One of the most interesting shifts that I have noticed in my coaching practice over the last two years is that clients are seeing infinitely better results than at the beginning (when I first started).
Initially, I thought, "Well, duh, that's normal because I know more than I did a two years ago and I am getting better and better at what I do." That is a logical thought, right? But I have also been doing something drastically different over the last two years: I have been expecting a LOT more out of my clients.
Some of you have heard me say that I cherry-pick my clients and that I don't work with someone who is not deadly serious about doing what it takes to get better personal and professional results. Frankly, I don't really have patience for people who are not serious or committed. I don't mean to sound harsh, but it just gets boring after a while, so I would rather say it than not).
What I am writing about today is a different twist on the same concept. This is about expecting more of each of them, knowing that when they push themselves just a little bit harder to reach their goals, they usually exceed them. Especially with me and their accountabilty partner right behind them to provide just the resources they need and cheering them on.
I had a coaching group end last month and I always ask for referrals before letting them go 🙂 A client copied me on an introduction email to her friend saying:
Rachel will give you a lot of work and expect a lot from you. But the thing is, she'll also give you all the resources, examples and scripts you'll need to get it done and she will cheer you on when you do. It's simple, but it's not easy, and it works. You should talk to her.
At first, I thought, "Oh great, this prospective client will never want to work with me, thinking it is going to be too difficult!" But the more I thought about it, the more I was happy she'd written that. Yes, I do expect a lot out of my clients. Hard work, focus, and dedication. And not to leave out my all-time favorite: a no-excuses approach to doing what it will take to get results quickly, consistently and for the long haul.
So whenever I get to coach clients on how to manage their own clients, I have been telling them recently to ask more of their clients. Expect more and this will translate into more clients for them.
It doesn't matter if you are a therapist, an accountant, a mortgage broker, a coach, acupuncturist, consultant or nutritionist, it is time for you to start asking more and expecting more of each one of your clients. Expecting more of them will have them take you more seriously. More importantly, they will take themselves more seriously, they will invest in themselves more and they will do what it takes to get even more results than they originally came in for. That creates a raving fan.
Now, just to be honest here: I, too, do not always get to ALL of the work I have promised my coach, when I work with one, to move my business forward. I hate when that happens, but we all get sidetracked by life or a too-fast-momentum upfront (at least I do). I like knowing that the person supports me to think big and to act accordingly.
So, we probably do not want to beat your clients up if they do not get everything done in the time they first committed to. That is not the point we are talking about here and it defeats the purpose of championing them. Instead, it is about caring for them enough to want more for them than they want for themselves. In turn, you will get more referrals and more clients out of the deal, so it is a win-win situation all around.
Think about your current clients and think about the goals they have set for themselves. Are these goals exciting enough? Do their goals pull the clients into their future or are they a little weak?
Let your clients know upfront that you are going to expect a lot from them. You can put this in their welcome packet. I have found that this is actually really exciting for them. Most times, they do not ask enough of themselves because of fear of failure (and strangely enough, fear of success too). Let them know you want to play this game with them and see where it goes. Most people love this, especially high-achieving go-getters (my favorites!). I suggest taking a soft approach to this though rather than an aggressive one (you don't want to turn anybody off). Ask their permission to help them double their goals or reach their goals in half the time. Perhaps explain to them that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
"Substantial value is created when the client achieves more than they expected. One of the best ways to ensure the client achieves more than they expect is to ask more of them than they expected you to."
Thomas Leonard, founder of Coachville
I translate Thomas' quote as don't be wimpy with your clients!