How do I know if my coaching practice is successful?
This is probably one of the most asked questions among professional coaches.
I’ll tell you right away that there’s really no clear answer regarding how to measure success at work in our industry. And the reason is that it leads to so many other important questions: What kinds of metrics should I use? How do you define success? Who decides how to measure success at work? When should I measure?
I think you see how complicated such a simple question can become. But as professionals striving to improve, it’s still important to at least attempt at answering it - so that you know where you stand in the market.
To help, I’ll share with you four metrics I’ve developed with my coaches over the years:
- Number of clients who want to work with you
- Your hourly rate
- Client satisfaction surveys from your corporate customers
- How selective you can be when taking on new business
Naturally, this is not an exhaustive list and you might not agree with some of the items. Again, I am sharing the big four that have proven over the years to be a pretty good indicator of a successful coaching practice.
In addition to these metrics, it’s important to listen to your clients. For example, if you often hear the following, your practice is probably quite healthy:
“I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“You really helped my friend.”
“You were warmly recommended.”
So you’re probably thinking: Why do I need the other metrics if my client has already told me how good I am?
It’s very simple. Your client can shower you with a lot of praise, but if they aren’t active partners in their journey, then it’s going to reflect poorly on your practice as a whole.
This brings me to another issue, which is related to #4 above. If, at any stage during intake or working with your client, you feel that your client isn’t cooperating, you need to bring this up as swiftly as possible.
There’s nothing worse in a coach-client relationship than a sinking ship on which you’re both aboard. Such a situation will leave your client frustrated and your coaching practice with a bad name.
So obviously, the best thing to do is to filter out any potential sinking ship scenarios during the intake process.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Understand your client’s expectations and consider whether they are indeed attainable.
2. Define the requirements for reaching the client’s goals (e.g., time, resources).
3. Explain the coaching process as realistically as possible, emphasizing that there’s no such thing as a “magic pill” - any meaningful change is going to take time and patience.
4. Ensure that the client is adequately motivated to do what needs to be done.
If you’re satisfied with this process, you have the makings of a productive coach-client relationship.
In a world that promises just about anything you can think of instantly - where everyone is chasing the newest and the shiniest - we must remain professional. Maintaining an honest relationship with your clients is the true secret to running a successful coaching practice.
And always remember:
Great managers are made. Not born.
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