If you’re a coach, consultant, or someone who offers their services and advice with the intention to help your client reach a certain goal over a period of time,  then packaging your services into programs is important.

But how long should your programs be?

1 month, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months or longer?

That’s what this week’s episode is all about and I’ll share with you the common mistakes people make when deciding how long their programs should be, and how to decide what length of program to offer.

I’ll also share the evolution of my coaching programs and share with you some of the mistakes I made specifically around the ideal length of time for each program.

You can watch the video, listen to the audio, download from the podcast directory, or read the transcript below.
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[00:02:08] With coaching programs, we’re looking at more than just how long should the program go for, the best length of time. We’re looking at things like what should be in the program, who is the program for and how much you’re going to charge.

[00:03:48] I know that in order for you to get the best results in what we are aiming to achieve together, you’re going to need twelve months to do it really well. If we do it for any less, I’m going to letting you down. So that’s why I can only go for twelve months because I know from experience that’s how we get the results.

[00:04:42] in a program where we are really totally going to build up your brand online, we’re going to work at your packages, we’re going to launch, we’re going to be bringing in new clients, really position you with a system that you can rinse and repeat, to do that well it’s going to take us more than three or six months.

[00:06:12] The problem here is if you are offering an hourly rate, people stop focusing on the outcome solutions that you can get for them and start focusing on what do they get per hour and they start focusing on bringing value judgments on how worthy you are based on how much you’re charging.

[00:07:19] So exactly the same right different people are going to have different response. So you don’t want to be having your worth being judged by what other people have as their baggage around what an hourly rate is. So, take that out of the picture.

[00:09:19] You may very well just have one coaching package and that’s what you do, and that’s OK.

[00:09:43] The important thing here is you have to think of what are the outcomes that you can be achieving for your clients in specific time frames.

[00:10:33] So number one, think about what are the outcomes that you can achieve for people then I want you to think about “OK, for me to achieve that with somebody other very specific outcome or something that is broader. What is the best amount of time for me to get those results?”

[00:11:24] The other side of it is you will get people who really struggle and it could be for external factors in that they have a lot of other commitments all the time and it could also be for internal factors that they’re doubting themselves, they’re self sabotaging.

[00:12:26] So number one, you always make your decision on what is best for the clients and then you make your decision on the length of time based on your experience with the high achievers, the people who are struggling in the middle and go slightly to error on the side of caution.

[00:13:02] Being best for the client does not mean being the cheapest. It does not mean being find the way that you can to be able to give them as much as you possibly can.

[00:13:17] Being the cheapest doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to get the best results. They may not value what they’re doing or also in order for you to be able to cheaper a level may mean that you can’t get the services you want.

[00:13:28] The other side of doing the best for the client does not mean bombarding them with heaps and heaps and heaps of stuff because you can overwhelm them. There’s a fine line between over deliver and overwhelm.

[00:13:43] When it comes to best for the client is what is going to get them the best results and if that means that it’s going to have to be a longer program or more expensive program, so be it, as we go there.

[00:14:43] I did what many people will do and I did the hourly rate and it’s really not a good way to do it because it means that you continually trying to make the sale of the next session.

[00:18:01] What people tended to do is they only had 3 months, 12 weeks to get something done that they tended to really burn themselves out.

[00:20:29] Think about what you can achieve in that time and know that you can do well and that’s what you can be promising.

[00:20:36] If you know the people you work with they you get the most joy out of and that you know that you got to get the best results for your clients is longer then make it longer. That’s how to make a decision.

[00:21:53] Somebody who’s really struggling with external time constraints or with internal sabotage will take longer.

Read The Transcript Here

Hello and welcome! Janet Beckers here and it's great to welcome you to this episode of Romance Your Tribe Radio.

Today, we're going to be talking all about coaching programs and specifically what's the best length time for them. How long should they be? If you are a person who may be a coach or you may be consultant, in fact anybody that when you work with your clients, say providing some kind of service or advice that you know it's going to take more than just one time to get a result for them. It's going to take more than just giving one hour of your time. If they really want to get the outcomes that you'd know that you can help them to achieve, if you know it's going to take more than just one session then this episode is for you because you need to then be going and saying "This is the best length of time for me to get the results for you."

So let's have a look at "Why". First of all, you would even need to have a coaching program and let me have a look at what kind of people would be running a program rather than just providing, booking in for hourly rate. And also, they need to look at the different lengths of time the program could be running for and what kind of outcomes you can be expecting to achieve in that time. So you know what is the best length of time for you to run your programs.

But first of all why is this topic even coming out. Well, for me it's for two reasons.

Number one is, this is something I do everyday when I'm working with my coaching clients. When I work with people who in my Rising Stars Coaching Program, the people who get to work closely with me, these are things we're discussing overtime and when I'm working in my training programs this is one of the things that we really cover in detail. Now, with coaching programs, we're looking at more, of course, than just how long should the program go for, the best length of time. We're looking at things like what should be in the program, who is the program for and how much you're going to charge. These are really important things to have as well. But today we're going to be looking at this cool one because it's one of the ones that you really need to start with and we'll also look at some of the problems that people come up with mistakes that they make when they're deciding how long are we going to run the programs for.

Now, the other reason why I wanted to talk to you about this is, this is actually a question that came up when I was talking to somebody who was looking at joining my Rising Stars Coaching Program and a question that she asked which is not an uncommon one at all, it's one that I've been asked over the years. I'm going to a little bit of details soon about how my answer to this question has changed over the years. And her question was "The Rising Stars Coaching Program is a 12-month program. But you know what, I don't want to go for that long. I just want to go for a shorter amount of time. I just when I have a little bit of a commitment, I feel tied in going for that long. And also, if I go for a short program it's going to cost me a lot less. Can you just offer it to me for a three month program or for six month program rather than 12 months?" Now, my answer to that has changed over the years. But my answer to that to her now is "No! No, I won't." And she's like "Why not?" And I said well, because I know that in order for you to get the best results in what we are aiming to achieve together, you're going to need twelve months to do it really well. If we do it for any less, I'm going to letting you down. So that's why I can only go for twelve months because I know from experience that's how we get the results. And I know from experience when I have offered it for three and six months that for a program that we want to achieve these bigger outcomes it's not going to happen. And so it's in poor integrity for me to say to you "Yes, I will."

Now, there are certain things that I could be saying yes to for three months or six months and we'll talk about those in a minute. And so these could be the kind of things that you may decide is a yes for you for three or six months but in a program where we are really totally going to build up your brand online, we're going to work at your packages, we're going to launch, we're going to be bringing in new clients, really position you with a system that you can rinse and repeat, to do that well it's going to take us more than three or six months. I would be sitting to file otherwise. So that was my answer to her. And that's why my Rising Stars Coaching Program is a twelve month program and that's why we have people in there who come back because they going to get the next goal and they know that they want the support to get there so they might come for a second or third year. So, that's one of the reasons why I'm having this discussion with you today because I know that you're going to get those questions as well. And we'll talk in a moment about the answers that I used to give, why I gave them and why I don't.

Who is this can be good for?

First of all, let's look at why would you package anyway? If you were a person who provides a service, some kind of coaching are really common thing to do is to say "This is my hourly rate." And you can say to people you can, you might think that you're bundling and creating packages by saying "Well, you can have my six session package for a bit of a discount or you can have my 12 session package for a bit of a discount" and so you could be thinking "Yea, yea I have packages, you know, in terms of number of hours." The problem here is if you are offering an hourly rate, people stop focusing on the outcome solutions that you can get for them and start focusing on what do they get per hour. And they start focusing on bringing value judgments on how worthy you are based on how much you're charging. So for the exact same amount that you might be charging per hour you will have one person that will go "Dream. What do they think they're charging that for? Who they think they are? That is way too expensive, way too expensive." And so they may make that judgment that whatever comes from their background, that's too expensive. You're being greedy, perhaps.

Now, another person will see you at exactly the same amount that you're charging and they may go "That's not very much. Maybe there will be financial." I will really expect somebody that's going to give the results that I won't be charging more than that. I charge them more than that, whatever it is. So exactly the same right different people are going to have different response. So you don't want to be having your worth being judged by what other people have as their baggage around what an hourly rate is. So, take that out of the picture. So if you are charging an hourly rate, if you are making your packages just simply including a number of hours, we need to talk, Baby because we can make it so that the hourly rate is insignificant. So, the package is really really important for you, for these reasons.

Now, who could be using these packages? You know what, if you're doing any kind of coaching consulting service provision where you're getting these results, I've worked with people who might be a business coach or a life coach or relationship coach it could be somebody who is say a hypnotherapist, an occupational therapist, speech therapist, you could be somebody who's a golf instructor, somebody who is working with people for losing weight to get fit, learn some kind of music, any of those kinds of things, you can see, just covers so many different nations. It is all applicable to you. We talked about the mistake and the big mistake is going to be that you just bundling your hours. So now let's look at how long you can be running your programs for and how do you make that decision, and then I'll talk about the experience I've had in the different answers that I gave at the time to that exact same question of "Can I do this for a shorter period of time?"

So the big thing that you have to think about is when you're creating your packages and I'm saying packages here, so this isn't the end, you may very well just have one coaching package and that's what you do, and that's OK. I just have my Rising Stars Coaching Program and that's where I focus at the moment. But you might decide that you're going to have a few different packages and that is also really good, that's what a lot of my clients do, they will have different packages. The important thing here is you have to think of what are the outcomes that I can be achieving for my clients in specific time frames. So if we go back to the golf instructor as an example you might be able to help them to be able to learn apart and you might be able to do that over say a six week session. But if you then want to be able to say get their handicap down to a great number then it might take a six month period of them working with you to achieve that goal. So be thinking about it could be something very specific or it could be something that is bigger and broader what if they call is.

So number one, think about what are the outcomes that you can achieve for people then I want you to think about "OK, for me to achieve that with somebody other very specific outcome or something that is broader. What is the best amount of time for me to get those results?" Now when you are deciding this I don't want you to go and think about, well you know, I worked with this particular client and they got results like in three months and they just rocked it. They did absolutely everything I told them to do and they were really focused. So I know it can get done in three months. Don't choose that as your benchmark because there's always going to be those wonderful high achievers but they're rare, OK.

Now, the other side of it is you will get people who really struggle and it could be for external factors in that they have a lot of other commitments all the time and it could also be for internal factors that they're doubting themselves, they're self sabotaging. These are really common things that are going to come up with any kind of coaching situation and any kind of service provision situation. So you don't want to be saying "Well you know, I had somebody one person that can get everything done in three months and another person, I had to work with them for 18 months, 2 years before we finally got the results. But they got the results. But it was hard work." You don't want to be going from your extremes. You want to go the middle. And in fact you want to go to the middle and then just err on the slowest side because you want to be able to surprise people with them getting results faster. You don't want to frustrate them by going "Well you know what, somebody else got this done in that amount of time, why couldn't you?" So that's how you decide.

So number one, you always make your decision on what is best for the clients and then you make your decision on the length of time based on your experience with the high achievers, the people who are struggling in the middle and go slightly to error on the side of caution.

Now let's have a look here at what does it mean to be best for the client. One of the things that I find when I say to people we have to decide always come back and make all the decisions is what is best for the client. Being best for the client does not mean being the cheapest. It does not mean being find the way that you can to be able to give them as much as you possibly can because on one side being the cheapest doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to get the best results. They may not value what they're doing or also in order for you to be able to cheaper a level may mean that you can't get the services you want. The other side of doing the best for the client does not mean bombarding them with heaps and heaps and heaps of stuff because you can overwhelm. There's a fine line between over deliver and overwhelm. So when it comes best for the client is what is going to get them the best results. And if that means that it's going to have to be a longer program or more expensive program, so be it, as we go there.

So now let's look back to the kind of answers that I have given in the past to the question of "Can we make these program shorter and can we make it cheaper?" So let's have a look at that. Now in the past when I first started doing any kind of coaching and mentoring, it totally took me out of the blue and I have been running wonderful brave women for eight weeks when I had people contacting me saying "Can I please pay you to coach me? And I went "Sure" and then I went "What's coaching? I don't even know what coaching is and how much you charge and how do you do it." So I had to kind of work out how I was going to do that.

So to start with, I did what many people will do and I did the hourly rate and it's really not a good way to do it because it means that you continually trying to make the sale of the next session. It really means that you are not focusing on what's best for the client every time because you are also thinking "You know what, they really need another session." Now I could have convince them that they need another session because I know they need it to get the result. But, you know, you making that sale. So then I started changing it and making it that it was going for six months. But really what I was only offering was my time. We had X number of coaching sessions so there was still coming down to what the hourly rate was which is actually pretty not selling right if you think of it. It was really limited to how many people I could work with.

So my answer then was "Yep, we can go for six months but still not doing it in a sophisticated way that gave me some sort of leverage." Now when I decided that I was going to run a group coaching program so it would have components of 1-on-1, components of group and components of training material. The first lot that I do was I did it for six months and that was mainly because I want to see a lot. Now what I found after the six months is some people got results because they were very definite on "This is what I want to achieve." Other people who really needed some help to be able to get clarity on what it was that they wanted to achieve and that's okay. That's a big part of "Okay I've got choices about where I'm going to focus. Help me decide which we're going to get the best bank for my buck." For them, the six months wasn't enough because there was a time when I need decision process. And so that's where I found that the six months can't work for some people. But you had to be very specific on this is the outcome that you can get. So if I knew that I was going to be working on a specific thing and we were very narrow on what I was going to do then I could say "Yes, six months." If we really had to work out, make an analysis of their business and make some decisions, I knew that if I gotten to six months, I would have got to a really good level and then the program would finish and just when they probably needed me to support them through the launch and yet they had mentally decided that six months is when everything finished. And so for them it was very difficult to decide to invest in another 6 months. So that's what I used to do then. After a while, I had been running it for 12 months. But of course, as you can imagine you lose sales. If you know that 12 months is the best period of time to be working with your clients and you say that's all it's going to be. You're going to lose some clients because like it's too much money, it's too long. And so I thought "You know what, I've had so many people asking me can I do a three month program that I thought you know what I'm just going to go out to my list and say "I've listened to you registering people for three months and then after three months we can decide if you go ahead and of course, my conversion rate really increased. I was right. Nailed it. Why didn't I do this ages ago. This is the way to do it. And so that's what I did. I opened up my program for people to come here for a three month period. And this is what I found at that three month period, what people tended to do is they only had three months, 12 weeks to get something done that they tended to really burn themselves out. Like they would just go flat out to try and get as much as I could get done in three months. I got to the end of the three months and just exhausted. Not because I was driving them because they was just thinking "I only got three months and that's what I've committed myself to. And that's what I've just hollered I'm going to achieve all this in three months." And so that was one part but you know what I need people to be able to give themselves the time to do the job well and not put themselves at the house. The other thing that was happening is you know it got two to three months. And for the people who really needed that help to be able to analyze their business and make those decisions on the best results and then start taking action that had just really got their plan got their business plan worked out their profitable Avatar knew what they were going to offer.

But then they thought oh it's all finished now for then the next day of actually putting it all together was going to be another part of the program. So even though a lot of those people, they went on for another three months, on the six months. So they still might have ended up being in the program for the same amount of time. Their joy in that business, their stress levels were actually higher. And so I was thinking this is not best for them. So even the three month gave me a high conversion, I didn't feel that it was getting the best result for the clients. And so now it's 12 months. Now, when will three months work for you. A three-month will work for you if you've got somebody you're going you know what. This is what I can achieve in a three month period and it might be that you know, for golf coaching client for example it might be we can work out how to show you how to increase the pop in that time." But for your golf coaching client that may be going you know what I really really want to get the most awesome Handicap Haven. Well you know that you don't have to work with them for maybe 6, 12 months even longer to get those results. So think about what can you achieve in that time and know that you can do well and that's what you can be promising. If you know the people you work with they you get the most joy out of and that you know that you got to get the best results for your clients is longer then make it longer. That's how make a decision.

I have one of my colleagues who helps people with building their business and really with that mindset, he's program is two years. You have to earn enroll for two years and he feels it all the time because he can show the case studies at the end of the two years on what you can achieve. So, I hope that gives you some insights into how do you decide what is the best length of time for you to do your coaching programs for. Or it could be for your service bundling programs. And how do you make that decision. And if we go back to how you make that decision is number one, you have to look at what are the outcomes that you can be getting for your clients and what are the outcomes they want. Then when you look at your specific outcomes that may be a few different ones. What is it that I need to be doing with that client in order to get that outcome? Once you look at that then you can look at clients you've worked with before which from your knowledge and go, you know what, a super client will get this time. Somebody who's really struggling with external time constraints or with internal sabotage will take longer. So let's make it in the middle and then be conservative and always always come back to what is best for the client so that you know that when you say to somebody "You know what, I know that you would love to be out to do my program where we're gonna be achieving this. You would like to just commit to three 6 months but I know that you're not going to get the results unless we do 12." You can say with absolute confidence and they will know that you're looking after them. So I hope that helps you. I would love to hear your experiences when it comes to other programs that you have been part of, that you may have asked for a shorter time period and how did that work for you. And it may have been a good thing for you or it may be something that you may have felt that for what you wanted to achieve that it wasn't going to happen or your own programs that you may be also offering yourself. What's right for you? Have you experimented with the length of time that people are committing to be working with you when it comes to your programs? I'd love to hear from you, so please leave your comments. If you're listening here on the podcast, come over to romanceyourtribe.com where you can see the blog post that we've got that go. This is an article that will help you and a place for your comments and questions. I'd love you to be able to do that and if you have a friend that you know will really benefit from being able to make these decisions, please pass this on to them and look forward to hearing from you. Bye.

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