Free Coaching Sessions. Good idea or Bad idea?
There’s a challenge going around at the moment for coaches that asks them to have coaching conversations (free sessions) with 60 to 100 people within a time frame such as 7 weeks.
Social media is a prime place where these coaches are sourcing for individuals to take up the offer of one of those coaching conversations.
The posts will often look something like “Hi I’m a life coach. I’ve been challenged by my coach big time to have coaching conversations with 100 people in 7 weeks. If you would like to have a complimentary coaching session then book on my calendar here”, or there will be private messages sent out to individuals letting them know about their challenge and asking if they’d like to accept one of those free sessions.
It seems like a good idea.
You’d be talking to heaps of people about your coaching.
You’d be demonstrating your coaching to stacks of people. And those people will be so in love with you after their session, they’ll sign as a client or at the very least, refer you glowingly to others setting up word of mouth
You could be wondering should I be doing this? Giving a countless number of FREE sessions to as many people as I can to get clients.
I’m going to share with you why this is NOT a good idea.
Why posting all over social media that you’re relentlessly aiming to giveaway 60 or 100 free sessions in a limited amount of time is completely ruining your credibility as a professional coach.
First up: it screams newbie. If you’ve got the time to be running around giving away a ridiculous amount of free sessions in a limited amount of time, you obviously have a lot of time on your hands.
Which MEANS YOU HAVE NO CLIENTS.
That’s the assumption anyway.
Another point to consider, is that you are spending your valuable time coaching people that are not pre-qualified as a potential client.
Remember, you’re in a hurry to have those 100 conversations and display your worth and skill to as many as possible. The reality, many of those 100 freebie sessions will be with people who have ONLY TAKEN UP YOUR OFFER BECAUSE IT COSTS THEM NOTHING.
They would never pay you.
Because they don’t particularly want your service. They’re just doing it because you put it out there and they thought, “That sounds like a nice way to spend an hour”.
There’s something else that I hear a lot and it’s this: ‘the more people I give free sessions to, the more they’ll go away and rave about me to others and I’ll get booked by word of mouth.’
The truth is that rarely happens.
Nobody really wants to rave about anyone, particularly someone they had a 1 hour free session with that gave them a bit of a lift.
They might think you were pretty magical with young questions and insights, but you really didn’t solve the entire bigger problem in 1 hour so why would they rave about you to others?
And even if you DID solve the entire problem in that coaching session then you fixed them!
So they’re not signing up as a client. Worse, you fixed them for free.
And free equates to low value.
And once again, they’re happy, but not overly keen to tell the world about something of low value.
Often for a new coach, giving away a multiple ongoing free sessions feels good as they are coaching and giving value, and it feels as if they are achieving something.
They feel as if they are making headway. Because they’re doing a blast of activity. Busy makes us feel needed, wanted, achieving.
Fact is they’re not achieving anything …..
For the most part, the vast majority of those freebie sessions will not equate to paid clients.
There’s no way a credible professional booked coach would even consider asking people to come for a free session. They’re way to in demand for that.
People come to them, they don’t have to beg, bribe, message or coax people to come for a coaching session.
The in demand coach gets an email, or a phone call asking about their coaching services, and they reply with “Let’s Chat”.
Then the in demand coach has a powerful conversation.
Because the potential client is eager, even desperate to be there.
The in demand coach has a few powerful conversations a week with individuals in high NEED and DESIRE to have their problem solved by the in demand coach’s particular type of coaching.
The in demand coach isn’t busting her guts frantically trying to get in as many “discovery calls” in with as many as possible in the hope that some of them will sign as clients.
The difference is, the high profile in demand coach has pre-qualified their prospect as a potential client before the prospect even gets in contact!
Imagine you’re the high profile in demand coach.
The phone rings with a potential client.
This is going to be easy.
That’s because THE PROSPECT CONTACTED YOU.
You didn’t have to ask them to.
They just did it, because you’ve been on their radar for a while.
Their on your subscriber list, they follow you on social media, they read your blogs, they lap up the information and value what you give out.
They already KNOW you are most likely the coach that will help them.
When I put a post up on my Facebook page about this challenge, I received comments from coaches who said they had tried the multiple free session strategy and it didn’t achieve anything for their business.
And my very experienced and established coach friends slammed the strategy in an instant.
Have a look at a small sampling of comments made by established coaches.
So could such a challenge be ruining your credibility as a professional coach?
You get what you act out. Remember, your projection is the perception of all those who are watching you. And you could be turning quality paying clients off, while collecting a whole lot of people loving your free sessions but never prepared to pay for them because they don’t NEED you enough.
Better would be to at least offer paid intro sessions that solve a problem client has (part of the problem but NOT all the problem), and get PAID to show them the value you can give.
It’s more honourable to yourself as a coach to actually be paid for your service.
I’ve seen many newer coaches demoralised by marketing the free session strategy and never able to pull themselves out of the free session mind.
Another more useful strategy? Stop acting like a newbie coach giving away freebie sessions and ACT LIKE AN ESTABLISHED COACH.
You gotta Own It. No excuses.
If you’d like some help building your profile as that of a in demand coach, rather than scrambling by offering all over social media free sessions to whoever applies, register you interest for the Step into the Spotlight 6 Month Profile Building Program for Coaches & Change Makers here.
It’s your chance to build your profile so you ATTRACT leads, clients and opportunities.
Let me know what you think of the strategy of over giving free coaching sessions in the hope of securing paying clients?
Vanessa TalbotProfile Builder, Success Guide and Coach Mentor Creator of Step into the Spotlight: The illuminating program for coaches to be Seen and Heard! Contact Vanessa here