In the throes of designing, launching, and growing your business, it can be hard to find clear-cut direction.
Blog posts and webinars are helpful, but it takes work on your part to apply the content and personalize it to your business.
Courses dive deeper into content, but you’re often one of many students taking part.
Mastermind groups and Facebook groups are great for gaining feedback, but others in the group don’t have the time to sit down with you and come up with a customized plan for your business (let alone hold you accountable to all the steps).
But business coaching is the best of all worlds.
You get the content, but it’s personalized specifically for your business. You gain the one-on-one attention and accountability. And you have direct access to an experienced individual who can answer questions and provide specific feedback.
Coaching takes the loneliness, second-guessing, and “winging it” out of starting and scaling an online business.
Last fall I soft-launched my coaching program for these very reasons, and over the past year I’ve been blessed to work with close to 20 business owners one-on-one.
Curious to see what it looks like? Here’s an inside look.
It starts with an initial coaching questionnaire
Once a new coaching client signs the client agreement and completes the invoice for their first month of coaching, I create a shared client folder in Google Drive.
This shared folder acts as a homebase for the coaching program.
It houses questionnaires, call notes from each monthly meeting, and occasionally some other resources that I want my clients to have access to.
Once that folder is set up, I create a copy of my initial coaching questionnaire from my Master Copies folder and drop it inside.
You can see a detailed look at how I organize my Google Drive and create master copies in this blog post.
I use the answers to this initial coaching questionnaire to prepare a customized game plan for my client.
How clients book their first meeting
Once the client folder is set up and ready to go, I send my client an email with a link to the shared folder so they can begin filling out the initial questionnaire, along with a link to book their first session.
I use an app called Calendly to set up all of these client calls, and it makes the scheduling process a breeze.
I simply set up the days and times I’m available for a meeting, the duration of the call, and add fields for any information I need from my clients for the call.
When I’m done, I can send a link to the live page to my client and they can choose from the available days and times.
Calendly automatically schedules the meeting into my calendar, allows my clients to add it to their calendar, and sends them reminders about the upcoming meeting.
It takes the back-and-forth out of scheduling and makes the entire process easier on both me and my client.
Prepping for the first call
I send my clients three quick questions a couple days before the scheduled call to help us both prepare for the meeting.
For the first meeting, the questions are along the lines of:
- What is your primary goal for this quarter?
- What is the one thing you are hoping to get out of the call?
- What three burning questions do you need help answering?
For clients who’ve already had their first meeting, the questions are usually:
- How is your progress coming along on last month's action items?
- Are you struggling with any of the actions steps? Is there anything you'd like more insight or feedback on?
- What top 3 things are you hoping to get out of our upcoming call?
I ask my client to reply with their answers at least 3 hours before their call.
When they reply, I set up a Google Doc for their call notes and add those three questions to the top.
I leave space for meeting notes and action steps below, and often map out a gameplan of topics that need to be covered in the “meeting notes” section based on their answers to those three prep questions.
The ins and outs of each 90-minute strategy call
I meet with each coaching client for a 90-minute strategy call once a month.
The call is booked with Calendly, prepared for with those 3 prep questions and call notes, and set up through Crowdcast.
Crowdcast is the tool I use to host my weekly Ellechat webinars. But I’ve also found it very useful for hosting coaching calls, too.
I can easily share my screen with my clients (for things like tech trainings and tutorials) and my clients can easily access the replays once the meeting is over and refer back to the topics and actions steps we discussed.
So before each client meeting, I set up a private, password protected Crowdcast event and send the link to my client (usually in the same email as the three prep questions).
At the time of the meeting, my client visits the link, I invite them on screen, and then we begin diving into hangups and pain points, strategy and systems for conquering them, and action steps for the month ahead.
These meetings look a little different for each client, but the resounding feedback across the board is that:
- It’s like drinking from a fire-hydrant; there’s a lot of information all at once (but that’s what the replay is good for!)
- They’re motivated and excited to dive into the action steps and get started
I’d also like to think that they’re fun :)
I take notes throughout the meeting in that shared Google Doc, and once the meeting is over I go back through and clean them up by adding links and helpful resources.
I send my client an email the next day with a link the replay, a link to the call notes, and a link to book their next coaching call.
Weekly accountability check-ins
This might be one of the most valuable aspects of the coaching program.
Clients leave the 90-minute meetings excited to implement everything we discussed. But as the weeks and long work days pass, it’s often hard to carry out those action steps.
Things get busy, client work seems more pressing, and it’s all-too-easy to set aside the work that needs to be done for yourself and your own business.
It’s also easy to second-guess our decisions or feel like we’re doing it wrong. And, if we’re honest, sometimes it’s easy to procrastinate for fear that we’ll mess it up.
But that’s one of the best parts of coaching - you don’t have to go it alone!
I check in with my coaching clients every Friday to see how they’re doing and if they’re stuck on anything. This is a great opportunity for them to ask questions and gain feedback on the work they’ve been doing since our last call.
I never set out to launch a coaching program, but it’s one of the most fun, rewarding things I’ve ever done.
I consider it a huge blessing to be able to take what I’ve learned, use it to pour into other business owners, and watch them succeed.
If you’re interested in business coaching, I am accepting new coaching clients now. Please don’t hesitate to take a look at pricing and contact me on my coaching page. I would love to hear from you!
And if you have any questions about coaching or how I set up my coaching program, feel free to ask them in the comments.
Have you ever participated in business coaching? How was your experience? What three burning questions do you need answered right now for your business?