Creating an effective on-boarding process sets the stage for building trust and credibility.
It isn’t about welcoming a new client, it’s about co-creating a transformative journey from the outset.
Aligning expectations with agreements and paving the way for powerful coaching.
Master this and your client will feel valued and heard.
Skip this and your client will feel adrift, neglected and misunderstood.
Unfortunately, many coaches overlook the importance of this step. They rush through it or dive straight into coaching, putting the relationship at risk.
Today, I’m sharing how to on-board your client, so you can experience greater clarity and engagement.
Plus less attrition too.
Let’s get started.
Some coaches neglect on-boarding because they view it as an administrative task. Rather than an essential part of the coaching journey.
Others fear it might overwhelm their clients and opt for a watered down approach.
Common misunderstandings include:
- Not knowing where to start, no clear framework.
- Feeling too busy or lazy to craft a personalised approach .
- Assuming once the sessions begin, everything will fall into place.
- Unaware of the potential benefits and impact on the relationship.
- Underestimating client needs and adopting a one size fits all approach.
Fortunately, there’s a better way.
Step 1: Define clear objectives
The first thing to do, is define your onboarding objectives.
My objectives may be different to yours.
For example, if you want to align expectations, you might include:
- A roadmap of the topics you’ll address
- A breakdown of your coaching style
- Methodologies and working formats
- Agreements around assignments
- Anticipated outcomes
If you want to build trust and report you might discuss:
- Client responsibilities
- Coach responsibilities
- Values and principles
- Code of engagement
If you want to streamline admin processes, an organised approach might detail:
- Client support
- Contract details
- Client preferences
- Scheduling dates/times
- Policies, terms, conditions
What’s important is every step and interaction aligns with your objectives.
Step 2: Customise the experience
Once you have your objectives defined, you can personalise the onboarding experience.
The danger is in adopting a one-size-fits-all mentality.
Just as every client is unique, so should their onboarding experience be.
- Avoid sending the same questionnaire to every client
- Adjust your coaching techniques in line with client preferences
- Respect cultural or background differences
- Be flexible in your approach to boundary setting
- Honour the clients journey and unique needs
Failure to do so will put at risk creating the best possible experience and outcomes.
Step 3: Open communication
Now you have clear objectives and a personalised onboarding experience, prioritise open communication.
Open communication is the foundation principle to ensure a seamless transition.
From expectant client to engaged and committed.
By prioritising open communication you’ll have:
- Confidence in you
- Clarity of purpose
- Increased engagement
- Trust in your process
Make sure you:
- Establish clear channels of communication: including best ways to reach you.
- Set boundaries but be accessible: so your client knows you value any queries.
- Encourage feedback: ask for input, not just progress.
Following these steps will reduce misunderstandings and potential hiccups down the line.
Your goal is to partner with your clients for growth and unlock potential.
An ineffective on-boarding process can scupper that before you’ve got going.
Failure to acknowledge your clients preferences can be catastrophic.
Building on shaky foundations can fatal.
Your reputation can take a dive and your income hit.
Ignore on-boarding at your peril.
Think about putting together a robust on-boarding process.
Instead of going through the motions or skipping I invite you to consider:
What does it look like?
What does it feel like?
Good onboarding will lead to better outcomes.
Clients who feel seen and heard are more likely to experience tangible results.
With tangible results, they are more likely to continue with you and tell others.
Feel free to take any elements I’ve shared today. Customise and make them your own.
Today’s Action Step
For your next client onboarding session create a personalised “Client Onboarding Map.”
This visual tool outlines
- Your key objectives
- Anticipated steps, milestones, and goals
- Feedback loops
- How you want your client to feel
Not only does it offer clarity, but it also acts as a roadmap for the entire coaching relationship.
Share this map in your first onboarding session.
Then revisit it periodically throughout the coaching experience.