I just finished up a Weekly Sherp, one of the calls we do with our clients every single week; hoping to get really clear about what actions to take over the next 7 days.
A great question came up and thought it will be really helpful for you.
And so, while I’m here at the computer, I thought I’d record a quickie for you about how to shrink down session time and stop sessions from going over time.
A great coach on the session today asked me, “I’ve got this client. I’ve got a call with him later today. He’s got a tendency to wander.”
I don’t know if you’ve ever had that. Have you?
If the call goes for an hour; you’ll get an agenda, but then you’ll do it, and then it’ll kind of wander off to somewhere else, and then we’re 3 minutes to go.
You think you’re done, and they go, “Oh, I’ve got 3 more minutes. Let me just ask and I’ll give you 3 more things.” And it escalates out of control.
So, here’s what happens…
I think that most coaching sessions are too long, full of fluff.
I want to give a hat tip to a couple of great people:
Marcus Bird wrote a great book called “3-Minute Coach” and one of the 6 things I’m going to share with you today was inspired by him.
Usually, at some stage through the call, there’s like 5 minutes of magic.
Yes, 5 minutes of magic, and then the rest is just filler. It’s the kind of conversation that just takes up time.
And so, what we want to do is want to shave this off so we end up with just the magic and as little filler as we can so we can get clients clear and get them moving.
And then get them on with their day, and you into your world as well.
Six Things You Can Do To Shrink Down Session Time
So, here’s what we want to do…
I’m going to give you 6 things you can do right now to take control of your calls and to really slim this up, in no particular order.
These are just the order that they came to me when I was working with my client today. I thought that might be helpful for you.
If you want to trim down coaching session time but do it in a way that increases their momentum. I think that’s the goal.
We’re not just doing this for us, we’re doing it so that the clients get a better result as well.
The first thing to do is just kind of get clear about framing.
Here’s what I’ve learned…
A couple of words said right at the start of something means that once the call’s lost control, the horse has bolted. It’s harder to bring it back on track.
And so, I would say something like…
“Hey, [First Name]… really looking forward to our session today. As you know, we’ve got 30 minutes booked in and I’ve got somebody booked in straight after you. So, why don’t we do this? I’m going to set a little timer on my phone here for 27 minutes. That way, it will just ping us at the 27-minute mark and we can wrap up; make sure we’re really clear about insights and our next action. Is that okay with you? Great. Like I said, I’ve got somebody straight after you. So, let’s just jump straight in right now.”
Not in the way that it’s designed to make them feel rushed. It’s just in a way to say, “Hey, we’re here to do business. Let’s get down to work.”
Is that cool?
So dropping a frame upfront makes everything else heaps easier.
Give them a time frame and explain that that’s how we’re going to roll.
Number 2 is about your energy.
I don’t know about you, but my energy is so much better when I’m standing.
Frankly, I do everything standing up. So, right now, I’m in a stand-up desk sitting on the top, some weird sort of coffee table thing with my laptop on it.
My energy is a million times better.
I read this book by a presidential speechwriter years ago. And he said, “If you have no energy, you have no audience.”
And as a coach, your main job, you’re an energy transformer.
Your job is to kind of take your energy and move it into them.
It’s to take them from whatever level they’re at and move them up a notch. Right?
I don’t know about you, but when I’m sitting down, I don’t tend to be at my most energetic. And so, every coaching session I do, I do standing up.
Obviously, if we’re at a coffee shop, maybe lesser. But most of my stuff’s done online, my energy is a million times higher and I’m less patient. Cool?
So, stand up is just a really, really easy fix. Stand up, your energy’s going to be different. You’re going to be less patient, you’re going to have a bit more pep in your voice.
Have you ever seen those cop shows where they bring in a suspect for interrogation?
They’d lock them in a room, and they work out –just before the 2 cops walk in –it’s always partners –Tango and Cash, and Turner and Pooch and whoever else- there’s always good cop, bad cop.
And so, most of the coaches I know are pretty good cops. Like, good people, you want to help. Some of them –maybe the less so, but let’s just say you’re a good cop.
What we need is a bad cop. And I think the bad cop is the clock. The clock’s the boss. So, you don’t have to be a dick. You don’t have to be harsh like I did right at the start.
What have I just done? I’ve now set up a third party outsider who’s going to arbitrate our time. Right?
And so, it’s super easy. The clock’s the boss.
I know one of our coaches does face to face sessions at his office. He’s got a really nice office and clients come in and see him.
That’s a little bit old-fashioned, but it still works. And if it’s an hour session, at the 55-minute mark, there’ll be a knock on the door.
And Vanessa, his assistant, will say, “Hi, Steve. Just letting you know, 5 minutes to go. And Tony, your 11 o’clock is waiting in the foyer.” And that just lets both of them know politely that the time is running down.
A little bit like this 3-minute alarm thing is going to do for me. Does that make sense? So, make the clock the boss, then you are golden.
Now, having a 3rd structure trains clients to follow the framework. When we get to the focus bit, “Great. So, what are the 1 or 2 or 3 most important things we can focus on today? And then what order would you put them in? Great.”
And then just tick them off as you go. Is that cool?
Next stop is having an agenda; what’s the one thing that you want or the two things you want?
I think if I have to kind of summarize that, I would say having a framework.
By the way, if you want a copy of The 20™ — the framework that I’ve just shown you — the one that we use to coach our clients, just comment “20” below, and I’ll hook you up.
Next stop, what do we do? Well, what do you do if the conversation starts to go off-track?
I learned this from a great coach years ago. His name is Roland Hanekroot.
He had this really lovely language that allowed him to bring any conversation back on track whenever he wanted to.
As a start, he’d set up this frame. He said, “In my coaching, I know that there are 2 kinds of conversations we can have. We can have conversations which are useful or conversations which are just interesting. I’m going to coach. And so, when we’re coaching together, let’s agree to only have conversations which are useful. Is that okay with you?”
And everyone says, “Yes, that sounds great.”
So, the moment they start wandering, talking about something else, you go, “Hey, that’s really interesting. Let’s just pause right there. Is that a useful topic for us to talk about or is it just interesting?”
And they go, “No, you’re right. It’s just interesting.”
“Okay. Great. Well, let’s get back to what’s useful.” And that’s just having a really simple –useful versus interesting framework is just a great way to bring people back on track.
By the way, my coaching is quite directive. I don’t believe that the client has all the answers all the time. Often, you do. And so, it’s totally okay to lead the client when the client needs to be led. Good so far?
6. Space Bags
The 6th piece, the last thing, it’s going to be an absolutely killer for you.
I said this right from the start that most coaching sessions are full of fluff and filler.
Like, if that’s the hour on the clock, there’s probably like 5 minutes of magic. I’ll be generous. Maybe there’s more, but let’s call it 5 minutes of magic and the rest of the time is just filler. Right?
And so, all we want to do is we want to get rid of all the filler.
There’s this product they sell on TV called Space Bags where you put all of your clothes, your laundry, and your stuff into this plastic bag and then vacuum out all of the filler.
And to take something this big and then shrink it down to that just to its essence. That’s what we want to do. We want to space bags your coaching sessions.
So, let me give you a model that’s a secret weapon for a bunch of our clients. Again, credit where credit is due.
If you ever get an idea from someone else, you should credit that person.
So, this idea was inspired by a great client of ours called Marcus Bird.
And so, if you take the framework I’ve just shown you, The 20™, you’ll be able to do a great coaching session in 15 maybe 20 minutes.
So, here’s the frame…
You’d tell your client that “In our next session, block aside an hour. We probably don’t need the whole hour, but let’s just walk it out in case. And that way, if we do finish our builder, you’re going to have time to implement.”
So then they get on the call, and you go, “Great. You got the hour blocked out? Great. I don’t think we’re going to need the hour, but it’s good that you got it there just in case.”
So, you do your magic.
I think, as coaches, we deal in insights and actions. Right?
So, we want them to pop an ‘Ah hah’, and then have 3 specific action steps to follow.
The one that you need to know what to do with it. So, by the time you’re done in The 20 (you’ve done wins and they feel really proud of what they’ve done), they’ve got un-stuck; in the future, they’re really clear what to do in the past.
In 15 minutes, they’ve known. Anything extra would be filler.
Remember our job is to space bags out the fluff. And so, we get them here, and we say, “Great. So, do you know what to do?” And they’ll say Yes. “Can you do it?” Ah hah. “Okay. Great. So, I know you blocked out the rest of the hour.”
I want you to take the next 45 minutes and get working on number 1 and 2 right now.
You’ve already got time blocked aside.
At the top of the hour, what I’d love you to do, please, is just to send me an update with what you got done.
Because for the first time ever, they’ll leave the coaching call without homework. Right?
They’ll actually get the stuff done, and at the end, they’ll be able to send you a quick report about what they’ve done.
They’ll be super clear where their energy is most, they can implement instead of having to leave with a big fat to-do list.
So, these are 6 ways to shrink down your coaching session times to help clients win faster. And frankly, free up a ton of your time.
So, what I’d love to know right now is what’s been the most useful for you? I wanted to kind of give you this direct in 1 piece. If there’s anything I can do for you right now to help you with your coaching, please, type it in. I’d love to know.
My job is to be as useful as I possibly can.
By the way, I’m thinking about doing a brainstorm session later this week. Just a 60-minute brainstorm on how to –kind of sharing together on what’s best practice on running a leveraged coaching business and do the how to coach –how to deliver great results for clients at scale.
If that will be helpful for you, I was just thinking about an hour, a bunch of clients, maybe some of you guys on the line. I would share some best practice for 10 minutes or 15 minutes, and then I’ll just be able to kind of brainstorm with you, that will be helpful.
If you’d like to do that, It’s a complete experiment; just type the word “ZOOM”. We use Zoom like GoToMeeting, and run a brainstorm. I’d love to do that with you. I think that would be super fun.
That’s it for now. Appreciate your time. Talk to you soon!
P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you grow your coaching business:
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