April 4, 2018
Any human relationship can become predictable and stale. In that regard, coaching relationships are no different.
(In a previous post, I talked about the importance of consistency when it comes to retaining clients. Just so you know on the front end, I’m not countering that point at all.)
The first 90 days of a coaching relationship are always the most transformative. But what do you do after 90 days when the coach and client become familiar with one another, and there is still some work left to be done?
Well, I think it’s pretty simple: change it up!
Introduce some variety to alter the dynamic of the coaching relationship and freshen your sessions.
Here are a few ready-to-go ideas to inspire you:
Choose a new location; better yet, an inspiring one!
I’m usually all for meeting at the same location every week for simplicity. But, after I’ve coached someone at the same place for a few months, sometimes the same sights and sounds every week can create a sluggish coaching session.
Before the meeting place becomes too familiar, I like to suggest a new meeting spot.
I can recall working with a client who had an extremely long-term goal. We enjoyed working together, but, I could tell the long days he was spending on getting his new company up and going was causing some fatigue.
One week, we decided to change up our meeting spot to a bar and grill that was at the harbor in San Diego. Up to then, each week we met at the same coffee shop in a convenient neighborhood.
It was amazing to me how a new place with flat screen TVs showing sports off in the distance and a light appetizer shifted the mood so much. As stressed as my client had been, I watched him loosen up considerably. His body language changed. We laughed a ton, and he was able to get over the hump and knock out some goals.
But don’t limit yourself to just another coffee shop or a restaurant with a view.
There’s nothing stopping you from meeting a client in a park, on a bench atop a hill, a cliff overlooking the beach, on a sailboat, etc.
There’s no rule that says you need to be seated at a table.
You’ll be surprised at the kind of impact location has on your coaching session.
However, just make sure that the location you choose is conducive to having a conversation – so not too loud, too windy, too cold – you get the picture.
Choose a different time of day.
When you first begin a coaching relationship, both you and the client are quite invigorated seemingly no matter what time of the day you meet.
A few months in, your client might actually like to go home right after work on a Tuesday instead of having a coaching session. It’s not that they’ve lost interest in coaching; it’s just that they are experiencing some fatigue due to monotony.
Suggest a couple of different days or times when the client might have more energy or less busyness in their schedule. It’s amazing how simply changing the hour of the day can remove the dullness from the relationship.
Take a break.
This might be a scary one for some coaches who think that breaking the routine by taking a couple weeks off from the coaching relationship might make the client move on for good.
For me in my own practice, I’ve always sought a commitment of 90 days at a time. 90 days isn’t too short, and it’s also not too long.
There’s great breakthrough that happens in that 90 days, and the client always feels amazing and accomplished when we reach that milestone. At that point, it’s a no-brainer for clients to continue, but I have it scheduled to take a week or two off so that the client, as well as myself, get a mental and emotional break as well as some time off from one another before diving back in.
In most cases, my clients, who are generally extremely driven business people, aren’t even aware that they could use a break. But, after getting that extra week or two off, they come back appreciative, recommitted, and with a sparkle back in their eyes as they go after their next goal.
I’ve used all 3 of these ideas in my own coaching practice to keep the relationship fresh and maintain the engagement of the client. By no means is there a limit to the kind of creativity that you can use, but these are easily the simplest that you can implement.
Keep the relationship vibrant, and you’ll keep a client!