to them? So we're creating What I've referred to before as this before and after picture, or the before picture is them now in today's moment, and the after picture is where they aspire to be. And then as the coach, you are the guide that gets them from before, to after from point A to point B. And so as the coach, I want you to ask yourself: what do they need in order to make that journey? 

So again, we are coming at this from a very different perspective. We are not starting with the number of sessions and length of time spent and averaging a price based on an hourly rate. We're not there yet. We are still anchoring our services and our offer in the clients journey and what they need most. So that we know if what they want is a thriving business or a healthier lifestyle or a better relationship. with their kids, we know the ideal end result, and then we can work backwards, we can create an offer that has that end goal in mind from the beginning. 

So coming at it from a results oriented perspective really shifts everything, and there's two huge benefits to starting from this result oriented perspective. First and foremost, this will help you so much when it comes time to market your offer. A lot of times I see coaches go out there and when they talk about the coaching they provide, again, they're focused on the benefits. They talk about, oh, I work with my clients for six months, and we meet every other week for 90 minutes. and there's an assessment that I give them and… and it's just information overload. 

And while at some point the client is going to want to know, how often do we meet and how long do we meet for that's not what's driving their decision, whether or not to work with you. What's driving the decision is whether or not based see you as a means to an end, whether they believe that you are in a position to guide them from where they are now to where they want to be in the future. 

And that's why moving away from a benefits-oriented approach and towards a results-oriented approach will help you when it comes time to share what you have to offer with people. Because if they know that you understand what they're struggling with now, and where they want to be in the future, then they are going to feel deeply connected to you, because they know that you understand them, you get them. And then they're going to trust that through coaching with you, you're going to help them achieve the results that they want. Again, it's all about results. So first, this is going to help you with marketing. 

But the second way that this is going to help you, and I think this is going to resonate for a lot of you out there, is that when we start with the results, and we really look at our clients journey, and we allow that to happen form the creation of our coaching offer, we are keeping the client at the center. We are centering the client in our work. And this approach is very aligned with the values that I'm sure many of you hold. You want to coach because you value being of service to others. You value self-improvement and supporting others and their process of self-improvement. You value integrity, and honesty. And so it feels good to center our work in the client. 

And yes, of course, as coaches, we want to make sure that we have a business that supports us and sustains us, and we do need to make sure that when we are setting rates for our services, we're doing so in a way that allows us to build our businesses, support our families and live a fulfilling life. And we're going to talk more about setting rates in next week's episode. 

But for those of us who really describe ourselves as intuitive, heart centered coaches, it feels really good to know we can support ourselves financially, and be in alignment with our values, because we are keeping the client at the center of the work that we do, and everything else just follows from there. 

So again, when we take a results oriented approach, when we anchor our offer in the client's journey from now to the future, then we are in alignment with our values, we make it easier on ourselves to market our services, and we create a strong foundation from which we can then move into a logistic framework and think, okay, in order for my client to achieve what they most want, this is what the package needs to look like. In order for them to work towards their vision of their ideal future. We are going to need to spend six months together or we are going to need a four hour deep dive session, whatever it looks like for your clients, you get to determine that. But again, it's rooted in the results, not the benefits. 

Okay, so hopefully you have a really good understanding of a benefits-oriented approach versus a results-oriented approach to creating a coaching offer. And you're all in on starting from that results framework. Again, once you know your clients journey, and you understand your role in that journey, you can then structure your coaching offer and consider the logistics, knowing that it is serving the client and will ultimately get them what they want through the coaching relationship. 

Now, some of you may be listening right now and thinking, “Okay, Lee, this sounds great in theory, but how do I actually apply this? I'm just starting out. I'm just putting myself out there as a coach. What if I don't know what my client wants? Or what if I don't know how long it's going to take for them to reach those goals?” Those are great questions. 

So first and foremost, if you aren't sure what your client really wants, then ask them. This is where having some conversations with your ideal clients to learn more about who they are, what they're struggling with, and what they really want, can be really helpful. And so I generally recommend to connect with three, five, maybe eight people at most, that have qualities of your ideal client, and sit down and have a conversation with them one on one. 

Again, the goal of this conversation is not to convert them into a client. The goal of this conversation is really more market research. You're asking them to share 10 or 15 minutes of their time, and to answer some carefully crafted questions that will give you greater insight into what your ideal client is experiencing, what they want, and how you can serve them. 

So a little bit of market research can really help you ensure that you have a solid understanding of your client's needs. And then you can meet those needs with your services. 

Now, what if you feel really confident in who your client is and what they want and what they need and what they're struggling with and all of that, you feel really good about that. But you're still not exactly sure what a reasonable period of time is for the client to experience the desired change that they want? Well, I have a couple thoughts on that. 

First and foremost, I'm willing to bet that most of you listening have a lot in common with your ideal client. In fact, for many of you, your ideal client may be a younger version of yourself. And if that's the case, then you can also be your own case study. You can look at what you went through, what you learned, how long things took you, and you can take that information, and let it inform the decisions you make around the duration of your coaching offer, and how you work together. 

I would also encourage you to pay attention to your intuition. You have a deep inner wisdom, and I'm curious, if you get quiet for a moment, and you connect with that inner wisdom, what comes up for you? Do you have a sense of what would best serve your client? Do you have a sense of what would have served you earlier in your journey if you had been working with a coach? 

So again, I want you to do your market research, connect with your ideal clients, examine your own experience, all of these external data points are important for you to consider. And I want you to marry those with your inner wisdom, to pay attention to that internal compass and the guidance that you're receiving from your intuition. Because when we bring these both together, when we merge the external data with the internal knowing, then we are on solid ground for making a decision. 

There's another option that I want to share with you, if you're uncertain what the coaching package should look like or how long you should work with a client. I'm going to suggest that you let your client tell you. So let's say that you are meeting with a potential client. They're interested in working with you, and all of a sudden, we get to the point where you're starting to talk about what you offer and what it looks like. It's so tempting to go into benefits mode, but instead, let's stay in results mode, and let's keep the client at the center. 

Get curious and ask them questions. Ask the client what their goals are. Ask the client,” At what point in your life would you like to have achieved this?” Allow the client to start to establish a timeline and then work backwards from that. 

So if you know that your client's goal is to build a healthy, profitable business, and they are really lacking a solid marketing strategy, and they doubt their ability to really put themselves out there and get clients, well, this is a lot of really helpful data, because now you're hearing that they need some strategy support, but there are also some mindset blocks going on here. And so you can kind of engage with the client and have them set an end goal, by what date would you like to achieve this? 

And if they say, you know what, I would really love to have a solid marketing strategy that I'm implementing and I'm getting clients within the next three months, well then maybe it would be fun to partner with the client and create a package just for them that's three months. 

So especially for those of you who are just starting out, I would encourage you to approach this almost like you are co creating the coaching offer with your client. And there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think there's a lot of benefit to creating things as you go. It makes the client feel heard and honored because you are so clearly tailoring a package that's just for them. And through the process, you are going to learn so much about whether this timeframe works, what works, what doesn't. 

And that's the other piece that I want to leave you with. When it comes to creating your coaching offer, especially when you're first starting out, I encourage you to think of this like the first phase in a grand experiment. So you've set the hypothesis that in three months of working with this client, you will be able to achieve A, B and C. Well, that's a great hypothesis, and now it's time to test it. And at the end of three months, if you discover that, hey, we accomplished A, B and C, then excellent, you've confirmed your hypothesis and you can continue to offer that coaching package with some confidence that this will meet your client's needs. 

And if you get to the end of three months and you realize oops, we were only able to accomplish a, well now you know that three months is insufficient, and so you can either restructure the offer so that in three months, you will get to point A or you add more time and in six months, you can get to point A, B and C. 

And I want to share with you that this is exactly what happened to me in my coaching practice. Early on, I agreed to work with clients for a three month period, and at the end of three months, I found that we were making solid progress, but we were nowhere near achieving what they really wanted. We were on our way, but we needed more time, three months simply wasn't enough. 

And so that's when I decided that when I worked with my private coaching clients, it would be for six-month engagements and I got some pushback from people saying, “Well, I don't know if I can make a six month commitment. And that just seems like a long time.” And so I would validate their concerns and say, “Yes, six months is a significant investment energetically and in terms of time I get that. But I also know from working with clients in the past, that most people need at least six months to accomplish this. And in the past, when I've tried to do it in three months, or when my clients have rushed through it, it hasn't worked. And here's why.” 

And I would not be able to speak to my potential clients from that place of knowing had I not had the experience of providing a coaching package in a timeframe that didn't work. So that data was incredibly informative and helped me shape my coaching packages moving forward. 

That's why I want you to think about this as an experiment. And it's a hypothesis that you're testing and no matter the results, you are going to gain valuable information that will inform how you create your coaching packages moving forward. I now know that I work with my clients for six months because I know that's the time required to build the businesses they want, to overcome the mindset blocks that keep them stuck, and to get them on a solid path so that they can move forward and create the future of their dreams. And who wouldn't want that, right? 

So I just want to close by saying, don't let not knowing stop you. It's okay to say I don't know for sure what my clients really need. I haven't done this yet. Yeah, you don't know because you haven't done it yet, and if you wait to start until you know, then you will be waiting a long time. If you don't start, you will never know. So be gentle with yourself. Be compassionate with yourself. Keep your client’s experience at the center, partner with them to create a package that's going to serve them and no matter the outcome, treat it as data and allow it to inform your decisions moving forward. 

Wow, we have covered a lot so far! We have walked through what I was taught as the traditional way of creating a coaching offer. I've asked you to rethink that strategy and come at it from more of a results-oriented approach, but a benefits-oriented approach. We've talked about what to do if maybe you're not exactly sure what your offer should consist of. And what it all comes down to is keeping your clients journey at the center of everything you create for them. 

As long as you keep your client at the center, and you're checking in with your clients to see what they want, what they need, and how it's working for them, then you are on the right path to developing the offer that is best suited for them. So now that we've covered all of that, I think it's time for our Clarity in Action moment. 

So for today's Clarity in Action moment, I am going to ask you to take three steps. Step number one is to get clear on the results your ideal clients want. Why are they coming to you for coaching. and what will be possible for them after they complete coaching with you? So that's step number one, get really clear on what your client wants, and what the expected results can be. 

Step two is to create your hypothesis. So now that you know what your clients want, it's time to ask the question, “What can I offer them that will help them achieve those results?” And this is where we create the hypothesis that says okay, if that's what they want, this is what they need. 

And this is where you can have a little fun creating the structure and the benefits of your coaching offer. But again, we're doing it now, after we have centered ourself in the client's journey, not before, so we are clear on the client's journey and their desired result (that was step one), we've created a hypothesis about what offer will best serve them (that's step two). 

Step three is to get out there and gather some data. And what does data gathering look like? Well, it might look like scheduling some 15-minute conversations with friends or colleagues who have the traits or the qualities of your ideal clients so you can really get in their world and find out what they need. It may look like having some connection calls with potential clients and creating packages exclusively for them based on their needs.

There are so many ways to gather data and then test out this hypothesis, because again, you don't know what you don't know. And sometimes you have to get out there and actually do the work and allow that work to inform your decision making process in the future. 

But no matter what you do, don't lose sight of your greatest strength, which is your intuition. Listen to that voice inside that's guiding you. It has so much to say and so much to share, and sometimes it gets drowned out by all of that external data we're gathering. So don't ignore your inner wisdom. It deserves to have a voice in the process as well. 

I so hope that today's episode about creating a coaching practice has served you and will help you moving forward. And if you would like more support in creating this for your business, then I would love to connect with you and discuss whether my private coaching services or possibly the Coach with Clarity membership is the next best right step for you. 

So if you would like to connect with me, head to https://www.coachwithclarity.com, click on the Contact link in the menu and fill out the application for a consult call. Once I receive your application, I'll be in touch with you, and I look forward to connecting with you more deeply. To learn about your business vision and how I can help you bring it to life. 

So be sure to join me next week for the next episode of the Coach with Clarity podcast. We are continuing our Getting Started series, and so next week, now that we have this coaching offer ready to go, it's time to talk pricing. So join me next week as we talk about pricing your coaching offer. And until then, this is Lee Chaix McDonough, wishing you a wonderful week and reminding you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity. 

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