Why I Don't Do One-Off Coaching Sessions Anymore

Mar 04, 2022

Three years ago, I made a new rule in my business that I've followed to this day: I do not do one-off sessions, especially with new clients.

The reason is simple: As a coach, my ultimate allegiance is to helping my clients create sustained results in their businesses. While I can help my clients make some amazing progress in just a couple of sessions, the truth is that it takes a more sustained coaching relationship to help my clients create lasting results.

In this episode, I talk about why I don't do one-off coaching sessions, and how that's enabled me to better serve my coaching clients.

Hello, and welcome to the Client Attractor Show, where we talk about concrete tactics and strategies that you can use to attract your dream clients. I'm your host, Jacob Ratliff, client attraction coach and author of the brand new book Client Attractor. If you've not gotten your copy yet, you can pick that up today at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or clientattractorbook.com

In today's episode, I am going to be talking about why I don't do one-off sessions with clients anymore, and I want to get you thinking about why that may be a good idea for you, if you determine that it does indeed make sense not to do one-off sessions with clients. Before we get started, I want to define what exactly I mean by a one-off session. The first and most obvious definition is signing up a client just to do a single, one-time session, but for the purposes of this episode, I want to expand that definition just a little bit to include a really small finite number of coaching sessions. For example, signing up a client for just two, three, or four sessions, as opposed to enrolling a client in a three- or a six-month-long coaching package. I want to include that in the definition of a one-off coaching session, because scheduling that smaller number of sessions is more along the lines of a one-off, one-time coaching engagement, rather than a more sustained coaching relationship with a client. 

With that in mind, I want to share with you the story of Lynn, a client I worked with for only three sessions. I consider her to be an example of a one-off coaching engagement, and in our three sessions together, we actually made some really amazing and significant progress. She got great clarity on who her ideal client was, how she was showing up online, and what concrete actions she needed to be taking in order to get new clients. At the end of our third session, I could tell that she had some really intense motivation and drive to follow through on all the action items that we talked about. So in a lot of ways, at that point, I wasn't worried about her; I knew that she was going to move forward, take action, and that she was 100% headed in the right direction. 

But several months later, I took a look at her social media profile, and I saw that nothing had really changed. I then took a look at her website, and I saw that not only had nothing really changed in terms of what we had talked about, but she had actually done the exact opposite. It's worth noting that part of coaching and consulting is knowing that, at the end of the day, it is your client who gets to make the final call on what they do, but I was a little bit concerned because the last time we had talked, we were 100% on the same page. 

I was sitting there thinking, Okay, what, what happened here? What's going on? I reached out to her, and I asked what was going on, and she said that she had tried out what we had talked about for about a week and didn't see any results. So I asked, “What did you decide to do instead?” and she said, “Well, nothing really.” This is a perfect, perfect example of why I don't do these one-off coaching relationships anymore, and I'll tell you a little bit more about why that exactly is. There are three main reasons that could also very well be takeaways for you to consider when it comes to your own business and coaching practices. 

The first is that coaching is not about telling people what to do and then leaving the rest up to them. It's really about the guidance and support through that entire process. If you can't provide that guidance and support in a one-off coaching engagement or relationship, you're almost sacrificing the most important and most valuable piece of the entire coaching relationship. And that doesn't even touch on the ability to continue to tweak and adjust as your client moves forward, because that's the other really, really important thing that you began to sacrifice. 

The second reason and primary takeaway is that almost any coach can have a major impact on a client in just one or a few sessions, but most of the time, you actually do need a more sustained relationship in order to create sustained impact and change. The third reason and takeaway is a direct outgrowth of the first two: at the end of the day, it comes down to how are you best serving your client? How are you helping create the biggest change in their lives or their businesses or their careers or wherever? As a coach, your ultimate allegiance in a lot of ways is to your client's best self and highest good, and what that means is that it's really important that you structure your business and your offerings in the way that best serves your client, and in the way that helps you best show up for them. 

Of course, it would be absurd of me not to mention the benefits that this practice has on your own business, not just on your clients. For example, only offering new clients, say, a three-month package, rather than a one-off session or a really small package, that's going to increase your average order value right off the bat, which has great benefits in terms of revenue and increasing that overall sale value. And of course, since working with a client for a longer period of time is going to help them get better results, they're going to be more likely to stick around for the long term and not just disappear after one, two, or three sessions. 

It has benefits for your business as well as for the client, and at the end of the day, what it all really comes down to is how it enables you to better serve your clients and how it enables you to help your clients achieve the best, best results that they possibly can. As always, thank you so much for joining me for today's episode of the Client Attractor Show. I'm your host, Jacob Ratliff, and I look forward to you joining us for our next episode tomorrow. Until then, take care.

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