The Coach Value Alignment Framework

She thought I was crazy.

“So let me get this right. I should NEVER offer a free initial session? So how do I get clients into my coaching program then? That’s the whole point. I want more clients.”

Olivia looked at me in disbelief.

Offering a free session traps you in the worst section of the Aligned Coach Framework”, I explained.

Free sessions strangle your business by making you believe you’re doing the right things. In reality, a free session attracts three type of people:

It attracts freebie seekers who turn up but never respond to your carefully crafted messages after the session. 

It attracts time wasters, who book a session, then don’t bother letting you know they’re not going to turn up. 

And it attracts the false positives. They’re the worst as they’re easy to convert and trap you into thinking you’re doing the right thing... but there are so few of them, you can never grow your business with them alone.”

I went on:

“It gets worse than that. A free session actively REPELS the type of person you want to attract because they’ve probably never even thought of working with a coach. It never enters their mind as a possibility. Even if they think about it, they make all sorts of negative assumptions like, “It won’t work for me” or “It’s too expensive.” You and I both know they’re wrong with those assumptions, but that’s the reality. There are vast numbers of people who need help, but they will never go to a free session because they don’t think it’s for them.

You need to approach them in a different way. Funnily enough, it’s almost certainly the way you’d use if you hadn’t been taught to try to copy what everyone else is doing.

From what you’ve said, it sounds like you’re in either the “No Traction” or “Lost in the Crowd” quadrants.

The Value Alignment Framework

You want to have an impact, you’re willing to do the work, your clients love you and get great results, and maybe you have a few referrals, yet it doesn’t seem to be getting you where you want to be?”

Olivia nodded her head. “I’ve worked so hard. It just feels overwhelming. I want to help people, but I don’t know where to start or if I’m doing the right thing. All the technology is confusing and expensive. But what I find the hardest is when my friends and family ask me how it’s going and have to tell them it’s going great when in my heart I don’t know where my next client is coming from.”

“I get it.” I said.

“It’s one of the most frustrating feelings in the world when you're doing all you can, pushing yourself, but not having the impact or getting the rewards you deserve. We’ve all been there.

The good news is you’re probably doing the right things. You’re simply not aligning them.

Think of a waterslide. How would it feel if you started sliding down a waterslide, and the sections weren’t aligned? What would happen if some sections were too high, some weren’t connected properly, or perhaps even missing completely…

What would your experience be like? You’d get off as quickly as possible.

Yet if they’re perfectly aligned, the ride is smooth. It’s fun. It’s easy to go down. The experience is wonderful. Everything is aligned.

That’s how you need to go about attracting clients. You need to make it easy for them to know you exist and easy to take the first step onto the waterslide. The waterslide has to give them an experience they love, and to be aligned so, at the end, the only logical conclusion for them is for them to ask you to be their coach.  

And here’s the thing. When you get it right, you never need to sell. It’ll be a foregone conclusion that they’ll want to take the next step. They’ll see you as an expert who understands them. They’ll be willing to pay for your initial session and for premium coaching.

They’ll ask you to be their coach and that’s when you know your value is aligned. Everything just flows.

“So how do I know what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong?” Olivia asked.

“Great question! You’re almost certainly doing a lot right. It’s the alignment that’s probably wrong, but I won’t know until we’ve run through the scorecard. 

There are 8 key dimensions to consider to ensure you’re aligned. The good news is that you don’t need to be perfectly aligned in all 8 immediately. The scorecard gives you clarity on where you are and guides you to making a well-informed decision on where to focus to hand you the greatest, fastest impact. 

If you’d like a copy of the Aligned Coach Scorecard, so you know exactly where you are and where a small change can give you a dramatic impact, click the button below. I’ve included a video walking you through how to complete it, along with examples of what Olivia was doing 

- Gareth & Mary