How to Know When to Make Coaching Proposals

How to Know When to Make Coaching Proposals


I have a saying that I share with coaches: In coaching, similar to in love, you can almost always propose too soon but you can almost never propose too late.

When I started out coaching, I wondered how to make a proposal and I’d put a lot of thought and importance into making a proposal to a client and doing it in the right way that would have them sign up.

However, I realise now that I had been making proposals far too soon in the relationship before the prospective client had a significant shift.

In fact, my coach Steve Chandler says that two things need to happen before a client will agree to a proposal of you working together.

1. The prospective client has to see life differently – i.e they need to have a change in their thinking that their life in the future could be different to the way it is now.


This first piece is something that coaches seem to get. They seem to understand that in order for someone to pay them for coaching, the person has to see that, through talking with them, life could be different.

However, there’s a part two:

2. The prospective client has to live life differently – i.e they have to start experiencing the change that they’re looking to achieve before they pay you.


For example, if someone is looking for coaching so they can be less stressed and more effective in the workplace, it’s not enough that they can see that it would be possible to live like that after talking to you, they have to start experiencing some level of reduced stress and greater effectiveness before they hire you – if you want the proposal to have a high chance of being accepted.

Similarly, if someone is looking to hire a coach because they want to have a better relationship with their spouse, it’s not enough that they see that their relationship with their spouse can be vastly improved.
They have to start seeing some of that improvement before you make the proposal.

Once I saw the second step more clearly, I slowed down in making my proposals and I was far more successful in potential clients accepting my proposal.

In fact, often what happened was, people would ask me whether we could work together before I even made a proposal. 

There’s a great chapter Mark Howard and I did for our online course that addresses everything you need to know about proposals. Check out an excerpt from that chapter below:

Coaching Proposals

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