All good coaches have some amazing character traits in common. They’re dedicated. They’re passionate. They never let themselves or their clients take their eyes of the prize.
Good coaches are focused on helping their clients create the kind of success that they’ve been dreaming of. But a truly great coach — a coach who gets the results their clients are looking for — knows that when it comes to motivating clients, nothing beats rapport.
Rapport is based on open communication and honesty. When you create rapport with your client, you’re creating a strong bond of understanding and truth. It allows clients to build trust in your methods, and strategies. Your clients will have faith in you and know that you won’t steer them wrong.
Here are 4 master techniques that will help you to quickly build rapport with your coaching clients.
Rapport Master Technique #1: Match The Tone
Do you feel the best way to motivate clients is by demonstrating enthusiasm and excitement during a session? Maybe you’re more of a “quiet” coach. You ask questions and wait patiently for the answer because you believe giving your clients time and space to express themselves is the key.
The truth is your personal communication style or what you believe, aren’t important during a session. The best way to connect and build rapport with your client is to understand their energy and match that.
While you may think it’s good to be animated and lively during a session, naturally quiet or shy clients may perceive your enthusiasm as aggressive. The same goes for high energy clients who may perceive a quiet, calm approach as sluggish or uncaring.
Rapport Master Technique #2: Play Follow the Leader
Reading your client’s body language will go a long way toward building rapport. Body language includes gestures and posture so it’s good to watch for your clients’ movements and gestures during a session.
Does your client wave his hands in the air when he speaks? Do you notice your client prefers to sit back in her chair rather than lean forward during a session?
These minor movements are important clues that will help you boost rapport. If you notice that your client likes to sit back in her chair, try sitting back in yours. If she leans forward, follow suit. If your client likes to use his hands when he speaks, try to do the same.
A critical point to note: use your discretion when you mirror your client’s gestures and movements. If you don’t, you run the risk of looking like you’re mimicking or mocking your client. So be subtle but aim to read and mirror your client’s body language.
Rapport Master Technique #3: Go for Small Wins (First)
A big way to build rapport is to build your client’s trust and confidence in your skills as a coach. You can do this by guiding your clients toward smaller wins first. It’s not easy to help your client hit a big goal especially at the start of a coaching relationship.
Big goals require planning, strategy and significant effort. But small, significant wins are doable. This will show your clients that you can be trusted.
Rapport Master Technique #4: Check Your Speed
Do you consider yourself a fast talker or do you choose to take your time when you have something to say? The speed of your speech can massively influence the level of rapport that you create with a client.
If you’re a fast talker but your client articulates every word, think about slowing down when you speak. If your client speaks quickly, don’t speak at a snail’s pace. Find a balance.
Remember that as a coach, you are communicating for simplicity and precision above all other reasons. While it’s good to create great rapport with your clients, never sacrifice clarity in the process.
The fundamental key to rapport is trust so building your clients’ trust and confidence is always a good thing. With enough rapport, you can inspire and motivate clients to push past their comfort zone, and attempt the “impossible”.
You can get clients to believe in themselves…
You can guide them to become peak performers…
And you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you helped them get there.