Understanding this journey and how both you and the client play a role in making it successful is Your Ultimate Guide to Growth because you’ll be able to see that this is where your growth comes from. You, your business, and your clients all grow as a result of the client journey.
If you would like to see a visual representation of this Client Journey Roadmap, and you haven’t yet done so, you can download one here.
This journey, which I’ve personally experienced and teach in the Financial Coach Academy®, is the key to transforming your business. I went from a part-time coach to running a 7-figure financial coaching company working mostly alone by mastering this journey, and so can you.
This journey isn’t just theory; it’s a proven path to success, evidenced by countless case studies in our program.
The Periodic Coaching Program
If you’ve been following along on our Ultimate Growth Guide series, we’ve reached the 9th and final step of the client journey – the periodic coaching program. This is where significant growth happens but understanding your client’s thoughts and feelings at this stage is vital. It’s about meeting them where they’re at and guiding them to the next level.
The shift from step 8 to 9 is critical. It’s where you help clients navigate from the initial stages of habit formation and financial management to a more refined and personalized approach. This transition is essential for cementing the changes they’ve made.
In the initial program, clients start adopting new habits and perspectives about money. This phase is about helping them navigate through the changes, manage unexpected expenses, and break old habits. It’s a time when your support as a coach is most crucial.
The beginning is always the toughest. Clients struggle with old habits, unexpected expenses, and adapting to new financial practices. Your role as a coach is to keep them focused and motivated, especially when the effort seems greater than the immediate results.
The Belief Shift: A Key Milestone
One of the most rewarding aspects of coaching is witnessing the shift in a client’s belief system. Initially, they rely on your belief in the journey. Over time, they develop their own belief and trust in the process, a crucial step for lasting financial change.
They’ll start to see results happening, they’ll start making good decisions that feel really good to them, they’ll begin to trust themselves and the plan they’re on.
In other words, instead of borrowing from your belief, they begin to cultivate their own. Instead of trusting you, they begin to trust themselves. That is a beautiful thing my friend. I live for this shift as a coach, I really do. To me personally, it is one of the most gratifying and fulfilling parts of coaching – seeing that transformation happen with our clients.
Checkpoint 1: Are you paying attention to this shift in your client? Are you looking for their growth in how they see themselves with money and not just the financial gains?
Tailoring Program Length for Client Success
At Fiscal Fitness, my financial coaching company, we’ve seen how different program lengths can impact success. We’ve experimented with both 90-day and 6-month programs, adapting based on the client’s needs and what’s going on in the world. Understanding the right timing for your clients is a strategic decision that can significantly impact their success.
I’ve seen the trends of what happens with our clients in both a 90-day program and a 6-month program so depending on which one you choose to go with, you may experience something slightly different.
When we’re offering a 90-day program, some clients experience this shift in how they see themselves, and the way they manage their money becomes “their way”… And other clients need more time. 90 days isn’t long enough for them to really feel as if these new habits, this new way, is part of them.
But when we offer a 6-month program, the high majority of clients experience this shift because you simply have more time to ensure the habits and decision-making are solid. You have more time to capture results so more opportunities to solidify their belief that things are working.
Extended Coaching: Addressing Continued Needs
Sometimes, clients need more time beyond the initial program. This is where clear communication about their progress and the necessity of continued coaching comes into play. It’s about guiding them with honesty and ensuring they understand the benefits of sticking with the process.
As Brene Brown says, Your ability to have crucial and compassionate conversations with your clients is a skill you may need to practice. It is OK to tell a client,
“I know some of these changes are still tricky for you. I’ve observed that you don’t transfer money to savings when it’s planned but you wait for us to do it together.” or “I know this part of the plan is still confusing for you. You’re getting so much better at it with each passing week or each passing session and it’s going to click for you very soon but it’s going to take a bit more time. And unfortunately we’re nearing the end of your 90 days of coaching so I’d like to talk with you about how we keep this momentum going so you don’t lose it.”
Be honest about what could possibly happen if they end coaching now. “I know our sessions are helpful for you. I know they help you to do what you want to do and my worry is that if we stop meeting now, you will hesitate to [do your savings transfers or update your budget] because it’s not quite routine for you yet. How do you feel about our sessions and how they are helping you to stay on track with your plan?”
Be clear and honest. They don’t know if they’re doing good or not. And chances are, they are doing better than when they first came to you so they may be thinking this is as good as it gets. They’re not the expert, you are. They are looking for your guidance, so provide it.
CHECKPOINT 2: Are you having a clear, crucial but also kind and compassionate conversation with your clients about where they’re at and what they may need in order to keep making progress?
The Final Step: Periodic Coaching Program
Now for those clients who are doing great, they’ve experienced the shift, and they’re working their plan because they believe in it and in themselves, they are on to the final step of the client journey roadmap – periodic coaching program. This program is tailored for those who have shown significant progress and are ready for less frequent, but still impactful, coaching sessions. We’ll talk about this more in the final part of this series.
The Art of Effective Offboarding
Your other option at the end of the initial coaching program is offboarding – whereby you bring the coaching container to a close. Offboarding is just as critical as the coaching itself. It’s a time to celebrate the client’s progress, highlight their achievements, and set clear post-coaching expectations. It’s about leaving them with a sense of accomplishment and clarity for their financial future.
This is also a great time to ask for feedback or a testimonial from the client. Once you show them the progress they’ve made and they really see it, capture that pride! In this way, not only does proper offboarding provide the client with closure but it also provides some for you too.
CHECKPOINT 3: Are you performing a successful offboarding process so your clients have closure, clear expectations and an open door to come back when they want more coaching? If not, how can you strengthen this process to serve both you, your clients and your business?
Leveraging the Client Journey for Growth
This client journey is a powerful tool for growing your financial coaching business. Reflect on these checkpoints and consider how you can implement them in your practice. Stay tuned for more insights on the periodic coaching program, and start leveraging these strategies for your growth and success.