Time Management For Life Coaches

One of the unique parts of being an executive life coach is that it can be such an enjoyable profession. Life coaching is a very flexible, very rewarding business but a lot of people are hesitant to get into it simply because they are afraid of the time constraints that may be placed on them by their clients. No one wants to leave a 9-5 job to start their own business only to find out that instead of having one person making demands on their time they have fifteen or twenty. This can be a big source of anxiety for any life coach, especially a new one, and it can also bring up questions as to how involved with their clients a coach should be. Many coaches wonder if they should let their clients dictate their schedule or if they should attend to their own needs first. It can also be quite a challenge to learn to balance your personal responsibilities as a coach along with the needs of clients and take care of the business all at the same time.

The bottom line here is that when it comes to managing your time you have to create a balance between being productive and efficient while also meeting your clients needs and all of that has to be countered by making sure that you’re taking care of yourself and attending to your needs first and foremost. One of the most important things you can remember is that your needs have to come first otherwise you wont be in any type of condition to take care of your clients. If you aren’t taken care of then you can’t even begin to take care of anyone else. Remember that you are a person as well, with needs and responsibilities and a life all your own and that you aren’t meant to give up your own life to take over that of your clients. Your clients are capable people all on their own and, with some very rare exceptions, they aren’t going to live or die without you - though you may be able to greatly improve their lives. It’s absolutely essential that you maintain your own health and wellness and by doing so you’ll be much better able to take care of your clients and serve them to the best of your abilities. On top of that you also need to be able to balance the business aspects of your life coaching while handling your clients. That means having time to take care of bills, accounting, marketing, any development or growth you’re experiencing and so forth. All of these things are important aspects of your business that need tending to but if you’re constantly inundated with client calls it can be very difficult to get even a tiny amount of work done.

The first step in being able to properly manage your time as a life coach is remembering that you are just that - a life coach. You are not a baby sitter, you’re not a psychiatrist, you’re not a sounding board, and you certainly aren’t an emergency room doctor. So if your clients are calling you for every single little thing that goes wrong in their life then you may have to reign them in a bit with more specific time that they can contact you or by asking a fee each time they call. These may seem harsh but they are necessary courses of action to ensure that you can remain in business. While it’s important that you return your clients calls (usually within a day) it can be helpful to distance the time between returning them so that they learn to handle some of their problems on their own or to at least give some time for things to settled down a bit before they run to the phone and speed dial your number. Answering a clients calls six or seven times a day within ten minutes every time they call is just going to make them dependent on you and that’s not healthy for you or for them. Creating a little distance this way also makes your coaching time more valuable. If clients feel like they can call you just any time and you’ll help them then it devalues your sessions where you try to work on key issues and it can remove the decisiveness and urgency of a timed call. Your client may be more apt to blab on and on about their life instead of staying focused and concentrated on your call and the advice they are receiving. This can lower the energy of the call and make it more like an ongoing complaint session instead of a direct path to success (or to whatever goal your clients have set). This can also take time away from other clients who deserve it as well and it can create chaos for you in your life which makes it even harder for you to coach others. So yes, answer your clients calls in a timely, respectful manner but maintain some boundaries so that you don’t become their personal go to for complaints and sob stories.

When it comes to things like vacations and personal time off it’s best to avoid telling your clients that you’re taking a “vacation” - for some reason this tends to freak people out and send them into ultra panic mode, making them call you a dozen times a day prior to when you’re leaving. It’s much better to just tell them that you’ll be traveling but that you’ll still be responding to email and a few phone calls here and there. This is a much easier transition for your clients then to have them think you’re going to be completely unreachable. Reschedule any appointments you may have during that time and send a quick reminder email a few days before you leave so that you can handle any last minute things before you go. It’s perfectly fine for you to have time off from your work and it’s very healthy to take breaks so don’t feel like you’re abandoning your clients by indulging in a week in hawaii or a cruise to mexico - you aren’t. Take your vacation and come back feeling refreshed and ready to dive back in to working with your clients.

When it comes to time management on a daily basis it’s wise to have specific times during the day that you check messages and answer emails and to limit those times. Twice a day is usually best - any more than that and you risk having large chunks of your day taken over with email answering and playing phone tag. It can also be helpful to schedule certain blocks of time for specific tasks and even to divide up mornings and afternoons into different areas to increase productivity. Mornings may be reserved for client phone calls, for example. While afternoons could be used for general business work and errands. Dividing things up this way makes it easier to realize when you’re spending to much time on non-critical tasks (like email) and not enough on more important things.

If you learn little habits like these your experience as a life coach will be much better and you’ll be able to help far more clients than if you were less organized or capable when it comes to managing your time.