Number 5 on the Top Ten things I learned by giving 100 free sessions.
This topic is a relatively a businessy one rather than one about coaching. But it is something I learned and a valuable lesson while building my practice.
In the promotion (see to the right) I asked that all clients fill out a feedback form. I thought this seemed like a reasonable request. What I experienced was quite the opposite of what I expected.
First I had to find a good resource to generate the feedback form. I used SurveyMonkey as my solution. For no other reason then it’s one I’ve heard of before. I set it up to identify the person filling out the form. This would give me insight both on their experience and how I was for them as a coach. But when one client told me that they were not comfortable filling it out, I then changed it to be anonymous. Still, in the end, no matter what I changed, I only received 6 evaluations. Six. 😐
There are many questions I have on why this might have happened. What did I do wrong in my promotion? How could I have made the survey easier? Why didn’t some of them fill it out and others (6, in case you forgot that overwhelming number) did? Well, the fastest way to find out those answers would be to ask the audience involved but… You can see the problem I would have in doing that! 😉
Now I don’t want to sound like a whiny baby. I do take full ownership. It is MY business,not theirs. It starts with me. Sure, it would have been great if everyone had taken the 5 to 10 minutes to fill out my survey but they didn’t and I’m sure there are good reasons for that. When I ask myself; What could I have done differently to get the results I desired? Then these answers come up:
- Do it at the end of the transaction. If I saw feedback as my way of getting paid, then perhaps I should have done it right then and there at the end of the session.
- Say it over and over: Maybe I could have made it clearer on the promotional material itself (I see where it could easily be read over) and at the time of making the appointment. “Thank you for making an appointment. Just so we are both on the same page, I will send an evaluation form/survey for you to fill out after our appointment. I consider this a fair exchange for the one hour session. Is this agreeable?”
- Be FAST with what you want: Make sure to send that survey ASAP! I was not really good in doing that in a timely manner.
- Use Creative Accounting: I could have gotten creative with it and sent an “invoice” with the billing that showed in the AMOUNT DUE: Survey YET to be filled out. And if they become delinquent on their “payment”, bill the REAL amount. 😮 Oh no! that is potentially dangerous. This one is just for FUN. Please don’t take it too seriously.
I’m sure if I read up on this in small business magazines and journals, I would find that many an entrepreneur has had this problem a billizion times before me. I realized I was more focused on the sessions (as any good coach is 😉 ) rather than properly administering the feedback form. As a business owner, I know how feedback is SO VALUABLE especially in the coaching business. In my training classes, we always practiced our coaching immediately after we would learn it and then we would give feedback to each other on what could have been better. Feedback allows me to grow and learn faster. But also how to support my client better. Feedback is an important tool in business, coaching and life.
Remember that, next time a survey comes your way. You may not think your opinion matters but to that person it means growing and learning. Which is priceless.