A Coaching Approach to Effective Coaching Proposals

(This post was originally published on the International Coaching Federation’s blog, August 24, 2015)

As a Mentor Coach, I am always asking myself, how can I support other coaches to model ICF’s 11 Core Competencies even more effectively? The first two core competencies focus on “Meeting Ethical Guidelines and Professional Standards”, and “Establishing the Coaching Agreement”. An important question arises when considering them – “How do you communicate to your potential clients what it is that you are offering?”

One way to let them know is to have a quick conversation to understand requirements and to convey your understanding verbally or in an email. While this may qualify as an agreement, the quality of the way it is conveyed could be improved.

Another option for communication to your potential clients is to gather all the information you need to be very clear about their requirements through an in-depth conversation (and maybe two). You could use a checklist to gather information about expected outcomes, timeframe, and budget, and then to create a proposal that you both agree on. Once signed, this becomes the contract for the duration of the work together.

This is a very clear way to clarify and include information for the client that supports completion of the first two core competencies. Being able to communicate your proposal to potential clients in a clear and professional way sets the tone for the professionalism and ethics you will bring into each of your sessions with them.

Systems are gifts to 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.

Creating a system that includes 1) a Potential Client Checklist of questions you ask new clients to gather information about their requirements, as well as 2) a standardized Coaching Proposal Template for a coaching proposal can also create ease for you. The added bonus is that both blank template documents can be used over and over again for different clients over the years.

This topic requires a two-part blog post. Next month, I’ll focus on how you can create the entire end-to-end system.

This month’s post provides some questions you can reflect on to develop your Coaching Proposal.

The questions begin with getting the Right Mindset and Clarity to develop your Coaching Proposal; second is to set up the Business Rigor and Discipline that is required to ensure everything you convey in your proposal 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 manage the “discomfort of the ask” for the pricing you have included in the proposal); and the final bucket is Learnings and Celebration as you learn and evolve.

Right Mindset (Clarity for your Proposal)

  • How do you communicate your offering to a potential client currently?
  • How do you think about Coaching Proposals currently?
  • Are you comfortable creating a proposal? Is it something that is new and intimidating?
  • How can you reframe how you think about proposals to open up new possibilities for ease and effectiveness for yourself?

Business Discipline and Rigor

  • What will you include in the Coaching Proposal?
  • Have you gathered the following information?
    • Client contact information
    • 3-4 Expected Outcomes for the Program
    • Timeframe for start and finish
    • Whether any assessments would be useful (360 Review, EQ or Personality Assessment)
    • Client’s budget
    • If the client is within an organization, who is the Sponsor?
  • Have you also thought about what else you might want to include in your Coaching Proposal? Some other information to consider including is:
    • Options for the client to choose from – a 3-month option, an additional 3-month option; an assessment and debrief; a 360 review, plus other options for services you may provide
    • How your fees are calculated as well as any applicable taxes and other costs
    • How the client can pay your invoices
    • Link to ICF Code of Ethics with a statement that you are guided by them
    • Appendix with a description of the type of coaching you practice (i.e. Integral Coaching and what it is)
    • What coaching is not (the distinction between coaching, therapy and counseling)
    • Confidentiality when there is a Sponsor as well as a Coaching Client
    • A note that their contact information will be submitted for ICF Credential requirements and they may or may not be contacted in the future
    • Appendix with testimonials
    • A place for signatures and dates so that the proposal becomes a contract once signed and returned by the client
  • Do you have professional branding images, logos, header, footer that you will use for your documents?
  • 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 process for communicating to your client what your offerings are and the details of your program and agreement? 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 process for communicating is out of alignment with your personal brand? What do you notice in the body and where?
    • How will you adjust your process for communicating to bring it 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 Coaching Proposal template? What feedback have you been given?
  • What are you learning about your self as you evolve your Coaching Proposal template?
  • How will you apply what you are learning?
  • What is going well in terms of your process for communicating to your potential clients? How will you celebrate your success?

Email me at tana@leadauthentic.com if you would like a PDF copy of this blog post.

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