A frequent topic of discussion for us on the Blanchard Coaching Services team has been around the amount of flexibility we afford to our clients when designing their coaching program. That is, to what degree do we allow them to influence our coaching delivery model to meet their needs while maintaining the integrity of the best practices that have proven to be the most effective?
Almost all of our clients have time and budget constraints that need to be considered and respected when designing a coaching solution. The goal is to balance all potentially competing factors to meet the needs of the budget, the sponsor, and the individual receiving coaching. We have learned through years of experience that when not designed and delivered properly, the client’s coaching experience will not have the level of impact we have become accustomed to.
This led me to question the appropriate time to push back and establish ourselves as the expert that can lead the client to their desired results if, and only if, they follow the tried and tested best practices. For example, let’s say I hire a certified dietician to create a healthy eating plan for me but then explained to the dietician that I was unwilling to eliminate cakes, pies, cookies, pizza, fried chicken, double cheeseburgers, and carne asada burritos from my diet. As the client, I would expect a respected dietician to tell me to save my money and come back when I’m serious. If the dietician told me they could work around my unhealthy eating habits, I would question their credibility as an “expert.” If I am serious enough about eating healthy that I am willing to spend the money on an expert in the field, I should also be disciplined enough to follow the expert’s advice. Furthermore, if I was the dietician, I wouldn’t want to jeopardize my reputation as an expert, or waste my time and my client’s time and money, when they are obviously not serious about improving themselves.
So for all you coaches out there, the next time your prospective client tells you that they only have 30 minutes to spare once every six months, what will your response be? Please share your thoughts and experiences on this subject in the comment area below.