6 Simple Ways to Create Lasting Connection with Your Clients
Relationships of every kind require mutual trust and respect to both survive and thrive. In the case of the coaching context, it’s vital to build trust from client to coach in order for personal development and goal attainment to occur. Further to this, trust is the foundation from which long-lasting connection can be built.
So—how can coaches build trust with clients in a way that feels comfortable for both parties?
The key to building trust is to let the client know you are genuine. Sales talk, egotistic language, and a lack of listening will switch off a client quickly and permanently. Simply but powerfully offer your true self, reassuring them that your skill set and intentions are there to help them on their journey.
6 Effective Ways to Create a Long Lasting Connection with Your Coaching Clients
- Stay in Contact In Between Sessions. Depending on how you format your work, you might see many different clients each week. Or you may choose to dedicate your time to a select few. However you work, it’s vital that you let your client know you are present and listening. Asking your client to journal in an online journal, like JournalEngine™ can make this process a whole lot easier. Commenting on each journal will enable you to ask relevant questions to let them know they are being heard while moving the coaching process further along. Responding in a timely manner will let the client know that they can trust you. From there, they will be far more likely to want to invest their time and thoughts with you which is beneficial to the journey as a whole.
- Maintain consistency. Knowing what you’re getting lessens anxiety for most people. We like to know what to expect for the most part in order to feel safe. Trying new approaches is beneficial as well as ensuring that there is a reliable framework in place for the client to recognize. How you go about this is entirely personal to you. For example, you might set up each session to start and finish with a particular review exercise or cue conversation. The middle may change but bookending will help them know how things will start and finish. Your clients will relax in knowing what they’re getting, allowing you to do what you do best - guide them to success!
- Offer clarity from the start. Mystery can be saved for thriller movies and romantic soap operas. When it comes to coaching, clients want to know what they are paying for in terms of financial cost, time, energy and faith. Be absolutely clear about the services you offer without any inconsistency. Speak in plain language and reassure them of your skills and expertise in helping clients wanting to achieve similar goals to them. Let them ask you questions and offer honest and genuine answers each and every time. This simple approach will cultivate a healthy dynamic from the outset.
- Set early achievable goals. In the early part of the coaching journey, it is helpful to the trust-building process to highlight the success potential of the client. This can be easily accomplished by setting achievable short-term goals. For example, ask your client to write one personal ambition in their journal each night for a week. Review them daily with your client – probe, ask questions, connect the dots. These ambition notes can then be used for planning and development in your coaching sessions, becoming clearly useful to the more significant ultimate ambition.
- Listen without interruption. They key to reliably great communication is even better listening. Talking over or interrupting your client when they are sharing their thoughts is counter-intuitive to building trust in every sense. Though it might feel tempting to interject with a useful thought or encouraging question, you might be surprised to hear what they have to say if you allow them room to express themselves without premature interference. Our words as coaches are indeed powerful, but equally so are those of each client we are fortunate to spend our time with. Build ongoing trust by offering genuine space to talk without judgement or interruption.
- Remain 100% genuine. Your client has come to you for a reason. Yes, perhaps they have a specific goal in mind or problem they’d like to overcome. But there are many coaches they could have chosen to engage with. They are in this space with you, offering their vulnerable selves, with a purpose. They chose you above all the other coaches available to them. This is a powerful seedling of trust. Help this seed grow by nourishing it with genuine and authentic language. Speak to them as a human being, not a project. Celebrate their accomplishments and listen to their perceived barriers to success without judgement. Dedicate yourself to being the coach they chose with good cause. In time, your relationship will organically flourish.
Clients arrive to the coaching experience from all walks of life and personal experience. Getting to know each individual is part of the joy of coaching. It is also integral to success potential, in that we must know who we are working with in order to offer them the best resources, methods, and guidance possible. Building trust is the stepping-stone to learning more about someone beyond surface detail and initial meeting nerves.
Invest time and energy into building the confidence of your clients with your coaching skills and unique knowledge. Reassure them that you are there to aide them, not judge them. Put into action each of the approaches listed in this article and you will be well on your way to building long-lasting, productive, and positive connections that truly matter to you both.