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.
In our series, we’ve tackled the first seven steps of this journey (you can start with step one of the series here) and now we’re onto the 8th step – the coaching program. Let’s explore why a program works best for you, your business and also for your client.
What is a Coaching Program?
What exactly is a “program”? A program is a commitment to work together to achieve a particular goal or outcome. It’s the roadmap that gets your clients from Point A to Point B and is designed to support them as they navigate changes and their overall journey with money and financial decisions. It’s not just about meeting up for a chat; a program is a structured path that supports clients through their financial decisions and changes. Programs can vary in length, communication methods, and payment options, but their core purpose is consistent work towards a clear outcome.
What a Program Isn’t
It’s important to clarify what a program isn’t. It’s not about sporadic, one-off sessions where clients call when they feel like it. Nor is it a one-size-fits-all approach; every session must be tailored to each individual’s unique needs.
And it’s important to note that a program is more than just a digital course – it’s interactive and personal. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a course. Rather, know that a course is not the same thing as a program.
We call the Financial Coach Academy a program because there’s a digital course with all your training videos and resources but there’s also a live cohort and live coaching every month too. If it didn’t have those things, it’d just be a course.
A Program is a Win-Win-Win
I am all about finding the win-win-win scenario in business. When thinking about what success looks like, a win-win-win scenario is looking for the strategy or approach that is good for you, the coach, good for the client, and good for the business overall. Since I have a team of people I employ, when I am thinking about what’s best for the business, I’m also looking at what’s best for my team as part of that. That’s the sweet spot.
For You, the Coach
A program allows you to plan your time and income efficiently. Knowing how many coaching hours you’ve committed to in the coming months and the payments you expect is incredibly valuable. More than that, it enables you to witness and support the change in your clients, which in turn boosts your confidence and strengthens the coach-client relationship. This, I believe, allows you to do your best work, help people get the best results and both of those things boost your confidence.
For the Client
Change is hard, and a program offers the structure and commitment that prevents clients from quitting when the going gets tough. It also shifts their mindset, transforming their identity as they commit to their goals. According to a study by the Association for Talent Development, the likelihood of achieving a goal skyrockets to 95% when there’s a specific accountability appointment, which is essentially what a program offers.
For Your Business
A well-structured program showcases the value of your services through tangible client results, helping in marketing and client referrals. It also provides predictable revenue, allowing better financial planning for your business. Finally, a program allows you to truly fulfill your brand promise.
CHECKPOINT 1: Do you see why a program model is best for your clients and just as importantly, what’s best for you and your business?
Inviting Clients to Invest in Your Program
When inviting clients to join your program, the most important aspect is your belief in its effectiveness. You need to confidently present the tangible takeaways and emotional transformations they can expect. This is where you reflect on whether you truly believe in the benefits of a program for your clients, yourself, and your business.
As a financial coach, when you invite a client to invest in a program, the core of your success hinges on your belief in that program. It’s essential to recognize that your confidence in the program’s effectiveness is not just beneficial for your clients but also pivotal for your business. In our Academy, we offer both a 90-day coaching program and a 6-month skills-based program, with flexibility to adjust the duration as needed. Remember, the length and structure are merely features; your belief in the program’s effectiveness is what truly matters.
Avoiding the Apologetic Approach
A common pitfall for coaches is to sound unintentionally apologetic about the commitment or investment required for the program. This often stems from a lack of complete belief in the program’s value. If you seem hesitant or doubtful about the effort required to create change, it’s unlikely that your potential clients will feel confident about committing to and investing in the program.
Positioning the Program as a Catalyst for Success
Instead of apologizing, own the value of your program. Explain the statistics and the success rates associated with it. During the Discovery Session, your clients might be at a 50% probability of success. Highlight to them how the program can significantly increase their chances of success. Emphasize that while effort and time investment are inevitable, your program offers expert guidance, shortcuts through the learning curve, and avoidance of mistakes, ultimately saving time and enhancing success rates.
Investing for Success and Efficiency
The investment in your program is twofold: it’s about increasing the likelihood of success and saving time and effort in achieving goals. Make it clear that investing in the program is not just about reaching their goals but doing so more efficiently and effectively. As a coach, you must be unequivocal about this, enabling you to guide your client towards a clear and confident decision.
CHECKPOINT 2: Do you BELIEVE in a program so you can confidently and clearly present this offer to your clients? Or do you need to do some work in your belief system?
Setting Realistic Expectations and Guarantees
When presenting your program, it’s important to be clear about what you can guarantee. For instance, in a 90-day coaching program, outright debt elimination may not be a feasible promise. The journey to financial freedom is complex and individualized. However, what you can assure is the client’s proficiency in executing their financial plan within those 90 days. Even if their path to becoming debt-free is longer, you can guarantee that they will be well on their way, managing their plan effectively and autonomously.
The Power of Tangible and Emotional Takeaways
The impact of your program extends beyond financial outcomes. Consider the emotional journey of your clients. Initially, many might feel overwhelmed or hesitant. Your role as a coach includes transforming that apprehension into confidence and determination. By the end of 90 days, your clients should not only see tangible financial improvements, like increased savings and controlled spending, but also experience a significant shift in their mindset. They will be equipped to make better financial decisions, reflecting both an improved financial situation and a newfound confidence in managing it.
Emphasizing the Holistic Benefits of Your Program
As a financial coach, it’s beneficial to emphasize both the emotional and financial benefits of your program. Let your clients know that by the end of the program, they will not only be financially better off but also emotionally stronger. They will possess a clear understanding of their financial standing and the knowledge to enhance and build on their financial health. This dual focus on emotional well-being and financial acumen is what makes your program uniquely effective.
CHECKPOINT 3: Are you clear on the tangible takeaways, guarantees and how your client will feel at the end of your program?
When you present the offer to continue working together, you’re going to focus on their goal and how this program, more than anything, will help them achieve it. I like to get their buy-in throughout the conversation so I’ll usually ask something like “Would you like to hear more about the program?” or “Would you like to hear more about how I can continue supporting you?”
Then I focus on those guarantees and tangible takeaways and I focus on how they will feel in 90 days. These are the benefits of your offer. Keep in mind, at this point, I have not discussed the # of sessions or price. I need them to be bought into the value first. If they don’t see the value, it doesn’t matter if it’s 1 session and $5, they won’t want it right? First things first, do they want the outcome?
Again, I might ask something like “How does this sound so far? Do you see how working together for the next 90 days could help you?” Or “Does this program sound like it would deliver what you want?” or even something like “On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being terrible and 10 being amazing, how would you rate how these benefits sound or this program sounds?”
This approach not only gives you valuable feedback but also helps the client reflect on the program’s potential impact on their financial journey.
CHECKPOINT 4: Are you leading with the benefits and takeaways of your offer and not the features? Are you getting their buy-in before talking price and logistics?
Reflecting on the preparation and client understanding you’ve developed, it’s important to tailor your conversation about the offer to fit the client’s personality and needs. For example:
- For Analytical Clients: If your client is detail-oriented, focusing on precise numbers and logical reasoning, emphasize the financial aspects of your program. Discuss specific financial outcomes and guarantees, and use rating scales to engage them and assess their perception of the program’s value.
- For Emotionally-Driven Clients: If your client tends more towards emotional reasoning, wanting to feel better or less worried, center your discussion on the emotional benefits of your program. Focus on how it will improve their sense of wellbeing and reduce financial stress.
The Importance of Focused Messaging
Remember that overwhelming your client with an exhaustive list of benefits can be counterproductive. It might come across as unrealistic or too good to be true. Instead, employ a targeted approach. Identify two or three key outcomes that will resonate most with the client. This focused conversation is more effective than presenting a long list of potential benefits that may seem intangible to them.
Implementing the Coach Confidence Process
Utilize a Coach Confidence process, which involves identifying the top reasons a client will benefit from long-term coaching. This method, outlined in The Academy, helps in keeping the discussion centered on the most impactful results of your program. It’s about showing the client the most relevant and attainable benefits, rather than overwhelming them with every possible outcome.
Simplifying for Greater Impact
Shift your perspective from trying to justify the investment by listing all benefits to concentrating on a few key, impactful takeaways. This approach not only makes your offer more believable but also helps the client to clearly see the tangible changes they can expect. Remember, a few well-chosen benefits that clients can truly envision are far more valuable than a multitude of vague promises.
CHECKPOINT 5: Are you taking a client-centric approach to your offer by catering the messaging to the client you’re meeting with and no one else?
Focusing on Your Client
Are you ensuring that your services are tailored to each individual client? Remember, it’s all about understanding and addressing their unique needs. Think of it like a dance – you’re constantly moving between what’s possible in the future and what’s happening right now. Your role is to make their financial journey clear, showing them where they stand today and guiding them towards their next steps. Keep their ‘why’ – their main motivation – at the heart of everything. Avoid getting lost in a checklist of topics and lose sight of this ‘why’.
The Reality of Client Journeys
Don’t expect a perfect, textbook client journey. At Fiscal Fitness, we have a Skills Checklist that outlines an ideal learning path. However, life happens! You might need to adapt your sessions to real-life situations. It’s your job to keep the sessions on track, ensuring progress even if the topics seem random at times. Remember, it’s about the bigger picture and the overall progress they’re making.
Skills Checklist and Tailoring Sessions
Our Skills Checklist is a guide, but it’s not set in stone. Clients learn at different paces and have different needs. Over 80 concepts could be introduced, but not all are relevant for everyone. The key is to always be prepared with ways to deepen their understanding of money management.
Building Your Program
Your program shouldn’t be a rigid, pre-set path. Stay ahead of your clients and be ready to adapt. Our Cash Flow Control program at Fiscal Fitness is a 90-day journey, starting with intensive weekly sessions, then moving to bi-weekly meetings. It’s designed to empower clients to make informed, confident financial decisions. We don’t just meet for sessions; we offer ongoing support, encouraging emails, budget reviews, and more. Our pricing reflects the value of the results and experience, not just the number of sessions.
Remember, your clients are investing in the results and the experience, not just the time spent in sessions.
CHECKPOINT 6: Are you too focused on what you charge per session and not the outcome, results or value you provide?
Shifting Focus from Session Costs to Value and Outcomes
Are you too caught up in what you charge per session instead of focusing on the value and outcomes you deliver? Remember, the core of your offering is your belief in your program – it should resonate with you, your business, and your client.
As you design your offer, regularly reassess to ensure it aligns with your beliefs and vision. The number of sessions, the pricing, how long it lasts, and what each session covers are all important, but they’re secondary to your conviction in the program’s effectiveness.
Make sure you present your offer clearly to clients, eliminating confusion and decision-making stress. This clarity is vital for your growth and success, as outlined in our Client Journey Roadmap.
Your program isn’t just about short-term gains; it fosters long-term client relationships. These clients:
- Achieve noticeable results.
- Develop new aspirations for their future.
- Provide you with steady revenue, enabling better personal planning.
- Adhere to a consistent meeting schedule, aiding in time management.
- Become easier to work with over time, making sessions more enjoyable and less time-consuming.
- Often refer others to you, potentially making referrals your top business source.
In essence, your program is a pivotal component of your Ultimate Guide to Growth as a coach.
Reflect on the checkpoints in this series and consider how they can help expand your financial coaching business. I’m eager to hear about your insights!
Wrapping up, your program is more than a series of financial coaching sessions. It’s a transformative journey that you undertake with your clients, leading them towards financial success. Each part of your program – from planning to execution – plays a crucial role in building a successful financial coaching business. As you reflect on these points, think about how they can help you grow and improve your offerings.
In the next episode, we’ll explore how to create a scalable financial coaching business through a Periodic Coaching Program. This will be a game-changer in how you approach client engagement and business growth, so stay tuned!
By understanding and implementing these concepts, you’re not just conducting sessions; you’re creating a life-changing experience for your clients, which in turn brings success and fulfillment to your financial coaching practice.