I have a confession.
I am not a fan of long-term coaching contracts.
Yet, almost every other coach I see insists on holding clients to some sort of minimum time commitment.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that there IS a time and a place for time-bound contracts, but more often than not, your time restrictions can get in the way.
Time-bound contracts plant a seed that your work together will (and should) end.
Why would you ever assume that there would be an end to the incredible progress, growth, and transformation your work provides others? Why would you assume that there wouldn’t be more layers to uncover and more things to create together?
Yet, an end date plants the seed in your client’s mind that one day soon they’ll be moving on. Then this imaginary expiration date becomes the focus, trying to cram as much in before time is up instead of growing naturally through the process.
Time-bound contracts force you to have to re-sell your services to the same clients.
If you were dating someone, would you say, “Alright, let’s date for six months, and then on February 27th, we’ll sit down and evaluate whether we want to keep dating for another 6 months.”
Instead, you’d both commit to the relationship and trust that when it’s not working, you’ll talk about what to do to either fix the relationship or end it.
Why not do the same in your coaching relationships?
I have always offered month-to-month private coaching. For business clients, that’s usually in the form of a monthly retainer.
When I coached actors, they purchased a number of sessions at once to use as they see fit. Both of these options offer my clients flexibility without the restrictions of time.
I never have to worry when Month 5 rolls around, “Uh oh. Our 6-month contract is about to end. I wonder if this client will renew… Boy, I dread these re-enrollment conversations!”
Because, here’s the truth… If you’re getting value as my client, we’re going to (of course) keep working together. And if it’s time to move on, we’ll move on.
Now, I know there can be a lot of hesitation around switching to a month-to-month coaching model.
What if someone only works with me for one month and then disappears?
What if I lose all my clients at once?
First, take a look at your coaching history as a whole to figure out what packages might work best for you.
Let’s say from past experience, you know it takes about 90 days before clients really notice measurable change or improvement.
Perhaps you offer a 3-month contract that then automatically rolls into month-to-month coaching for as long as you and the client desire.
Now you don’t have to waste time or energy re-enrolling each client. And you still get a big enough time investment from the client to know they’ll gain traction. What a win-win!
So maybe it’s time to question what you’ve been taught about time-bound contracts and tailor a simple, no-pressure coaching structure that keeps clients invested from the beginning and connected for the long haul.