A Coach chemistry meeting, also known as a Discovery session is a very useful tool for Coaches, NLP Practitioners and Hypnotherapists.
So, what is it and why is it useful?
A chemistry meeting is usually fifteen to twenty minutes and can be via phone, video conferencing or if local face to face. It has a value for both the Coach and the Client.
For the client there is an opportunity to find out if coaching is right for them and perhaps even more importantly “is this Coach for them?” The client can ask questions and find out more about the process of Coaching and the practicalities.
Many people looking for a Coach recognise the importance of trust in the coaching relationship. Meeting to find out more gives the client a chance to find out if they feel safe and trusting with you as their Coach.
As a Coach, you can also get benefits from this meeting. It is okay for you to turn down a prospective client and the chemistry meeting allows you to do that before a contract has been introduced.
There are a number of reasons you may choose not to work with a client. Firstly, if the client needs help that is outside of your experience or your chosen niche your are not the right Coach for them. The client may not know enough to make that decision for themselves and need you to guide them.
For example, if a client is asking for help with a therapy issue such as PTSD it would be appropriate to be clear that this is outside your expertise. It would be okay to refer them on if you know someone else with the appropriate training and experience.
If I refer a client who approaches me I like to offer them a choice of at least three other professionals. This allows the client to check out who is the best fit for them.
By the way it is also okay to refer even if you do have the training if the client wants help with issues you do not want to work with. This can be a professional decision if you have decided to specialise in a different field for example.
You may also decide to say “no” if you are getting any “red flags” that leave you feeling uncomfortable about working with the client. This can include feeling personally unsafe. An other example could be where the client is indicating they are seeking coaching to please someone else. Most Coaches recognise that such a client would not be committed to the process.
As a Coach the chemistry meeting will also give you an opportunity to build rapport and trust with your new client. This meeting can be a great opportunity to explain the process of Coaching, to discuss contracting boundaries and take a small amount of history. I say a small amount because if you get into too much detail it may take you down a side track at this stage.
There is an aspect of the chemistry meeting that many Coaches find uncomfortable and that is the sales part of the work. You could say that this is the meeting is where you close the sale. Many Coaches find the marketing and sales aspect of the job uncomfortable.
If you know that is true for you I have a suggestion. If you approach this meeting with an honest intention to help the client understand what you do and how you work you will be closing the sale. If you have built rapport and trust in the way you are in the meeting the client will probably want to work with you. This makes it easy for you to ask if they would like to book a session.
Having said that, I recommend to anyone seeking coaching or therapy that you meet at least three coaches or therapists. If you are lucky you get to the speak to three good coaches, this means only one will get the booking.
Thank you to Nancy Proctor for the question about chemistry meetings.
What else do you think is important about the chemistry meeting? What tips would you give to other Coaches? I would love to know your comments, questions and experience.