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Wendy Buckingham / Creator, Life Coaching Professionally
It's not what you say about yourself that really matters when it comes to attracting clients. It's what other people (in this case your coaching clients) say about your coaching that may convince prospective clients that you are the coach for them.
They will see your life coaching client testimonials as proof that you do, actually, get results and are not all spin.
But asking for testimonials can be a challenge for some coaches unless it has been set up with some easy ways to pose the question. So read on for help on how to get testimonials and use them effectively in your marketing.
To get you going, this short video I made with marketing specialist for coaches and consultants, Cindy Schulson, summarises the value of testimonials with lots of useful hints.
Here are a couple of things that may get in the way of getting testimonials from your clients:
Here are four hassle free ways to approach this....
If you have an intake questionnaire for new clients you could include something like, “At the end of our coaching session/series, if you are happy with the result of my coaching, would you be willing to give me a testimonial describing the benefits you received?”
At the end of each session, ask the client what benefit they have received or what they have learned. Keep notes for future reference, especially anything they say that compliments your coaching skills.
At the end of a series of sessions ask some feedback questions about your coaching. In the "related pages" at the bottom of this page, you'll find a link to a list of Coaching Evaluation Questions. Use it to help you compile your own questions to ask the client about how they experienced your coaching and what they have achieved.
If the client is willing to give a testimonial but seems stuck on what to say, ask if they would like you to put something together from your notes as in No. 2.
Send or read what you have written to the client saying how much you have enjoyed working with them and “This is what I have put together from my notes on our sessions. Do feel free to correct or edit it in any way”.
Rarely have I found the client makes any alterations. They are just pleased to have you do it for them.
Wherever possible get the client to give permission to use their name, and/or location and profession. However, if the client is an employee or executive coach, or owns their own business they may balk at that for privacy reasons.
At least get some initials and a location to identify the source of the testimonial. A testimonial without any identification at all useless and has no credibility (it can even look as if you have written it yourself).
Yes, I've had some of these and they are wonderful. Pick a
sentence or two of the most relevant bits and use those as an extract. You could then have a link “to read
this full testimonial” on your website or say “the full testimonial is
available on request”.
Alternatively, edit it yourself and ask permission of the client to use the encapsulated version giving space as a reason.
If you are OK with this, make sure you get permission from any clients before you pass on contact details. Even though the past client may have provided a great testimonial, it is not OK to pass on their contact details without first getting their permission. Also preferably give a little information about who is likely to contact them.
Having a dedicated page of testimonials on your website or scattering them relevantly among your content is a great way to back up the your coaching services you offer.
However one thing I would advise against is letting your website person talk you into having them as a moving graphic in the header of your site, whether video or text, that changes after a just a couple of seconds.
Personally I find it most annoying if I am trying to read a testimonial and the screen moves on to the next one before I have time to even take in the first couple of sentences or click to make it stop. If you do favour this style of displaying testimonials, either keep them short enough to be read in a second or two or have a pause between each item long enough to at least get the full essence of what it says.
Video testimonials are comparatively new but, believe me, properly done, they can be very powerful. Here are four vital things to be aware of when setting up a video testimonial on Zoom, A video testimonial, however great, can be ruined by poor presentation and set up. A few moments spent checking the points below, before you press the record button, will be very well spent.
Around a minute is plenty – and the words from your client should be energetic and to the point. The best way to do this is to ask questions and then be prepared to do some editing to take out your questions so it flows fluidly.
Your client's voice shouldn't sound as if it had been recorded in the bathroom. Also get them to check out general background noise. Things like traffic, dogs barking or lawnmowers can be very distracting.
Watch out for things like plants looking as if they are growing out of your subjects head. Or such interesting things in the background that they are a distraction from what is being said.
No shadows on your client's face and no reflections from glasses. Be wary of light from windows.
Also check that the position of the client to the camera does not have you looking up their nose rather than straight on.
If the cient is recording their own testimonial without you on a mobile phone, ask them to make sure it is in landscape mode. How often do you see video testimonials recorded with a phone? The quality is good, the coaching testimonial is good but - oh! what are those black lines?
It's because the phone has been held vertically instead of on its side. Videos shown on YouTube, Facebook and many more will look a whole lot better for you if the camera position is sideways. This is also called Landscape or 16:9. And when you post it on your website it will also look better!
I have noticed a trend among some new coaches to offer free coaching, either a single session or a series, in exchange for a testimonial. Even to offer to play swapsies on this basis with other new coaches. It's called quid pro quo which literally translated means something given in exchange for something else (or you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours).
This is NOT the way to get a credible testimonial and in my view is actually out of integrity in a profession that is about integrity. Someone who is offered a session for free with this condition is not going to give a completely honest or negative review. Much better to wait until they show their appreciation for your good work and then ask.
As you can see, mastering how to get life coaching client testimonials needn't be a drama.
are a few examples from my files and a short description on the process of getting them. Read each one and you will get the picture on how you can help your clients to help you.
This was a spontaneous and quite long testimonial in answer to a question on the coaching evaluation form. I could have shortened it easily, as shown in the brackets, to pick out the main points.
Coaching with Wendy has been one of the most powerful experiences of my life. (It is not often, in fact sometimes ever, that you can sit down and get completely present with yourself, and have someone be there to LISTEN to everything your thinking and feeling. And then in addition to just listening, help to equip you with the tools that you need to deal with the challenges life throws your way and work out what you really want and need from a situation.) Wendy coached me through two of the biggest decisions I have made in my life so far, and it was because of her guidance and support that I felt I had the confidence to make these decisions. I am now living a bold life that I love and will continue to use what I have learned from my coaching for years to come. Kyla Raby, Team Leader, World Youth International
I wrote this one for the client to who was willing but needed hep in writing a testimonial. I wrote it from my notes and he then edited minimally. As I said, don’t be shy, be willing to own how well you have coached.
When I started working with Wendy my life was pretty out of control both personally and financially. I was in overwhelm! With Wendy’s help and support I cleaned up my act and set some specific goals. As a result I am now managing my finances more effectively, feel in control of my work and home environment and even my dating techniques have improved. Coaching with Wendy has definitely been a worthwhile investment.
Alex Smith, Actuary
This one was extracted from a much longer testimonial letter:
Originally I approached Wendy for help with goal setting. As I worked with her and got to know her strengths better, Wendy's role broadened to one of a business coach and mentor, a role she fills very well. I have found Wendy professional, perceptive, practical and a real asset to my business direction. Catherine Saxelby Consultant Nutritionist and Food Writer.
So you see even if your clients are not that articulate in expressing their appreciation for your coaching, there are lots of ways to help them along.
I hope this has helped you learn how to get testimonials. And finally let me tell you again - credible testimonials are the most powerful, fabulous and free marketing tool.