I was recently asked “How do I Build a Good Practice?” by two new comers to coaching. I answered Practice, practice, practice and more practice and at every level.
In other words practice all the time until it becomes unconscious so that you just BE a practitioner and what you practice just occurs whenever and wherever it is needed. Whatever your practice!
I sign up to many discussion groups and forums and online communities related to my practices. But I seem to come across one particular problem: Many contributors desire to prove that they know their subject and maybe, even worse, try to sell something based on that.
I understand the desire to exchange ideas but the problem is that the activity of practice and the learnings from practising, need to be taking place directly with people. Either face to face or one to one by phone or VOIP, rather than indirectly via a keyboard or keypad.
Learn by practising Being a practitioner is not about knowing techniques. It is about when and where. Unconsciously use the right technique that is needed and more importantly, take that technique and modifying it to match the needs of your client. True practitioners do not need to think what to apply and when. They just know what to do and when to do it. What to do if what they are doing is not working. How to switch and what to switch to…. and there is the point.
That takes practice.
When I mentor practitioners. One particular question often arises. How much should I charge?
Practitioner “I am thinking of doing a weight loss programme”
Mentor Great! How many people, what format are you using, where, etc…?
Practitioner Oh, it’s for 10 people and …….……
Mentor How much are you charging?
Practitioner Oh, I am not charging. I need the practice.
Mentor You are a practitioner, that’s your job. You are there to practice.
You are not practicing to become something, you should continually practice to continue as a practitioner. A valuable practitioner
Actually, I believe that this should go one stage further. You need to practice so that you Become a valuable Servant.
What you charge should be based on a combination of the value to the client and what the client can afford.
I go as far to ask my clients what they are going to pay me. And, having described what I am going to do, I will ask “How valuable would that be to you?”
The question is deliberate. It gives me a clue as to how the client values themself. The answer indicates what type of work and the amount of work that I will need to do.
Many practitioners price themselves too cheaply because they want to make their services available to as many people as possible. This is admirable. We are here to make a difference, to make people’s lot better BUT this is misplaced. It should not be about what the practitioner is charging, rather a combination of the value to the client and what the client can afford.
It is about the client, not the practitioner, which means everybody pays an appropriate price and in some cases the price is nothing!
If you undercharge some people they will perceive that your practice isn’t worth much and they won’t engage. If you overcharge others they will not engage either.
If your desire is to make you service easily available, charging the right amount is important.
Do not serve too many clients at one time.
That's right! Turn business down
You have to be fit to serve so conserving your energy is paramount.
If you wish to offer your services free then make money first from those that will pay you before you offer your services free of charge to those that cannot afford you
Only offer your services free of charge once you can afford to do so and always do your best work whether you are being paid or not.
Offering services free of charge to build up a reputation, rarely works. Practitioners can end up struggling and then can’t afford to market themselves. By all means offer samples of your work BUT....
No dough, no go!
If you need to practice something new you can offer free consultation via classified advertising sites like Gumtree.com and explain why you are asking for free clients. You can also advertise in the local press.
As far as I am concerned the purpose, whatever you practice, should be that
You are there to serve.
- Practice all the time
- Practice one to one
- Learn by practising
- Learn when and where
- BE a practitioner.
- Be valuable
- Be a valuable servant
- Ask “How valuable would that be to you?”
- Charge for the value that the client expects
- Turn business down
- Improve people’s lot
- Offer your services for free occasionally
- Always do your best work!
- No dough, no go!