HOW TO PACKAGE YOUR COACHING SERVICES (AND DITCH THE DOLLARS-FOR-HOURS RUT)

HOW TO PACKAGE YOUR COACHING SERVICES (AND DITCH THE DOLLARS-FOR-HOURS RUT)

Maybe you’ve been in therapy before.

You go, sit for your 45 minutes,  then write your check. The therapist whips out her appointment book and pencils you in for the following week. 
This goes on indefinitely until one of you decides you don’t need to go anymore. This session-to-session model is the one we’re familiar with. 

In this article, I’m sharing with you why it’s NOT the best model for a life coaching practice. Both YOUR BUSINESS and YOUR CLIENT can benefit from packaging your services, and here’s why!

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO PACKAGE YOUR SERVICES?

Packaging your services simply means finding a way to offer your potential client the opportunity to purchase bunch of sessions or time at once.  

​For example, you might buy 10 Personal Training sessions at your gym. You might buy an Unlimited number of washes per month at your local car wash (hello, white car!) 

    WHY IS PACKAGING GOOD FOR MY CLIENTS?

    Think about getting a massage. You go and plunk down your credit card for the massage. It’s amazing, and you internally commit to doing this for yourself at least once every couple weeks. 

    But do you? 

    Leaving what I call a “commitment gap” in between sessions leaves rooms for all kinds of “germs” that interfere with the coaching process.

    • The “things are getting real and suddenly I don’t have time for coaching so I’m not scheduling another session” germ
    • The “I ran out of money” germ
    • The “I’m not sure this is working and the process is scary so I’ll just ‘put coaching on hold'” germ

    You + I both know that these kinds of drop-offs are due to the client’s fears, gremlins, or getting too close to their own greatness.
    Packaging your services is how you close the commitment gap so they can engage fully in a long-term process that helps them get where they want to go.

      Click here to subscribe

      WHY IS PACKAGING GOOD FOR MY BUSINESS MODEL?

      As coaches, we lead with heart, but we’d also like to leave our dayjobs! The session-to-session model leaves us in the present moment, financially. While the present moment is a beautiful place to be spiritually… we’d like to look into the future and know that income is on its way in a few months, too! Check out why packaging in your business is a more secure way to work.

      • Packaging your services means you can create payment plans. Payment plans make coaching more accessible to your client… and means that you have predicable income on its way!
      • When you package your services, you can roll in all the extra work you do for your clients – texting, emailing, and so forth.
      • People subconsciously compare your “rate per hour” to their own “rate per hour” – and if you come out too much higher, they’ll feel they “can’t afford it”.
      • By having predictable income coming down the line, you can sink more into the part of your business you LOVE – the Service phase. When you are wondering if your clients will renew session to session, then you’ve got to spend more time in the Growth and Sales phases of your business.

      HOW DO I PACKAGE MY SERVICES?

      This is where creativity meets coaching. I LOVE watching the awesome and innovative ways coaches have come up with to package their services. The possibilities are limitless!
      Packaging your services is an opportunity to design something truly transformational to meet the unique needs of your clients. 

      ​Let’s dive in.

      IN THE BEGINNING: I HAVEN’T COACHED YET, AND I’M NOT SURE OF MY NICHE

      Month to month: 
      The first and simplest approach to packaging your services is to offer a monthly rate.  Instead of “$150 an hour” you might offer something like:
      $650 per month includes:

      • 4 x 45 minute deep dive coaching calls
      • 1 x 15 minute “SOS” call for Breakthrough Laser Coaching
      • Access to the coach’s personal email for longer updates, so we can TOTALLY concentrate on the present when we get on the phone

      Multiple months: 
      This is similar to packaging by month, but allows your client to sink into the energy of a longer process, while creating a payment plan option as well!  These are fun and you can name them all kinds of creative things!
      This might look like:

      $2500 for 3 months of life coaching includes: (Payable in installments of half up front, and $625 the following 2 months)

      • 1 x 90 minute “Foundations” session where we assess where you are, and set goals for where you want to go
      • 3 x 60 minute deep dive calls per month
      • 3 “SOS” calls for Breakthrough Laser Coaching
      • Access to your coach’s personal cell phone for texts

      Multiple sessions: Similar to the trainer at the gym, selling multiple sessions at once still gives the client agency over when they book those sessions, while communicating that this is a long term process.  This is also a nice way to graduate clients to a “maintenance plan” as needed. Multiple sessions might look like:

      • The JumpStart: Buy 10 sessions, get the 11th free
      • The Maintenance: 5 follow up sessions to be used at client’s discretion

      Notice I’m not including any bells and whistles here! This is straight up coaching sessions.

      If you choose this model, it’s important you ask the client at the end of each session, “When would you like to book your next session?” That way, they don’t leave sessions hanging over your head.

      It is also important to outline the terms and conditions such as by when they should be used by or be forfeited – you don’t want people coming back in 10 years with unused sessions!

      INTERMEDIATE: I’VE DONE SOME COACHING AND AM NOTICING SOME TRENDS

      As you work with clients, you’ll pretty quickly notice your OWN coaching rhythm. You’ll notice how long it takes you to do values work, or how long it takes the clients to start to gel with coaching and really rock and roll. 

      At this point, you can start creating packages using the information you’re gathering from your clients, and some of your own expertise as well!

      *Note: Some of these models divert from a PURE coaching model. In that case, you just want to be CLEAR about the role you are playing in the package, e.g. Coach + Mentor, Coach + Personal Trainer*

      Multiple Sessions Around a Theme:​ In a pure coaching model, we don’t promise “outcomes,” of course.  But what if you’re a health coach, and you specialize in overcoming emotional eating?

      Your 1:1 package might look like:

      • 8 Weeks to Explore Emotional Eating and Develop Intuitive Health Habits 
      • 6 x 60 minute 1:1 coaching sessions sessions
      • Review of Daily Food Triggers Journal
      • 2 Recommended Eating Plans to Break Emotional Eating Habits

      I didn’t say “Overcome Emotional Eating”. I didn’t promise they’d be done with it in 8 weeks. 
      In this model the 8 weeks of coaching will be centered around their relationship with food. Other areas of life will of course come into play, but this package is targeted as a specific specialty. 

      This health coach may have noticed that quite a few of her clients are coming to her and working through emotional eating triggers. By pulling out this theme or specialty, she’s creating an opportunity for people to focus on this one important aspect of a healthy relationship with their bodies.

      A group coaching program, around a theme:
      Once our health coach has noticed this theme, she might want to organize several people around a group program focused on this theme. The package stays the same, but the number of people enrolled would change.

      These packages still focus mostly on open-ended, pure coaching. The health coach might have the group or individual focusing on one area, but the client/group will still bring the agenda to the table.

      The only difference is the theme​ the sessions are organized around.

      ADVANCED: I’VE WORKED WTIH AT LEAST 15 CLIENTS AND HAVE A STRONG SENSE OF COMMON THEMES

      Once our health coach has worked with quite a few (paid OR free) clients, she will be really familiar with the ways that themes are unfolding for them.

      She’ll notice they all need to overcome inner critic voice in order to have sustained weight loss.  Or she’ll notice that of her last 12 clients, 10 were working moms struggling to balance nutrition and a busy schedule.

      At this point, s/he might develop a Signature Program. This is a step-by-step system the coach will walk the client(s) through, either 1:1 or in a group.​

      In a signature program, the coach might simply outline a number of coaching tools and exercises that s/he will use to help clients towards an ultimate outcome.

      S/he might also bring in her own expertise in a hybrid coaching-teaching program, but leave plenty of time for coaching as well.

      A 1:1 Signature Program might look like this:

      • A 12-Week Journey to Developing a “Fit Gal’s” Mindset
      • 10 x 45 minute 1:1 deep dive sessions
      • 8 pre-recorded training modules on developing a Fit-Gal Mindset
      • Access to an online FB community *just* for Health Coach’s personal clients
      • A Daily Success Visualization by Health Coach

      This same signature program, with a few tweaks, can also be used as a group program.

      • A 12-Week Journey to Developing a “Fit Gal’s” Mindset
      • 10 x 45 minute group teaching/coaching sessions
      • 8 pre-recorded training modules on developing a Fit-Gal Mindset
      • Access to an online FB community *just* for Health Coach’s group coaching and 1:1 clients
      • A Daily Success Visualization by Health Coach
      • Get paired up with an Accountability Buddy

      Now, naming programs isn’t my thing, and “fit-girl mindset” doesn’t scream “Yes! Me Me Me!”

      The point here is that you can start to incorporate your skill set and expertise along with your coaching skills to start teaching people how to make change… and coaching them through the blocks stopping them from making that change.

      WHAT DO I INCLUDE IN MY PACKAGES?

      Creativity can REALLY soar when thinking about learning aids and services to include in your packages. Coaches can be naturally generous people, so when we create a container like this… we tend to want to fill it up to the top!

      A word of caution – be sure you charge adequately in exchange for what you offer with your package! Don’t get yourself into a Resentment Rut of having to read emails and be interrupted in your personal life with constant texts if you don’t feel you’re making enough money for that!

      Caution aside, there are lots of things you can include in a package. The important part is the coaching sessions, and then choosing what truly would serve to help your client transform.

      • Coaching sessions – 1:1 or group
      • Text, SOS text, Celebration Text, Daily Accountability Text
      • Email, Looong Story Email (so they don’t have to tell you on the phone), Journal Email
      • Branded Triggers Journal, Food Diary, Leadership Triggers Diary
      • Longer Foundations Session to review coaching package, expectations, Assess
      • .pdf, worksheet, guide
      • Visualization, Meditation audios
      • Pre-recorded teaching modules (leaves more room for the coaching!)

      The possibilities are endless. Keep it super simple at first and build with ease if you choose to!

      I WANT A COACHING BIZ BUT I’M TO BUSY

      I WANT A COACHING BIZ BUT I’M TO BUSY

      Once Upon a Time….

      a girl went to college and got a Master’s Degree and then almost got another one except she got married + pregnant.

      She got really, really, REALLY good at her career. On paper, she even loved it. Except in reality, she was drained.

      The more time she spent away from her baby doing something that drained her, the more resentful and hopeless she started to feel.  

      So she decided to make a career switch and start a business as a life coach. She went through an intensive life coach training program. She knew she was a really good coach and would get even better with practice.

      Except she was too busy to run a business.  Between her full-time job, her baby (and now another child on the way), regular responsibilities, motherhood exhaustion in general, and all of life’s obligations… 

      She could not seem to find the time to do what she wanted to do – coach! – never mind do the work to get clients.

      Does this sound familiar to you? By the time you walk the dogs and do the career (which, let’s face it, is more than 9-5)… there’s no time leftover to start a business.

      Sit down. We have to talk, because if you’re waiting until life gets “less busy,” then you’re committing to coaching being a nice hobby.

      Life is never, ever, ever going to be less busy.  There will NOT be a part where “the baby goes to kindergarten” or “this big project at work is going to be over” or “my spouse will be home more”.

      There is no “less busy”. And no one ever likes to hear that.

      Busy is just a symptom of failure to prioritize.

      If you’re thinking, “But you don’t understand, I have more on my plate than most people,” then this applies especially ESPECIALLY to you.

      The fact of the matter is you will need to make prioritization decisions in order to start a business while working full time and doing all the other life things.

      Here’s a few things to ask yourself to start making the shift towards prioritizing your business.

      1) To what extent are you willing to prioritize your dream over other people some of the time?

      This is a question for the caregivers. The moms and dads, the people caring for aging parents, and the people who are in helping professional that leak into their personal lives. We think we “have to” prioritize everyone else first, because we’re trained to do it. Feelings of guilt come up when we do something “selfish” like work on our dreams.


      Usually this points to the question: “Will I sacrifice caring for others to serve a business that isn’t even making money yet?”
      It’s like we can’t justify prioritizing our business over people, until the business is “worth it”. 

      I think you can see where this is going.

      2) To what extent are you willing to prioritize your dream of starting a business over being the absolute 100% always-available, go-to, best of the best, checks email first thing every morning and responds all weekend person at your job?

      This question is for the people who work their asses off at their careers because they’re good at it. They fear repercussions if they’re not available all the time and super-responsive via email. They’re at the mercy of their bosses, clients, teams, and projects. They have a hard time leaving work on the desk.

      Prioritizing work 100% of the time usually points to an unwillingness to prioritize anything that doesn’t have a sure-shot 

      3) To what extent are you willing to stop looking at your coaching practice as “all or nothing”?

      This question is for those who can’t find a way past the “chicken and the egg” paralyzing block. I either run my coaching practice full time and leave my job, or I stay in my job and don’t have time for my coaching practice.

      There are sooooo many possibilities in between those black and white options. Would you rather have zero clients, or 2 clients? 

      Definitely 2 clients, right? If they’re paying you, and you’re making some money on the side… how is that a bad thing?

      Are they not enough because they’re not 12 clients?

      What if someday they turn into a steady stream of 5 clients that pay you well enough to cut back to part time or seek a part time job?

      What if the dream does take 5 years… but still happens? What if you end up working part time and coaching part time forever? Is that still better than working full time at a soul-sucking job? Probably!

      4) To what extent are you willing to prioritize your business over your self-care?

      Yes, I said it. I think self-care is important.  We need our soul-fulfilling activities, hobbies, boundaries, nutrition, and naps.

      However, I have seen far too many coaches throw “self care” up as a block.  They won’t get up early because “self care”. They have to nap because “self care”. They cannot get groceries delivered because they have to touch every cucumber themselves. They won’t cut back on anything at all, ever because “self care”.

      Here’s what all these questions have in common, and what I’m asking you to explore.

      No one is asking you to give up ALL the time with the kids, ALL the job ambition, ALL the self-care, or ALL the hobbies, all of the time.

      I am asking what you’re willing to shift some of the time to make time for your business, the thing you SAY is your dream.

       

      Click here to subscribe

      The TIME EXCUSE is really FEAR, and a very specific fear:

      ​When I dig down into these questions with my clients, it comes down to this:

      What if I sacrifice time with my kids, or ambition at my job, or self-care… for something that in the end, doesn’t work?

      But don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you staring your demon in the face, without some practical solutions. 

      • We have to find out what the right actions are to take to grow a business, rather than sacrificing time with our kids just to scroll through Facebook and hope we hit on a client.
      • We have to detach from the outcome of the business and ask what we’re getting out of the journey that makes it worthwhile no matter what.
      • We have to find mentorship and help – paid, free, or other – that will help us create a business. Coaching skills are not enough to grow a business. 
      • We have to be willing to stop judging the ways other entrepreneurs are doing things, because it may be blocking our own paths to success.
      • We have to be willing + open minded about doing business in ways we didn’t consider, and taking advice from mentors who are actually making money.
      • We have to turn off “Shiny object syndrome” and develop true discernment about which mentors can actually help us (hint: if you get on a 1:1 call, ask them about outcomes they’ve had serving clients who are NOT a business to business model. I have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars asking that 1 question).

      I admit I just dished out a lot of “have to,” especially for a coach.  But after 5 years mentoring and coaching folks who are starting their businesses (and after having a successful practice myself)… I just can’t take the “busy” excuse anymore!  

      I’m dishing out this tough love from a place of advocating for you and your dreams.

      Find the fear beneath the busy. Name it and bring it to light.

      Prioritize your business regularly. No one has to give up ALL the things, but when CAN you prioritize your dream?

      Train the people around you to respect your boundaries by managing expectations and being patient while they adjust.

      You CAN learn to prioritize your business over caregiving, jobs, self-care, and anything else that ALWAYS gets the upper hand. 

      Remember, you don’t have to prioritize your biz ALL of the time… just enough of the time to be moving forward towards the life you want to create.

      HOW TO STRUCTURE A GROUP COACHING SESSION

      HOW TO STRUCTURE A GROUP COACHING SESSION

      Congratulations! You’ve decided that you want to create a group coaching program.

      You know it will expand your impact and help you fulfill your purpose in a bigger way.

      And, it doesn’t hurt that you can create affordable coaching options for potential clients while still making a good living!

      Except… what do you DO with your clients once they’re in your group!

      In today’s blog, I’ll share a simple, traditional group coaching structure with you. It’s simple and traditional because IT WORKS! It’s a structure that helps people focus on the work they’re doing.

      Try this simple structure in your first group coaching programs.

      KICKOFF SESSION:

      The first session is designed to achieve 3 goals:
      Establish trust
      Review the guidelines of the group
      Help everyone get to know each other and start bonding

      This kickoff session can be a little longer than the rest of the sessions.  If your sessions are planned for 60 minutes, you might make this one 90 minutes.

      Here’s a recommended agenda for the kick off session. You can also grab this and all the session agendas by popping your email in below.

      1. Share the agenda for the session
      2. Welcome + introduce yourself as the coach (share a story!)
      3. Group introductions + icebreaker
      4. Review “What is Coaching”
      5. Review group guidelines
      6. Have everyone share their intention for the program
      7. Wrap up with an easy assignment for next session (something they can do to prepare, or to get in the group mindset)

      SUBSEQUENT SESSIONS:

      I recommend following a consistent structure for each of the subsequent sessions. We want people focused on the work, not anxious about what’s coming up in the group. Unpredictable structures take the attention off the clients and the work they’re doing. So keep it simple and keep it the same, week after week.

      An agenda for subsequent sessions might fill 60 minutes as follows:

      1. Share the agenda for the session (people like to know what’s coming up, so give them a quick “Here’s what we’re going to do today”
      2. Give everyone an opportunity to share about what’s come up for them in the time between sessions
      3. OPTIONAL: Introduce a topic, exercise, tool, or bit of teaching.
      4. Give the group time to work through the tool or exercise (it is OK to have quiet time while people work through this, or you can break them into pairs)
      5. Coaching time!
        1. Hotseat coaching: Each participant will get X amount of minutes on a rotating basis. Mary + Joe get coached in session 1; John + Matilda in session 2, and so forth
        2. Open coaching: Whoever wants to speak up, speaks up and gets coached. The coach uses time management to make sure whoever wants to speak up gets a turn
        3. Laser Coaching: Each group member gets 5-7 minutes or so to be coached around something specific
      6. Wrap up: Review major themes or takeaways + co-create, or give an assignment
      Grab your free guide!

      FINAL SESSION:

      Like the kick off session, the final session is an opportunity to seal up the container, so to speak. It’s like the final day of sleepaway camp! Everyone exchanges numbers, seals their bonds, talks about all the ways that camp has changed their lives forever. 

      It’s the same in your group! This is a time to celebrate wins and ask the participants to talk about the ways their lives are now different, compared to when they enrolled in your group.

      This can also be an opportunity to talk about next steps for individuals who want to enroll in a 1:1 coaching package with you.

      There are infinite ways to seal up a container. Here’s one agenda to borrow:

      1. Share the agenda for the session
      2. Give everyone a chance to share what’s happened for them since last week
      3. Give everyone time to think about where they were when they joined the group (and share)
      4. Give everyone time to think about their Top 2 takeaways + ways that their lives have changed (and share)
      5. Optional: Have them create a specific action + accountability plan for keeping those changes alive, and give the group a fun way to reconnect in a month after the group has ended (e.g. a video conference or group phone call)
      6. End with reading a passage or poem that relates to your group or expresses the wins that your group has experienced
      7. Exchange contact information for those who wish to stay in touch

      This traditional group coaching structure allows space for the group to dive deep into the topic around which you are coaching.  In no time, you’ll be creating transformative groups that fill your practice with clients who come back to you again and again!