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Dr Ro’s top tips to all mentors & coaches

This came off the back of a phone call I had today with a dear friend of mine. 

He is also an amazing individual great coach and it’s happened a lot over the years and it happened to me as well some years back when I started getting into the field of  mentoring and coaching about 20+ years now. 

One of the challenges you have is if you’re getting into this for the first time or working with people who you know and you’ve offered to coach them initially and then that’s kind of gone on a little bit longer than maybe you planned and you’ve done it with several people, and you’re at a stage where you’re ready to transition into monetising this. 

In other words, you want to be working with paid clients and it might be that you take paid clients, but you also have other people that you are still pro bono doing for free, how you make that switch. 

Three things I would recommend.

Number one sometimes the conversation with that person can be uncomfortable, particularly if you’ve known them for a while. They’ve sort of gone into this habit of you helping them and coaching them but now the time taken there could be time taken with a paid client and you realise you need to look after yourself financially as well and also be paid for what you’re worth. 

How do you do that? 

A simple way to do this is to put this number one in writing and an easy way is simply on a phone call, at the end of a coaching session or just a direct phone call to say, look, there’s a lot happening at the moment. I’ve got new clients that I’m looking to take on, so there are a few changes in terms of how I’m going to be working with people. I wanted to drop you an email to let you know currently what the situation is and you email them and you do it in writing. 

Number two is an explanation of pretty much what I’ve just talked about there. It’s been great working with you. This is the free pro bono person and over the last several months I’ve been marketing or however your business operates. Taking on more clients or there has been a lot of referrals, word-of-mouth, and I’m at a point now where I’m not charging clients but also having to reallocate my time. I’ve really enjoyed working with you. Something along those lines and if you want to continue having the sessions with me these are my typical rates at the moment I’m charging people however, because we’ve been working together up until now I’d like to offer you a discounted rate and then offer them something that’s a bonus to them. 

Meaning they get a discount because they’ve worked with you already and just ask them simply what your preferred option is. Then they have the choice to say, well, thanks but I don’t want any more coaching which means that’s the end of the free coaching or okay, that’s great, it is really useful to know this and thank you for offering me the discount, I’d like to take the X package or whatever it is you offer. 

Again, it’s your own business model on that one. 

So that’s number three offer a discount and that’s a graceful way of winding your way out of a pro bono, free experience with somebody at the same time covering the subject in a logical and methodical way objective removing emotion from it. If you try and do it on the phone and they say it’s a struggle at the moment, is it possible to have a few free calls? And you say okay and that can happen, particularly if you’ve got a big heart. This is a nice process. 

I would do it fairly quickly with all the people as you want to move to paid clients. If you’re saying to me, well Ro actually I’m happy and I don’t mind coaching for free. That’s great, but what I’m saying is often if you’re dealing with a lot of people and you’ve got more potential clients over here and you’re weighing up your time value it’s difficult sometimes to wind back from that. 

Having established a protocol with them and they’ve gotten used to you doing it for free, they can lean on you when they want and that’s tough. If you’re building a business you have to learn to step back and be objective. 

So three things, put it in writing. Number two an explanation of why, and number three offer them some incentive or discount you don’t have to do that, but I think if you’ve been working with them it kind of makes them realise you still respect them and you’re giving them something that little bit extra that you wouldn’t do if they were a straight brand-new client coming in. 

Good luck with that. 

I shall see you all soon.

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