Does this sound familiar? All you want is to have a “full” practice but you don’t really know exactly what that means to you…until you’ve maxed out and have taken on too many clients because you feared saying “no” to additional clients and revenue.
When you are over capacity, boy do you know it and most likely on some level, your clients will know it too. This is why burnout is the leading cause for “successful” coaches leaving the industry. Why? Because they continually find themselves in the ebb and flow of “too much” and “too little” and rarely hit the magical sweet spot of “just right.”
Of course there is a lot of factors that contribute to that cycle, but one of the biggies is not knowing what “just right” even is. Thankfully, it is possible for you to figure out your personal sweet spot with some planning, intention, and attention, no magic necessary!
How to Figure Out Your “Just Right” Coaching Capacity
Your “just right” coaching capacity is not the number of clients it is possible for you to see each week based on your availability, but rather, the number of clients that you can serve well while continuing to love your work and not feel depleted at the end of the day or week. For me, I like to reach the end of the week with a feeling of being “well used” but still feeling energized as I move into the weekend.
Beyond practicing good self-care, knowing your coaching capacity – and creating your schedule with it in mind – will help you to create a feeling of spaciousness in your practice. You may have noticed that you don’t attract new fabulous clients when you don’t have space for them. You essentially, consciously or subconsciously, shut off the energy flow that normally “magically” draws clients to you.
The key is to find that coaching capacity that feels spacious and abundant simultaneously.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you to determine your coaching capacity:
- What is the maximum number of clients you want to coach in a day? For some of my clients that is 5 but for many it’s two or three. This is about your daily energetic gas tank and making sure your tank is as full for your first client as it is for your last. This will affect the client experience if you are not firing on all cylinders. Note, too, that ideal clients tend to give us energy vs. deplete energy, so the quality of your clients can definitely impact your capacity.
- How do you prepare for your sessions with clients? People underestimate all the “stuff” they need to do to give a great client experience. How much do you prep beforehand? Do you complete post session paperwork? How much space between calls do you need to regenerate?
- How do you interact with your clients outside of the actual coaching session? All coaches are different: Do you talk or email with clients between sessions? Do you give feedback to clients on anything (emails, contracts, you name it)?
- Is there any travel time involved in seeing your clients? Meeting clients in person can greatly shift your capacity and being intentional about scheduling can really help you maximize your time if you are doing client visits.
Use your coaching capacity to create your “just right” calendar.
Use your coaching capacity to become more intentional about how you schedule people and use your time on a weekly basis. To help ensure you don’t feel overburdened, block out time devoted to clients, time devoted to business building, and time for recharging.
First, calculate your time investment per client per session
Your time investment per client per session = [Scheduled session time] + [Prep time] + [client interaction time] + [travel time]
For many of my clients, their total time investment is 1.5 to 2x the actual session time. However, yours could be even higher depending on your process and the level of support you offer.
Second, allow space for reschedules.
It’s important to clients to have flexibility so they can continue to move forward with momentum. Space in your calendar also allows you to provide support during emergencies so you can be there for your clients during their times of need, without feeling overly burdened. I usually recommend having at least 1-2 empty slots for every 5 clients you see per week. This will depend on your clients and how often they reschedule. As an example, if you work with busy executives, reschedules will be more common than if you are working with brand new solopreneurs.
Third, schedule time for running your business (aka “working ON the business).
You won’t stay in business long if you don’t set aside time for all of the non-client aspects of running your business: accounting, marketing/biz development and continuing education. I recommend you reserve 20% of your time for non-client activities. If you are spending more time on this currently, then you are likely spending time on activities that don’t have a good ROI of time/energy and you should dig in and determine what to continue to do, delegate, date (postpone) or dump. (link to https://broadviewcoaching.com/2017/how-full-is-your-energetic-gas-tank/
Fourth, be strategic about your time off.
Block out your vacation time before you do any of your business planning so you can plan around your availability. Note that certain months, like February and November have more Holidays and fewer business days than months like March and October.
If you do other things like Team or Leadership Development in addition to coaching – anything that is an intense investment of time and/or energy — that can make this estimation even more challenging. Your goal is to know which months you have capacity to take on these additional projects and be willing to hold boundaries with clients who want to do this work ASAP if it’s going to put you over capacity to do so. Because these kinds of relationships are so unique and different, I can’t cover them in detail in this article. However, I can work with you one on one and help you through this process, so if you feel you need help, please get in touch.
If you’ve tried this process on your own, and still can’t find this harmonious balance, please reach out. I can help you identify what isn’t working; your coaching capacity might just need a little tweak, or it may be time to look at your business model to insure that it’s the right one for you.
How do you know when you are over capacity? What are your strategies for managing your time? Please share!
Tara Butler Floch