Your Initial Coaching Session Can Make You Or Break You!

There are a lot of misconceptions in the coaching industry about the value of an Initial Coaching Session (ICS). Far too many coaches consider their first encounter with a new client of such limited value that they will do the initial session for free!

I often have coaches tell me that the purpose of their initial session is to find out if it is “a good fit” for coach and client! Whenever I hear that comment, I cringe! Are they coaching or dating their clients?

Few coaches truly appreciate the real value of the ICS and why it should NEVER be given out for free! Here’s what an ICS is NOT:

– It is NOT a social call
– It is NOT a coaching call

Your ICS is a skillfully crafted and structured first encounter with a client that has only one purpose in mind! It is designed to take your clients to the next step.

Unfortunately, for many coaches the ICS goes nowhere and the potential client simply disappears!

If this happens in your coaching practice, here are the 5 elements of an effective ICS that will result in the retention of the client and the cultivation of a long-term coach/client relationship!

First, you should allow 30 minutes (approx.) for your Initial Coaching Session (ICS). The 30 minute ICS is structured in such a way that it validates you as the coach that the client needs to achieve their Desired Outcome. There are 5 components to the ICS call that will accomplish this objective:

1. Issue (5 minutes)
Have the client communicate in their own words how they would describe the issue or challenge they’re dealing with. This could be a personal issue, such as a relationship or a weight loss problem, or a professional issue dealing with a career or business.

2. Impact (5 minutes)
Have the client communicate in their own words how this issue is impacting their personal and/or professional life. Key elements of this component will be the emotional impact on their daily routine or their quality of life.

3. Resolve (5 minutes)
In order for you to work with a client and achieve a Desired Result, the resolve needs to be an absolute MUST. You are a results-driven coach and not a “dream weaver”!

4. Solution (5 minutes)
Up to this point, the client has done most of the talking. Now it’s time for you to take the helm! This is your moment to shine… and deliver!

• You understand the issue(s) for which your client seeks your help.
• You appreciate the impact this has on your client’s personal and/or professional life!
• You feel inspired and motivated by your client’s determination to achieve their Desired Outcome.
• You have decided that you want to work with this client and you are going to spend the next 10 minutes explaining how your coaching program is going to deliver the desired results!

Then it’s time for the…

5. Assumptive Close (10 minutes)
It’s time to introduce your Coaching Program! This is your coaching “piece de resistance”. This is how you’re going to deliver the desired results your client is looking for. How to deliver the details of your Coaching Program and reveal your Coaching FEES is the topic of my next article.

What Makes ICS Work So Smooth?

Emergencies can occur anywhere and at any time. Therefore, it is essential to have a system which can provide required resources, equipment and personnel to the needy on time. One such system which helps nursing homes assign staff for different emergency duties and designate equipments and supplies for the needful people is known as nursing home incident command system. It’s a proven management system and has been successful in different business, military and health practices for so many years.

ICS has proved its efficiency in more than 30 years of emergency and non-emergency situations. It has been tested by all levels of government and the private sector.

The system mainly supports five major functional areas and that are commands, operations, planning, logistics and finance/administration.

Every area has different personnel for its smooth functioning. Let us discuss the hierarchy of the functional officers in ICS:

Incident commander: this person is responsible for organizing and directing the facility’s emergency operations. Every direction is given by this person. He orders evacuation and sheltering in place. The incident commander can assume three different functions with the help of command team which includes:

Public information officer: the person acts as a medium between the media and the public for interfacing incident related information requirements. He acts as a conduit for all information which is flowing out from facility related to emergency and facility status. He also supervises any communication needed for family and residents of the victims. There is only one PIO who works under the orders of incident commander.

Liaison officer: the person is a point of contact for external agencies, organizations, private entities and other’s representatives. They help in conveying information related to facility to these organizations. Any interaction with the state licensing agency, local emergency operations center, the red cross and police also falls under his duties.

Safety officer: he is responsible for monitoring the emergency’s impact on facility operations. He will communicate incident commander for operational safety. He also looks after the safety of residents, staff, visitors and other members of the facility.

Operations section chief: this person organizes and directs all activities related to resident care and services, dietary services, environmental services. These services are meant to take care of the residents and the staff, meet food service needs and manage facility grounds.

Planning section chief: this person collects and analyses all the information related to the incident across the departments. He collects all information from other section chiefs for doing long range planning in coordination with the incident commander. With all this information, the chief creates a Facility’s Incident Action Plan. This plan has general objectives and strategies for the effective management of the incident. The plan is revised after every 8 hours.

Logistics section chief: he is responsible for handling those operations which provides personnel, food, and other supplies to support any facility during an incident.

Finance section chief: his task is to monitor the use of financial assets. He maintains an account for financial expenditure.

Your Coaching Proposal Is The Missing Link

Many coaches dread the moment where they have to bring up the subject of their fees!

Some coaches try to avoid having to deal with this issue by posting their fee schedule on their website. By putting it out in the open it shows a level of transparency on the part of the coach. No hidden fees and no surprises.

Other coaches simply blurt it out! They take a deep breath and hastily tell the client what their fees are. Then they wait for that awkward silence that precedes the client’s response. Sometimes the client says “Yes”, but most of the time the client defers any commitment to some future date.

A date that may never come!

The reason for all this discomfort with coaching fees is very simple. The client’s perception of coaching value does not match the coaches’ expectation of adequate remuneration for the coaching services he/she will provide. But more importantly, the coach has not had a chance to sufficiently communicate the value of the coaching services in the time allotted for the Initial Coaching Session (ICS).

Whether the ICS is free or provided for a nominal fee, there simply isn’t adequate time to

– outline the scope of the coaching program,

– determine its value to the client, and

– present the coaching fees in a professional manner.

For many coaches, rejection becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy!

It always amazes me that for a profession that is so reliant on service and goodwill, many coaches still insist that the ICS is the “closer” to the coaching agreement! It’s where the deal is done and the value and fees are determined!

Nothing could be further from the truth!

The ICS call is not meant to be a coaching session. It is not designed to “sell” your coaching services! And it is not the time to discuss your coaching fees!

A ICS call only has one purpose! Its sole function it to move the client to the next step in the process of attracting a highly motivated and valuable coaching client. And what is that next step?

The Coaching Proposal!

As soon as you finish your ICS call, you must send your client a Coaching Proposal. Your CP consists of 5 parts that are all designed to accomplish one thing – To confirm to the client that you are the coach who can lead them to their Desired Outcome! Each of the 5 elements of the Coaching Proposal adds a unique value and authenticity to your ability to help the client achieve a Desired Outcome.

The first element gives your client the outline for your coaching program. It answers the HOW question.

The second element identifies the goals and objectives of your coaching program. It answers the WHAT question.

The third element sets out the commitment that is required to achieve the Desired Outcome. It answers the WHY question.

The fourth element determines the mutual accountability for coach and client. It answers the WHO question.

The fifth element brings it all together. It answers the HOW MUCH question. This is where you spell out your coaching fees, how they are determined, how they are to be paid, etc.

With a properly prepared Coaching Proposal, your clients will see the value of you program and the justification behind your fees.

And you will no longer have to deal with any “fee anxiety”!