An effective coaching package isn’t built around the number of sessions, it’s built around the transformational journey. And yet a lot of newer coaches create coaching “packages” based on the number of sessions that the client receives and/or the length of time that they have access to the sessions. Here at WholeCo, we call these types of coaching “packages” bundles of sessions, because as you’ll soon see, structuring your coaching offers in this way is not actually creating true coaching packages.

I’ve talked with MANY online coaches over the last 5+ years in business and I’ve seen it time and time again; coaches who have an offer suite that looks something like: single sessions, a 3 month ‘package,’ and a 6 month ‘package.’ These coaches are often finding it really hard to get clients into their work, and when they do bring clients in, they find it really hard to sell a longer, typically 6+ months, ‘package’ and instead find people wanting single sessions, or maybe even bargaining with them to reduce their 3-month ‘package’ to 4-sessions with the promise that they’ll sign up for more “if they still need it.”

All of this happens, in large part, because of the offer structure. In fact, it’s in large part because these coaches are selling bundled sessions and not true coaching packages that they end up attracting wrong fit clients. And wrong fit clients not only are not actually going to want to sign up for a lengthier package, even if you know that that’s what they need in order to truly succeed, they’re also either not going to achieve the intended result of your work (which never feels good to anyone) or they will, but once they leave your work, they won’t be able to sustain that result and/or transformation on their own.

Let’s explore why bundled coaching sessions attract wrong fit clients, and then what YOU have the power to do to change that.

Why do bundled coaching sessions attract wrong fit clients?

Reason #1: Bundled sessions position the coaching session as the solution, rather than the support.

One common experience that coaches have who are selling bundled coaching sessions is that their clients will come to each session, often having made little to no progress in the area they are intending to make progress in. Then they have the coaching session, feel so much better, but then don’t actually continue doing what they need to do in between sessions and the cycle starts again when they show up to the next coaching session struggling and needing the coaching session to get them back on track.

When you are selling bundled sessions—which again, may take the form of “a 3 month package” or a “10 session package” or similar—you’re (often accidentally/unknowingly) positioning the sessions themselves as the solution. But in a true coaching package, the sessions are the primary supports, they are not the solution. The coaching sessions are NOT meant to be the thing that “fixes” or “solves” whatever problems or obstacles your client is experiencing, because a true coaching session cannot fix or solve those problems or obstacles. A true coaching session can only support the client to find the resources within themselves to work through those problems or overcome those obstacles that are in between where they are now and where they want to be.

Therefore, by bundling sessions rather than creating a true coaching package, you end up putting yourself as the coach in the “savior” position. Clients see that “coming to sessions” is what is going to solve their problem for them, and so they have little to no incentive to take responsibility for their own outcomes. Which not only is not at all the point of coaching, but it also sets both them and you up for failure: because if the client is not taking responsibility for their outcomes but rather placing that responsibility on the coaching sessions, they will not achieve (and certainly not sustain) the intended result of the coaching work. When you put yourself—knowingly or accidentally—in the savior position, you attract clients who are looking for a savior.

Reason #2: Bundled sessions differentiate on financial and time investment, not on result/outcome.

When you’re presenting several offers to a prospective client, and it’s all basically some form of bundled coaching sessions, what you’re really doing is forcing them to make a choice on the level of investment (time and money). You’re saying that they can buy a single session to “try things out,” a 3 month package (that typically has a lower price-per-session), or a 6 month package (that has an even lower price-per-session).

Giving prospective clients an option seems like a great idea, but what is actually happening here with these bundled sessions as options is that they are hearing, “If I want to get the result or outcome of this work, I can do so in a single session, a 3 month package, or a 6 month package.” Why on earth would they ever choose a 6 month ‘package’ in this scenario? When they could, sure, pay a bit more money per session, but achieve the result in a shorter amount of time. Additionally, why wouldn’t they then rationalize in their head, “You know what, it’s probably pretty unrealistic for me to achieve this in a single session, but if I could achieve it in 3 months, I probably could achieve it in 4 sessions.” Now they’re bargaining with you to make them a custom package.

True coaching packages are built around what it actually takes to achieve the intended result or outcome, NOT on length of time or on number of sessions. Which means that when you create these bundled sessions and offer those as solutions for your prospective clients, you’re almost certainly going to attract someone who isn’t actually yet ready to put in the work required to transform. They want the fast path, and here you are, offering it. (By the way: I often find that a lot of coaches who are selling bundled sessions are afraid of making lengthier offers, e.g. 6+ months. This fear occurs for very legitimate reasons, including that they keep finding it extremely hard to get a client to sign up for anything longer than 3 months. What’s really happening here, though, is that because they’ve been selling bundled sessions, often without realizing it, they’re not selling an offer that is attractive to a true Right Fit client who is ready to put in the work required to achieve their intended result or transformation, regardless of how long that takes.)

Not to mention, it’s really easy then to attract someone who has a vague idea of what they want to achieve or who likes the concepts, ideas, and aspirations you’re presenting in your marketing, but who hasn’t yet decided for themselves that they are truly invested in achieving their intended result, transformation, or outcome. Now any financial investment is now a pretty big ask/hard sell, and you end up having to convince them that it’s not only “worth it” financially, but worth it to commit to doing the work.

Reason #3: Bundled sessions force the client to be an expert in areas they aren’t (and in the areas that YOU are).

On that note, when you are selling bundled sessions and therefore differentiating on time and money investment, rather than on the intended result or outcome of the package, you are unknowingly forcing the client to decide for themselves what they need in order to transform or achieve their intended result. Like I shared above, they’re hearing, “If the coach is saying I can do this in 3 months, I bet I could just do it in 4 sessions instead.” Or they’re hearing you say that “coaching makes it easy” to achieve whatever it is that they desire to achieve, and now they’re wondering, “Well if it’s so easy, couldn’t I just do this on my own? I’m pretty good at this kind of stuff, do I actually need a coach?”

You, as the coach, are the true expert at what it takes in order to achieve the intended result, outcome, or transformation of the work that you do. And I’ll bet that if you really thought about it, you would know that to truly transform in whatever area of life you work in or with, some real time, energy, and also to an extent money have to be invested. If you’ve already been working with clients, you know that the clients who stick around for 6-12 months end up seeing WAY better results than the clients who dip in and out of coaching or maybe only sign up for 4-8 sessions. Those clients who stick around for longer tend to see a true transformation that by the end of your work together, they are equipped to sustain on their own. Whereas those clients who only do a little bit of coaching with you might certainly experience a breakthrough or a few, but then when they leave your work, they are unable to sustain it.

A true Right Fit client knows that they are not the expert at what they need in order to succeed. Of course, they also have a general idea of what they’re looking for, but they are looking for someone who is more of an expert at achieving the intended result, outcome, or transformation than they are. Those Right Fit clients aren’t going to be attracted to working with a coach who cannot tell them, clearly, this is what it’s going to take to achieve this transformation. Not in a, “You have to do things my way” approach, but in a, “Let’s get real: this is work, this is not easy, but you are absolutely capable and I’ll be here to support you” approach. Whereas wrong fit clients will be attracted to a coaching ‘package’ that they can mold to what they think that they need.

Reason #4: Bundled sessions create very messy boundaries, and therefore often end up attracting clients who won’t respect boundaries and/or need you to go above and beyond/outside of your lane in order to see results.

When you’re selling bundled sessions, there’s typically a lot that is left unclear. For example, if you’re selling a 10-session ‘package,’ could the client use those 4 sessions whenever they want, even with a year in between sessions? Or even if in your contract you have a timeline within which they can use those sessions, e.g. 6 months, what if they get to month 6, have only used 6 sessions, and now for the last month they’re cramming 4 sessions in to try to “use the whole package”? Not to mention, because the sessions are seen as the solution rather than holding their rightful place as a key support, clients will often want—or even “need”—them to run long/over time. They are seeing the session as the place where the real work occurs, and so if they truly ARE committed to achieving the transformation, of course they’ll want to have longer sessions.

A true coaching package has very clear boundaries—that’s why they call it a “container”—and it’s set up to reliably facilitate the results you say it will, not only attracting Right Fit clients as a result, but attracting clients who will respect the boundaries of the container. You will feel better about and more energized by delivering, because you know that you’ve built this package to reliably facilitate those results and that you’ve included what you need to include (no more, no less) to do so. Setting and maintaining boundaries then becomes inherent in the process, rather than something you have to fight to do. But when you are bundling sessions instead of creating a true coaching package, you will attract clients who sure, are great humans, but who, without the clear boundaries of a true coaching package will inevitably ask for more than you’ve agreed upon and/or push past boundaries (often boundaries that you hadn’t even thought to set).

Instead of bundling coaching sessions, create a true coaching package.

Unlike bundled coaching sessions, coaching packages are set up to reliably facilitate the result, transformation, or outcome that you say they will. A huge side effect, and also contributor to that is that true coaching packages attract true Right Fit clients, whereas bundled sessions often attract wrong fit clients.

We share the foundations of a true coaching package inside of our free guide Powerful Offers that Transform, but here are some questions to get you started:

  1. If your client was to achieve the intended result of your work on their own, what steps would they need to take to do so?
  2. If your client was to take those steps with your support, how long would it realistically take them to do so? (Think about your average client here, rather than your “best” client.)
  3. How could you best structure an offer to support them in taking those steps? (This is where you’re going to think through big picture questions like, “Is this a 1:1 coaching package?” and “How spaced apart do sessions need to be?” etc.)
  4. What additional supports would help them take those steps with as much ease as possible? (This is where you begin to explore additional inclusions in the package, e.g. Voxer support, journal prompts, other resources.)

Again, those questions are simply an introduction to the process of developing a true coaching package, and we go more in-depth on the process inside of our free guide, Powerful Offers That Transform. Of course, you might move through the process of developing a true coaching package and find yourself still selling a package that looks pretty similar to one of your bundles of coaching sessions. However, what will be different here is that everything you’ve chosen to include in the package actually needs to be there. And now, once you have a solid coaching package that you know is set up, from its core, to reliably facilitate results, you get to figure out how to talk about it in such a way that it attracts Right Fit clients and preemptively weeds out those who are wrong fits and/or not-yet-Right-Fits. (That’s your messaging work.)

We do all of the above (and so much more!) inside of our course The Aligned Niche™. And on Monday, February 12, we are running a 4-week LIVE round in which you will learn to clearly express who you help and how so that you can confidently showcase what makes you and your work unique everywhere that you’re marketing and selling your stuff.

Over these 4 weeks, you’ll have access to:

  • A library of short and action-focused trainings (which you’ll have lifetime of the course access to!)
  • Two 90-minute group coaching sessions with me, where you can ask any of your business-building Qs and receive individualized support from me!
  • A 90-minute Offers development workshop, where we will actually build at least one of your offers together, right then and there!
  • A 90-minute Messaging development workshop, where we will actually craft messaging for at least one of your offers, right then and there!
  • Ongoing availability for in-depth, personalized feedback on everything you’re building and creating in the course.
  • Lifetime of the podcast access to our client-exclusive podcast, Mornings with Carly, where I drop ~5 minute episodes every M-W-F full of inspiration, client lessons, mindset shifts, behind the scenes of WholeCo, and more!
  • At-your-fingertips support throughout the entire course inside of our WholeCo community, with a 48-hour response time M-Th
  • …and some other bonus goodies!

If you are ready to build a true coaching package that reliably facilitates results for or with your Right Fit clients, and you want to figure out how to talk about it in such a way that it naturally attracts those Right Fit, ready-to-buy humans who will do the work required to see their desired success, then join us inside The Aligned Niche™ LIVE today.

Handy Links:

Carly Jo Bell of WholeCo Media - Headshot@2x

hey!

I’m Carly Jo Bell.

(Though you can just call me Carly.)

Carly Jo Bell is a business strategist and mentor, and fonder of Whole Co media. Through her courses and programs, podcast, and one on one coaching, Carly helps pulled-in-every-direction entrepreneurs create a business that brings in as much joy as it does revenue — by cultivating deep self trust, and solid foundations as the first step.

For more from Carly, and to learn about her signature “looking external for inspiration, and internal for answers” approach, join the conversation by signing up for her weekly email series, Carly's Couch.

Therapeutic-Coach-in-the-UK-case-study

Client Spotlight: Therapeutic Coach in the UK

Photo of Pam, who has light blond hair and a warm smile.

Client Spotlight: Pam Bowman

Photo of Michelle, who has black curly hair, glasses, and a big smile standing against a backdrop of phenomenal art.

Client Spotlight: Michelle Crowder-Soellner

SSP Ep026 art

“I know I need to raise my price points, but…” (common fears around increasing your rates and what to do about them)