This article is about a powerful, proven way you can add significant value to all your client relationships.
So, let me share with you a recent experience of the process in action.
I have just spent three days in London as part of the AJC Coaching Career School.
This is powerful six-month school for coaches who want to build a prosperous practice that is ethical and in line with their core values. It is also my second school, having attended the inaugural one in 2022/3.
Agreements we made for the school
On the first day, Ankush Jain, who created the school, spent time with us making agreements.
He explained the agreements, what they meant, and then got our confirmation that we will honour the agreements throughout the school. So you get the idea I will share the agreements we made below. This should help you begin to see how you can use agreements with your own clients, although you will have your own agreements.
The seven agreements were:
1. The school is a safe space and what people share is confidential and kept between attendees.
2. I look for the best in everyone, including myself.
3. I am open and coachable.
4. I agree to watch the laser coaching sessions that Ankush does with each attendee throughout the school.
5. I agree to bring my fullest attention and watch/listen to every piece of mandatory content.
6. I agree to bring my best listening.
7. I agree to attend the final weekend of the school.
As a result, an optimum environment for learning, taking action, and getting the most out of the school is created for everyone.
Why do agreements matter?
I originally learned the distinction between expectations and agreements from Steve Chandler, so I will share what he has to say:
“You have two choices in your relationships with others. You can have relationships based on expectations or relationships based on agreements.
Expectations are cowardly and self-defeating. They are cowardly because by expecting things of others, I place all responsibility outside myself. I expect my co-worker to do his job right, I expect my family member to behave a certain way, and the list goes on. When I am unhappy it’s because of them.
Expectations lead to disappointment and betrayal.
Agreements are courageous and creative. They honor the other person. They are co-authored between two composers of the agreement. People give their word and keep it.
People honor agreements to a far greater degree than they live up to expectations.
They feel stressed when their head is full of expectations of them. They feel pressure and resentment. And They rebel. (Ever notice? Do you have children? Employees?)
But create a good agreement. Both sides win.”
Creating strong client agreements with your clients
Imagine that when you take on a new client you spend some time with them creating strong agreements about how you will both show up to the relationship.
For me, it is the professional thing to do. Because it results in my client and I understanding each other, knowing who is going to do what and by when, and it makes clear the standards we are agreeing to.
Most importantly this massively helps towards your client getting the results they want. This is because they are agreeing to take responsibility for themselves and the actions they take. And we are doing the same.
What kind of agreements can you make?
In my one-to-one coaching engagements, we create agreements on:
1. Time keeping.
2. Bringing our best attention and listening to our meetings.
3. What actions we will take and by when.
4. Bringing complete honesty, openness, and non-judgement to the relationship.
5. Preparing for meetings (i.e., honouring our time together and not rushing into or away from meetings).
6. Willingness to call each other out.
What are your clients ultimately looking for?
If you look below the surface of your client relationships – the financial products, investments, and solving their financial problems – what do clients really want?
Above all, they are looking for feelings such as security, certainty, and peace of mind.
In conclusion, agreements make a powerful contribution towards better client outcomes. Your clients have almost certainly never experienced such an approach, so it immediately makes you stand out.
P.S. Steve Chandler created a powerful audio recording on Expectations vs. Agreement. I request a client agrees to listen to this before our first session. Click here to download it.