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Discovery Calls: 26 Mindset Tips for Health Coaches

by: Marisa Moon
Published: December 15, 2020
Updated: June 23, 2022

Without a doubt, discovery calls are one of the most nerve-racking experiences for new coaches. This is due in part to it being seen as a sales call. Even without a financial commitment attached to the outcome, discovery calls still invoke apprehension or desperation, because all the new coach wants to do is coach.

Let’s flip the switch on this intimidating perspective and see the discovery call for what it truly is: an opportunity to learn how you can support this person in reaching their wellness goals.

Here are 26 ways to help you face discovery calls with a useful mindset. These will come in handy before, during, and after the call has ended.

Before the Call

Confidence Boosters

  1. Leave yourself ample time to review the discovery form. Schedule an automatic 15-30 minute buffer before each session by modifying the settings in your online scheduler (our favorites are Acuity and Calendly).
  2. What are your strengths as a coach and as a person? Boost yourself up with a quick pep talk between you and that voice in your head.
  3. Where can you best help this person? While reviewing the form, ask yourself, “In which areas am I most fit to support them?”
  4. Do you see any red flags? While reviewing the form, do you see any signs that this person requires guidance outside of your scope-of-practice as a coach? If yes, think, “How will I initiate the conversation? If necessary, am I able to offer them a referral to find the appropriate practitioner who can meet their needs?”
  5. Is this person a good candidate for you? Why or Why Not? Ask yourself (and your gut), “If money wasn’t a concern, would I think we’re a good match?”
  6. Prepare open-ended questions. If you have time left, jot down one or more open questions to ask based on the most moving elements shared on their discovery form.
  7. What’s your segue out of a long-winded story? Some clients can get off track during the call, venting and getting in the weeds regarding a certain experience in their lives. Come prepared with a question to transition, like, “I can tell this is very frustrating, and I want to thank you for sharing it with me. Would it be okay if we shift focus for a minute to also discuss ____? Tell me your thoughts on that.”

Mindfulness and Coaching Presence

  1. Take a moment to center yourself by closing your eyes and taking a few diaphragmatic breaths. This helps to set aside current emotional distractions and shift gears into the call.
  2. Set your intention for the call. An effective, trustworthy coach approaches conversations with genuine curiosity and compassion for the client.
  3. Active listening and mindful engagement. By reminding yourself that these are two of the most important keys to a successful discovery call, you can relax knowing your job is primarily to listen and provide non-judgmental reflections as your client shares their reasons for seeking change.
  4. Drown out distractions by getting your workspace ready for the session. Close extra tabs on your computer, clear clutter off of your desk, close the door and try wearing headphones to stay even more focused on the call.

During the Call

Passion First, Sales Second

  1. Practice an abundance mindset by believing that you can get enough clients who are right for you, and you do not have to settle for clients who are a poor fit.
  2. Seek a mutually fulfilling experience. Think, “I don’t just want clients. I want happy clients with whom I can develop mutually fulfilling coach-client relationships that foster my confidence and effectiveness as a health coach.”
  3. Take the pressure off selling by reframing your mindset. Instead of I have to book this client, think, “I get the chance to do what I love and further my mission to help those I’m best aligned to support.” 
  4. Under-promise and over-deliver. It’s tempting to offer everything and anything in an effort to close the sale or prove your worth. Instead, it’s best to establish realistic expectations and prepare to continuously delight your client throughout the relationship, thus surpassing their expectations by over-delivering on your promises.

Coaching Confidence

  1. Seek rapport and connection. Instead of thinking about what you’ll say next as the client speaks, try to suspend any analysis or motivation to fix things, and instead, focus on connecting with the prospective client by displaying empathy and acceptance.
  2. Is now the time? Ask yourself, “Is this person truly ready for change at this time?” Sometimes, new clients are in an apprehensive stage of change where contemplation remains chronic and limits their ability to imagine their lives any differently. Is this client ready to take action with the help of your guidance?
  3. Voice your sincere confidence and passion. When it’s your turn to talk about coaching, channel your passion and show them that you care about what you do and have the tools to help them. Your confidence is contagious.
  4. Feeling unsure about this match? Sometimes you need a moment to reflect before taking on a client you’re unsure about. Do they need a referral? Are your instincts telling you to retreat?

Try this: “I’d love to support you in pursuit of your goals, however, it’s important that we’re sure I’m the right professional for you. Let’s take a couple of days to both reflect on our conversation and determine the next best course of action. Does that sound okay?” After the call, you can sit with your intuition, ask a mentor for advice if needed, and come to a final decision that you’ll relay back to the client in a timely manner and agreed-upon fashion.

After the Call

Acceptance and Self-Compassion

  1. Practice low attachment when calls don’t go your way. Recognize that although you want to be successful and take on new clients, the outcome of any discovery call does not make or break you. It is not a reflection on your ability to be an exceptional coach.
  2. Challenge your ANTs (automatic negative thoughts). Are you being hard on yourself after a call? Try to first acknowledge your feelings of disappointment or uncertainty, then take a calming breath. Challenge your negative inner dialogue by reframing it into something more empowering, such as, “I’m learning as I go, and soon enough I will have the skills to improve and succeed.”
  3. What if the client ghosts you? The call ends in a maybe—or even a yes—and the next thing you know, your client doesn’t return your email or call, and it feels like you’ve been ditched on a first date. Rest assured that there is a myriad of reasons this can happen, and there’s no need to take it personally. This client knows where to reach you if they decide to move forward and if it’s meant to be.

Growth Mindset

  1. See each discovery call as a chance to learn and develop your skills, regardless of whether you end up with the client or not. Focus on the process and zoom out to see how this might be useful in the bigger picture.
  2. Take a moment for reflection. What went well? What made you feel uneasy? What would you like to remember for next time, and where would you like to improve or ask your peers for feedback?

New Client Jitters

  1. Did you find a match and book the client? Celebrate! Jump up and down, and smile real big. You did it! Now, tell your most supportive friend because it sure feels good to say, “Guess what! I booked a new client!” Our new PHCI grads love posting this in our alumni Facebook group, and everyone celebrates with them.
  2. Give yourself a pep talk to affirm your intentions for the new coaching relationship. “I will help my client identify and fully engage their strengths on the path to a better future in alignment with their personal vision.”

When it comes to discovery calls, I like to remind new health coaches of this quote by Canadian writer Robin Sharma,

“We grow fearless by walking into our fears.”

Bookmark this list of tips so you can wear them as armor during your next exciting discovery call. Best of luck, Coach!

Now tell us what you think! Leave a comment below to start or join the discussion...

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