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First Dates & First Clients. How to Make a Good First Impression.

Updated: May 11, 2021

Endings & New Beginnings

It is the final week of February's Relationships & Rapport theme. This past month we looked at Relationship Killers, Speaking the Same Language, and How to Fight Fair, And what better way to end the month than to see how new relationships are built!

This CLCI LIVE, Lisa Finck (A.C.C.), Brooke Adair Walters (M.C.P.C.), Jerome LeDuff Jr (M.C.L.C.), and Anthony Lopez (M.C.L.C) get personal and talk about our love lives (PG rated). We then think about how our first impressions in dating carry over into the business and coaching world and get to the bottom on How to Make a Stellar First Impression.

"Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover..."

This was back when books tended to look like this, a bit drab but who knows what value was just beneath the surface? It was a slower time back then and information traveled even slower. Essentially we were forced to take our time and not judge things based solely on appearance because there wasn't much to look at to begin with. But now we have this...

Yes. Unfortunately this is a real book.

There is so much information packed into this one image that whoever could hold off from immediate judgement would be a saint. We can immediately draw conclusions about what this book is about and who the target audience is. And yes folks this book is selling, at least on Amazon it is.

It's undeniable that we now live in a fast paced world and we need to trust our gut and make snap judgements on the fly.

Advertisements, job interviews, dates, social media, the entertainment industry, news sources, and so-on. Take social media as an example. We scroll eyes glued to our phone through the posts of friends and strangers alike and in milliseconds we make snap judgements about their lives, our own by comparison and if we have any interest in learning more. A single image deciding whether it's worth our time to care about the what our "friends & family" are sharing. In a world where first impressions mean everything many times, what you believe is what you get.

Why are first impressions important? Because first impressions say a lot by saying nothing at all.

In dating and in coaching, how you present yourself to the world will give insight into what exactly it is you are offering. Who you are and what you are looking for could be apparent to everyone in your presentation, intentionally or not.

The first encounter may be the last...And that's okay

We often have our own vetting process when it comes to dating. Just as we shouldn't date just anyone who is mildly interested, we shouldn't coach just anyone who asks about our services. Before any type of relationship starts, we want to make sure that all parties are on the same page.

How do we do this?

  • Set your intention

  • Ask the right questions

If your intention is to have productive interactions and healthy relationships the people you seek out should share the similar goals and interests. Some good topics to cover?

  • Plans for the future

  • Career aspirations

  • Moral values

  • Familial Values

  • Honest expectations

Likewise, if your intention is to be a successful coach and offer a service that holds true to the core competencies, ethics, and values that define life coaching, your clients should be fully informed as to what coaching is and is not. Because coaching as defined by the International Coach Federation (ICF) is a very specific thing. There is no official guidebook for our personal relationships. Luckily for us coaches we have one for working with clients. And one of the first thing ever should do is to define for our clients exactly what coaching is... and isn't.

As a coach, your intention may be to assist your client in setting and achieving Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time based goal. If this is the case the questions you ask will reflect your intentions.

  • What brought you here today?

  • What is your goal for our work together?

  • Why is this goal important to you?

  • What will achieving this goal get you?

  • What are the steps?

As you talk to your client, you may get the impression that they are struggling with issues that aren't goal or future,, forward-moving oriented. They may want a quick fix, to be told what to do, stuck living in the past, or reliving unhealed trauma.

At this point you would need clearly state what the scope of coaching entails, and offer them a referral to a therapist, consultant, or counselor. You would also want to define the scope of coaching and that it does not treat or advise. That, they may hire you in the future if they wish so long as they are willing to work within the scope of coaching, be self-empowered, and have managed their past traumas and are ready to start working forward.

If coaching is not right for them or you feel that they aren't going to work well with you, let them go, at worst you lost a small investment of time; at best you demonstrate the integrity of your profession and do no harm, which will lead to a better impression of you in the future.

Finally, clients often don't know what to expect when they first arrive to coaching. This is normal in coaching world and should not be alarming but it is our ethical responsibility not to give the impression that we treat, advise or give therapy. Coaches must let clients know the difference between our job as a coach and therapy, counseling, consulting, etc.

That being said, therapy can be of great help to a client, especially when paired with coaching and other services. The ICF has released a helpful guide to know When and How to Refer a Client to Therapy or Other Helping Professionals. Download it right below.

Whitepaper-Client-Referral (1)
Download PDF • 41KB

One Final Tip

Be authentic and genuine

This gets to the heart of why we want to make good first impressions at all.

Good impressions help to build trust. And the best way to build trust is by being a trustworthy individual. The best way to do that is to be yourself.

I know you want to be amongst the most successful coaches out there. The first step is for you to believe you are capable and worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with them. Be, behave, believe and act as if you already are the person you know you will be. Embody your future self, let go of your doubt, and BE.

It may be tempting to think that you are acting like someone that you are not, or you may feel uncomfortable, shy, or a little unsure at first. If you find yourself feeling that way. Notice that you are, acknowledge the feeling and then realize you are in control of that feeling. Thank it for being there to protect you but let that imposter in you know that this is the authentic you and you will take it from here.

Nerves, uncomfortable emotion, fear, embarrassment, these things exist because at some point they saved us. They can also prevent us from taking the risks and chances we need to achieve our dreams. Don't be mad that they are there, rather acknowledge that they are.

When these emotions arise it is a great indicator that we care about what we are doing, that we are invested in the outcomes, and that we are willing to leave our comfort zones to get what we want. So it's good that they are are present. It means you care. But don't let them run the show. Acknowledge them, thank them, set them aside and then step into the spotlight as the embodiment of the coach you know you are on the inside.

If you want to be that high level executive coach, a couples coach expert, a spiritual coach guru, then present yourself as such and OWN IT.

There is a quote, it's origin is unknown although Ghandi is often misattributed as saying it, who said it isn't relevant the meaning is, "Be the change you want to see in the world." What I am saying is, "Be the YOU, you want to see in world."


Important Scholarship Reminder!

ACTO is still accepting applications for a coach training scholarship and we are proud to be a participating school. Winners of the scholarship will be able to choose the Certified Life Coach Institute for training and certification.

Those who wish to apply need only meet the criteria shared in the excerpt from shared below:

Coach Training Scholarships

The Association of Coach Training Organizations is pleased to offer an annual scholarship to two (2) individual who best meets the objectives of the established scholarship. This opportunity is open to both new students and those in need of financial support to complete a coach training program from one of the ACTO member participating schools listed (including us!)

Applicants will be evaluated on their ability to meet the following:

  1. A commitment to pursuing a career in coaching and ultimately, credentialing through a recognized professional body.

  2. A desire to use coaching to positively impact society, ideally working with underserved populations.

  3. Expression of financial need.

Important Dates

  • April 1, 2021 – Completed scholarship application submission deadline

  • Week of June 14, 2021 – Recipients will be announced online at the 2021 ACTO Conference

If you cannot afford life coach certification but have the passion, drive, and desire to be a life coach we strongly encourage you to apply. This scholarship opportunity only comes once a year. Just follow the link below!

We wish you the best & hope you earn your scholarship and choose the Certified Life Coach Institute as your accredited training organization.


Thank you,

Lisa Finck, Brooke Adair Walters, and Jerome LeDuff Jr.

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