It was four years ago, before I knew much of anything about life coaching. One of the coaches in an online community I was part of decided to offer five birthday life coaching sessions. On a lark, I dropped my name in the comments box, never expecting to win. But I did! Whee! I was ecstatic and carefully calendared the my birthday appointment.
As my birthday and coaching session approached four or five months later, I felt excited, a little giddy, and nervous.
It was the same feeling I had climbing the ladder to the high dive at Weed Park pool when I was eight. I’d watched people jump off that 12-foot-high platform for years, and it was a hot, humid Iowa July day, and the pool was a cold crystal blue. I had no idea what to expect, but just knew it was going to be awesome.
At my appointment time, after a few pleasantries, the coach asked, “What’s the one thing you want to create for yourself this year?”
Please don’t laugh. Her question, in all honesty, stumped me. I sputtered some and hemmed. I made a few barely audible noises, as my mind raced through the usual suspects: weight loss, better career, more quality time with my family, peace and stillness, to be writing consistently. The list seemed endless.
The one thing I wanted to create?
As the seconds, which felt like hours, ticked away, my mind spun faster, and still I couldn’t land on the one thing perfect enough for this great opportunity.
Finally, a bit taken aback herself, the coach took pity on me and asked me a different question. I don’t remember that question, though. Or much at all about the rest of the session. I was pretty much just plain mortified. No wonder my life was a mess?! I thought. I couldn’t even answer the first question!
Looking back, I have such compassion for myself, and, I can see clearly what happened.
That coach’s initial reach out in the online community was very informal over Facebook. The post mentioned something about a free visioning session and helping you create the most enchanted year ahead yet. Something like that…
What it didn’t point out was what, specifically, to expect in the call, or, what preparation might be helpful.
I know now that in the absence of concrete details, my imagination spun the expectation of some sort of magical, pivotal session that would set me inexorably down the path to personal freedom from all my troubles. What happened instead? The session left me feeling a bit dazed. And, I was embarrassed, and disappointed.
So, why am I telling you this story?
Free assessments are a wonderful way for coaches, healers or other creative entrepreneurs to serve others.
An assessment can help identify what might be going on for them in their situation and clarity on what next steps might be right for them to take. It’s also a great way for you connect with potential clients, who, if appropriate, might want to do further work with you.
But you need them to work for you and your client.
One key to making sure your assessments are useful is to be super clear up front. Here’s how to do that:
Recognize why you want to offer free assessments
Of course you want clients, and people who know you know you’re in the business of doing individual client, but if the only reason you are doing the assessments is to fill up your client roster, the energy you bring to the exchange is going to be imbalanced. Potential clients will pick up on that energy, and it’s off-putting (Have you ever been bombarded by an overly zealous commission-based salesperson at a store in the mall?)
Instead, get quiet, and tap into your genuine desire to help individuals, regardless of whether they end up working with you or not, and bring that energy your assessments.
Share that with others
What I just outlined in the step above? Share that with your potential clients as well. Being transparent about your motives and what you are hoping to do for them and for yourself, eliminates the need for people to guess, helping to create a safer space for them to approach you.
Point out what the free assessment is (and isn’t)
Be clear about the fact that you’re offering an assessment, and not a mini-healing session (unless that is what you’re offering and that’s a post for another time.) Let people know what types of information they’ll get from the session (tips, quick solutions, referrals, suggestions they work with you) and what they won’t.
You know your business best and how long it takes clients to make progress working with you. By being clear what the assessment is, and isn’t, you help people have realistic expectations about what they’ll get out of the session.
Set out the logistics
Let potential registrants know the assessment is free. Tell them how long to expect to be on the phone with you. And explain how you both will connect once they book the appointment. Will it be Zoom? A teleconference line? Will you call them? Details matter.
Explain any preparation
Finally, let them know if there’ll any questions you want them to answer before the call. Or, if you want them to be thinking about anything specific ahead of time, tell them that too. This lets them feel better prepared for the call and enhances the chances the exchange will be productive, for both of you.
Free assessments are a fantastic way to both help others in need of guidance and to connect to potential clients. If you want to make the most of this tool for you and your ideal clients, let them know why you’re offering the assessments, what they are, how to connect with you, and what, if anything, is needed ahead of time. Being crystal clear
And…speaking of assessments…Starting October 1, I’m going to be offering a slew of free assessments over the following six weeks. These assessments are specifically for coaches, healers or creative business owners who are having trouble finding clients.
There are many, many reasons why someone might be having difficult finding clients, and none have to do with her abilities as a gifted practitioner. If you’re interested in learning more, watch this space, or sign up here. I’ll make sure you get an email with more information on October 1.