The Difference between a Discovery Call and a Free Consultation

Are you trying to decide if it's time to hire a coach, consultant, or strategist to help you move forward in your business?  Are you confused by the term "discovery call " and wonder what it means, and why most coaches use it, but why I use a free consultation instead?  In this blog, I'll be exploring the difference between a discovery call and a free consultation.  If we don't know each other yet, I'm a psychotherapist-turned-business strategist and coach, and I was to uncomplicate and demystify the process of choosing and hiring a coach, so you can get a better understanding of the process and decide if it's the right move for you. 


Why is it important to understand the difference between a discovery call and a free consultation?  Discovery calls allow coaches to learn more about a potential customer’s needs and interests, to gain a better understanding of what the customer is looking for and how the coach can help.  Unfortunately, many coaches are trained to agitate the potential client's pain points and present themselves as the obvious solution, which can feel manipulative and salesy. On the other hand, free consultations are more focused on taking a broader look at the potential client's needs and if the coach is not the ideal person to meet them, they can provide recommendations or referrals. This is a great way to demonstrate the value the coach can bring to the customer, even if they decide not to work together. Therefore, it is important to understand the difference between the two to make surer you get the most out of the time spent on one of these calls and keep the focus on what you are looking for. 


Here are the steps you need to follow if you are looking for the right person to help you with your business:

  1. Identify your goals and expectations.
  2. Research potential coaches to find the right fit.
  3. Schedule a free consultation to get an assessment and advice.
  4. Discuss the strategy and approach that will be used to reach your goals.
  5. Decide whether to work with the coach and understand the cost and time commitment.
  6. If this is not the best-fit individual, take the next step to find the one who is. 


Let's go a little deeper...


Before scheduling a free consultation with a coach, it is important to reflect on the goals and expectations you have for the coaching experience. This involves considering the amount of money and time you are willing to invest in the program, recognizing any unrealistic expectations you may have, and understanding what type of coaching will be most beneficial for you. It is also important to identify the skills, credentials, and attitude you need in a coach to ensure a positive experience and successful outcome. Once you have identified your goals and expectations, you can confidently move forward in the process of deciding if working with a coach is the right decision for you.


It is also important to consider the type of coaching you need. Different types of coaches specialize in different areas, such as relationship coaching, career coaching, health coaching, and more. There are also different approaches coaches use, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, solution-focused therapy, and humanistic approaches. By understanding the type and approach of coaching you need, you can ensure that you find a coach who can help you reach your goals.  It is also important to understand the coach’s policies, such as their cancellation policy, payment policies, and confidentiality agreement. Knowing what to expect from the coaching process can help you to make an informed decision and ensure that you have a positive and successful coaching experience.


Research potential coaches to find the right fit.  This includes looking into their experience, credentials, programs, and cost. It’s important to make sure that the coach has the right skills and the right personality for the services you are seeking. It’s also important to ensure that the coach is within your budget and that you have the time to commit to the program. It’s also important to ensure that the coach has realistic expectations and that their program is able to meet your goals. Finally, make sure you read reviews and testimonials from past clients to make sure you’re making the right choice. Once you’ve done your research, you can then schedule a free consultation with the coach to determine if you are a good fit. 


The free consultation is different than a discovery call, which is often used to close the deal and get a customer to purchase a high ticket program. A free consultation is meant to make sure the potential client and coach are a good fit, and to ensure the client will benefit from working with the coach and if not, to provide alternatives and direction. During the free consultation, the client will have a better understanding of the cost of the program, the alternatives, and the coach's experience and credentials. The coach will also assess whether coaching is the best option for the client and provide guidance or a referral if the two are not a good fit.   Remember, the free consultation is not meant to be free coaching or a chance to pick the coach's brain - it is a chance to assess whether the coach and client are a good match and will work together successfully, and also whether coaching is the modality the client would benefit from at this time.  


Once you are in a free consultation with a business coach, you want to discuss the goals of the program. It is important that the client is clear on what they want to achieve and that the coach can provide the needed tools and guidance to reach them. The coach should ask questions to make sure the goals are realistic, achievable, and measurable. They should also explain the importance of setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based) to ensure that both the client and coach have a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished. This is also a great opportunity for the client to discuss any hesitations or concerns they may have about the program. 


The coach should go over the duration of the program, the frequency of sessions, the coaching structure, the payment terms, and any other important details. The client should understand the expectations of the program, the timeline, and the potential outcomes they can expect to achieve. If the client has any questions, they should be answered in order to ensure that the client has a clear understanding of how the program will work and what they should expect. This is also a great opportunity to discuss any additional services or support the client might need outside of the coaching sessions. Ask questions about their experience, their methods, and their goals. Find out what kind of feedback they give and how they work with clients. It’s also important to ask what they expect of you in terms of your commitment. While it’s important to get the best results, you should also be comfortable with the coach you choose. Finally, before making a commitment, it’s important to create a plan that outlines your goals and expectations. With this plan in place, you can more easily measure your progress and stay on track. It’s also important to make sure that the coach understands your goals and is willing and able to help you reach them. With the right coach, you can make huge strides toward achieving your goals and start to see the results you’re looking for.


During the free consultation, the coach will also discuss their approach to coaching and explain how their program could help you reach your goals. They will be able to answer any questions you have about their program and explain the different steps you would need to take to be successful. This is also a great time to get to know the coach, their style, and their personality since all of these factors can have an impact on the effectiveness of the coaching experience. Once you have discussed all the details and you have a better understanding of the program, you can decide whether or not to move forward with the coach. 


Ultimately, a free consultation is a great way to get an assessment, advice, and insights from a professional coach. It is an opportunity to learn more about the coach and their program before making a commitment, as well as to get a better understanding of what it would take to be successful in the program. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether the coach is the right person to help you achieve your goals, but you do need to have realistic expectations of the coach and program. You are ultimately responsible for your results. The coach cannot guarantee results and those results may take time. The coach is not a magician and you will need to put in the effort to see the desired results. By having realistic expectations, the client will be better equipped to make the most out of their coaching experience.  


Working with a coach can be a great way to support your goals, but it’s important to remember that it’s a two-way street. Both you and your coach need to be committed to working together in order to achieve the desired result.   If you don't find your right-fit coach on the first call, schedule another.  I think of taking the time to find the right coach like this:  if you need shoes,  you don't go barefoot when the first pair you try on doesn't fit.   A business coach can be the trusted advisor and strategic partner that can really help you reach your goals, so it's worth finding the right one for you.  




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