(This post was originally published on the International Coaching Federation’s blog, September 24, 2015)
When thinking about building a coaching business, I’m all about the ease…. Anything you can do to make things easier for you and more convenient for your clients is a bonus!
One of the best things you can do as an entrepreneurial coach is to implement effective systems.
Systems, while perhaps daunting to create for the first time, really are gifts for business owners. They include creating processes, documents and organizing the filing and storage of them so that you create them once and use them over and over again. You do this with an eye to confidentiality requirements and the ICF Code of Ethics as well.
Creating a system for client management – everything you need for communicating, enrolling, storing and tracking coaching client information – is one of the first systems you’ll need.
This is the second part of a two-part blog post – the first part focused on How to create an effective Coaching Proposal.
This post is about the end-to-end system for client management, and provides some questions you can reflect on to develop your own client management system.
The questions begin with getting the Right Mindset and Clarity to develop your client management system; second is to set up the Business Rigor and Discipline that is required to ensure everything you convey in your system is aligned to your personal brand; Somatic Support is third (i.e. how will you align your body with your mind and heart in order to check alignment of your systems and your offerings with your personal brand); and the final bucket is Learnings and Celebration as you learn and evolve.
Right Mindset (Clarity for your System)
At Authentic Leadership Global™ we begin all of our business building (and personal development) with Awareness:
- How do you think about systems currently?
- Are you comfortable creating systems, processes, templates? Is this something that is new and intimidating?
- How can you reframe how you think about systems to open up new possibilities for ease and effectiveness for yourself and your clients?
Business Discipline and Rigor
What will you include in the client management system? The steps you might want to consider are:
- Client requests a proposal.
- Client accepts the proposal and you create a file for their information.
- Client starts coaching sessions and you want a way to file their information with your own debrief/prep notes included.
- Client would like a status update for their boss at the mid-point of their program.
- Client would like to provide an evaluation to the coach about the program once it is completed.
- Client would be willing to provide a testimonial and it would be helpful for them to have some guidance and see some samples.
Have you created the following filing folders and documents that you can use as templates for your client management system?
- File folder for past coaching clients (coaching programs have been completed)
- File folder for current coaching clients (either one per client or one for all clients) with the following:
- Debrief/preparation form (for each session)
- Tracking form (for each client – number of hours paid and non-paid)
- Coaching proposal template
- Status update template
- Invoice template
- Evaluation form and testimonial request template
Have you thought about storing information confidentially? Do you have a file cabinet with a lock? Do you lock it when you have guests or when you are out of the house? Do you have pass codes on your computer so the information is not easily accessible if it were stolen?
Have you thought about ICF credentialing systems and documents? They might include the following:
- ICF file with ICF formatted form for tracking all clients (check out the sample kit at the bottom of this ICF webpage. It has instructions and a template you can download as a sample for ACC Credentialing)
- Request letters and sample emails for requesting approval from clients for submitting their information to ICF for credentialing
Do you have professional branding images, logos, header, footer that you will use for your template documents?
For documents that you send to clients, do you send a word document or PDF for final version (some computers don’t have the fonts you might use so a PDF ensures they see what you sent in the format you meant them to see it; also they can’t change the document)?
Somatic Support (Right Body Language)
Do you have an ongoing practice of paying attention to when you are aligned with your authentic self and values? If not, reflect on the following:
- What occurs for you in the body when you reflect on your current systems and documentation? Is it aligned with your authentic self or your personal brand? Where do you notice it in the body? What do you notice?
- What occurs for you in the body when your systems are out of alignment with your personal brand? What do you notice in the body and where?
- How will you adjust your system and documentation to bring them into alignment?
How could you shift your body language, in the moment, to support you to stay present through the discomfort of communicating your proposed program in a way that feels aligned with your personal brand?
As a reminder, have you learned about the ABCs of self-managing? How often are you practicing this each day?
Learnings and Celebration
- What are you learning about your clients as you evolve and improve your systems and template documents? What feedback have you been given?
- What are you learning about your self as you evolve your systems?
- How will you apply what you are learning?
- What is going well in terms of your system for managing clients? How will you celebrate your success?
Email me at email@example.com if you would like a PDF copy of this blog post.
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