There’s so much talk about how to get coaching clients but very little about losing a coaching client and most importantly, how to find out what went wrong.
The first thing to remember is that losing a client is normal. It’s not nice but established coaches, new coaches and everyone in between have all lost good coaching clients.
Sometimes it’s our fault. Sometimes it’s theirs. Sometimes it’s just out of everyone’s control.
But no matter the reason, there is something to be learned from a lost client. A system to review lost clients will help you and your coaching business improve, grow and ironically, get you more clients.
Typically done when you leave a job, an exit interview is also a great way to review what went right with clients—and what went wrong—during your coaching relationship. You’ll want to review:
- The progress your client made
- What specific advice or tools did not work for her
- Any personality conflicts
- Why she’s moving on
- What signs were there that she was not the right fit?
- Why did you ignore any signs that were present?
- How can you use that information to protect yourself from a less-than-ideal client in the future?
- The schedule of calls/emails
- The requirements for scheduling a call
- Reporting requirements
- Length of your contract
This is not the time to get defensive. Be open to their criticism (if there is any) and use the information to genuinely improve your business.
Be Honest With Yourself
One of the most common reasons for client loss is that the client is simply not a good fit. Maybe you suspected it when he or she signed up, or maybe not, but now that they have moved on, ask yourself:
If you can identify a bad client-coach match from the start and decline the work (or better still, refer them to another coach who is a good fit) you’ll find you have a lot less stress in your day-to-day business.
Sometimes, client loss is as simple as a lack of understanding on your client’s part.
Do have a system for staying in touch with a client who has gone quiet? Sometimes all it takes is a phone call to get your wayward client back on track.
Many coaching relationships have been salvaged with a simple phone call or email, so if you haven’t heard from a client in a while, pick up the phone.
Here’s the Bottom Line:
Client loss happens to best of us; but if you can learn from each client, and use that insight to positively improve your coaching business, then even a lost client can be turned into new coaching clients.