Episode 55: Scaling Small – How to Create a Workshop

To kick off our series on growing your practice with group offers, we’re first exploring whether or not you need to scale your coaching practice and then how you can incorporate aligned and effective workshops in your business.

55: How to Create a Workshop

Today we're talking about a topic that used to make me really anxious but has now transformed into one of my favorites: how to scale your coaching business. Now, you might be wondering if scaling your coaching business is something you have to do and I'd argue that it isn't.

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Show Notes

Today we’re talking about a topic that used to make me really anxious but has now transformed into one of my favorites: how to scale your coaching business.

Now, you might be wondering if scaling your coaching business is something you have to do and I’d argue that it isn’t. As always, what matters most to me is that you’re building a coaching practice that’s in alignment with your values, your vision, and how you want to work.

So whether growing with group programs is for you or not, there's going to be some valuable information in here that you can apply to your coaching practice. In fact, there’s so much I want to share with you on this topic that we’re going to be splitting it up into three episodes, starting today with a deep dive into workshops.

Topics covered

  • What it means to scale your coaching business
  • My love/hate relationship with the concept of scaling
  • What is a workshop?
  • The main benefits of offering workshops
  • Three key questions to ask yourself before creating your workshop
  • Getting clear on the post-workshop next steps for your attendees

Resources mentioned

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Well, hello again, my friend. Welcome to the Coach with Clarity Podcast. I'm your host, Lee Chaix McDonough, and I am so excited that you are here joining me for another episode because, in today's episode, we are going to talk about one of my favorite topics. And I'll be honest with you, it didn't used to be one of my favorite topics, it used to make me really nervous and anxious to talk about it. But now that I have a full understanding of it, I cannot wait to dive into it with you, and that is how to scale your coaching business. And there is so much to this topic, I'm not going to limit it to just one episode, no, actually, I am going to be spending three full episodes exploring the ways in which we can scale our coaching practices.

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So today, I am going to start off by defining what it is when I talk about scaling, and specifically how to scale a coaching business. And then we're going to move into one of three strategies you can use to scale your business if you choose. Today, we are going to be going full in on workshops as a way to scale your coaching practice. In future episodes, we are going to explore other paths, including memberships and small group programs but today, I want to start with the humble workshop, because I think it is a perfect introduction to scaling your coaching practice. But first, before we get ahead of ourselves, let's make sure we're on the same page, let's define what it is we're talking about when we talk about scaling your business because you may have never heard this term before. Or maybe you've heard it a lot but in different contexts, so let's make sure we have a shared definition before we dive into the how of scaling. So let's be clear on the what. When I am talking about scaling your business, all I mean is that we are exploring ways in which you can serve more people in the same amount of time or even in less time. So how can we expand your reach, your impact, and your influence by serving more than one person at a time as you are growing your business? That is what scaling means. So I used to really have a love-hate relationship with the concept of scaling. In fact, when I was first starting out in my coaching practice, and I was focusing pretty much exclusively on one-to-one work, I always felt like I was not doing something right because I wasn't scaling. I wasn't looking at growing my business and serving more people in a really fast way. In fact, for the first two to two and a half years of my business, I did exclusively one on one work, and during that time, I thought maybe I was doing something wrong because I wasn't looking at ways to serve more than one person at a time or ways to grow my business outside of one on one work. So I was interested in scaling, I was scared around scaling, I wasn't sure if I was ready. I also wasn't sure if it was what I wanted for my business. So if you have any sort of mixed feelings around the topic of scaling your coaching practice, I want you to know that first off, you're not alone, and secondly, scaling is not a requirement for your coaching business. So let me say that, again, scaling is not a requirement for your coaching business, you do not have to scale your business if you don't want to. If you want to work exclusively with private coaching clients and build a robust, profitable, and sustainable coaching business serving one client at a time, you can do that. It is entirely possible, and anyone who tells you that you can't, is probably trying to sell you something. It wouldn't surprise me if they had a glossy program all about how to hit six figures and even seven figures through group programs. So if someone is telling you that you cannot have a successful business only serving individual clients, I would investigate what their true motivation is because that is not true. You can have a thriving coaching practice serving one on one, and if you want to grow your coaching practice by reaching more people, then scaling is an option. But it doesn't have to be either-or, there is more than one path to a successful profitable business and today and over the next few episodes, I am going to be exploring some paths that have scaling baked into it. So we're going to be talking about workshops, memberships, group programs, and the like because I think they're fun. I think it's a great way to grow your audience and expand your reach, and yes, they can be very profitable but I am providing this information to you as options, not as requirements. So please know from the very beginning, what matters most to me is that you are building a coaching practice that is in full alignment with your values, your vision, and how you want to work. So if you are interested in growing your practice by adding some group offers, then you are going to love today's episode and the next two solo episodes with me because we are going to be exploring all of these paths. And if that's not for you, or you're not sure you're ready for it, that's okay, take a listen, because I suspect that there's still going to be some valuable information in here that you can still apply to your individual coaching practice but please know that this is not being presented to you as something you must do, but rather, I am sharing it with you so that you know all of the options that you have available to you in your coaching practice.

Okay, so when we're talking about scaling, please know that number one, all I'm talking about is how to grow your business by serving more than one person at a time. And number two, know that you can grow your business however you like and it does not have to include scaling but if you are interested in looking at how to add group programs in, how to build a membership, and how to build a workshop, then you're definitely going to want to stick around for the next few episodes of the Coach with Clarity Podcast. And today, we are kicking it off by diving into the small but mighty workshop.

So what is a workshop? For the purposes of our conversation today, I am defining a workshop as a short-term and often a single session offer that balances teaching your audience something new and helping them take the steps to implement whatever it is you've taught them. So the emphasis of a workshop is that it is a short period of time, you can have a single session workshop, you can have a workshop series, but the emphasis is that we are taking a relatively defined topic and going deep on that one area. So for example, I have run a single workshop program, and I have run a three-part workshop series about how to build a solid coaching business. And within each workshop, I have a very defined agenda so that I'm not trying to take on too much, the scope isn't too broad, and at the end, my participants are going to have all of the basic tools they need to build the foundation for their coaching business. So it is highly focused, I am sharing information on how to do something and I'm also providing participants with the tools and resources they need in order to take action during or after the workshop. So in the workshop, we're looking at how to do something, the resources, you'll need to do something, and then maybe also some time and space within the workshop to get started.

So let's talk a little bit about why you might want to conduct a workshop within your coaching business. Well, first, it is a wonderful way to address a need that your clients or your audience has shared with you. So if there is a particular topic or question or issue that routinely comes up among the people you most love to serve, then that makes for a great workshop topic. For example, one of the questions that I get asked a lot, whether in the Coach with Clarity community or for my clients, is how to find clients. “Yes, I want to coach and I really love working with people this way, but how do I find them? How do I get coaching clients?” And so what I've done in the past is conducted workshops that directly address that question. How do you build a marketing plan? How do you build connections with the people you want to serve and with potential referral sources? So all sorts of questions within this larger issue of finding clients and that makes for a wonderful workshop topic. So that would be one reason to conduct a workshop, which is you can show up and serve your audience really powerfully around a single topic that you know, matters to them. Another reason to conduct workshops is because it's a phenomenal way to build your visibility, your credibility, and your expertise. So you can position yourself as a guide for your clients through a topic that might feel confusing, or overwhelming, and yet is important to their growth. So when we put ourselves out there to say, “Yes, I have a way of doing this, and I would love to share it with you”, it becomes an opportunity for us to build our platform so that we can connect with more people so that we can show up and serve them and really step into our own expertise on a given subject. So workshops are a great way to serve your audience to show up where they are and address a primary need to build your own visibility and credibility around the topic to connect with new potential clients who maybe have not yet interacted with you in a deeper or in a paid capacity. And then finally, workshops tend to be a terrific first step. So this may be an introduction to people working with you in other capacities. So for example, when I have run the Creating A Coaching Business workshop in the past, it often led to people wanting to continue their work with me, either in a one-on-one capacity or in one of my group programs like the Coach with Clarity Membership. So that's the other thing about scaling, even though we're talking about how to serve more than one person at a time, these opportunities may actually lead to more one-on-one clients. So if you're conducting something like a workshop, and you're showing up and you're serving people powerfully, it makes sense then that they would want to continue to work with you. And so we can look at how to do that through one on one work or through other group programs. And then again, it's just going to lead to additional growth in your business. Okay, so we have defined what scaling is and whether or not you need to do it in your business. Short answer, no, you don't need to, but you might want to. And if you do want to, we have explored one way to do so which is through a workshop. We've defined what a workshop is, what its scope should be, and why you may want to consider adding this to your suite of services.

Now let's spend a little time talking about how we can design an effective workshop for your clients a workshop that will have them excited to show up, that will have them making gains in their business or in their lives, and that will lead them to want to continue to work with you. So whenever I am designing a program, whether it is for an individual client, or whether it is for a group program, there are three questions I am always asking, and that is who, what, how. So those three questions are at the foundation of any program I am creating in my business. Number one, I want to know exactly who I am creating this program for. Ideally, I've done work already around knowing who my ideal client is and who the audience I want to serve represents. If you've not done that work yet, no worries, I've got plenty of resources to help you do that. In fact, Episode Four of this podcast talks about how to create clarity in your coaching practice, and that starts with identifying who it is you most want to serve and then I have some activities in the Coach with Clarity Business Blueprint that walks you through how to define and determine who that client is. So you can check out Episode Four by going to CoachwithClarity.com/4 and you can download the Blueprint for free by heading to CoachwithClarity.com/Blueprint. I think you'll find that that podcast episode combined with the Blueprint will really help you gain some clarity on who it is you most want to serve in your business. And then once we have that, we can get even more focused and ask, who is it that I most want to serve through this workshop? What is it that this person most wants to get out of their life, their relationships, their business, whatever it is you're choosing to focus on, we want to be really clear on what it is they most want. And we, as the workshop host, also need to be aware of what it is they most need. Now, sometimes that want and that need will be the same thing, and other times the clients will want one thing and we may know that in order to get that one thing, there's something else that they also need along with it. So as we are composing our workshop, we want to be really clear on who we are designing the workshop for, what that person wants, and what they need, if it's, in fact, two different things. So using my own workshops, as an example, I knew that the person I most wanted to serve through the workshop was a relatively new coach. So someone who was probably in the earlier stages of building their business, and I knew what they wanted, were clients because to have a coaching business, we need to have coaching clients. And the number one question that they were coming to me with was, “How do I get more clients?”. So that's what I knew they wanted out of a workshop and in order to find those clients, I knew they needed a clear message, a clear vision, and some strategic action plans to support their work. So, for example, how to create a marketing plan that feels good and works with their values and their vision for their business. So it goes deeper than just how do I find clients, and it really goes into creating strong structural supports for your business. So I was looking at, how I could do both? How I could present both what they wanted, and what they needed inside the workshop.

Once we're clear on who the workshop is for, and what they want, and what they need, we've got that who question really unlocked, now we can move into what and that's looking at what it is you are actually going to be providing in the workshop. We want to be clear on the main concept, and again, with the workshop, because it is a shorter-term event, we want the topic to be highly focused, we don't want to take on too much in a workshop setting. And take it from me, as someone who has done too much in a workshop setting before, it doesn't work. It comes from a place of wanting to show up and serve our clients really powerfully. So there's some lovely service energy behind that but when we take on too much, and when we try to do too much within a workshop format, we run the risk of overwhelming our clients and the audience. And so what happens is, instead of leaving them excited and empowered to take the next step, they feel overwhelmed, and they start to wonder if they can really do it. So you serve your clients more powerfully by staying highly focused, and not trying to do too much. So really be mindful of how much content you are sharing within a workshop. In most cases, you will probably need to share less than you think you do. We want to make sure that we are presenting the information in a way where it's clear and it's actionable so that clients can then take what you've shared with them and apply it in their own lives. So to do that, it's important to know the overarching topic for the workshop, we want to be clear on where the client is when they're starting and where we want them to be at the end of the workshop. So we're starting to kind of chart out that journey. And then we want to think about the path between those two points in time where they are now and where they want to be at the end of the workshop. We want to think about the process that we use in order to move them from one point to another. So what are the steps that they need to take? What are the tools that they need to have access to in order to take that action? What are some milestones that they'll want to hit along the way? And what are some potential obstacles that might come up that we will want to make them aware of in advance so that they can prepare for it? So as we're thinking about this workshop journey that they're going on, we want to be clear about the start and the endpoints, the process or the path that's going to take them from point A to point B, and what they can expect to encounter along the way. So in the workshops that I was conducting for my clients, I knew their starting point, many of them were relatively new to coaching. They may have had a few clients, but they were looking to develop a system that would bring more regularity to the client flow so that they knew that they weren't always having to go out and hunt down clients but that they had systems in place that would make it easier for them to connect with future clients. So that's where they wanted to be, they wanted to have some systems, some processes that they could repeat, in order to bring new potential clients into their world. So I was really clear on point A, where they were today and point B, what they wanted, as a result of the workshop. With that in mind, I was then able to create a process that I could guide them through, and that they could take with them after the workshop and continue to implement on their own. So for me, that looked like, how do we come up with a rock solid marketing plan that gets you in front of your ideal clients, and in front of your ideal referral sources, but we're doing so in a way that plays to your strengths. It plays to your values, and it incorporates your priorities. If you're going to be making a marketing plan, we want it to reflect your vision and your business, not someone else's. So how do we do that? That's what we covered in the workshop. So I would walk them through those processes so that they could start creating their own marketing plan, start coming up with specific tactics that they could implement. And I did it in such a way so that after the workshop, they would be able to return to this process, and do it themselves, so that they could always build out and refine their own marketing plan. That's the real value of the workshop is teaching people what to do, and providing them with the tools so that they can implement it on their own.

So once you know who your workshop is for and what it is you are going to be addressing, then we need to answer that third question, which is how. How are you going to run this workshop? How are you going to share all of this valuable information with your people? Well, we first need to start with deciding on the format you are going to use for your workshop. I've mentioned in the past that I have done multi-session workshops and I've also done single-session workshops. I find that both formats have their advantages ad depending on how much content you want to share in your workshop, you may find that you need more than one session to do so. But if you're just starting out, I am going to encourage you to think about creating a single workshop session first. Let's focus on one topic one session and how we can help our clients get the most bang for their buck out of that single event. So let's assume that we're talking about a single session. Now we need to think about how you want to share the information you have with your people. Are you someone who's more comfortable with a lecture-style approach? So maybe you have PowerPoint slides, and you're walking your people through exactly what something is, why it matters, and how to get it done. You may find that that kind of lecture-style approach works really well for your audience and for your workshop. You may also find that there needs to be some hands-on time in the workshop as well, where your participants have the opportunity not just to hear the information and learn it from you, but they also have the opportunity to apply it right there during the workshop. So for example, maybe in your workshop, you decide, okay, for this particular topic, I am going to take 10 to 15 minutes and walk them through the information they need to know about it, and then we're going to take 10 or 15 minutes for them to participate in some activities where they apply this information. So what could those activities look like? Perhaps you have a workbook and so they take 5 or 10 minutes to answer the questions in the workbook, and then you can come back as a group and debrief that together so they can share their ideas what they've worked on. If there are any sticky points or questions they have, then you can provide some guidance right there in the workshop but we are pairing the receiving of information with the application of that information right there in the workshop. This is a wonderful strategy to use, especially with adult learners because as adults, we tend to learn best by doing and by applying the knowledge that we are receiving, whether it's through lecture or books or so forth. So in a workshop when it's possible to partner the information with an activity, it really is going to serve your attendees in a strong powerful way. It's going to show them exactly what they need to do after the workshop is done in order to continue to take action. So when possible, I love incorporating that hybrid approach into my workshops where it's one part instructional, one part implementation. Now, depending on the workshop topic, and whether you're doing a single session or multi sessions, you may want to think about having other resources available to support the workshop attendees. For example, when I did a week long, three session workshop, I created a pop up Facebook group to go with it. And that Facebook group was great because it was a way for all of us to engage with each other outside of the session so that as students we’re applying what they had learned and practiced in a workshop, they could ask questions in the group, I could ask questions to see how they were enjoying the workshop, what their biggest insights were, what questions they had. And so that pop up Facebook group became a very important way to build and continue engagement between sessions, and that's particularly important if you want your workshop to lead to something else.

And so that takes me to my final recommendation when it comes to workshops, we've talked about knowing the who, the what, and the how. So knowing who it's intended for, what you want to cover, and how you are going to share all of that with your people. At the conclusion of that workshop, we also want to make sure that we have a very clear next step for each attendee to take, and ideally, that next step is going to involve continuing to work with you. So maybe you are inviting your workshop participants to sign up for a consult call to discuss one on one work. In my case, I offered my workshop participants the opportunity to join the Coach with Clarity Membership, and I decided to allow them to apply the cost of the workshop to the membership. So if they joined the Coach with Clarity Membership, it was almost like they were getting this workshop experience for free. So that's an example of a call to action that you might want to consider incorporating into your workshop structure. So at the very end, say the last 3 to 5 minutes, you are summarizing the key takeaways from the workshop, you're reminding them of the steps they can take after the workshop to apply the material you've covered. And then you can invite them to the next step, which might be joining a membership, getting on a call, joining a Facebook group. You get to decide what that call to action is but be really thoughtful about what the next logical step would be for your ideal client in this journey. So if they've completed this workshop with you, and they've had an excellent experience, which I'm sure they have, what is the next logical step? For me it was joining the membership for you, it may be getting on a call to explore working together one on one, there's no right or wrong answers here. And in fact, the more work we do in this area, and the more workshops we conduct, the more information we're going to get about what our clients want from us next. So don't be afraid to try something out, to experiment, to have a little fun. And I can't wait to hear how conducting a workshop in your business allows you to grow, to serve and to scale. So with that, let's go into this week's Clarity in Action Moment.

This week's Clarity in Action Moment is brought to you by my brand new offering, Grow With Groups. Grow With Groups is a one day virtual retreat experience, where I will walk you through exactly what you need to know to build, launch and run your first or your next group program. We will be building on all of the things that we're talking about in this scaling series. And I will be helping you get everything in place so that you can run a dynamic group experience for your clients. And just as I described in today's podcast episode, I am a firm believer in matching knowledge with action. So within this one day retreat experience, you will have plenty of opportunity to actually get some good solid work done surrounded by other coaches who are growing their group practices as well, and not only will you have time to consult with me during the retreat about your group programs, we will also have a bonus Q&A session a few weeks after the retreat so that if you have questions about how to run your group, how to find group clients, how to market, we will be able to explore that together in the follow-up Q&A. So to learn more about the Grow With Groups Retreat and to sign up and secure your spot, head to CoachwithClarity.com/GrowWithGroups, we will be hosting this one day event on Saturday, April 17th. So go ahead and block your calendar now and then head to CoachwithClarity.com/GrowWithGroups to learn more, and to secure your spot. I can't wait to see you then.

Okay, my friend for this week's Clarity in Action Moment, I am going to invite you to grab a piece of paper and a pen, or maybe your iPad with Good Notes on it, whatever it is you use to take notes, but I'm going to encourage you to take five minutes and answer the three fundamental questions for your workshop, the who, the what and the how. So just take a few minutes to jot down your initial ideas around who this workshop is meant for, what it is they want and what it is they need. And then with that in mind, what content and activities will you provide in your workshop in order to serve your clients? And then how will you structure your workshop? Will it be a single session? Do you want it to be a multi-day event? Are you going to take a hybrid approach that blends lecture style with hands-on application? I want you to kind of brainstorm here what your ideal workshop would look like. And of course, if you would like more help with this, I encourage you to sign up for the Grow With Groups Retreat. It's all happening on Saturday, April 17th, so just head to CoachwithClarity.com/GrowWithGroups to sign up and I will see you then.

Oh, my friends ,we have covered so much in today's episode. I hope that you have found my walkthrough of creating a workshop to be helpful. Next week on the Coach with Clarity Podcast, I am excited to bring you another coaching call with one of my Coach with Clarity Members, and we'll be taking on the topic of delegation, which is a big one. And I know a lot of you have questions about what you should be working on, what should be delegated to other people. We will be exploring that in next week's episode of the Coach with Clarity Podcast and then the week after that, I will be continuing this series on scaling and we will be looking at how to grow with a membership. This is a topic very close to my heart as a membership site owner myself so I will be sharing with you what I've learned over the last two years of building, hosting, and running a membership. So we've got some great episodes coming up for you. I cannot wait to share them with you. So I hope you will join me again next week for another episode of the Coach with Clarity Podcast. Until then, my name is Lee Chaix McDonough, reminding you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.

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