If you’re a coach (or an aspiring coach), chances are you have a deep desire to transform people’s lives.
But what if your clients didn’t work with you just once or twice?
Imagine the impact you could make if they came back and worked with you again and again… over years or even decades.
Imagine the ripple effect this would have on their relationships, families, careers, and more – because they continued to invest in getting support to make their dreams come true.
And consider how fulfilling it would be for you as the coach to guide and support them in this way, as you grow & evolve together over time.
This is a rare thing in the coaching industry… but it doesn’t have to be!
I’ve been coaching for over 36 years, and many of my clients have worked with me for decades.
At times, we don’t work together for a stretch of many years, and then when they’re ready for their next level of growth and development, they always know I am here for them.
The biggest benefit of these kinds of lifelong client relationships is the meaning and satisfaction it brings to your work. And an added bonus is that it creates a business model where you have a steady stream of customers who know, love, and trust you and will work with you for years to come.
Today, I want to share a few of the things I’ve learned over the course of my career about building and maintaining these beautiful client relationships.
Tip #1 – Always Stay Connected
Whether or not I’m currently working with a client, I always keep in touch. This doesn’t come from a place of wanting to sell them something all the time, but rather from a place of genuine care and curiosity.
I love keeping up with what’s going on in their lives and I want them to know I’m always here for them as a resource. In all phases of their lives, I remain in service to them – reaching out to share a book that made me think of them or connecting them with someone I think they should know.
For me, staying connected with them is as natural as staying in touch with my family. I make sure they feel my genuine care and love for them.
Over the course of my 36 years of coaching, I can say that many of my oldest clients are also my dearest friends.
Tip #2 – Keep Growing & Developing with Your Clients
As a coach, you help guide your clients to grow and evolve. If you want to work with people through the many seasons of their lives, you have to keep growing & evolving too!
The best way to be a guide they can come to as their lives transform is to stay ahead of the game by always investing in your own growth and development.
I’m always looking for new areas to learn and educate myself, ways in which I need to change my approach, or how I can evolve as a person – so that I can be the best guide and sounding board for the people who work with me.
If you work in a specific field, it’s important to keep up to date on the latest trends, research, and schools of thought. And in general, it’s important to keep yourself open to the way life and the world is changing.
Because I’m always educating myself and investing in my own growth, I’m able to support my clients not only through many phases of their lives, but also in many different areas – from family, to career, to romantic partnership and beyond.
Tip #3 – Lead with Curiosity and Help them Get What They Want
One of the core reasons my clients continue to come back to me again and again is because they know I will be a neutral, loving sounding board to help them explore what’s next.
When I work with a client, I never have an agenda about what I think they should do. Instead, I lead with curiosity and help them get clarity about what they really want and how they can make it happen. This creates a space where people feel deeply seen and where they know they can be 100% real.
Most of us long for places in our lives where we can show up as ourselves – with no fear of judgment, advice, or criticism – and get honest feedback. This is the container I create for the people I coach.
If you want to create the kind of relationships with your clients where they come back to you for guidance through the many stages of their lives, the best thing you can do is develop the skills of curiosity, receptivity, and giving objective feedback. (We teach all of this and more in our transformational life coaching certification.)
Tip #4 – Educate Your Clients about the Stages of Their Development
It’s natural for people to go through stages where they are excited and inspired about creating growth and change in their lives, and times when this isn’t a top priority. In our Aliveness Mastery Coaching Certification, we teach a framework for this called the Upward Spiral.
The Upward Spiral helps people understand that ebbs and flows in excitement, enthusiasm, resistance, and growth are natural when you are on a path of personal development. It helps people know that there will be ups and downs, and encourages them to stay the course when things get tough or it feels like nothing is working – because after the breakdowns are often our biggest breakthroughs (if we don’t give up!).
Having this understanding helps my clients stay committed to the coaching process when we are working together, and it gives them a more empowered way of looking at the ups & downs of life.
And when they are spending too much time in the breakdowns (and not experiencing enough of the breakthroughs), many of them remember our work together, and find their way back to me to support them in their next stage of growth.
The relationships I’ve built over the years have allowed me to have a career that is deeply fulfilling, and a business that has grown with me. I cherish the relationships with the people I work with because they are the heart of my work.
If you’re struggling to retain clients or simply looking for more fulfillment in your coaching career, try some of these tips and notice how your relationships deepen over time.
I’d love to hear how it goes!