Click here to subscribe to my free fortnightly Life Coaching Accelerators, for insider coaching tips.
Wendy Buckingham / Creator, Life Coaching Professionally
The purpose of a Discovery Session is to provide you and your potential life coaching client with an opportunity to see if you are a good 'fit'.
For you it is an opportunity to get to know the person, decide if you are a good match for coaching and "sell", but not hard sell, yourself as a coach.
For the person interested in coaching it is an opportunity to sound you out as being the right coach for them before they commit.
I put together this information and questions on having a successful Discovery Session together to support both these outcomes; give the session structure and provide the greatest benefits for both the prospective client and you, the coach.
I designed a Pre-session Questionnaire to to help you do what you can, within reason, to make sure the person who wants to book a session is genuinely interested in investing in coaching and will not just waste your time. They also give you a starting point to work from and create rapport during the actual session.
I discovered early on in my coaching career that it is one thing to be a skilled coach, quite another to master the enrolment process for getting new, committed clients.
When I was first coaching, I used to give away hours of time by offering an hour long free session to prospects with the aim of enrolling them as paid clients. I’d coach my heart out to show them how good I was and how I could help them.
Sometimes they'd become committed clients. Other times, they would thank me and I'd never hear from them again.
Reasons they gave for not investing in my coaching included:
I discovered that the best option to find great clients and not waste my time was to offer a free assessment or “Discovery Session” rather than a "Free Trial Session" (yes there is a difference). I created a discovery session template for both qualifying leads and the actual session and refined it as I went along.
I created my eBook Mastering the Coaching Discovery Session to pass on my process to help other coaches save time, and make sure prospective clients are a good coaching “fit”.
It became the first in my eBook Life Coaching Success Series.
Asking people who have requested a Discovery Session to answer a few simple questions, helps weed out those who are simply not suitable to be coached by you. Request that the answers be returned to you before the session. This will give you a starting point to engage with them easily on the actual session.
Confirm the session the day before, either by email or text and remind them about answering the questions if necessary.
Here are three of the seven vital questions I suggest to ask prospective clients. Not only does the willingness to answer them show they are serious about being coached, but it give you a snapshot of who they are and where they are coming from.
In my pre-discovery session questionnaire, (and because I believe in publishing my fees) I also asked if they have read about the coaching packages I offered and the cost. This, of course, up to you, but one of the first questions prospects ask is about cost so it saves having the money conversation cold, often at the end of the session.
After you have had a brief 'rapport-building' welcome chat, the first thing to do is briefly go over the completed pre-discovery session questions.
Then go a bit deeper on what they have told you about any issues and/or challenges. You can give them a taster of your coaching but don't go overboard - hold back on giving a complete coaching session.
Here is an example of the questions I suggest using and a couple of other hints:
1. If you could solve this problem/reach this goal, what would that be like for you?
2. What’s getting in the way of you achieving this goal/outcome?
3. What will be the effect on you of not moving forward on this? How will it look?
When you have gone through all the questions and maybe asked for more information, tell them about the process or program you would use to help them achieve their goals or outcomes. "This is what I would do to help you achieve the outcomes/goal you want."
I also show you how to close the session by asking for a commitment and set a date for the first session in an elegant and non-confrontational way. And, what do do if the client is still reluctant or, and it happens, you would rather not have them as a client.
Asking the right questions is vital, but knowing how to react to the answers is just as important.
The best way achieve a completely in-depth understanding of the hows and why's of the Discovery Session, is to invest in my ad-free eBook Mastering the Discovery Session.
As well as the pre-session questionnaire and questions for during the actual session, I include a template of the email to send out with the pre-session questions.
There is also lots of extra information in this compact little book to help to create a successful outcome for you and the prospective client.
For the cost of a coffee and a piece of cake😀) you can take advantage of my experience and remove the guesswork out of assessing and engaging the prospect as a quality paying client.
Of course, Not all of the questions I suggest will be right for you in every case. Each client presents to you differently and will relate with you in different ways depending on your coaching niche. However, I find that these questions are a powerful basis for getting to know the person and a successful outcome.
And bear in mind that a discovery session can also be about discovering that a prospective client is not a good match. This can really save you time and frustration in the long run.
I hope I have given you enough food for thought about introducing prospective life coaching clients to your coaching through asking the right discovery session questions and other hints.
And again I would encourage you to invest owing Mastering the Discovery Session where I expand on all this with some more clues I used for getting quality clients. Also check out the other books in my Life Coaching Success Series all of which come with a money back guarantee.
Here's to YOUR success!