Let’s say you’re a life coach and you’re following the progress of two different clients – we’ll call them Jack and Jill.
Jack and Jill both have goals (to get up a hill maybe) and they need a little help getting there, which is why they hired you. So far so good.
They have the same amount of resources, the same education level and the same coach (you). After 6 months of tracking their progress, you see that Jill has met her goal, while Jack has barely made any progress.
What do you think the difference was?
On the surface, we could say the difference was action. Jill probably took more action than Jack, so she ended up accomplishing more.
But let’s keep digging deeper — why did Jill take more action?
The obvious answer would be that Jill wanted it more. She was more committed.
This particular goal was clearly very important to her. Maybe it has to do with her life circumstances, or maybe Jill is just more of a “go-getter”.
But that leaves us, as a coach, with a few existential questions:
- How do we know if our clients will actually succeed, or fail?
- Are we just expensive babysitters?
- What impact do we have on their chances of success?
- How can we increase their chances of success?
I think we can all agree that a client’s success is largely related to their level of commitment – how much they really want it. So what can we do to ignite that fire and keep it fueled?
Here’s where it gets interesting as most coaches don’t really understand this, and they fail miserably because of it. Did you know that the average income of a life coach is $20K/year? That’s average, which means more than half of coaches are making less than that.
Client success is a crucial factor in a coach’s success. I’ve been dubbed as having one of the industry’s highest client success rates and I know that’s a major reason why I’ve created such an incredible business in a short period of time. It’s why I consistently have referrals flowing to me and why my events always fill up.
So let’s consider what actually motivates clients to get committed and stay committed, and how we can be a catalyst for it.
Enrollment = Commitment
At the end of the day, coaching exists to deliver results, and as we’ve seen in the example of Jack and Jill, your weekly coaching isn’t really a huge factor in whether or not your clients succeed.
If it were significant then all your clients would get pretty much the same results, but that’s not what happens.
In fact, what most coaches don’t realize is that the most important part of your coaching relationship happens before the client pays you anything.
The most important part of your relationship is the enrollment conversation.
To be clear, I define enrollment conversations as intimate, in-depth and high-value conversations where you and a potential client talk about their goals, dreams, challenges, obstacles, pains and desires. It’s a sacred container where you get to really understand their world, while helping them see a way into new possibilities.
It’s where the client really commits (or doesn’t) to their goal and it’s your job as a coach to make that a pivotal moment in their life…because if not, there’s a far lower chance your client will meet their goals.
Enrollment calls can literally be one of the last chances someone has to change their circumstances.
Before the end of this article, I’m going to share the 4 biggest mistakes coaches make in enrollment conversations so you can immediately implement some of the strategies to support your potential clients at a higher level.
But before we do that, I need to make sure we’re on the same page…
That’s a BIG difference. But isn’t it true?
Look through your past clients and consider it. When we stoke the fires of their commitment and turn it into a raging inferno, success is almost inevitable.
So how can we create that raging inferno?
First, we must understand what doesn’t work.
The 4 Biggest Mistakes Coaches Make in Enrollment Conversations
1. Withholding Your Genius
Most coaches don’t give away the goods until they get paid. That’s a great strategy for selling e-commerce products but not a great strategy for coaches.
It would be like someone auditioning for American Idol by talking about how great of a singer she is. That makes no sense. You gotta sing! In fact, that’s the time to bring your absolute best.
This doesn’t mean you’re actually solving potential clients’ problems on enrollment calls. That’s another huge mistake many make. When you go straight into solving someone’s problems on enrollment calls it’s like someone going to the doctor with a wound that needs stitches, or even surgery. But instead the doctor sends the patient on their way with just a band-aid. Sure, it might appear to have fixed the issue on the surface, but it’s a massive disservice to them because it’s not going to hold up long-term – it’s not what they really need.
Coaching isn’t always about solving problems.
Instead, show potential clients that you can help them by actually helping. Guide them through a process where they get crystal clear on where they are, what they really want, and what’s ACTUALLY holding them back. Because that’s where most people are stuck initially – they don’t understand what’s really under the surface of their challenges.
Create an experience that can be a pivotal moment in their life – even if they don’t become your client. SERVE THEM. Someone may not sign up with you on-the-spot but if you give them an incredibly powerful experience, they will never forget you. They might even come back later on to work with you or refer their friends to you.
Don’t withhold your genius because you never know what the ripple of your service will create.
2. Being Afraid of Objections
Most coaches are hoping for zero objections in an enrollment conversation, they want it to be fast and easy — but that’s a big mistake.
I LOVE objections. I welcome them. Because that’s where the REAL conversation starts. Objections are super important because they represent pockets of resistance your client has to their goal. Maybe they don’t see a path to success, maybe they’re scared, or maybe they just don’t believe it’s possible.
These underlying pockets of resistance are what’s ACTUALLY holding most people back. You must address these beliefs before you begin coaching with them because no one can be truly committed until they’ve cleared their mind of any and all concerns.
So instead of being afraid of objections, instead think of them as opportunities to coach potential clients on their MINDSETS. Help them see that the reason why they have the problems they have, or why they don’t have what they want, is BECAUSE of their belief systems.
Objection handling is where the real breakthroughs begin!
3. Relying On A Script
A script is like training wheels – it can be useful for beginners but once you learn how to ride and you want to attract high-end dream clients you must show up as 100% yourself – not someone hiding behind someone else’s script.
This might be scary at first if you’re used to a routine, but you don’t have a script when you coach people, right? No. The enrollment conversation is no different – where you’re showing up as a coach, not a salesman. This is about shifting your mindset from “I’m here to sell” to “I’m here for breakthroughs”.
Promises of a future aren’t what make people buy – breakthroughs are. You need to deliver what you do on enrollment calls because only then will that person really understand what is possible with you.
4. Aiming to Please
The reason clients hire you is because you are often the only person in their life that’s willing to tell them the truth. The enrollment conversation is not the time to walk on eggshells — and yet, many coaches don’t bring that kind of intensity until after someone signs up.
It’s essential that you bring the same level of honesty and truth-telling that you do when someone is already your client. Often that can look like speaking directly to their limiting beliefs about money in a conversation where they are talking about paying you. That’s part of your job. You’re there to help them overcome limiting beliefs.
I believe it’s our moral obligation on enrollment calls to leave nothing left unsaid. Because you might just be the last opportunity someone has to change their circumstances, or their life.
So instead of aiming to please, aim to serve them at the deepest level by speaking to all the unspokens.
You Have Nothing To Lose And Everything To Gain
You got into this work because you love helping people.
You love the feeling someone gets when they realize what’s been holding them back and are able to start on a new path toward a different future.
When we shift our mindset from enrollment being about selling to enrollment being about showing up congruently and making a massive impact, not only are we massively increasing our ability to enroll high-end clients and get them results, we’re also making ourselves happier because we get to do the thing we’re good at.
People often talk about having a “fear of selling” but what they don’t understand is that kind of “selling” (which is really just trying to convince someone) isn’t something they should be doing in the first place.
Enrollment isn’t about convincing or persuading or manipulating or discounting someone into buying.
Enrollment is about service – service through YOUR GIFTS as a coach.
Enrollment is about helping people see past their limiting beliefs so they can fully commit to their vision.
We all know what happens when someone is 1000% committed to their vision.
Your business will experience some pretty rad results too 😉